Vail Daily column: Should I ask seller to fix more items?

Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

My Realtor is warning me about possibly losing the house we have under contract by writing up items on the inspection objection report. We are under contract with a home that is 15 years old. The sellers have done a fair job, but I feel, after looking at the professional inspectors report, that there are numerous items you could call “deferred maintenance” … things they just have neglected over the years that are very important to me. We are paying a more than fair price for the home and I want to write in the inspection objection report that the sellers are to fix all of the items. Our broker is warning us against doing that for several reasons that don’t make much sense to me. What would you do?

Dear Questioning Buyer,

Being busy shouldn’t be mistaken for being productive; much like trying hard shouldn’t be mistaken for results. These things are often related; busy people are often the most productive and those who work hardest often have the best results.

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First of all, I would guess that the seller would not call the contract price a “more than fair price”. ​Often​ sellers​ feel like they had to come down to a ​price lower than they wanted​ and they are “practically giving it away.” Just wanted you to have that perspective. The short answer to your question is that your Realtor sounds knowledgeable and experienced, and depending upon the circumstances, is probably giving you great advice. I have written before about some of the reasons for not asking a seller to fix cosmetic items on their home, but there are more things to consider. First of all, you are not buying a new home. One would presume it was not priced as a new home and your accepted offer was not for a new home. So, to ask them to make it back to new home status is not realistic. Hopefully, you were able to see many of the cosmetic items that you knew you would need to take care of when you made the offer. We always recommend just asking to have the seller take care of health and safety issues and possibly any hidden big defects. If you ask to have every little thing done, including what you knew needed to be fixed when you offered on the property, then the seller will be frustrated and often not want to fix anything.

The additional scenario to consider is that in today’s market of reduced inventory, you cannot be sure whether or not the seller has received other back-up offers or has other serious interest, possibly at a higher price than you are paying them. If this is the case, and the seller does not respond or negotiate on your offer, and you do not withdraw your objections prior to the deadline, then your contract could terminate and you could lose the house. Now, if you would rather not have the house if all the items are not corrected, then you can go ahead with the strategy of asking them to fix every little item. If you are just fishing to see what the seller will fix and/or pay for, then you need to be very cautious. Presuming you do really want the home, since you have come this far​,​ investing your time and money and emotional attachment, it is best to listen to your Realtor’s suggestions. Also, if you do turn in an inspection objection report​ for any or all of the items​, then carefully watch the date for resolution. Best of luck to you!

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at Joan@TeamBlack, 970-337-7777 or

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