request for repairs thumbnail of a man crouched in front of an electrical outlet examining it with a bright light.

By Elias Magers

If your client is buying a house with defects, they don’t have to stay silent. Nobody wants to buy a house with structural problems!

Homebuyers can request house repairs before they buy it. Doing so is common across California.

A buyer’s agent can issue the request for repairs during the transaction. When the deal closes, the buyer has a house they love, without the added need for repairs.

So, how do request for repairs work in California?

Get a Home Inspection to Find Every Defect

Buyers should request repairs after a home inspection

A professional will find every issue that is not obvious. Surface-level blemishes are easy to spot, but buyers need a professional to see the real problems.

The home inspector will create a list of property defects to fix. This list is called the inspection report.

The inspection report is a powerful negotiation tool for agents because it can influence a home’s final cost. The inspection report has this power because it has professional opinions about the well-being of the property. 

If the property is in poor condition, the agent has more negotiation power to lower the sales price for the homebuyer.

As an alternative to lowering the price of the home, the buyer’s agent can issue a request for repairs.

How to Make a Request for Repairs on a House

A real estate agent should talk to their client about the inspection report. The goal is to decide what, in detail, the home seller should fix. 

When they decide on what needs repairs, the real estate agent has two options:

Request for Repairs Form

A request for repairs form is a document that lists the home buyer’s repair needs before they buy the home. The buyer’s agent sends this document to the seller’s agent for consideration.

Add Repair Amendments to the Purchase Report

A buyer’s agent can amendment the purchase agreement to get the home seller to repair the property. When amending the purchase agreement, agents should always be specific and direct in their language. This way, there is no confusion about what the seller must do to sell their home.

How Do Home Sellers React to a Request for Repairs?

Homebuyers could be scared of losing their dream home if they request repairs. In a seller’s market, that fear makes sense. But, not all home sellers will react the same way when they see a repair request.

Home sellers can accept all requests, deny all of them, or negotiate which to repair. This is when real estate agents help the transaction. The agents negotiate on behalf of their clients to determine the best option for everyone.

Each agent will take into consideration the market and their client’s priorities. The buyer’s agent will have more leverage in the buyer’s market because they have more options (vice versa in a seller’s market.)

How Does Cash Credit Work When Buying a Home?

Instead of fixing the repairs, the home seller might agree to offer cash credit. 

Cash credit works by deducting the home seller’s earnings to give the home buyer money for repairs. Escrow companies manage cash credits so long as they offer it as an option.

Final Thoughts on How Request for Repairs Work in California

Finding the defects and sending the request for repairs form are the easy parts. The challenge is navigating those requests with the other party. 

Some deals crumble because the houses need too many repairs.

A request for repairs runs the risk of scaring away a seller. But, the buyer won’t invest if a seller doesn’t make the repairs. This problem needs a mediator.

Real estate agents negotiate on behalf of their clients. Their goal is to get the best deal possible for their client without dropping the deal. Moments like these are what make agents so valuable. Instead of canceling the deal, they find a middle ground that will make both parties happy.

The agent and buyer must work together to send a request for repairs. The seller might deny them, but you never know if you don’t ask.


Every week, we release in-depth videos to help viewers become successful real estate agents on our CA Realty Training YouTube Channel. Also, if you enjoyed reading this article, we would love if you could share it with a friend who you think would get something out of it.
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