The home inspection is a very important element of the home-selling process. Unless your buyer has trouble with financing, the inspection is the last step between you and closing on your old home and moving on with your life. But here’s the thing: no home is perfect, and the home inspection is very likely to end up kicking up several defects in the house. Most buyers will want you to fix them. But what are you actually on the hook for fixing? The following is a general guide, as different states and municipalities will have different laws regarding these matters.

Repairs that you must fix include damages to the structure of the house or other major components. We’re talking roofing issues, HVAC deficiencies, and/or problems with the foundation, just for example. Building code violations and safety issues also fall under this umbrella. You don’t have many options other than fixing the problem if you want to sell the house - after all, any buyer(s) that come after will run into the same problems. Hire a contractor and get an estimate on what you need to make the house sellable. 

Fixes that you do not need to worry about include cosmetic damage and normal wear and tear. The buyers may not be happy with an aging carpet or the color scheme you chose for the walls, but that is on them. Leaky faucets (that aren’t symptoms of bigger problems) and glitchy ceiling fans may fall under this category.

Then there are repairs that might become an issue between you and the buyer because they fall in a gray area. Whether or not you have to perform these repairs depends on several things - for example, in a sellers’ market, you have the upper hand to refuse any unnecessary repairs, because another buyer is likely to come right behind and snatch the house up. To prevent these issues, it’s a good idea to word the contract so that the house is being sold “as is,” barring any of the major problems noted above. Repairs cut into your bottom line, so be prepared to negotiate. Sometimes offering the buyers concessions, like a one-year home warranty or leaving behind the washer and dryer can sooth over disputes.

In the end, remember to be as reasonable as possible - you’ve come this far in the selling journey, and it would stink to have to go through it all again. As long as the buyers aren’t being greedy about it, try to make them happy.