Everyone should get a home inspection. There is no such thing as perfection and every Philadelphia condo- be it new construction, or a clearly used up old condo- almost every condo that I have come across needs some kind of maintenance or attention.
But how do you go about protecting yourself without pissing off a seller to a point where he or she no longer wants to deal with you? Well, that can be a thin line….but here is what I suggest:
1) Focus on the big ticket items. Try not to be too nit picky about the small stuff. Sellers can become easily fatigued…so instead of asking for a plethora of small items to be corrected, ask for (say) one or two big issues- If warranted. One that can be backed up by the home inspection. Sellers are sometime less worried about the money and more worried that they may not have the time to fix every little issue- sometimes sellers will negotiate on convenience- as opposed to being consumed by trivial matters.
2) If you have the option of taking a credit, or having the seller repair items- GO FOR THE CREDIT. Because more often than not, you or your contractor may not like the way the seller does the repair. Then we all have a problem….
3) I don’t think it is logical for a buyer to ask for a credit or a repair on items they clearly knew were previously broken. For instance, if you make an offer on a condo that has a cracked window pane or clearly unused/broken dishwasher – the seller may be less apt to fix it- because you clearly knew of this shortcoming prior to making an offer….and of course you made your offer accordingly, one would assume.
4) Electrical issues are huge….and you can almost always hit a seller up for making such a repair. Electrical issues are scary for most buyers and something most buyers cannot and probably should not fix themselves.
I usually coach my buyers to think this way: If the amount of the needed repairs impacts your perception of the value of the Center City condo, then you should probably back out of the deal or go at the seller at full force. However, if you are just looking to rake the seller over the coals for the hell of it- that should be done during the time you make your offer. Not at a later date where you are just looking to perhaps get something for (almost) nothing. Just my two cents…