Question about writing an offer

We put in an offer on a home but were not chosen. The accepted offer was canceled after inspection. The sellers came back to us and asked if we would

like to purchase the home. They provided the inspection for us to look over. There are a number of potential big issues roof needs to be replaced, broken drain tile valve, cracks, and moisture in the foundation both inside and out, cracks and moisture in the chimney, etc and we don’t know how to write an offer until we know what the cost could be. We are not looking for the little issues to be fixed and we don’t expect money to be taken off for the foundation

if the cracks are not a structural issue. We just don’t want to buy a money pit. After talking to the listing agent about what to do, our agent is telling us to offer full ask and then negotiate after we get quotes during inspection. To me this seems completely unreasonable since we wrote the offer knowing the problems. If we offer full ask having seen the inspection report, can’t the seller come back and say we don’t have to negotiate because you signed off on all the issues by writing a full ask offer? How should we proceed if we know there are issues but don’t know the extent of the damage without bringing in a professional? We are the only prospective buyers currently left for this property. They don’t want to have to put it back on the market because there is an uncooperative tenant living in it.

Asked on August 15, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, don't offer full and count on negotiating later. The best way to do this: ask the seller to let you have an engineer or general contractor look at the home with you--if they won't agree, they may be hiding something very bad, so you probably want to avoid the property anyway. Have the engineer/GC give you a rough estimate to fix the problems, broken out by issue. Knock off any you are willing to fix yourself, live with, or absorb the cost of. Then offer based on the expected cost. For example: the house is listed at $300k. An engineer identifies $60k of repairs, but you are not worried about or willing to deal later with $12k. Write them an offer for, say, $255k (leaving yourself, some room to be pushed up a little); you could even attach the report to the offer and let them know it is based on the report. See what they come back with--if the two of you can't come to a number you can live with, the deal is not mean to happen; but if you do come to a mutually agreeable number, you have offerd on the house at a reasonable price given the work to be done.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.