DEAR BARRY: We just accepted a purchase offer on our home. The buyers’ home inspection report says the carport roof and many of the framing members under the roof need to be replaced. We agreed to pay for these repairs and obtained a contractor’s bid of $1,700.

The buyers then decided that they would tear down the carport once they own the property and build a new garage in its place.

But now they are requesting a credit of $1,700, the amount we would have paid had they kept the carport. Since they plan to demolish the carport, it is right that we should have to pay this money? –Mark

DEAR MARK: Negotiating the terms of a real estate transaction is often like playing a game of chess. You never know what strategies the other player has in mind or how they will respond to your moves. If the buyers plan to replace the carport, the condition of the roof and framing should be irrelevant. But human nature being what it is, people often feel that they are not getting a good deal unless they play every angle for what it’s worth.

One way to counter this move is to agree that you will pay for repairs if they plan to keep the carport. The big question is whether they are willing to walk away from the deal if you refuse to give them $1,700.

Another important question is whether you would rather lose the sale than pay the $1,700. If you think they are bluffing, play hardball and see what happens. Chess and negotiating are games of strategy and nerves.

DEAR BARRY: We bought our home nine years ago. The large trees in our front yard were never a problem until recently. Now we see large surface roots all over the yard and spreading onto our neighbor’s property. Our home inspector never warned us about this. Was he responsible for telling us? If so, what should we do? Would our homeowners insurance cover the costs to remove the trees? –Hope

DEAR HOPE: Trees and tree roots are not within the scope of a home inspection unless they are actually affecting the building. If roots or tree trunks encroach on a building and are causing cracks in walls or the foundation, that would be a cause for concern and for disclosure by a home inspector. If the trees were not a problem until recently, there would have been no reason for a home inspector to have mentioned them nine years ago. Even if the inspector had been at fault, liability after so many years would be a slim pursuit.

You should have the trees inspected by a tree expert. The fact that roots are visible on the ground does not mean that you necessarily have a problem. Have the trees evaluated before deciding to remove them. Removal of surface roots may be all that is necessary.

It is unlikely that tree removal is covered by homeowners insurance, but you should consult your insurance agent to verify this.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription