My New Outside Blog: March 2011

Jumping Over the Home Repair Hurdle

 

We are about to approach one of the most painful parts of the purchase transaction ... the home inspection and Amendment to the Contract for repairs.

This hurdle is not only one of emotion for the sellers and buyers but is also one of the lawyers' personal favorites for legal battles.

It begins with the property inspection.  Items cited as deficient.  The amendment to do certain repairs is presented to the seller.  Then the fireworks begin!  The seller has just never seen a more outrageous report, how picky can an inspector be, just ridiculous!  We have heard this outcry many times over.

Overcoming this the seller's emotion is the first step a listing agent must address before any reasonable discussion for the amendment can be considered.  Statements such as - the inspector has a responsibility to point out all items, even those that were in code at the time the home was built but are no longer found acceptable.  Yes, new code requirements are to be cited, the consumer should know about new discoveries for safety, etc.  We want the inspector to find all the flaws so that these findings really protect you down the road.  To know now is better than find out later and then possibly receiving unhappy buyer calls or worse an unpleasant lawsuit!

Now the fun begins - what will the seller elect to correct or negotiate and what items will they decline?  This phase of the negotiations can be sensitive but once all is agreed the next decision on how to handle these repairs is critical.

Do you obtain bids and offer money compensation for repairs or does the seller take ownership of having all repairs made?

How this hurdle is approached and jumped is key.  Opinions as to what is best vary.

Buyer to do the repairs with money compensated:

  • Time consuming, may delay their move in.
  • What if the repair reveals more issues that need repair and cost are driven up?
  • Who obtained the repair costs .. were the best professionals used to obtain bids or Joe the I just got into the business of handyman?
  • Control of quality of work and can hold the vendor responsible.

Sellers responsible for the repairs:

  • Buyers may not like how the work was completed, may think is sloppy.
  • Not enough time to complete the work and now the negotiation of how to handle this situation.
  • Inconvenience of trying to pack, may be already moved and now must oversee repairs (well we all know the listing agent will step up for this).
  • Liability of work done properly and it malfunctions soon after close. 

There are split opinions on how the repairs are to be made and arguments pro and con on how to handle.  This decision is up to the seller & buyer to negotiate and come to an agreement.  If the seller does the repairs then the buyer should be furnished receipts for the work, have required professionals and licensed service companies handle.  A walk through inspection by the buyer prior to close should be made to validate the repairs acceptability and even another trip of the home inspector to verify all is proper.

What is the best way to tackle this hurdle of who does the repairs?

Comment balloon 16 commentsConnie Goodrich • March 18 2011 08:42AM
Jumping Over the Home Repair Hurdle
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