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  • Real Estate Advice: Negotiating Repairs

    Posted on August 29th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    So you have fallen in love with a home. You made an offer; the sellers accept it. And now you do your inspections. And you’re shocked by all the things that the home inspector points out that needs to be fixed, replaced, upgraded. All the safety issues; all the concerns.

    First I will tell you to take a deep breath. Every house is going to have its issues. Even the cleanest of homes is going to have some things to deal with. You will sit down with your Realtor and decide how to approach the situation. Here are some of your options:

    You can ask the seller to make repairs.
    You can ask the seller to credit you the cost of the repairs.
    You can ask the seller to reduce the purchase price.
    You can ask for any combination of the above.

    Second, you should know that the seller doesn’t have to do anything. And in the state of California, the seller doesn’t even have to respond to your request. More than likely they will, but keep in mind that they are not contractually obligated to do so.

    Third, be careful in what you ask for. I’ve seen many buyers list every single item on the inspection report. I understand that you want to get as many repairs taken care of as possible, but you may also turn off the seller so much that they don’t want to do anything. Many sellers get so infuriated that they no longer approach the Request for Repairs with an open mind. Or you may risk the seller agreeing to do the items on the list that are least important to you and ignoring the ones that are the deal breakers. It’s important for you and your agent be strategic in your request to get the most favorable outcome.

    Fourth, there’s a trade off with asking for repairs vs. asking for a credit. If you ask for repairs, the seller will take care of the work, but you may not have control over how the work is done. However, what appears to be a minor repair can sometimes turn into an expensive ordeal. The good news here is that the seller has agreed to do the repair and no matter what the cost, they must fulfill their obligation. On the other hand, if you ask for a credit, you are able to do the work yourself. There will be less risk in getting sub-par repairs. However, if you don’t get proper quotes up front and there are surprises along the way, you may not have collected enough of a credit to take care of the repairs. There is risk in both sides; you have to decide which option works best for you.

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