Vail Daily column: Buyer asks for thousands in repairs
August 23, 2013
We are selling our house and now have it under contract. After going back and forth for a week with counterproposals about the price, the buyers finally came up and we went down to our bottom acceptable price. Now, the buyer's agent has just sent our broker an "inspection objection" form asking for thousands of dollars in repairs! We feel they are just trying to buy our house for less and do not know what we should do. What do you recommend?
Hopefully you have an experienced, qualified Realtor that will give you good advice about your particular situation, as each contract situation and property is different. I am sure this is not a comfort, but this is not an uncommon dilemma for a lot of sellers. I am not an attorney, nor a party to your transaction, so I cannot advise you on what to do. I can only give you general information that we use every day with this important part of the contract.
Here is what we say to our buyers: We strongly advise that you have a professional inspector, and any other professionals you like, look at the subject property you are buying prior to the inspection objection period. The main reason for this is so that you will have a thorough knowledge of what you are buying and what repairs might be needed in the future. Presuming the home is not new, the seller will not make it new, and you are buying it for the agreed upon price the way you saw it when you made the offer. This is not a price adjustment clause. That being said, the items that need to be written up for an inspection are those items you could not see, and/or items that concern health and safety issues. For instance, these could be roof leaks in the attic, plumbing leaks, inoperative appliances, mold, radon etc. Not cracked cement in the driveway that you saw, not painting, updating visible window defects, etc. Of course, any buyer can ask for anything to be fixed, but if they have been advised by a knowledgeable buyer's agent, then they are more likely to ask for the important items and they are prepared for a realistic response from the seller.
Here is what we say to our sellers: Basically we tell them what we have told the buyers. We also tell them that the buyers will sometimes ask for every item on the inspection report to be repaired or replaced, but that does not mean that you need to do all that they ask. Depending upon the price, the seller's motivation and capabilities, each negotiation is different. We always say we prefer no surprises, so we also encourage our sellers to fill out a thorough, honest seller's property disclosure. Since this is given to the buyer prior to inspection, this should alleviate a lot of concerns.
This is another case where an experienced real estate broker can save the seller thousands of dollars by skillfully negotiating an agreement between "what is asked" and "what is finally agreed upon." A professional buyer's agent can also protect their client's interests while preserving the sale and the original negotiated terms. The more informed the buyer and seller are about the purpose of this very important clause in the contract, the smoother the transaction will go physically and emotionally. Make sure you have the best professional advice and you will be able to accomplish your goal.
Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, 970-337-7777 or http://www.SkiAndTeeHomes.com.