Before the day you finally sold your home there are several other steps you must go through – one of which is dealing with buyer’s repair request. Unless your home is flawless you are probably in for some negotiations with the buyer after the home inspection report shows some issues on your home. As a seller, you are not required to fix anything in the home inspection report; any repairs cited are points of negotiation.
Your ability to negotiate depends on the way the contract has been written. Make sure you fully understand your obligation concerning your responsibility for repairs when you sign the contract.
In South Carolina, a repair procedure is in the contract which addresses the major areas of concern of a house: roof, electrical system, plumbing system, environmental hazards, and HVAC system. However you or the buyer may choose to opt out of the repair procedure and add the Due Diligence Addendum in its place. This addendum says that if a buyer chooses to cancel the contract due to an issue that comes up in an inspection, the buyer agrees to pay the seller a cancellation fee.
If buyer provides you with a copy of home inspection report within 2 business days after completion of the said report, then both parties have the option of negotiating payment for the repair of any defect or terminating the contract with the Earnest Money refunded to the buyer.
Sellers can be absolved of paying for any repairs if they sell their home “as is,” but in most cases, the contract will include a clause that says the purchase is contingent upon a home inspection.
Whether you get a minor or major repair request, rely on the professional advice from your agent or real estate attorney to help you handle the issue. And it helps that your home is in excellent condition and shows well if you want to have the upper hand in the negotiation table.
Before jumping into negotiating with the buyer, you should discuss the home inspection report with your agent. You can get bids from several contractors to find out how much a repair will cost and then decide what to offer the buyer. If you decided not to do the repairs yourself, you could offer to pay for a one-year home buyer warranty. A home warranty generally covers the buyer’s outlay for major defect for a year following purchase. It covers systems including heating and cooling, plumbing and electrical, and appliances such as water heater, dishwasher, stove, garbage disposal and a built-in microwave oven. However, a home warranty only cover features that are working, the warranty company may require you to fix or upgrade an appliance before they agree to cover the system or appliance in the warranty.
You could also give credit at the closing to pay for repairs. Buyers often agree to take credit at the closing. Note that the buyer’s lender might limit the amount of closing costs you can pay so if you decide to give the buyer an X amount of dollars toward closing costs, make sure that the credit is clearly spelled out in the purchase-and-sale agreement and the buyer’s lender is fully aware of the credit and approves of the credit well in advance of the settlement of the transaction.
Another way is putting repair money at escrow. You could offer to put an X amount in a repair escrow that the buyer could use at their discretion once the property close. A repair escrow is an agreed upon amount of money taken out of the sellers proceeds at closing and held by the escrow agent or attorney to be used by the buyer for specific repairs made after the closing. A repair escrow will also give you a level of protection that you won’t get stuck with the repair bill and no closing.
Remember that it’s important to take care of issues and deal with it with skill, if you refuse to repair or negotiate, the offer could fall apart and the problem would still be there and resurface during the next inspection. Trust your agent to help and guide your choices to negotiate the home inspection issues.
Finally, consider getting a pre-inspection. It is better to know first-hand what you’ll be dealing with. Once you know the issues of your home, you can have those issues fixed before you sell your home. The cleaner and problem-free you can make your home, the faster it’s likely to sell.
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