In today’s real estate market, with low inventory dominating the conversation in many areas of the country, it can often be frustrating to be a first-time homebuyer if you aren’t.
Home Inspections And Requesting Seller Repairs When Buying A Tucson Home
The buyer’s Due Diligence period is a 10 day period following the acceptance of Purchase Contract, allocated to the buyer to perform an investigation on documents, physical condition of the property, and conditions affecting the area where the property is located. Using our AAR Buyer’s Advisory, buyers have guidance and resources for any topic that concerns them. When you begin the process of making an offer on a home, your agent will be giving you a copy of this Advisory.
The most common concern for buyers is the physical condition of the property. Our AAR Purchase Contract states “Buyer and Seller Agree the premises are being sold in its present physical condition as of the date of contract acceptance”. Since this is basically an “as is” clause, it behooves the buyers to have the property inspected by professional home inspector.
The professional home inspector is a generalist that thoroughly inspects the property for deficiencies that would affect the functionality of systems or issues the home buyer may encounter when living in the home. The inspector will note areas or components needing further investigation in the inspection report, like an HVAC contractor or licensed plumber. They will point out deficiencies in the property and mark them on a priority scale so that the home buyer knows the importance/priority of a given deficiency. Based on this general home inspection report, the buyer should consider bringing specialist trades to further investigate the deficiencies of particular concern.
Bringing in a specialist accomplishes a couple of things. 1) the buyer will have more detailed information on what the issue may be and how to resolve it. 2) the buyer will have an estimate for the given repair from a professional in the field. Now the buyer is in a better position to evaluate whether the repair is something that can be accommodated in the buyer’s budget or whether the buyer wants to ask the seller for the repair based on the specialist inspection and estimate. Having the estimate to submit to the seller with the Buyers Inspection Notice gives the buyer a bit better control over the direction of the repair, while giving the seller better information as to the extent and cost of the repair.
Keep in mind that the “as is” provision in the Purchase Contract does not take away the right of the buyer to request repairs or improvements to the property and address them in the Buyer’s Inspection Notice and Seller’s Response form (BINSR). But be aware that the seller is not obligated to engage in negotiations for repairs. However, he/she would be foolish not to if it’s going to mean that the contract gets cancelled and the house goes back on the market. That’s time lost for the seller and risks not receiving an offer that was comparable to the first offer.
When it comes to asking for repairs take into consideration whether the price of the property has already been discounted for conditional issues. See if it makes sense for you to move forward under those conditions. Take into consideration potential costs for a near future repair and whether you have the budget to get repairs done yourself. Many older homes have small conditional issues that are common to homes of a certain age. Understand that you are not purchasing a brand new home. Pay attention to the items that are essential for the home to function safely and won’t place the occupants in a hazardous or dangerous situation. Then sit with your agent and talk over what is of most importance to you so you can thoughtfully ask the seller for those repairs.
The seller has 3 choices:
The seller can accept the opportunity to make the repairs in order to keep the transaction moving forward
The seller may be unwilling or unable to make requested repairs, or
The seller may respond to the buyer’s request with something in between a full yes or no. For instance, the seller may agree to some of the repairs but not others. There’s room for a little negotiation here .
In turn, the buyer now has the opportunity to cancel the contract based on the seller’s response. If all repairs are rejected by the seller, the buyer can cancel. If the seller agrees to only partial repairs the buyer may cancel or accept the seller's response to make partial repairs. Once the buyer agrees to the partial repairs, he also agrees to close escrow without correction of the items Seller has not agreed in writing to correct.
If the buyer decides to cancel the contract, the earnest money will be returned upon written notice to the title company through the BINSR.
If the buyer decides to move forward with the agreed upon seller repairs, then the seller must submit receipts for the work performed as proof that it was completed and paid. The buyer’s responsibility is to walk through the property prior to Close of Escrow to do a visual inspection of repairs made and confirm that the property is in substantially the same condition as when the contract was accepted. If there are unresolved issues at the point the Buyer serves notice to the Seller of the outstanding issues and the Seller has 3 days to correct (cure) them. If the Seller fails to comply, the seller is in breach of contract.
The important thing to keep in mind is that once the process has reached this point, both parties are looking to cross the finish line. The assumption is that both sides want an expeditious resolution. And for the most part, issues are resolved and both parties get what they want. In the case where there is a breach and the close of escrow is compromised, your agent will advise you of the next steps.
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