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Repair Consultation


Selling your Home? Great! You have an interested buyer who has put a contract on your home… Fantastic!

My recommendation to all sellers would be to have a "Pre-Listing" Inspection performed before your home is listed. Maybe you didn’t choose this route. Ok, that is fine. However, usually within 10 days of a contract being placed on your home, a buyer will hire a home inspector to inspect your home. In most cases (unless a home is being purchased "as-is") you will eventually be presented with the "Purchaser’s Requested Repair List."

Unfortunately, in our litigious society, home inspectors have become targets. As a result, many home inspectors will tend to call out just about anything as "suspect" or provide a comment similar to the following: "recommend further consultation or repair by a specialist."

A seller is not guaranteed to have knowledgeable representation sitting in their corner to help walk them through this repair list.

Are you wondering:

  • What items under a real estate contract is a seller obligated to fix?
  • How do I respond to the repair request? – The devil is in the details! (see below)
  • How much can I expect to pay for a repair?
  • Who do I call to perform the repair?
  • What does the repair receipt need to say?
  • How do I know the repair has been done properly?
  • What is cosmetic vs. a legitimate defect?

These are just some of the questions I have heard from sellers who are now staring at a repair list that threatens to compromise the sale of their home. If these are some of the questions that are now top of your mind, then you could greatly benefit from our inspection repair consultation.

What is a Repair Consultation?

Home Inspectors work for their client – nearly 80% of the time this is the buyer, unless the homeowner had a pre-listing inspection performed as mentioned above. A home inspection repair consultation is a service HTI offers to help the seller review the buyer’s requested repair list, verify a defect, and negotiate the repair – all with the seller’s best interest in mind.

An experienced listing agent can help with this list, but they are not inspection experts and will invariably recommend that you call these specialists (plumber, electrician, roofer, etc.) for consultation or repair recommendations. The problem is most of these service calls are unnecessary and cost at least $50 – $75 per specialist called. Then there is your personal time lost scheduling and meeting with these specialists – usually during the work week. Many home inspectors pass the liability off by "recommending further consultation by a specialist." It is easy for home inspectors to do this because they do not bare the expense of consulting with these specialists – you the seller do!

Furthermore, the interpretation of how the repair should be performed and what is deemed an acceptable repair can and will vary greatly from the buyer to the seller. The bottom line is the buyer wants the most from the repair and the seller wants to complete the repair with as little cost as possible. It is for this reason there is a trend in the industry shifting to have the home inspection performed at the time of listing (see our Seller Inspection service).

Examples of our consultation services are:

  • Review via phone the repair list and suggest what you should agree or not agree to repair and why – the idea is to put it back in the buyer’s lap and their inspector to PROVE the need for repair or specialist consultation. I wish I could tell you that all home inspectors were created equal, but they are not.  Some reports I have seen request further consultation from a specialist when it is simply unecessary.
  • Assist in the written response to the requested repair list – we are experienced with communicating clearly and effectively to real estate agetns and licensed contractors.
  • On-site defect verification and re-inspection of repair services

How To Write A Repair Request – It’s In The Details

by Joe A. Hayden

Disclaimer: while your Realtor may draft a repair request for you, or you may do it yourself, I strongly recommend seeking competent guidance from an attorney who specializes in real estate matters. Real estate agents or home inspectors cannot give legal advice unless specifically qualified to do so.

* The article below is based on an actual situation that a real estate agent experienced with one of his clients.

One of the major components of any quality real estate sales and purchase contract is the inspection contingencies. Once you have agreed to the basic terms and conditions with a seller, you should have allowed yourself a reasonable time to fully inspect the property using any resource you see fit. It is very typical to find numerous items that may need attention during this period, and you must decide what should be repaired and what you can deal with later.

The sales and purchase contract should have detailed instructions on how to handle any requests for repairs. These instructions are typically reviewed by the buyer and their real estate agent before drafting a repair request.

Let’s develop a scenario to use as an example of the many possible solutions to finding problems and getting them satisfactorily resolved. One situation, I recently observed a friend go through with the sale of her home was the repair of a ceiling with water damage from a previous water leak. The buyers noticed a stain on the ceiling and the seller had disclosed the fact the roof had leaked and was repaired. The seller had sufficient documentation to prove this fact and provided to the buyers.

The buyers took issue with the condition of the ceiling during the inspection phase and made a request to have the ceiling repaired. The exact wording of the repair request was "seller to repair ceiling in the living room." This request was properly presented to the seller according to the contract and was agreed upon by both parties. At this point, all parties involved were content with the status of the transaction.

Obviously, for this to be a good example for our discussion, something has to go wrong, right? Well, something did go wrong, and it led to some very heated arguments and accusations. The buyer’s intentions with the repair request was to have the ceiling opened up, inspected for further water damage and mold, and then repaired and painted to match the surrounding ceiling. The seller’s intention was to replace the affected area on the ceiling with new drywall and mud, but not repaint or inspect for other damage.

Now, re-read the exact wording of the repair request. Who has the correct interpretation of the intent of the request? The seller or the buyer? In my opinion, both viewed the extremely vague wording of the request to their advantage and failed to recognize the other parties intentions. Both could be correct, but since money and time are involved, neither side wished to give into the other.

The seller did exactly as I stated and had the stain removed from the ceiling and did not repaint. When the buyers came through the house under 24 hour prior to close walk-through, they saw the ceiling and immediately protested. This led to an escalating argument that culminated with a war at the closing table over the meaning of the repair request. It was ultimately determined that the seller had complied with the letter of the request and the buyers were left with no further recourse.

What can we learn from this specific transaction? I hope the first and most important thing you learn is to write extremely detailed, well thought out repair requests. My personal suggestion (for the buyer in this case) would be to have written:

"Seller to repair a stain on the ceiling in the living room. Seller to have repair made by a reputable company with a successful history in this sort of repair. Seller to have the ceiling inspected for further damage caused by the previous roof leak in to inform the buyer immediately if any water damage or mold is present. The buyer shall have the right to make further requests for repairs should other damage be found. Seller to have repair completely and accurately documented and shall transfer any warranties that accompany the repair. Seller shall repaint the ceiling to match the surrounding ceiling."

I don’t claim to have the perfect request for repairs in this situation, but I think both parties would have had a much better understanding of the intentions of the buyers and it is possible to have alleviated some of the contention at closing if wording more similar to this had been used. When you need to make a request for repairs in a real estate transaction, make sure you have considered all of the details and it is very explicitly and clearly written on paper. I would even consider consulting with a home inspector and attorney to help with the language.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Joe_A._Hayden

Regardless of what your home inspection need is, it is ONE call to HTI. This saves you time, stress, and money.

Call HTI today and ask us about our repair consultation service today!

Note: In all cases where a legally binding document is involved, such as a repair list, it is recommended you consult with a real estate attorney.

High Tech Inspections

Simpsonville, SC 29681
Telephone: (864) 569-5776
Fax: (864) 752-1110
Email: robert@hightechinspections.com