One of the greatest obstacles to closing a real estate transaction is when the buyer discovers that the seller has been remiss in maintaining their home. When the buyer and seller enter into a contract the inspection period begins for usually 10 to 15 days and sometimes longer. In most cases the buyer enlists a home inspector and a pest management company to conduct inspections of the home within the inspection period.
The results and subsequent reports from the inspectors can create great consternation for the buyers. In some cases, the findings disclose that the seller has done very little regarding maintaining the home. Peeling paint, rotting or loose deck floors, roof nearing the end of its life, and active termite infestation are just a few of the numerous items inspectors quite often find.
Upon receipt and evaluation of the reports, the buyer must then submit a buyer’s inspection notice to the seller indicating the items they would like repaired, replaced, corrected, serviced, upgraded or installed. In most cases I recommend that the buyer focus mainly on health and safety issues, but when the inspections indicate that there are serious maintenance issues, we then look closely at other problems.
When the seller receives the buyer's inspection notice, he or she then must determine if they can accommodate the buyer,s request in whole or in part. They then notify the buyer which requested items they are willing to fix.
If the seller is unwilling or unable to make the requested repairs, the buyers must decide whether to walk away from the sale. The problem that buyers face is that they have now invested several hundred dollars on inspections and must then decide if it is worth canceling the transaction. It is a tough call, but there are times when it is best to cut your losses and move on.
This past summer I have encountered several homes with a lot of deferred maintenance, and on a couple of occasions the buyers have decided to cancel the contract because the seller was unwilling to make the request repairs or compensate the buyer for the estimated costs of repairs.
As a homeowner, I understand that life gets in the way of taking the time to maintain a home, not to mention the cost involved. However, if you take care of things now you will be pleased when you decide to sell and the inspections on your home comes back with only minor items that need attention.