Step 13 for Home Sellers: Home Repairs

You have now come to terms on Home Repairs after the Inspection phase- this is a major hurdle.  The next chapter in your transaction is to complete the agreed upon repairs.  If you had vendors come during the Inspection phase to give you estimates, you may already have people lined up to do your repairs.  If not, you may now be trying to find appropriate people to get done what must be done to get to closing.

Does it matter who does the Repairs?

It may.  When we write a Buyer’s Inspection Response we stipulate that repairs must be done by licensed contractors or electricians if the repairs are significant or are related to safety or major structural components.  We want the work to be guaranteed by someone we can come back on if there is a problem after the closing.  If you, as the Seller, agreed to have licensed people do the work- use them!  Don’t cut corners here.  You will probably be asked to provide receipts and maybe even license numbers of the providers.

Sometimes Buyer’s agents don’t specify.  If they don’t, you might be able to have a good handyman do the work.  Sometimes we, as Seller’s Realtors, will also specify in our Seller’s Inspection Response that, while the Seller agrees to have the work done, Seller will do it themselves or will have it done by a “qualified provider”.  This opens the door to handyman prices or DIY projects instead of top dollar repairs.  Our advice to you still is that if it involves safety or structure you should pay a professional.  If something bad happens later it is nice to stand behind their licensed work.

What if the Work Can’t Get Done by Closing?

In Indiana, there are some projects (like exterior painting) that may not be able to be done right if done in the deepest parts of winter.  If this is the case we have a few options- this will need to be negotiated with the Buyer and Buyer’s Agent.  The person doing the repair can be paid ahead of time and the work completed later when the weather allows.  Or, a sum exceeding what is likely to be needed can be placed in escrow to cover the repairs and once they are satisfactorily completed the remainder of the money will be returned to the Seller.

One thing that is not allowed here is that money cannot directly change hands between the buyer and the seller.  Seller cannot give buyer money, even for repairs.  This can be construed as an “incentive to purchase” which is not legal.  Therefore other avenues such as the pre-payment for work and escrow of funds help.  Talk to your Realtor about your options- we work diligently to help our clients here and the details can usually be worked out with a legal and reasonable solution for all sides.

What Happens When the Work is Done?

The Buyer has a right to re-inspect the repairs and also can ask on the Buyer’s Inspection Response that you provide receipts before closing.  We always suggest our clients re-inspect if the repairs relate to health, safety, or structure so we aren’t surprised when Buyers do this.  This is why you want licensed people to complete your repairs.  If there is a conflict between what a Home Inspector thinks of your circuit box and what a licensed electrician thinks, the electrician wins.  If the same conflict is between the inspector and you, the homeowner who did a DIY fix, you may well lose.

Questions about the Repair process as a Seller? We are happy to discuss any aspect of the Real Estate transaction with you:

Maureen Watson: 317-752-3377                            

Posted on December 3, 2018 at 2:40 am
Maureen Watson | Category: Steps for Sellers | Tagged

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