Can You Take Steps To Require A Seller To Repair A Home Before Closing?


Prior to closing, you have the right to make a walkthrough of the home you are buying and inspect it for damages. If you find damages during the walkthrough, you and your real estate attorney can take steps to ensure that repairs are either done before close or that you receive funds to take care of the repairs yourself. Before attempting to negotiate with the seller, here is what you need to know. 

What Can You Do?

One of the best legal options available is for you and your attorney to negotiate an agreement with the seller that requires him or her to complete the repairs before closing. Your attorney can even include a provision that requires the repairs be done in a skilled manner and that you have time to inspect the work before closing.

If the seller is unwilling to do the repairs, he or she can agree to putting money in a trust that can be used to pay for the repairs. The seller would be refunded any funds that are left after the repairs are completed. 

The seller can also agree to have the funds from the sale of the home placed in escrow until the repairs are completed. A third party would hold the funds until that point. 

Whatever the agreement, it is important that it is put into writing. In the event that the seller does not honor the agreement, you have evidence of the arrangement. 

What Other Documentation Is Needed?

In addition to securing the written agreement between you and the seller, there are several other documents that are needed for evidence. Obtain a written estimate for the work that needs to be done. 

Once the work is completed, the contractors used to complete the repairs will complete a sworn statement that lists the work that was done, the names of subcontractors used, and the final cost of the repairs. 

The contractor will also provide a lien waiver stating that he or she will not attempt to obtain a lien on the property. Your attorney will ensure that the necessary lien waivers are obtained before closing. Without those waivers, you could inherit a lien when you take ownership of the home. 

Work with your real estate attorney to get the best possible outcome from purchasing your new home. Not only can he or she help you avoid being responsible for costly repairs that existed before you moved in but also ensure the remaining purchase-related documentation is in order.

For more information, contact Schulze Howard & Cox or a similar firm.


6 January 2016

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