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Hi all. So, I am selling my home, or at least I hope so. I don't know how many times I told the realtor that it has been 29 years and I don't know the process and would need hand-holding. Well a couple put in an offer and asked for money towards closing costs. I took it down a few thousand and signed the agreement. Well, the VERY extensive home inspection report came through with some totally ridiculous things on them. We agreed on what I would do, but they are major and probably going to be very costly. What I didn't understand is that I alone am responsible for the cost of them. They cannot be shared with the buyer. Maybe I'm just naive. I did not realize that. If I had, I would have knocked the buyer assist down more.

I should find out in the next week the cost, but what recourse do I have if they exceed what I want to put into this house?

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I am not a realtor but I did sell a house 3 years ago.  Laws vary from state to state and it is hard to say anything without knowing what those "major things" are.  Inspectors are always going to find things. That's their job.  I kept up with pretty much everything and did a lot of small repairs before selling my house so there wasn't much found....but one of the things they came up with was for me to certify that nothing had been done in the house that required permits that weren't obtained, and that my liability would survive closing in perpetuity.  This is, of course, ridiculous.  I did have remodeling done without some permits, but no major systems were impacted, no plumbing was rerouted, and no electrical was changed or moved.  It was just flooring/cabinets/countertops, which really don't need permits.  Needless to say, that was a "NO!!".  My realtor and attorney negotiated all of this for me, and your realtor should do it for you.

For my current house, the heat pump and roof were near end of life, as was the driveway.  But I was buying in a hot market and I really wanted the house, and it was disclosed. I put in a full-price offer, understanding the repairs/replacements that needed to be made.  But even so, if the roof wasn't leaking and the heat pump worked, I would not have been able to demand that they replace them.

If the repairs you have to make are things that would require a certificate of occupancy, then yes, you have to do them.  Your realtor should have told you this.  A good one WILL navigate you through the process!  Does your contract have an inspection contingency?  If so, depending on the contract and the laws in your state,  you COULD refuse, but if it is a certificate of occupancy issue, then you will not be able to sell your house without making the repairs.  Period.  If not, and your state laws allow for it, the buyers could back out of the contract.  And then you could either disclose the necessary repairs and price accordingly, or make the repairs anyway.  The bottom line is that you ARE going to pay the full cost of these, either by it being priced in and sold as is, or as part of inspection findings.

A lot depends on  your market.  I had lived in the house I sold with only exterior updates done.  I knew 100% based on activity in my neighborhood that if I did not do renovations and pull up carpet, my house would probably be sold as a tear-down or a bash/add-a-level.  Either way, I would not get much for it.  I put $60K into renovations which turned it into a move-in ready house so I estimate I netted about $125K out of the deal.  (It was in northern NJ, hence the staggering numbers.)

You need to talk to your realtor and your attorney to see what your options are.

Perhaps someone with actual real estate experience in your state can weigh in also.  I am just a one-time seller/buyer who likes to "real estate kibitz."

I haven't been on her for quite awhile but am getting e-mails for new posts on this thread.  I was pretty much going to post what Bergen said.  For me, the major issues inspectors find fall into 2 categories.  One is the kind you knew about when you priced it and that the buyers would have seen before they made an offer:  old roof, cracks in the sidewalk, older appliances.  Just because the inspector found them is no reason you have to buy the sellers a new one.  The other is things you didn't know about or that prospective buyers might not have seen (or read in the disclosure):  a septic tank that fails inspection, termite damage you didn't know about, mold in the attic.  As Bergen says, some may HAVE to be fixed before anyone can move in; others may not, but knowing they exist, you now either have to disclose them to future buyers or have them fixed.  I'm not a realtor or a lawyer, either, but have bought 5 houses and sold 4 of them.   Your realtor should be able to help you in deciding what to do next.

Real estate laws vary so much from state to state that a good and knowledgeable agent and/or attorney are a necessity. My contracts have had a dollar limit on repairs that the seller would be required to pay, therefore, the items on the inspection report could be negotiated to the most important items.  If the buyer insisted on more dollars in repairs, then the seller could get out of the contract with no penalty.  It made the repairs more negotiable.

Hi Tess,

I just want to say I had to sell our home a year after my husband’s death. I didn’t really know what I was doing so I called a top real estate attorney in the state and he listened to my problems and gave me a referral to a real estate attorney. Compared to the realtor’s fees attorneys are a bargain. Best money I spent. The realtor “freaked” my sale so he could collect both buyer and seller commission. That transaction was the worse experience of my life ugh!! Still sick about how much money was lost.

Bottom line do not let anyone pressure you into something you do not feel comfortable with or that you do not fully understand. I wish you well on this and that you connect with some great people to help you.



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