As I mentioned earlier, the physical inspection phase is often the most difficult to navigate through. Technically all real estate in California is sold “AS IS” BUT…No home is perfect and Buyers often request that Sellers make certain repairs or provide a credit or price reduction, based on findings from the inspections. It is to the Seller’s discretion as to what they will and will not do and what you agree to comes down to the motivation of both the Seller and the Buyer. Sellers are not obligated to make repairs. All your inspection reports and estimates are given to the Seller with your request which should clearly spell out in writing what action you want the seller to take. It can be productive to include a nice letter beginning with some kind words and an explanation of your request … as they say, you attract more bees with honey. Sellers tend to be more giving if they like the Buyers. If you are asking for a repair you should stipulate that the repair be done by a LICENESED professional and that you receive copies of the receipts. A Buyer can walk away if they think the property has too many issues or if the Seller isn’t offering to do enough to make them comfortable. In that case, cancellation instructions are signed by both parties and the deposit money is returned to the Buyer.
If you cancel the deal, Sellers must provide any reports they received from your inspections to future Buyers – that is why most Sellers will try to work with you regarding your requests assuming you’re not being completely unreasonable. They will at times follow up with their own inspectors and estimates which you should receive copies of. Depending on what the request is, there can be significant negotiation before an agreement is reached.
It is common that the Buyer will request a credit rather than have the Seller make repairs – that way they can oversee the process and feel comfortable that the work is done properly. The Seller often prefers this because it’s less hassle and they don’t get stuck with unforeseen repairs that turn up in the process of repairing something else. If you would prefer to take a credit and get the work done yourself when you own the house, find out what amount of credit your lender will permit – most lenders limit how much credit you can take from the Seller. Credits are usually given as a credit toward recurring and non-recurring closing costs.
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