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February 5, 2018 | By Sharp Realty

Potential home buyers often incorrectly view an inspection report as a mandatory repair list for the seller. The fact is, sellers are not required to produce a flawless house. They have no such obligation by law or by contract.

Most repairs are subject to negotiation between buyer and seller. Typically, buyers will request that various conditions be repaired before the close of escrow, and sellers may choose to repair all, some or none of these requests. Sellers may agree to make repairs as a matter of choice, not obligation, to foster goodwill or to facilitate consummation of the sale.  Sellers maintain the legal right to refuse repair requests. The buyer then has the right to choose not to buy the home, and receive their deposit back.

A big factor is the agreed-upon sales price. If the buyer is paying top-dollar for the home, they will expect more repairs done. Conversely, if the buyer is getting a “good deal,” the seller may be more likely to choose not to agree to any repairs.

Before you make any demands of the seller, try to evaluate the inspection report with an eye toward problems of greatest significance. Look for conditions that compromise health and safety like active leakage of water or gas. It’s common for sellers to agree to fix problems affecting sensitive areas such as the plumbing, roof, gas burning fixtures, or electrical wiring.

The primary objective is to know what you are buying before you buy it. All homes have defects, it is not possible to acquire one that is perfect.

Most real estate contracts require the seller to ensure that the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed properly and operational, as well as having the water heater strapped correctly. The buyer does not need to request these to be done since that was already spelled out in the contract ahead of time.