Repairs: Getting Your Requests Accepted by the Seller

This article authored by: Catherine Hallberg

Handsome plumber looking at sink holding clipboard

Buyers and agents alike struggle with what repairs to ask for during the inspection period. Home inspection reports are quite detailed and include maintenance items as well as those which actually need attention. Striking a balance between not addressing the important items and asking for too many can be challenging.

Scott Drucker, General Counsel for Arizona REALTORS, recently wrote a cryptic article on this subject. Though his target audience is REALTORS, I’d like to share it with you. Following his advice will help you to focus on items which are true repairs and increase the likelihood that Sellers will agree to them. See below:

“Managing client expectations is an important part of being a REALTOR®.

Unlike the majority of buyers and sellers, REALTORS® have an understanding as to what is customary and reasonable to expect throughout the transaction. When this knowledge is shared, clients are less likely to convey unreasonable demands or experience disappointment when unrealistic expectations are not met.

By way of the Arizona REALTORS® Residential Buyer’s Inspection Notice and Seller’s Response (BINSR), the buyer can choose to provide the seller with an opportunity to correct identified items of which the buyer disapproves. In considering this verbiage, it should be noted that the term “correct” is akin to “fix” or “repair.”

Determining which items the seller is asked to correct by way of the BINSR lies exclusively with the buyer.

Nonetheless, before the buyer proceeds to convey ill-conceived demands, it may be appropriate for their REALTOR® to provide them with information of the nature set forth below that can assist the buyer in this process.

  • The buyer is not purchasing a new home and, consequently, it is unreasonable to expect or demand that the home be in the same condition as a new build.
  • It is the buyer’s obligation to perform all desired inspections. The buyer, by way of the BINSR, should therefore avoid asking the seller to perform further inspections of the property.
  • In completing the BINSR, the buyer should not merely restate the home inspector’s recommendations. For example, it would be pointless for a BINSR to state “Home inspector recommends that dryer vents be cleaned every five years.” By way of such a statement, the buyer has not identified a condition or item of which they disapprove.
  • Requests for upgrades are inappropriate. The BINSR is the buyer’s opportunity to request that disapproved items be corrected, not ask for the home to be remodeled. So if the inspection report were to note that a portion of the carpet is fraying, the BINSR should not be used to request the installation of hardwood floors throughout the home.
  • Although the buyer is free to identify on the BINSR whatever items they choose, in doing so they should be mindful of the condition of the item and the cost the seller will incur in addressing the issue.For example, a home inspector may note on the inspection report that the air-conditioning unit is nearing the end of its useful life. Such a remark may tempt the buyer to ask that the air-conditioning unit be replaced. However, the air-conditioning unit is currently in working condition and the cost to install a new unit is substantial. It is therefore possible that the seller will be put off by such a request and deem it unreasonable.
  • The buyer should consider the nature of the market before completing the BINSR. In the event of a “seller’s market,” or when a property is highly sought after and has received numerous offers, it is unlikely that the seller will agree to a lengthy list of repairs.

While the REALTOR® cannot control or dictate the manner in which the BINSR is completed, they can share information with their buyer to help manage the buyer’s expectations.

Since excessive and unrealistic BINSR demands often prove counterproductive, taking the time to educate buyers as to what’s customary throughout the industry is likely time well spent.”

 Scott M. Drucker, Esq., a licensed Arizona attorney, is General Counsel for the Arizona REALTORS® and serves as primary legal advisor to the association. This article is of a general nature and reflects only the opinion of the author at the time it was drafted. It is not intended as definitive legal advice, and you should not act upon it without seeking independent legal counsel.

Hope you find Scott’s article to be of use when formulating your own BINSR with your REALTOR. Man with clipboard near air conditioning unit

 

Rob and Catherine Hallberg are Associate Brokers with Long Realty, a Berkshire-Hathaway Affiliate and Southern Arizona’s largest Brokerage. Since 2008, they have been ranked in the top 5% to 8% of all U.S. REALTORS®. Send Rob and Catherine an email for a fast response to your questions; for an even faster response, Call (520) 407-8667

 

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