Why Home Sellers Need to Be Flexible About Repair Issues
Home sellers are very frustrated these days by the state of the housing market. If you bought your home in the last decade, depending on how much money you put down, you may be underwater (your mortgage is larger than your property is worth). Or if you still have some equity, it may not be enough to get you into your next house. Or you need more money to fund your retirement. For a multitude of reasons, sellers are balking at pricing their houses at what buyers want to pay. When sellers do get their homes under contract, many dig their heels in when the home inspection reports find defects in their houses. The home repair clause in the contract has become the hook on which many real estate deals fall apart. If you are a seller, don’t let that happen to you.
I know that sellers are very emotionally attached to their homes. Most sellers fall in love with their houses and to hear that something they love is flawed is difficult. Also, most sellers adapt to the defects in their home and don’t find them to be the problems that their buyers make them out to be. Many sellers feel that many of the defects that home inspectors find are trivial and don’t warrant a repair or a credit for the cost of the repair. Finally, many sellers that I have represented initially told me that because they had lowered their asking price so much, they didn’t have room in their budget or the inclination to essentially lower the price again by spending money on repairs.
Don’t let these reasons be your reasons for not making the repairs that your buyer has requested. If the goal of the sale is to move on with your life, you need to get emotionally detached from your house. You will spend thousands of mortgage payments and real estate taxes on a house that you no longer want to own if you do not complete this home sale. Your life will be in limbo until you complete your home sale. Add up the costs of saying “no” to your buyer’s request for home repairs. If may be less than one month’s expense of mortgage payments and real estate taxes.
We are in a buyers’ market right now. You cannot say to yourself or anyone else that you “need to clear a certain amount of money from this deal.” Buyers are willing to walk away from contracts if everything does not go their way. They want to move in and be hassle-free. No one wants to deal with home repairs or replacing worn out carpeting or repaint over your custom colors. It may be unfair but it is reality. Buyers have so many other houses to choose from that if you balk at making repairs because you hated the fact that you had to lower your asking price, they will cancel your contract. There is no such thing as selling a house “as-is” in this market.
Don’t forget that if you make the repairs and close on your sale, as the buyer of another house, you get to be in the driver’s seat and negotiate hard for everything you want. But first you have to sell your current house.