HEALTH AND SAFETY ISSUES ARE NOT AN EXCUSE

By
Real Estate Agent with Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715 CalBRE # 01188158

I am writing this from the perspective of a California Realtor, since I know that this applies in my state...it may not in others, so read your contract.

There are essentially 2 different kinds of negotiations that take place during an escrow.  The first is the negotiation of the contract itself...price, terms, etc.  The second is the negotiation of repairs.

A diligent Realtor will strongly encourage a home inspection.  The inspector should be knowledgeable of construction, electrical, plumbing, heat and air, roof, etc.  When he or she has completed their inspection, they will deliver to the Realtor and the buyer a written report of their findings.  Some summarize their findings at the beginning of the report, the details and photos following.  The terminology that the inspector uses can quite often determine how the buyer and agent reacts.  The terminology I would like to discuss here is "health and safety issues".

There may be findings that reflect issues with possible asbestos issues, knob and tube wiring, fire doors from the garage to the interior of the house, GFI's in the kitchen and baths, unlined fireplaces.  Sometimes the inspector refers to these items as "health and safety issues"...and they may be. However, asking for these items to be repaired because of this label is another story.

There is no place in the California Residential Purchase Agreement that says a seller must repair health and safety issues.  In fact, the contract states that the buyers are purchasing the home in its present condition.  Requesting repairs by justifying them as "health and safety issues" simply doesn't apply and should not be used as an excuse.

Sellers should be informed that, even though the contract says that the buyers are purchasing the home as it sits, that they will probably receive a request for repairs.  Buyers should be informed that even though the sellers are not obligated to do repairs as part of the contract, most sellers will agree to reasonable requests.  That request just shouldn't be in the guise of "health and safety issues".  This terminology doesn't make it any more legitimate and Realtors should be knowledgeable enough to not need this terminology to ask for reasonable repairs.

 

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Rainmaker
242,157
Sarah, John Rummage
Benchmark Realty LLC, Nashville TN 615.516.5233 - Nashville, TN
Love Being Realtors® in the Nashville TN Area!

Good way to approach buyers and sellers on expectations in the way of repairs. Basically, the buyer can ask for a few things to be done (assuming there are no deal-killer problems found), and the seller, to make a smooth closing, will do some of them. 

I don't understand it when one or the other is unreasonable, and makes such a rocky road to closing.

Sarah

Sep 12, 2010 03:16 PM #1
Rainmaker
262,692
Paula Swayne
Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715 - Sacramento, CA
Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga

Hi Sarah!
I think it makes our job so much easier if the expectations are taken care of up front...and this is certainly a hurdle we can make much easier.

Sep 12, 2010 03:19 PM #2
Rainer
37,912
Janet Sebile
Coldwell Banker Apex, Realtors - Rowlett, TX

Good points.  I think you are on the money but some Realtors try to make a mountain out of a  mole hill and look important at the same time.  Just service your buyer and you'll be okay.

Sep 12, 2010 04:06 PM #3
Rainer
264,127
Bill Travis
Captain Bill Realty, LLC - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner

Paula, too many buyers want a bargain and then expect the seller to make the house like new. Someone wrote about asking sellers to do a pre-sale home inspection and determine what they'll repair and do it before listing.

That way they can let the buyer know in advance what they've repaired what they feel needs repairing.

Sep 13, 2010 01:48 AM #4
Rainmaker
2,751,830
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Paula - I've seen just about every scenario you can imagine with transactions, once the Home Inspection has occurred.  I do agree with you, that nothing in the California Residential Purchase Agreement says a seller must repair health and safety issues.  However, the elephant in the room says they often can be a deal breaker - esepcially if they are blatant.  Essentially, it's back to negotiation, or buyer walks away.  Much would also depend on what the seller disclosed in the Transfer Disclosure Statement.  If buyer was informed of a health and safety issue in the TDS, then they shouldn't necessarily expect to make it an issue after the Home Inspection.

Where I draw a line in the sand, is with the buyer that gets a really good deal on an "as-is" house, and then begins to make a Christmas Wish List, once the home inspection is complete.  They won't get away with bank repos, and they shouldn't expect to, with a private seller either.

Sep 15, 2010 12:57 PM #5
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Rainmaker
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Paula Swayne

Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga
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