What happens when the Buyer doesn't like the home repairs?

Real Estate Agent with Atlanta Communities 303302

When you make an offer on a home, at least here in Georgia, it is usually followed by an acceptance and then usually a home inspection by the Buyer. If the Buyer wants something fixed that was turned up in the inspection, they ask the Seller. The Seller then hires someone to deal with the problem. So, what happens if the Buyer doesn't like the repairs that were made? I have an issue like this going on right now.

I have a listing where a contractor went in to fix a list of items. The Buyer has decided that the contractor did not make the repairs correctly. The contractor states that all repairs were made as requested and has warrantied his work. At this point the contractor will be going back to the home tomorrow to address the additional concerns the Buyer has, but how far does the contractor have to go to please the Buyer?

The Buyer is insinuating that the contractor did a less than stellar job with the repairs. The contractor is inferring that the Buyer does not know what he is talking about. I am hopeful that by going back to the home tomorrow and trying to appease the Buyer's concerns, we will all be happy for a Wednesday close. The contractor, however, is not obligated to fix things that were done correctly to start with, or to work on things that were not originally in the scope of repairs. My Seller is working to make sure the Buyer is happy. The Buyer needs to settle down and understand that this is not a brand new home.

Just some of the fun things that agents face every day.

Posted by

Peter den Boer, Associate Broker, Realtor

Atlanta Communities Real estate Brokerage


Ph. 770.713.1545



I write about daily life as a Realtor in the Towne Lake Community in Woodstock Georgia.


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Bill Reddington
Re/max Southern Realty - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Kind of depends on the repair. Hopefully was done by a licensed contractor or repair person. If it is cosmetic really not the sellers issue.

Mar 19, 2013 06:56 AM #122
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Buyers and sellers need to be very specific about what is expected and what will be done, and you had better keep a written record of every detail and conversation.  Good luck on a successful closing this week.

Mar 19, 2013 07:39 AM #123
Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

Sometime we need the seller to make repairs, because of a tight cash situation for the buyers - a price reduction lowers their mortgage a bit, but does not push cash in their hands to pay for repairs - unless we escrow, which lenders are leery of.  So... be descriptive in what repairs are required, and use the original home inspector to determine whether they were properly done.  Then, hope for reasonable parties.

Mar 19, 2013 09:07 AM #124
Sandra Paulow
Aspen Properties, Inc. - Pinetop Lakeside, AZ
REALTOR, Associate Broker, GRI, SFR

It kind of sounds to me like the buyer is angling to get something else out of the seller.  By claiming he isn't happy with the repairs he may feel he can push for something more, like a price reduction to get him to close.  More and more we are seeing buyers pushing for just a little bit more and it is frustrating.  Buyers have the attitude of it's my way or the highway and they think they have the sellers over a barrel so they threaten not to close the sale unless the seller does what they want. Good luck, I hope you can get it settled. 

Mar 19, 2013 09:30 AM #125
Phil Hopkins
Desert 2 Mountain Realty - Payson, AZ

I've always treated the Buyer Inspection Notice, Sellers Response very seriously and black and white. If the seller agrees and does what is requested by the buyer, there's no more room for conversation. Obviously a buyer can refuse to close, but their earnest deposit is gone if the seller did their job. Clear and concise requests are the key!

Mar 19, 2013 11:44 AM #126
Elisa Uribe Realtor #01427070
Golden Gate Sotheby's International - Oakland, CA
Opening the Doors to California Homes -East Bay

I agree with Mary Horesco (Downing-Frye Realty, Inc.) #122

A simple solution would be to have the inspector who found the defective items, re-inspect to check if they were done correctly and according to the local building codes.

If so, your buyer has no case and you and the seller have no further obligations on this issue.

Fingers crossed the buyer was just having a bad day and is now OK with the work done. Luckily you used a contractor! If it would have been a handyman you'd have a much bigger problem.

Mar 19, 2013 02:40 PM #127
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

I explain to buyers that they have two choices.  One is to require repairs by a licensed professional.  The other option is to decrease the sales price to compensate for the needed repairs. The latter gives the buyer control of the outcome. I also explain that they have no control over the professional who completes the repairs or the quality of the work.

Mar 19, 2013 02:42 PM #128

closing today with the a negative experience with seller getting repairs done...

buyer and seller agreed to just have the seller credit the buyer for the cost of repairs...

the estimate the seller got for the old water/leak stain to the wall stated that the estimate DID NOT include the paint...
(contractor wrote that he would use paint supplied by the seller).. but the seller stated he had no paint and wasnt going to "get" paint...

the  i tried repeatedly to get the listing agent and contractor to reply to my communications to address the lack of paint on the estimate... no one replyed back so we told the seller to get the work done... the purchase contract states "repairs and paint"... and in TX the work has to be done by people licensed and in business for the type of work...

the result is a large discolored area around the repaired area where the contractor used a paint color 10 shades off...

the listing agent and seller refused to do anything about the problem stating buyers were too picky...

in a fit of exasperation the listing agent agreed to pay out of her pocket to credit the buyers...




Mar 19, 2013 06:11 PM #129
Debbie Cook
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc - Silver Spring, MD
Silver Spring and Takoma Park Maryland Real Estate

Sounds like a simple case of BJRBC - "buyers jitters right before closing"!

Mar 19, 2013 09:02 PM #130
Marshall Brown
Mid America Inspection Services, LLC - Fargo, ND

We try to avoid re-inspections, free or fee paid. The problem is that Home Inspectors are not typically code inspectors and in a re-inspection you are expected to confirm that the repairs are satisfactory which can imply code compliant. An invitation to find a place at the defendant's table.

Mid-America Inspection Services, serving Fargo and West Fargo, North Dakota, Moorhead, Alexandria, Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Wadena and the Minnesota Lakes Region

 218-443-3555, 320-846-0004, 218-287-0877, 218-841-0444



Mar 19, 2013 11:36 PM #131
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

There's always that chance that this will happen. Fortunately, I haven't had to cross that bridge as yet when representing a seller. But I have had to deal with this when representing a buyer and usually it was sloppy work by the seller's handyman or contractor.

Mar 20, 2013 12:09 AM #132
Alan Grizzle
Chestatee Real Estate - Dahlonega, GA
Full Time Realtor, Lifelong Resident of Dahlonega

This is the reason I like to just ask the seller to reduce the price or pay additional buyers closing cost rather than do the repairs. This lets the buyer do the work has he or she see's fit.

Everybody seems happier this way. 

Mar 20, 2013 01:07 AM #133
Dennis Erickson

Well with all the "insinuating" and "inferring" going on it's a small wonder there isn't MORE confusion than what you're reporting!

One possible solution for future scenarios like this is to allow the purchaser to pick one of the contractors the seller has selected to do the work.  You are wise to get a couple of bids anyway, so why not let the picky buyer meet and choose the contractor?  That way he can't really gripe about the work that's done.  I'm just sayin'...

Mar 20, 2013 03:06 AM #134
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Is it a cosmetic issue?  Those can be difficult and sometimes work better with a credit so the buyer can make the repair themselves.

Mar 20, 2013 04:13 AM #135
Deborah Beran

Another way to approach this in the future is: If yo have a clinet that you think may be more particuliar then most then have estimates doen for the repairs and have the buyer have a contractor that they trust alos give estimates if the seller will use this contractor then proceed. If the seller does not wish to use that contractor you could do a credit tot he buyer and the they could have the repairs done once they own the house.


Our contractor give us a opion for this.


Mar 20, 2013 04:41 AM #136
Deborah Bracco
Robert Defalco Realty - Staten Island, NY
NYS Licensed Realtor, Staten Island New York Home

Boy oh boy oh boy!! I feel your pain!! I just lost a deal bc the buyer was instructed by the engineer that my seller shd address 19 issues. My seller not only agreed to address 17 of the 19, and 4 had been corrected but also lowered the price. My seller went into the office to sign the contract to only discover that the buyer had a "few more requests." The seller left the office and text me to say that she  had it with this buyer and she wasn't even interested in selling anymore! Now one week later, the buyer's agent contacted me to say that her buyer would accept just two out of the 19 corrections to be made.......well, too little too late! That's what should have been the case one month ago- my seller is done  not only with her but done with sellling all together!!!

Mar 20, 2013 01:01 PM #137
Joy Carter & Jeff Booker Brother and Sister Team
Keller Williams Parkland/Coral Springs Realty-GreatFloridaHomes Team - Coral Springs, FL
Trust Your Family's Move To Our Expertise!

We RARELY Will allow a seller to make repairs. A credit, unless a bank required repair item is so much better. This way the Buyer controls the degree of how they want the issue fixed.  Joy

Mar 25, 2013 12:16 PM #138
Valerie Tourangeau
Keller Williams Realty East Valley - Chandler, AZ
Your Healthy Home Realtor

Just had this situarion.  The buyer's expetation for repairing the appliances was that the seller would just rpelace them with new appliances.  Now is follow everything conversation we have with a written email if what was discusses since we had covered the repair vs replace issue previously.  Good luck

Mar 29, 2013 01:36 AM #139
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

The home inspection issue is typically the most thorny issue with a sale. It does sound like the Buyer is angling for a further Seller consession.

May 19, 2013 11:48 PM #140
Pam Dent
Gayle Harvey Real Estate, Inc. - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR® - Charlottesville Virginia Homes / Horse

I always explain to my buyer that the seller only has to make the repairs to code and that they may not visually be what the buyer had in mind. If there is concern about this and the lender will allow then the buyer can ask for a credit.  I also give my buyers the opportunity to add language stating that the repairs must satisfy the home inspector.  Of course, the buyer will need to understand that the inspector will charge for the extra trip. .

Jan 29, 2014 10:35 PM #141
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Peter den Boer

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