FAQ Does a licensed plumber need to make the home repairs?

Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart Real Estate AZ Broker BR030809000

 FAQ Does a licensed plumber need to make the home repairs?


 FAQ Does it need to be a licensed plumber?  -In Arizona it's standard of care practice to request licensed contractor(s) to perform any repairs requested by a home buyer during the home inspection period (normally 10 days) on any items such as plumbing, electrical, roofing, HVAC and such.  A client of ours made the requests in a timely manner and there wasn't that much on the list other than a few plumbing items.  The seller has 5 days after receipt of the repair requests to either agree to the  repair requests, counter the repair requests or refuse to make the repairs entirely. The home buyer then has 5 days after receipt of the sellers response to make up their mind whether they want to 1) accept the seller's response to their repair requests and move towards closing or 2) cancel the contract.  It's really pretty simple.

Why would the buyer want to be sure a licensed contractor to make the necessary repairs? That is a simple answer as well, to ensure that the repairs are made to a current standard of care and to receive a receipt from the licensed contractor for the repairs. Basically it's called 'Peace of Mind'. And that just makes sense if we're dealing with electrical issues, plumbing issues etc. Ask any home inspector and they'll tell you about the 'nightmare' situations they find almost every day. You'll hear an inspector say say,  OMG these folks are lucky the house hasn't burned down or some other serious issue hasn't arisen and it's only a matter of time before it does.

Today the assistant of the listing agent inquired as to whether or not the buyer would be fine with the seller's brother doing the repairs as he used to be a licensed plumber.  What do you suppose  myself as a broker would say to that? No it's not ok, the repairs must be done by a licensed contractor due to liability issues.  Now sure, maybe the brother was a fine plumber in his day or maybe things have changed since he's been in business too. Either way the buyer wants to be assured that any repairs being done are by a licensed plumber, period. And let's project ahead and imagine the repairs were done by the unlicensed plumber and there were major (or minor) issue(s) after the closing. Then what?  Well there is nobody to go back on as there is no license and no agency or rules of conduct for the unlicensed repair person.  That is not a position we want any of our home buyers (or home sellers as listing agents) to be - ever. 


It's always best to follow the standard of care and hire Licensed
Contractors to make home inspection repair requests


 FAQ Does a licensed plumber need to make the home repairs?


Orginally posted on Phoenix Property Shoppe

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Comments (23)

Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

SO many time si hear the story about the sellers brother or neighbors friend or coworkers nephew... I let me seller know the correct way and when representing the buyer, yes, i ask place it in the contract iof repairs are to be made.

Nov 25, 2013 08:13 AM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

I definately think that the work should be done by a licensed professional.  If there is a problem after closing that the buyer has some recourse.  On the other hand, it would have been a good thing if the relative made the repairs prior to putting the house on the market.

Nov 25, 2013 10:18 AM
Les & Sarah Oswald
Realty One Group - Eastvale, CA
Broker, Realtor and Investor

I believe the answer should be a big NO! I always request that all major work be performed by a licensed professional. At least this way, my buyers will have the assurance that the work was performed correctly and according to code.

Nov 25, 2013 12:32 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Unless you learned from a plummer, don't DIY, true story indeed. :)

Nov 25, 2013 02:49 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for the post. I always recommend that  plumbing and electrical work should always be done by licensed professionals .


Nov 25, 2013 07:43 PM
Richard Iarossi
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Crofton, MD
Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate


Similar here in Maryland. Once the home inspection is done, the owner loses the right to perform the repairs themselves. Licensed contractors only.


Nov 25, 2013 07:45 PM
Juan Jimenez
A House on a Rock Home Inspections LLC - Richmond, VA
The Richmond Home Inspector

Anna, good post. Have you really had home inspectors voice their curiousity about why the house hasn't burned down already?

Nov 25, 2013 08:26 PM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Anna, when I did residential real estate, it was always standard procedure to have licensed professionals do the required repairs. So true about the liability.

Nov 25, 2013 10:04 PM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

In Oklahoma in some cases a home owner can do the repairs on minor plumbing issues. However, on inspection I will put on our post inspection request for repairs to be done under contract that it is done by licensed people. A licensed and bonded plumber has to give a 90 day guarantee of work and this protects my buyer.

Nov 25, 2013 10:24 PM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

I finally learned that on the big items, GO PRO. Yes to getting anything done...but professionals give better long term closure on it

Nov 25, 2013 11:06 PM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH@Properties - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Anna, I´ve started to use language in the inpsection removal addendum that has the repairs being made by licenced plumbers, electricians or whatever.  That sort of removes any ambiguity.  A lot of people use their favorite handyman to do all of the repairs - even the more complicated ones that are beyond them. 

Nov 25, 2013 11:46 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Absolutely, Anna. It needs to be someone who is up on the latest code changes and standards of practice. Everybody has a relative who did something in the construction industry, don't they?

Nov 26, 2013 12:21 AM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Nick we've requested licensed plumbers etc for many years on the Inspection Request Addendum. Best thing to do all the way around.

Roger - exactly.  We read their stories and experience them real life quite often. 

Debbie - yes there can be some very expensive and deadly mistakes - must protect our clients.

Scott - yes that is what happens if repairs are made before it goes on the market.  That is mainly how they're found during the home inspection. Uncle Bob's fix was so wrong!

Joan - even if the relative does the repairs before on the market it doesn't mean they're going to be to code - unless they truly are experienced(recently) in that particular trade.

Sarah - exactly!

Laura - I don't care if you did learn from a plumber! If you're not licensed there is a huge liabilty that goes along with that.  No thanks.

Gita - best standard of practice.

Rich - hmmm that's interesting.  It's not a law or rule here but rather a standard of practice we take very serioulsy.

Juan - yes on many occasions in paricular faulty wiring and it was even worse when we were flooded with foreclousures a few years ago. That was a nightmare time for inspections.  My clients walked away from many contracts.

Michael - yes its's been our standard for quite some time as well.

Joe - the guarantee is important. Any good contractor will offer a quarantee.

Richie - and we know it's done correctly and won't need to be changed down the road - or much worse.

Patricia - oh yes that is critical to use the correct verbage in the addendum stating that the work will be done by a licenced contractor.


Nov 26, 2013 12:28 AM
Bill and MaryAnn Wagner
Wagner Real Estate Group - Ocean City, NJ
Jersey Shore and South Jersey Real Estate


You're 100% correct. We advise our buyer's to accept repairs completed only by companies that are licensed and insured. We also advise our sellers that it's in their best interest to have all repairs made by licensed professional. This reduces any liability to them after the sale.

Nov 26, 2013 02:30 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Thank you for this post Anna! I recently went through something similar, except regarding electrical repairs and the listing agent told me her clients did not have to hire a licensed professional. I told her the lender's requirements differed from her opinion and the transaction would fail if the seller did the repairs! I received an invoice from a licensed electrician.

Nov 26, 2013 04:32 AM
Aaron Hofmann
Atlanta Communities - Smyrna, GA
aka Mr. Smyrna Vinings

In Georgia, you have to stipulate that you want licensed plumbers, electricians, etc. making the repairs otherwise it's up to seller's judgement.

Nov 26, 2013 06:54 AM
Rebecca Foresee
Alain Pinel Realtors - Morgan Hill, CA
Let's foresee the possibilities . and get results!

Anna, Using a properly trained and licensed person is the way I recommend clients go.  We go through the risk analysis and, unless they're a contractor themselves - they see the wisdom in using a professional.  Thank you for posting and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Nov 26, 2013 10:40 AM
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

I agree and for specialized work always recommend a licensed contractor to do the work.  In particular, plumbing and electrical should never be done by anyone unlicensed.  Way too risky to have those systems fail.

Nov 26, 2013 11:33 PM
Randy Shamburger
Movement Mortgage - Greenville, SC
FHA, VA, USDA and Conventional Mortgage Expert

This is good stuff, thanks!

Nov 27, 2013 01:54 AM
Wilco Realtors, LLC - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Agent Serving Fort Worth

Dealing with repair issue after closing. I represented the seller. The buyer's agent requested the hotwater heater be "repaired" so my seller hired a licensed plumber to make the repairs they requested . House closed then 2 weeks after the closing buyer's agent called to tell me the buyer's hot water heater is working intermittently. I believe the buyer needs to call the plumber and request they come out and check the work they performed. Licensed plumbers are regulated by the State of Texas.

Jan 18, 2016 08:07 AM