What if the the seller didn't make that repair he agreed to make?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 GREC# 169695

I recently had a loan officer call me to ask a question about "enforcement" of a repair that was contractually agreed upon in the form in Georgia titled "Amendment to address concerns with the property" when the buyers discovered at their walk-through that the repair had not in-fact been made.

There are some great practices for writing special stipulations in a contract and at Lane Realty we tend to be careful to use them so our sellers will be protected.  We use language that is clear, legal and ethical. We also  make sure the following questions are answered.

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • How
  • Who's cost
  • Consequences if not full-filled (most commonly left out)

An example of a poorly written request:

Seller to replace all laminate flooring in house.


Who will be doing the replacing? What will it be replaced with? what happens if the buyer hates what it's replaced with? What happens if it's not ALL replaced?


An example of a well written special stipulation:

Seller agrees to at seller's expense replace all of the laminate flooring with Riverbone Bamboo flooring from Lowe's 3 days prior to closing date set forth herein. Flooring to be installed by Lowe's of Milledgeville or another licensed installer approved by buyer in writing. If seller fails to comply $7,000 shall automatically be deducted from Seller's proceeds at closing and be credited to buyer's closing costs.


The second stipulation answers who, who's cost, what, where, when, how and consequences if not full-filled.


Typically speaking we also always talk to the buyer about the seller making a financial concession vs. the seller doing a repair or replacement.

For example if a HVAC unit needs to be replaced perhaps the seller will just agree to pay $6,000 in buyer closing costs or even reduce the purchase price by $6,000 if the buyer has the funds to replace after closing. That way the buyer can choose the company that replaces and be guaranteed of the warranty that accompanies a new unit. 

Do you want to hire an agent who will write a special stipulation for you that has to consequences for failure to comply?  What do you do then?  My advice to that loan officer was "don't close" until you work it out. If they did, then the buyer might be hiring an attorney to get the seller to comply.  The repair wasn't as simple as flooring in that call. I simply used flooring in my example to show how every special stipulation should be written.

Call Lane Realty when you are buyer a home.  The broker reviews every contract before it's submitted to make sure it's got clear, complete special stipulations in them. 706-485-9668



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Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Oh yes! This is something that I see agents misrepresent ALL of the time, Tammy - we MUST be vigilant about things like this as interpretation is not the same across the board. We must be specific and detailed to properly represent our clients - whether it be the buyer or the seller!

GREAT post!

Aug 12, 2018 09:42 PM #6
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

That’s actually very accurate and there areplenty of things you can do. Thank you for reminding all of us to be up on things. I appreciate it. :)

Aug 12, 2018 10:45 PM #7
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Tammy Lankford, 

I agree totally..the better the request is written and with a consequence if not completed will be much more enforceable. I'm finding more and more its better to credit an amount (both seller and buyer agree on) to the buyer at closing towards closing costs. Cleaner and then the buyer can over see any work that needs to be completed with exactly who they want.

Aug 13, 2018 04:47 AM #11
Eric Sztanyo
Keller Williams Advisors Realty - Cincinnati, OH
Cincinnati & NKY Realtor® | TeamSztanyo.com

Love the specificity of that special stipulation.

Aug 13, 2018 06:05 AM #12
Abby Stiller
REMAX Realty Group - Cape Coral, FL
Professional Bilingual Realtor (239) 284-8637

Good morning Tammy Lankford, Definitely, we need to be very specifics when writing amendments and most of the time a credit towards the buyers  closing cost works better for everybody.

Aug 13, 2018 06:15 AM #13
Raul Rodriguez
Covenant Partners Realty - San Antonio, TX
Looking out for the client's interest and not my p

In today's litigious society one must be able to account for the :

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • How
  • Who's cost
  • Consequences if not full-filled (most commonly left out)
Aug 13, 2018 06:48 AM #14
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Great post, Tammy. We've stopped a closing from happening because a seller failed to comply. I do require that all repairs be done by a licensed and insured professional. A copy of the license and insurance is required prior to work being done. Most of the time, people do what they say they are going to do, but now and then, you'll get one who doesn't.

Aug 13, 2018 08:00 AM #15
Jordan Ayan
The Lifestyle Collection - Scottsdale, AZ
Luxury Market Expert, CLHMS,Million Dollar Guild

Great post and spot on!

Aug 13, 2018 09:00 AM #16
L. Scott Ferguson
Ask4Ferguson - Your House-SOLD Name in Real Estate - West Palm Beach, FL
Sunny Florida Real Estate Professional

Love that you added 'licensed' 


Great post and congrats on feature!

Aug 13, 2018 09:23 AM #17
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

When I worked with buyers I specified two things: Fiorst the property would be reinspected before approval and second, any thing that requires a licensed contractor would be done by them only.

Aug 13, 2018 10:26 AM #18
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Clear communication tht leaves no room for questions can do so much toward avoiding lawsuits.

Aug 13, 2018 09:00 PM #19
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Tammy- love this post and it's something that I've not thought about. But as they say, get it in writing, and in this case be specific so there is little room for misunderstandings or interpretations. 

Aug 14, 2018 09:19 AM #20
Eva B. Liland with Century 21 Doug Anderson
Century 21 Doug Anderson - Lancaster, CA
Glad to be of Service

"the better the request is written and with a consequence if not completed will be much more enforceable", totally agree Dorie Dillard 

Aug 14, 2018 12:59 PM #21
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor

Tammy, so what is the end of this story? I assume this is a true story?

Aug 14, 2018 03:38 PM #22
Corinne Guest
Corinne Guest, REALTOR® | Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
Barrington Lifestyles

Sounds to me like legal contracts or amendments, not my thing. I am not a lawyer, so glad we have attornys to do all this stuff.

Aug 15, 2018 08:18 AM #23
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Love this post, Tammy. I can't tell you how disappointed so many agents have been that they were vague in their inspection responses and not happy that the seller didn't interpret their requests in the way they meant for them to be. Too bad, so sad, is my general thought, although we certainly can take steps to smooth ruffled feathers. The "what happens if they don't perform" step is the most important thing that I see agents neglect to reduce to writing. 

Aug 15, 2018 11:47 AM #24
Patrick Willard
Rio Rancho, NM

I'd say about 90% of the time that I get repair requests from buyer's agents on my listings I have to rewrite them because they are vague and/or poorly worded. Recent example "Seller to replace dry rot in garage" in reference to a water damaged door transition. Couldn't help myself, I called the agent and said "What do you want us to replace it with?" ;)

Aug 17, 2018 11:01 AM #25
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Great post for agents who profess to be professionals to be professionals in every aspect of a transaction. 

Aug 20, 2018 12:16 PM #26
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

I'm surprised you don't have more comments as this is SO important.  I came upon one of these the other day, "a credit of no more than $550...."  Should say, a credit of $550 paid by seller to buyer."  Ugh!

Aug 21, 2018 08:31 AM #27
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Very good points about the sticky subject of repairs.  I always like to suggest a monetary compensation instead, so there is no question of who what when and what if.

Oct 21, 2018 02:00 AM #29
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Tammy Lankford,

Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville
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