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'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