Real NEastate: Repair Despair

Q: My home in Castor Gardens is under agreement — finally — after five months. A home inspector has looked over the property with the buyers and now has a long list of items they would like repaired. Some of it I can understand, such as safety or electrical issues. But some of it, like a slow draining bathtub, just seems petty to me. It is not like they’re paying a million dollars. It’s a $100,000 house. Should I get it all fixed or just find new buyers?

A: Finding new buyers is easier said than done. Nevertheless you have a few of choices here. You can choose the way you would like to handle it, but you can’t predict your buyers’ reaction to your choice, so choose carefully.

  1. Don’t do any repairs. This option carries the highest risk of the buyers walking away from the house. If your home has been on the market for five months, this is not an option I would recommend. It could take another five months, or more, to find a new buyer.
  1. Negotiate which repairs you are willing to do. This options also carries some risk of the buyers walking, however, if you address the most important issues, many buyers will be happy with getting the big stuff done. Note: That’s many buyers, but not all.
  1. Agree to all the repairs. If you are willing to handle the big repairs, and the little repairs probably aren’t going to set you back much more, you might as well get it all done for the sake of your goal. Remember your goal? It’s moving! And you can’t do it without buyers for your home.
  1. Offer a monetary concession. This is the best of all the choices. Given the choice, a monetary credit towards the buyers’ closing costs or even a reduction in the sales price usually works out in the seller’s favor. The seller is not responsible for the repairs or for choosing a reliable contractor. This is also the best option for the buyers since they can then hire their own professionals to do the work.

Keep that in mind that the things on this home inspector’s list may continue to be a problem for you. Now that you know everything that is “wrong” with your house, you are obligated to disclose issues to any new buyers if your current buyers do walk away from your house based on your decision.

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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