Real NEastate: What if the home repairs aren’t done before settlement? [summer rerun]

 NEast Philly is on vacation this week, and is posting in a limited capacity. This installment from realtor Stacey McCarthy was originally published July 13, 2011.

Q: I am making settlement on my first home in Wissinoming next week and I am worried about a few things. What if the sellers didn’t do the repairs we asked them to do? And what if they did them wrong? Does that mean we won’t settle?

A: If the sellers agreed to repairs in writing, they are responsible for doing those repairs in a workmanship-like manner prior to settlement. Your agent should ask for receipts of the work in advance of settlement to make sure the work was done. You will also be given an opportunity before settlement to inspect the home and make sure repairs were done.

If you find evidence that the repairs weren’t done, or weren’t done correctly, you will need a second opinion of a licensed professional, and maybe even a third, for the work that has been done/needs to be completed. That could hold up settlement. Hopefully the seller will agree to make good on your contract and they will finish those repairs prior to settlement.

If the seller doesn’t want to, or isn’t able to make good on the agreement due to time constraints or another reason, then maybe they’ll be willing to reduce the price of the home or give a seller-assist, as long as the mortgage company approves. If the seller refuses to correct the situation and you are unwilling to accept the home in its current condition, then you’ll need to consult an attorney and that may hold up a settlement as well.

Again, this advice is only if you have an agreement in writing with the seller to have these repairs done. Otherwise, you can stop worrying whether repairs are done, because you can be sure they haven’t done any repairs. Good luck!

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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