Buyer wants 10k for 1k worth of repairs

drybeanJune 20, 2012

We have a contract on our house and closing date set.

The radon levels in the water came back slightly elevated. We agreed to either install or credit them the cost of a carbon water mitigation system.

They came back asked for a $10k credit. Yes, ten thousand dollars. The cost of the system ranges from 1000-1300. We got two quotes from basement system companies.

The buyer is refusing to give us a written itemization of how they came up with the 10,000.

He's basically trying to just renegotiate the cost of the house. I'm frankly appalled his buyers agent would event submit such a crazy request without proper documentation.

We don't have the results of the radon air test back yet. If that comes back high, we would again concede the cost or install a system.

So, our deal is off. And we are moving across the country in exactly one month. I'm beyond devastated and stressed.

I guess I just need a group hug.

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Ask your attorney to have a little chat with theirs. They have to provide you with more info.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:47PM
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They can ask for what ever they want to ask for. No need for an attorney.
Your response, IMO, is determined by the language of your contract. Are they in a Due Diligence Period where they are allowed to back out for any reason? We need more details of the contract.
This is a great example of the importance of SELLERS getting an inspection performed prior to listing. In my experience buyers almost always expect about 3x the amount of compensation than what the repair is actually worth.
Right now, you have to ask yourself how important is it to you to move on with your life. I am not saying to offer them the full $10,000, but maybe try to negotiate something in between.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 7:22AM
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I feel your pain. We went under contract with multiple offers and now our buyers want us to put vinyl siding on the house.

What is amazing is they just ask for it like that would be no problem, yea right. Want me to hang the moon for you too. Home inspections have gotten why out of is not a license for extortion. Real estate agents need to mange these buyers expectations, particularly first time buyers.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 10:05AM
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You said the radon levels came back high in the water? Did the radon also come back high in the house test? Those are two different fixes. The mitigation system for the house will do nothing for the water.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 12:36PM
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We had buyers come back to us at the last minute saying they wanted $5k towards the driveway. Yes, the driveway really needed to be repaved, but it was a very obvious item that they could very easily see the 3 times they viewed the house before making an offer! They should have figured that into their offer. We gave in because it wasn't worth losing the buyer ... pre-sale without listing and no selling agent.

We happened to be visiting the area last year and drove by the old house ... 7 years later they still hadn't fixed the driveway!!!!!

Figure out a way to get this deal done. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 2:58PM
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Our buyers wanted us to replace the roof at our cost when we had our inspector come back and say that it had 5 years left. We offered to split it and they hem-hawed so I sent a release and cancellation of contract. I know what is on the market and there is not a whole lot out there at our price level in the condition that our house is in. Sucks we lost our buyer but we are not in that much of a hurry and we are not going to give our house away.

I would be mad if I was chispa and saw that they just used it to negotiate the price down. BUT that is me bringing in the emotional side of selling the house :)

If you need to get out of the house (and state), you may need to start negotiating. You think it is stressful now, wait until you are across the country and you can be at the house when you need to be.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 5:55PM
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Linda-we don't have the air results back yet. We would of course agree to install a system or give them a credit. The quote we got for installing an air system is $1000.
The 10 k they are asking for is o install the carbon system and then build a room around it(!).

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:24PM
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Thanks for all the support. DH always says that negotiating isn't about " winning" , it's about getting what you want from the other person. And what we want is to just get out of the house and get on our way.

Chispa-that is so aggravating! I really hate it when people use inspection to try to renegotiate the price.

Amtrucker-ugh, I'm so sorry you lost your buyer. But you are lucky that you don't have to move immediately. I hope you sell quickly.

Luv2design-how annoying! What did you decide to do? That really stinks you had multiple offers and now how this headache.

Ncrealestateguy-yes, I agree with having items done prior to listing to avoid such a headache. We were told though not to do anything for radon. It then becomes a disclosure issue, and can be unnecessary given the natue of radon to "ebb and flow". Our agent says it is just addressed at closing, although he has never had ask someone ask for 10k for a 1k system without detailing what they need it for.

Mpinto-I hadn't thought of Involving our attorney. I'll ask my agent about that.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:38PM
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amtrucker22 - Oh believe me, I was pissed off at the buyers and ranted and raved about it to my DH. LOL. We had made an offer on another house and even though we could have carried both homes for a while, it didn't make sense to do that over $5K.

I have no problem with renegotiating a price after an inspection, if the inspection reveals something that was not easily apparent to a buyer. In my case it was a large semi circular driveway in front of the house and it was very obvious that it had seen better days! They parked on the street and walked all the way up on the driveway each time they saw the property. But based on the fact it was not repaired after 7 years, we know they played us by threatening to back out at the last minute if we didn't give the discount. I can hope that karma will take care of them at some point!!

drybean - your DH is right! Work out some kind of a deal with the buyer and get it sold now. Good luck and send me an email when you get to LA!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 11:52PM
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I have been purchasing and restoring/renovating houses for long before the idea of 'flipping' became mainstream entertainment.

It is a lot of work, and if you pay others for every task your odds of actually making a profit become vanishingly small (unless you do only cosmetic 'repairs' and sell junk or only purchase places already in very good condition).

Mt RE agent makes sure that offerors are aware that there will NOT be ANY price concessions based on an inspection.


They are free to have one, but the price already reflects anything their HI is going to find.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 10:22AM
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I think the radon thing is a huge gimmick. The radon mitigation system is about the dumbest thing I have ever seen. This is about as dumb as those little "horns" that you put on your car to scare deer away. You drill a hole in the basement slab and run an exhaust pipe through the roof to allow all the trapped radon to escape? Who is to say wherever they decided to drill the hole, the radon is just sitting there waiting to escape? Why wouldn't the radon be trapped under a different area and still seeping into the house? What about all the radon that is outside? Or in the supermarket? Or church? Radon is supposedly everywhere - so how do you escape it? By wearing a gas mask?

The research I did on radon told me that only a small number of people could get lung cancer IF subjected to this over a LIFETIME. How long is a lifetime? 80 years? Well thats about the time you die anyway - so how can you prove it was radon that did you in? I truly think the radon scare is just a gimmick, designed to sucker those who live in fear out of their money. One minute eggs are bad for you - too much cholesterol. Next minute they're healthy. Really doesn't matter - we are all going to die sometime, and if your number is up, God is going to take you out no matter how well you safeguarded yourself. Yes, you want to protect yourself within reason, but there is also such a thing as worrying about nothing.

Our inspection turned up radon in the basement, and our buyer asked me to pay for a mitigation system. This was coming from a guy in his 50's who smoked. Amazing - he's not concerned about his chances of cancer from being a smoker - but he wanted me to safeguard him from radon. He had also lived somewhere else for the previous 50 years - so who is to say that my house would have killed him? I told him "no - your health concerns are your problem, you pay for it". My realtor thought I was committing house seller suicide by denying him that, but I stuck to my guns because I knew I was right. And he still bought the house.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 11:10AM
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"He's basically trying to just renegotiate the cost of the house. I'm frankly appalled his buyers agent would event submit such a crazy request without proper documentation."

Buyers can & do use the option period and/or inspections to re-negotiate the contract, & the buyer's agent's job is to get the buyer the best price & terms possible, which isn't about documentation at all.

With a reasonable buyer & a reasonable seller, the option period & inspections serve a useful purpose, protecting the buyer from unforseen major bad surprises (termites from floor to roof, lead plumbing, scenic creek on lot is fed by run-off from the nuclear plant, etc);
it sounds like you've just got an aggressive buyer.

If the option period hasn't expired, he can ask for anything, including the moon, & you can accept, counter, or decline;
if you counter or decline, he can cancel the contract.

I wouldn't want to give you "advice", since this sounds like a ticklish transaction, but I will tell you that sometimes an aggressive buyer will not stop negotiating until the seller has signed the closing papers, turned off his cell phone, left the building, & caught a plane for a remote island.

Consult with your agent & work out a plan, including contingencies for future demands.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 1:00PM
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Well I am working with my agent to rescind the contract and hope the buyer will just bow out. If they come back with more demands. Now they want receipts for some work I had done to the HVAC system, which is none of their business. I will tell them I am selling the home "as is." This should get them out of my hair and I can then go back to the other offers and see if they are still interested, my agent says they are,and hope they are more reasonable.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 3:56PM
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Good for you, OP! They sound like they're trying to see just how hard they can push you around.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 3:59PM
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I know this is an old topic, but we're selling our town home and the buyer has come to us w/ a laundry list of nitpicky requests. She claims the microwave leaks radiation.

We did have an AC problem a few months ago and had to repair it, so I understand her concern w/ the AC unit. But she wants $2800 knocked off the negotiated price of $250k.

My wife and our agent says to suck it up, but I'm livid.

I told my wife I will only agree to this extortion if she gives me the OK to give this lady a piece of my mind immediately AFTER closing.

I have some things I want to "get off my chest" w/ this buyer. I told my wife she may want to leave the room when I start.

Now my wife and our agent are really worried I'm going to go overboard. But I'll keep it clean.

My question is- if I rip into the buyer after she signs the final documents, could the buyer still cancel the agreement to purchase?

I know- this sounds petty- but it's principle and I can't live w/ myself if I don't speak up.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 11:44PM
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You could offer the buyer a "Home Warranty" which would cover these appliances for a year. They usually run about $500.00.

I would want proof the Microwave is leaking before replacing it.

I would not "let her have it" after settlement. I would not even attend settlement. Arrange to sign the your docs ahead of time, and walk away.

Do you have other buyer's interested? Are you ok with this buyer walking away if you stand your ground on the A/C unit? Is it worth losing the sale?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 7:11AM
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The home warranty sounds like the best thing to do because tomorrow the buyer may come up with some new issue. I'm sure venting sounds good but if anything you say and sounds even a little like a threat she may call the police .
I'm in new york state. I've never been at a closing with the actual other party was present. Just their attorneys.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 7:30AM
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I understand how you feel, but giving her a piece of your mind is more petty than her asking for a repair concession.
Treat it like a business deal, and counter with something that you feel is fair.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 7:40AM
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I just closed on a house and the bank wanted the mitigation system for the radon. The test came back at 4.5 and passing is 4.0. I paid for it ($1200). But negotiated if the house fell through the sellers would reimburse me. But it was the bank that forced the issue in my case.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 9:27AM
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robo (z6a)

Reading this just makes me want to hug my realtor. Was just talking to him the other day about problems with my parents' new house (straight out of Holmes Inspection Nightmares -- $10K of electrical work within a month of moving in) and was remembering how he gave a good mini home inspection on every single house we went to see, dead on the money, and recommended an amazing and thorough home inspector to boot. He's honest (as are we) and said he really prefers to catch problems up front and negotiate in the asking price instead of springing surprises on the seller post-inspection.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 8:23PM
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