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Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

Posted by HomieCat2012 (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 21, 12 at 23:24

Hi,

We were all set to buy a great little house. We negotiated with seller for only $4,000 less than their sale price on a house with no appliances, and their price, while fair, was still above very solid comps.

Anyway, we sunk a lot of money during our option period into inspection, roof inspection, plumbing, and foundation as it is an older house. It's by no means a fixer upper, but after adding all the estimates up, it ended up being about $10,000 worth of repairs of varying degrees of urgency. Our agent suggested we ask for $9000 off of sale price. This ended up pissing off the sellers so badly that they refused to pay for anything aside from a gas leak inspection. We thought (and yes, we're first time buyers) that they would at least negotiate with us, and we could get down to something where we didn't feel taken for a ride, and they ended up with a comfortable sales price.

The seller's agent did not know about any of the inspections so it's not as if it was factored into the sales price. At least two of the repairs (gas leak and a partial new roof for back house) are urgently needed, the others will have to be taken care of at some point.

Is there any hope that the seller will come around and kick in more than $200? After receiving our offer they said that they would rather take the house off the market and then price it $10,000 higher!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

Here's the problem - you say it's an older house, right? How old?

Are the inspection issues things that are common in older homes? For instance, are there costs to convert 2 prong electrical outlets into 3 prong, grounded outlets? Maybe a cost to upgrade the electrical panel from fuses to circuit breakers?

That sort of stuff is NORMAL for an older home and the sellers could be thinking, " hey, you knew the house wasn't new, if you want something that is 100% to today's code then go buy a new house."

Also, whats the selling price? $9k off a $100k house is a lot different than if it's a $300k house. Even at $300k that is asking for a lot of money, you might be better off looking at the list of issues and prioritizing them.

Did you give the HO a copy of the inspection report?


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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

I think it would be helpful to list what the issues are.

How did the seller's agent NOT KNOW about the inspections?

Didn't your agent provide a copy of the inspection to the seller when you asked for the reduction? That's what happened when we sold our last house, and we were able to dispute some of the inspectors findings (since he was wrong). We offered to have things fixed we thought were necessary (Radon, Bats in the Attic) and the buyer accepted.

The buyer may think some some your requests are excessive.


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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

I've bought twice and sold once. Although some sellers can stay coolly rational, it's easy to get emotional about things. After all, the buyer is looking at many properties and is trying to buy a house. The seller is selling his/her (hopefully) beloved home. They're probably overreacting, but if they feel insulted, you might have to be the coolly rational one and decide if paying your offer+$9800 for repairs is what you're willing to pay.

Also, the report really is just a notification to the buyers about what they're getting themselves into. It's not necessarily intended to be a list of things the seller must repair or knock off the sales price to fund the repairs. Supply vs demand will determine how much leverage an average buyer will have over the average seller.

As you're seeing, though, you aren't dealing with some abstract "average seller", so each case is unique---and it can get emotional, especially on the sellers' side I think.

Good luck and hope things work out to your satisfaction.


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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

I think home inspectors go out of there way to find things wrong with a house -- afterall, that is what you are paying them for.

That said, there is a difference between something that must be fixed and something that should be fixed.


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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

"At least two of the repairs (gas leak and a partial new roof for back house) are urgently needed, the others will have to be taken care of at some point. "

I think you aren't really clear on what is considered a reasonable repair request. A gas leak needs to be fixed. An old roof doesn't unless it is leaking. If none of the other things are critical repairs, you shouldn't be surprised at all that the sellers don't want to pay for repairs you might make years from now.


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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

It always amazes me how buyers want sellers to reduce their price based on what "needs" repaired. Usually, the house is ALREADY priced to reflect the condition that it is in. The house is USED, it is not going to be perfect.

I see a lot of fixer uppers that are in really poor condition - where you'd spend more money repairing the house than actually buying it. Does this mean those sellers should have to pay you to take it?

How about people who sell vacant lots? Well obviously this land has a problem - there is no house on it - you need to reduce the price of your lot to allow me to have the money to build a house.

There's the real problem - a lot of people nowadays have a sense of entitlement. They don't want to spend their own money on things - they want you to give it to them, because they deserve it.

We can thank all the reality shows on TV for the attitude most buyers today have. There used to be a time when you bought the house as is and then you spent your own money fixing it up to suit your tastes. Nowadays even if your house is presentable and functional, you need to provide the buyers with new appliances, update counter tops, light & plumbing fixtures, flooring, etc. It has gotten out of control. If you expect a new house - then go buy one. If you buy used, expect to spend some of your own money.


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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

I think the radon thing is a huge gimmick too. 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.


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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

HomieCat - sorry, my little rant was not intended as a personal attack towards you, and I did not mean to imply that you are one of these people who go looking for ways to con the sellers out of money. I apologize if you felt I was attacking you - I wasn't, I was just ranting is all.

If you have legitimate repairs that actually affect the price of the house, then by all means ask for it. If the seller refuses, then you have to either deal with the cost on your own, or will have to find another house.

Good luck


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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

....and my whole radon rant was meant to go on another post - sorry again!


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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

Cas66, I quite enjoyed your little rant!

And thanks to all the posters who have stated the obvious: these house inspections are now grounds for extortion ---- wherein buyers demand that 40-year-old houses are on par with new construction.

Look, by the time a house has been listed, its age and condition have usually been factored into its price. When serious defects are revealed via inspection, buyers and sellers either decide upon financial or physical remediation, or nix the deal.

But now these "defects" have come to include completely functioning hot water heaters, furnaces, roofs, appliances driveways, windows, etc. on the basis that they might have to be replaced in 5-10 years! Give me a break....please.


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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

Could it also be a factor of FHA financing where the financing company requires certain fixes after their appraisal or they won't finance the deal -- has led folks to believe those fixes ought to be made to any house, not just those getting FHA financing?


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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

I've been a seller and buyer both so I've seen both sides of this. As someone who has sold a 20 year old house, yes, I would balk on buyers wanting a credit or repair of something that we already priced into our price. That said, as a buyer I've sometimes seen seller price a house in a way that might be OK if the house was in perfect condition with everything newish but then you do inspections and find out it isn't that way. So the seller really didn't price into the house that fact that the roof was 18 years old, etc.

In my experience most times the inspection report will detail a lot of things. Some of them are trivial, some may be things the seller would have known about and some may be a surprise to both seller and buyer. For example, in one house I was selling the inspection revealed a foundation problem in the garage. In that case, I did negotiate a credit to the buyer based upon the cost to repair it.

In the specific situation, the OP hasn't said what the nature of the repairs are. She does hint that the house didn't factor those into price as she says the house was priced above comps. While $10k may be a lot in repairs that really does depend upon the nature of the repairs and the overall size/price range of the house to really judge the reasonableness.

It seems very unusual to me for a seller to only accept $200 in credit for repairs. In my experience repairs or credits have usually been in the $2000 to $5000 range.


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Another thing

Wasn't quite finished...

The other thing though as the buyer is try to distinguish between things that are improvements to the home and nice to have versus things that are true repairs of things that aren't working or are defective or a safety hazard. The latter is fair to ask for while the former isn't. An old roof or AC doesn't necessarily need to be repaired but should be factored into price. If it isn't then I would ask for a credit.


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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

Cass66ragtop, how refreshing to read a post where someone actually understands the object of a home inspection.

Buyers, home inspections are to educate you on the systems of a house. No house is perfect, NOT EVEN NEW CONSTRUCTION. You may want to try to re negotiate if there are health related (radon or bacteria in the well, mold etc) or safety related, dangerous electrical, structural, gas leaks etc. But it is not the sellers responsibility to give you a credit so you are moving in to a "new home".

I've had buyers make offers on homes and actually say to me, after the home inspection, we'll negotiate a lower price. It seems to be what people think the inspection is for these days.

Homeiecat I hope your agent didnt tick the seller off enough to stop any negotiations at all. You are a first time buyer and relying on his/her expertise, he went down the wrong road here and most likely put you in a bad negotiating position.

It sounds like he is willing to fix the gas leak because that is a "safety related issue". If the roof is leaking you may be able to get that also, but it sounds like it is not but may be nearing the end of its life cycle (sometimes you can negotiate this, most of the time it is figured into the price of a home based on condition). Im afraid with trying to re negotiate for $9000, your agent may have just ruined any possibility of working with this seller.

I wish you luck.


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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

Anyhow, back to the original question: Is there any hope that the seller will come around and kick in more than $200? After receiving our offer they said that they would rather take the house off the market and then price it $10,000 higher!

You might want to talk with your agent and ask what your next steps could be. A cooling off period may be a good idea. I believe, but am not certain and it depends on local laws, that the sellers may now have to disclose to future buyers the defects that you have brought to their attention. You might want your agent to remind their agent of this if it applies in your area. If so, good luck to them on selling for a higher price.


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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

Anyhow, back to the original question: Is there any hope that the seller will come around and kick in more than $200? After receiving our offer they said that they would rather take the house off the market and then price it $10,000 higher!

You might want to talk with your agent and ask what your next steps could be. A cooling off period may be a good idea. I believe, but am not certain and it depends on local laws, that the sellers may now have to disclose to future buyers the defects that you have brought to their attention. So, good luck to them on selling for a higher price.


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RE: Seller refuses to lower price or make any repairs

There is a misconception that somehow sellers are OBLIGATED to fix/pay for anything found in a post-contract inspection. This is simply not true unless it is stipulated in the contract itself.

As a side note, we had potential buyers try to offer a contract that stipulated we pay for a radon inspection AND pay for any mitigation if the levels exceeded standards. We weren't about to accept an open-ended obligation like that. We countered that we'd pay for the radon inspection and the buyers could walk if they didn't like the results.

In many areas of the country we're in quite a buyer's market. The buyers can attempt to use that leverage to extract additional price concessions based on the inspection reports. However, there is no obligation for the sellers to play ball. If the item found is something the sellers would have to repair/replace ANYWAY before they could reasonable sell the house to anyone, they have an incentive to do so unless it was already known and built into the price.

Sellers would be wise to understand there are actually two rounds of price negotiation; contract time and post-inspection. Neither side is under any obligation to offer/discount the price during either step.


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