Challenging Buyer? How To Manage Buyer’s Repair Request When Selling Your South Florida Property

One of the most anticipated moments for any residential or commercial South Florida real estate seller is the inspection process.  This is when a professional inspector looks over most every aspect of your property’s appearance and condition, such as plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning, roofing issues, termite infestation to even your kitchen appliances.

The vast majority of all South Florida homebuyers will pay to have an inspection, whether the property is new construction or several years old.  Depending on the size of the home or commercial property, the appointment can take several hours.  A detailed report is provided to the buyer and his or her agent a few days later, in which they will carefully go over the inspection findings.

In the meantime, you, the seller, are probably sitting on pins and needles waiting to discover what repairs the buyer will want, and how much it’s going to cost you. 

Important tip: Before you submit your signature on any offer or paperwork, understand completely what the contract states.  Like everywhere else, South Florida real estate contracts are negotiable.  When an offer comes through, read it backwards and forwards, especially on the subject of repairs.  Most contracts state the following:

 “Purchase is contingent upon home inspection.”

In other words, if you and the buyer cannot agree on what repairs to make, the buyer can be released from the purchase agreement, and walk away and the deposit returned.  Of course, contracts can vary.  These can include an “as is” or “information only,” for your South Florida property.  This releases you from the obligation of being required to make any repairs, however you can still elect to make repairs or renegotiate the purchase price if both parties agree. 

Don’t assume your contract states any of the above.  Read before you sign, ask questions, and consult your real estate attorney.

Here are guidelines on what you may encounter once the inspection report is submitted to your South Florida real estate agent.

1.  Expect A Repair List:

It is rare when a buyer’s agent reports to the seller’s agent that “All is well! The property is perfect and no repairs are necessary!”  Even a newly built home will usually have some issues that must be corrected before the sale can proceed.  Chances are, your home is no different.  While some of the repairs may seem petty, or completely over the top, be prepared for the unexpected.

2.  Don’t Panic!  Keep Your Emotions In Check!

When selling your South Florida home, keep in mind that no property is perfect despite what you may believe or what your real estate agent has said.  It’s important to separate yourself from the emotional ties you have to the residence, as it takes stress off of you and makes it easier to negotiate.  While you may think the antique light fixtures add character, the inspector may have discovered faulty or out-of-date wiring. 

Consult your real estate contract for information on what repairs may be required. Most real estate contracts do not require the seller to repair cosmetic conditions, unless the cosmetic condition resulted from a defect in a warranted item. So if your buyer is requesting you to remove and replace the existing carpeting, this is not typically covered in the seller’s contractual obligations. However, although you may not be required to do so, you may decide to negotiate with your buyer.

3.  Which Brings Us To:  Negotiating

Of course, most sellers and buyers are reasonable, and are anxious to make allowances for the sale to go through.  Chances are, you already know that you have some repairs that will be responsible for, and the buyer usually knows when they won’t get an expensive, though not “reasonable” repair on a questionable item.  While you may not want to make any repairs, or find it unnecessary, don’t be too stubborn because these issues will continue to come up with future buyers as it is the duty of the sellers to disclose all known defects from this point on.

  • Split the difference:  This can vary, but usually agents get together and hammer out a solution where both parties share the cost of a repair. 
  • Issue credit:  A buyer will often hire a contractor to give a quote for a needed repair.  Once this value is determined, and the sellers agree, this amount can be credited to the buyers at closing.  This figure can also be split or divided in any way between both parties. This is usually the most satisfactory for both parties as the buyer can hire the contractor they want while ensuring the work is done satisfactorily.
  •  Just say no:  Naturally, if the buyer refuses to budge, insists on costly repairs that even makes both agents cringe, consult with your real estate agent or attorney and see if it’s best to walk away.

4.  One Last Piece Of Advice For Your South Florida Property

Before putting your home or commercial building on the market, get a professional inspection first.  Yes, you will pay for it (normally buyers pay, but chances are they will still get one as well through their own inspector), yet this will determine if there are any significant repairs that need your attention.  You may then fix what is necessary, show receipts to prospective buyers, and let them know you have made repairs, or you are willing to negotiate if you find you are not financially or logistically able to make them. You also have the option to make the sale “as is” or negotiate the price in accordance with the known necessary repairs.