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Who is Responsible for Making Repairs to a Home for Sale?

The home market is strong now that the pandemic is subsiding. Many people were not ready or willing to move during the last year. Homes are now selling faster than before and some houses are on the market for only a few days rather than weeks or months. When you buy a home, you expect that if there are any problems or damages you will know about them and can put a plan in place to fix them.

Obtain a Home Inspection

A home inspection is one of the best ways you can find out about any problems with the structure or systems before you make a purchase. As a home buyer, do not rely exclusively on the word of the seller. While a homeowner is required to disclose any issues they know about, this does not always happen. Even if a seller provides you with documentation regarding previous repairs, you need to be certain that the problems were resolved and that the damage has not recurred.

Hire your own inspector prior to closing on the home. The inspector will review and evaluate the structure as well as the systems in the house and give you a report. With a report in hand, you can negotiate any repairs with the seller to come to a fair agreement to take care of any problems that are present.

Types of Inspectors

It is essential to hire inspectors who are experts in their particular fields. In addition to a structural engineer, consider hiring experts to review and assess the individual components and systems in the home. Some of the inspectors you may want to hire include experts in roofing, HVAC, pest control, and swimming pools. While these inspections can be costly, they are critical before you purchase a home. Once you have the reports you will be able to review them and determine the need for repairs, as well as the costs associated with making the repairs. Keep in mind that some repairs are critical to the structure, while others may be less severe.

Negotiating a Resolution

Once you enter into a contract to purchase a home, it can be difficult or impossible to make any changes. Thus, it is in your best interest to evaluate the need for repairs ahead of time so you can include the costs in the contract. You may choose to negotiate a reduced home price based on the need for repairs or you might prefer to have the seller make the repairs before you close on the deal. If the repairs are too extensive or costly, you may choose not to purchase the home.

While it is preferable to resolve these matters before the sale, there are instances in which you purchase a home and find out later about expensive problems. Regardless of your inspections, the seller is required to provide a disclosure statement. Wisconsin law requires a home seller to provide a real estate condition report disclaimer no later than 10 days after receiving an offer. If the seller fails to disclose known problems with the home, you may have legal recourse later to seek damages. Make sure that you seek legal guidance through the purchase process. Your attorney will review the contract to protect your rights.

To learn more about home contracts, contact our legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. online or by phone at (608) 784-8310 for an initial consultation.

Published July 9, 2021
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