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When Buying a House, Who Should Be Responsible for the Repairs?

One certainty with homeownership is things will break. Plumbing systems fail, roofs leak, floorboards weaken, and paint cracks. It is difficult to keep up with home repairs and maintenance. Many home defects go undetected because it takes an expert eye to discover them.

In the home selling process, the home inspection can make this painfully apparent. A home inspector’s main duty is to find the largest possible number of defects. Escrow cannot be finalized until the repair issues are taken care of. As a buyer, you will need to determine which repairs you are responsible for and the best way to take care of them.

Mandatory Repairs

Before a lender releases funds for a home purchase, certain repairs must be completed. These repairs involve safety issues, code violations, structural integrity and homeowner association rules. After the home inspection, these mandatory fixes typically become the seller’s responsibility. Before putting a home on the market, the seller should prepare a budget to cover the expense of any repairs and the cost of home inspection. Sometimes, sellers will attempt to pass the mandatory expenses over to you. They will get cost estimates for the repairs and offer you a repair credit. This kind of deal can free them up to focus on other things; however, you must agree to this arrangement. This gives you, the buyer, more bargaining power.

Optional Repairs

Optional repairs usually fall under the categories of reasonable wear-and-tear and cosmetics. Except when stipulated by state law, the seller is only responsible for the mandatory repairs. However, to be on the safe side, it is a good idea to check the law in your state.

The Role of Negotiation

Like in most markets, the negotiating power balance depends on market conditions. If the demand for homes is high, the seller has more leverage. Low demand gives you an advantage.  If you are facing stiff competition from other buyers for a particular home, you may forego a request for repairs. During high demand periods, the seller may be able to market the home with an “as is” clause in the purchase contract. This kind of contract relieves the seller of all repair responsibilities. With this type of agreement, you will have to be careful. In certain states, this type of agreement restricts your ability to hold the seller responsible for undisclosed defects after the sale.

Under normal market conditions, the seller has less power to push back on your offer. You can be less flexible; however, it is best to let an experienced real estate agent negotiate the repair deal. The agent has experience in knowing how far you can press on this type of agreement. Sometimes, a seller will smooth over a buyer’s reservations by offering a home warranty policy that will cover possible repair cost after the sale. This type of deal is worth considering.

Final Thoughts

After the home inspection, unforeseen repair expenses are bound to surface. Parts of the floor may have dry-rotted. The gutters may be shot. Branches might have grown into sewage system pipes. The buyers may not be willing to budge on sharing repair expenses.  Even if the seller backs away from the initial buyer’s offer, the home inspection has already revealed the defects. The seller is legally responsible to disclose the defects to the next buyer.  This will give you more bargaining power. At this stage, both the seller and you are motivated to close the deal. You’ve found the house you want, and the seller has found a qualified buyer. Knowing these key facts will help you reach a mutually satisfying agreement with the seller.

It is important for the seller to develop a budget for repairs and the inspection long before putting the home on the market. In some cases, however, unforeseen repair expenses could arise post-inspection for issues such as floor damage and major pipe blockage. You may decide not to share such expenses; however, with these potential problems, it is best to be proactive.

Conclusion

A house is just a house until you make it a home. Try hard not to have an emotional attachment until after everything has checked out. This should help you stay focused on your investment!

Some states don’t even require a home inspector to be licensed. You should not rely solely on just their observation and skills. Consider hiring a licensed Contractor to do a walk through. this approach might cost a few hundred bucks with a reward of saving thousands in the end. If you don’t know of a trustworthy Contractor, each state will have a Department of Labor and Industry. This will be a good location to start!

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Testimonials and Reviews

Respectful remodeling did some remodeling in my home. They did a wonderful job. Rob and his crew were very respectful and very certain to do exactly what I wanted. They cleaned up every night before they left as not to leave a mess and finished the work on time.I would definately hire this company again as they did a wonderful job.

by Bill Debbie

I had my master bedroom built by Respectful Remodeling. I am so pleased with the final results octagon walk-in closet and custom tiling on my knee wall ledge and around my windows!! The staff is very knowledgeable and professional they did a great job. I will definitely hire them again!

by Stacy

Rob has done a couple of jobs for us, with more in plan for the future. He is willing to work with your ideas and budget, without compromising on the quality of work. I would highly recommend Respectful Remodeling and Renovation for any job!

by Christine Wainio

Respectful Remodeling & Renovation did a fantastic job for us! Besides being extremely knowledgeable, respect, friendly & dependable they were always keeping their word and their promises. We went to them with with a major mistake from the previous contractor AND had a very short time line until it had to be completed & they did it! They went above and beyond for us! I’ve never worked with anyone as amazing as them! They are so personable & we have younger kids that they took the time out for to interact with them when they had questions or wanted them to show them what they were doing! It was a wonderful experience all around! A million thank yous couldn’t express how thankful and happy we are with their services!!!

by Tammy Pinska

Talented. Proactive. Intelligent. Honest. Hardworking. Considerate. Hands down, we are impressed & thrilled. It’s been a real pleasure. Rob is a joy to work with! We recommend him to all of our family & friends!

by Tori Rose

Tim and I worked with Robert and his crew on a bathroom remodeling project. Robert was great to work with, flexible to meet our schedule and the workmanship was excellent.

by Monica Moulton

Incredible workmanship. I have never met a more knowledgeable contractor who actually walks the walk. Everything was done perfectly & timely. I appreciate all the pure honesty & guidance on this enormous project. Saved me a lot of $$$$$ with Rob’s expertise! We are enjoying our home & loving every last detail. Thank you Respectful Remodeling!!!

by Robert Johnson

Rob Goserud is a fantastic contractor. Rob has integrity and is passionate about what he does. When Rob recommends something while evaluating your project trust him. Rob will not charge you for something that doesn’t need to be done. With that said, Rob doesn’t take any shortcuts either. He carefully evaluates each step of a project and will explain why things need to be done a certain way. With Rob there is only one way to do a job, and that is the right way. Rob is very knowledgeable when it comes to codes and requirements. I don’t take bids for any projects. Soon I will have another project done involving electrical work. I didn’t take any bids, and I didn’t talk to any electricians. The electrician that will do the project works with Rob. Why would I hire somebody to do a job without meeting or talking to this person? Rob trusts this electrician so I do too. I have the utmost trust and confidence in Rob. I can’t imagine a situation where I would trust another contractor as much as I trust Rob Goserud.

by Chad Outinen

I worked with Robert Goserud, owner of Respectful Remodeling, on a whole house remodel in Somerset Wisconsin. This was a 300,000 + project for a 4,700 square foot home that included major interior and exterior work. I couldn’t be happier with the end result. The workmanship from Robert and his team was second to none. Robert is a man of high integrity who I totally trusted to operate in my best interest at all times. I would not hesitate to work with Robert again.

by Steve Erdahl

“Respectful remodeling repaired my Garage wall when my neighbor backed into it. They are professional, knowledgeable and go the extra mile! Definitely will keep there # for future projects!”

by Jeff Gomall

“Rob and his team did an excellent job of repairing my house due to storm damage. They went above and beyond my expectations, doing more than what was needed to make sure everything was done right and on time.”

by George Kellner

Respectful remodeling did some remodeling in my home. They did a wonderful job. Rob and his crew were very respectful and very certain to do exactly what I wanted. They cleaned up every night before they left as not to leave a mess and finished the work on time.I would definately hire this company again as they did a wonderful job.

by Bill Debbie

Wow, am I ever pleased! I am ecstatic actually! Respectful Remodeling sure lives up to their name & motto. Rob and his team have exceeded our every expectations. They have followed through in a timely & courteous fashion just as promised & have even gone way above & beyond their call of duty. They built a beautiful side porch & steps on our house several years back, which is still going strong. So we knew just who to call with our next project. I just wanted them to put up a ceiling & trim in my basement…when to my horror, they found mold, lots of mold, in two of the existing walls. Rob could have backed out of the deal at that time; and we did not have the means for this kind of unexpected expense. Being I have small children, Rob insisted he take care of this hazardous health issue asap & made a very generous deal with us. He then quickly & properly took care of everything! All in the same day. It was super stress free & it all looks amazing! I am beyond grateful my kids have a safe, healthy place to play. There are no words to describe this man’s incredible heart or his will to do everything right, right from the start. Rob and his team have mad skills. This is coming from the world’s biggest perfectionist. I will definitely be calling on Respectful Remodeling for all of our future projects. My only fear in recommending him to all my friends is that he may get too busy for us! Haha

by Roxy Johnson

I had my master bedroom built by Respectful Remodeling. I am so pleased with the final results octagon walk-in closet and custom tiling on my knee wall ledge and around my windows!! The staff is very knowledgeable and professional they did a great job. I will definitely hire them again!

by Stacy Lesch