The High Road to Negotiating Repairs in a Home Sale ~ "Market Wise" Q&A column by Pat Kapowich
Q: We were excited to finally get an offer accepted on a home. Today we had inspections, which were a little alarming. The chimney's broken, the fireplace needs repairs and the crawlspace has a several posts and piers that no longer touch the bottom the house. The reports still have to be written. This sale is a prompted by a divorce, and each seller has a realtor from different firms. How do we negotiate with the repairs in this context?
A: Not easily. This situation is akin to vacationing Americans driving on the wrong side of the road. Sellers listing and selling without their pre-sale inspections are asking for a host of avoidable road hazards. Listing agents who start driving the listing, marketing, broker tours, open houses and negotiations with seller inspections onboard have a proper itinerary. They will also help their sellers avoid or eliminate sudden stops in an already stressful environment.
Similarly, buying without reading a seller’s pre-sale inspections is like purchasing a pre-owned car without test drives. In your case, your buyer's agent should have set the expectations. Updated, remodeled, or attractive homes older than today's homebuyer will have unseen and unaddressed issues under the hood. It's amazing that fireplaces and chimneys, a prominent feature of a home, are all too often ignored. Same for the most forgotten part of a home - the crawlspace.
It feels like you have inspection contingencies on an "as-is" sale so it’s best to understeer in initiating repairs to unsuspecting sellers. Have your agent telephone the sellers' agents. He or she should just describe the issues and provide the written report later. When the sellers safely conclude you might cancel their sale and force them to make a U-turn, they might initiate concession or repairs.
Conversely, buyers' agents can show their learner's permit in negotiations by oversteering a written demand for repairs. That type of surprise detour is often quickly redirected to a one-way avenue into a cul-de-sac. Keep in mind these components were not serviced regularly. The cost to get them up to speed is not an expensive dead-end.
Pat's "Market Wise" real estate Q&A advice column runs in the Pulitzer Prize-winning San Jose Mercury News on the first and third Sunday. Look for it in a Bay Area News Group newspaper near you.
Pat was named the 2014 Santa Clara County Association of Realtors
“President’s Choice” Award Winner
“For demonstrating the principles of good real estate practice among brokers; for promoting and protecting home ownership and property rights for all; and for distinguished service to the members of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® and the community at large.”
"I would like to recognize a gentleman who is known for always being prepared, articulate and is a pursuer of knowledge. This per has been in real estate since 1987 and a licensed Broker since 1997. This person is a published author that has been covered by and written for the Wall Street Journal, The San Jose Business Journal and the Mercury News to just name a few. This person has stepped up as a leader from the independent Brokers forum which has helped bridge the gap with SCCAOR leadership. This person attends almost every class and education event to soak up knowledge and share it with others. From 2009 to 2011 this person became an Ombudsman for SCCAOR, resolving transactional conflicts before they escalate. This year we are thrilled to have this person continue their involvement as Chair of the Education Committee. I would like to present the 2013 Presidents Choice Award to Pat Kapowich.”
Spoken by Carl San Miguel, 2013 President of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS
Pat Kapowich, Realtor®
Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB)
Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR)
Certified Residential Broker (CRS)
Graduate Realtors Institute (GRI)
Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES)
A Trusted Name in Real Estate since 1988.
A Trusted Name in Silicon Valley since 1960.
Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS@
Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS®
California Association of REALTORS®
National Association of REALTORS®
From: Richard Marquis, Receivership Specialists
RE: Recommendation for Pat Kapowich
I am writing you today to provide my highest recommendation for Pat Kapowich of Kapowich Real Estate. I recently had the pleasure of working with Pat on the successful sale of a single family residence in Sunnyvale, California. The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, appointed our company to sell the property on behalf of disputing parties after the death of a family member. Because one of the parties to the lawsuit was still occupying the home and the property needed attention, we believed this would be a very challenging assignment.
We engaged Pat Kapowich to list the property for sale and we were immediately impressed with his professionalism and his earnest desire to assist us in all facets of the sale process. Not only did Pat assist me with selecting vendors and overseeing the repairs that needed to be completed at the property, he also was instrumental in convincing the occupant of the property to cooperate throughout the sale process. Pat went far and beyond the call of duty on several occasions, assisting the occupant with moving her personal property and making hotel arrangements upon her vacating of the property.
After receiving over a dozen offers on the property, Pat was very helpful in negotiating with bidders and getting us to final sales price of $1,268,000, which was $300,000 or 25% over the appraised value.
It goes without saying that I look forward to working with Pat again and I have no reservations about providing him with my highest recommendation.
Please feel free to contact me direct if you would like to further discuss my experience with Pat.