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What recourse does a Seller have when the Buyer's Engineering report has unnecessary requests???

The buyer of our house had a home inspector plus an engineer from the same inspection company do a report on the house and submitted back to us a long list of demands.  While getting estimates from numerous contractors, they all advised us that the expensive work was not necessary.  Our "dual realtor" insists that we do this work regardless, in order to get the approval from the Buyer's engineer so we can go to closing.  I find it outrageous that we would be expected to spend thousands of dollars fixing issues that we've been told by professionals do not need fixing.  What recourse does a seller have in such a situation besides backing out of the deal? We feel like we are being held over a barrel, because we have already invested a lot of money in starting the purchase of our next house.  Please advise us as to what options we may have to keep from spending money on these unnecessary repairs.  Our realtor claims we have no choice but to do as the buyer's engineer has recommended in his report.

  • November 04 2013 - Barclay-Kingston
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Answers (6)

Wetdawgs hit the nail on the head for one aspect: This is a very poor situation because you need your own representation.  Did you sign in the listing agreement that you would permit this to happen? 

Dual agent gets paid double.  That's quite an incentive to get the deal closed.


There is a home inspector and a state licensed engineer.  The home inspector and any other professional you hire are trumped by the state licensed engineer.  He is the only one of that group who holds a license whereby he is answerable to the state for his actions.

I am going to make an assumption that the engineer is involved because there is a potential structural or water intrusion issue?

"Our realtor claims we have no choice but to do as the buyer's engineer has recommended in his report.
"  There is a difference between a recommendation and the corrective action required to alleviate a material fault.  Which is it?  What are they asking you to fix? Is it mandatory for health, safety or the integrity of the home?

Buyers without proper guidance often approach the recommendations in an inspection report as being mandatory.

You have a choice to refuse, negotiate or accept.  Each has cause and effect.  Since your agent is a dual agent you are not going to get much help sorting this out.  You will have to make your decision and tell her how you wish to respond.
  • November 05 2013
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Looking at it the other way, what recourse does the buyer have if you say no?  Or what recourse does the buyer's agent have if you say no?  If they want the house, they will buy it and do the changes they want to pay for later.  If they don't want it, they won't buy it no matter what you do nor how much money you spend.  The Realtor has absolutely nothing to say about it.  It is not their money.  They are not making the purchase.  They have nothing to sell.  If they don't want the commission, they can go and find some other clients.

But you didn't even mention what kind of engineer... structural?  civil?  electrical?  mechanical?  acoustic? environmental? other?

What specifically did the engineer see that they are concerned about?  Lack of seismic bracing and/or bolting?  A crack in a slab or foundation?  Partial building settling?  Aluminum wiring?  Bulldog pushmatic breakers?  Knob and Tube wiring?  Mold?  Water stains from prior leaks?

Buildings that have existing systems grandfathered in are not required to be brought up to current code, but there are items required for FHA loans and items required for building occupancy permits, such as GFIC receptacles where within 6 feet of sinks.
  • November 05 2013
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Well, hmmm.

OK. By agreeing to these demands, you have a deal. If you don't agree, then you don't a deal. Yet.

As Debbie Rose points out, it is after the "yet" that the negotiations begin. Your agent is now in a position where they cannot advocate for one of you over the other, but that doesn't mean that you can't tell them to tell the buyer that you are only willing to do, whatever.

Of course, the buyer may bail if you don't give them everything they want, but let's face it - you're willing to bail rather than give THEM everything that THEY want. So it's now up to you to make a deal with the buyers if at all possible.

All the best,
  • November 04 2013
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You would be wise to repair known defects in the home because if this contract is cancelled you would be obligated to disclose any defects that have come to your attention from the previous inspections.

However, if your experts have told you these repairs are not necessary (and are not truly 'defects'), you wouldn't be obligated to make the repairs for the current buyer nor would you have to disclose them to future buyers.

As you have learned, using the same agent as the buyers is fraught with complications. The agent shouldn't be advocating for one party over another. And that would appear to be what your agent is doing - compelling you to make unnecessary repairs which will benefit the buyers (and keep the agents commission intact).
  • November 04 2013
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You always have a choice.

This is called negotiating......it is what an agent is supposed to do.

Following a home inspection, once requests have been made, the seller has the right to get their own "experts" in for second opinions.

Now you seem to have a stalemate........your "people" say all is fine...........the buyer's "people" say it isn't.

What can you do?
Well..................you can get estimates and offer a credit for some amount in the middle and see what they say.

I really  hesitate to offer additional advice as you already have an agent.and I really don't have the report or know about the  specific issues that are being questioned.......but you need to try to negotiate this to an agreeable conclusion.
If your agent's dual agency position is keeping her from negotiating this - ask for her Manager's help and input.

Or, if you're CERTAIN these aren't real  issues that the next buyer will want to have addressed, and you'll be back where you started, then just say NO to their demands,  and move on if the buyer cancels.

You will, however have to disclose any legitimate issues on your seller's disclosure unless you can prove them  wrong.

Best wishes........
  • November 04 2013
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You mention "dual realtor".... does this mean your listing agent is also representing the buyer?   This is a very poor situation because you need your own representation.  Did you sign in the listing agreement that you would permit this to happen?  

Sounds like the buyers are pushing the limits with their requests (not demands), but you didn't mention the types of repairs requested.   Heck, I wouldn't mind if the seller rebuilt every system in the house before I moved in, so perhaps they are shooting for the moon.  Would you mind what they are requesting?

You can say no to everything.  You may lose the offer.

Or, perhaps more sensibly you can identify the requests and prioritize them related to safety.   Termites chewing away.  Yes.    Radon.  Yes.   Replumb the entire house because there is rust in the water. No.

  • November 04 2013
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