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Home Seller Didn’t Make Agreed Upon Repairs

Phyllis HARB 2012 WEB
Phyllis Harb is a Realtor® with Prudential California Realty.
She may be contacted at (818) 790-7325 or by email
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Dear Phyllis,
My girlfriend and I had been looking at homes for over a year.  We made offers on several but none were accepted.  A friend of my girlfriend’s sister was selling her parent’s home and we were able to negotiate it without a real estate agent.  We hired an inspector and we worked out with the seller what they would fix.  Once we got loan approval we closed.  The problem is that most of the items that were supposed to be fixed were not.  We tried contacting the daughter but she is out of state and doesn’t return our phone calls.  What should we do next?-Gary

Dear Gary,
There is a real estate adage:  A Verbal Agreement Isn’t Worth the Paper It’s Written On. When buying or selling a home it is crucial that everything be in writing.  For the sake of sparing others from what happened to you, let’s discuss what went wrong.

Had you worked with a real estate agent, your request for repairs would have been made in writing and signed by both you and the seller.  Had you worked with a real estate agent you would have had a final walk through prior to closing escrow.  At this time you would have had the opportunity to check that the agreed upon repairs were made.

I am a Realtor® and not an attorney and cannot offer legal advice.  A couple of things you might try:

• Mail the daughter a written demand. If you don’t have her address, ask your escrow company to forward the written demand to her.

• As your girlfriend’s sister made the introduction, perhaps she can help mediate.

• If the scope of repairs was expensive, you should contact a real estate attorney.

• If the repairs were not costly, you might try seeking relief through small claims court.

Best of luck to you Gary.