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Six Things California Buyers Need to Know about Requesting Repairs

As a real estate investor, you’re looking for a property that will provide a good return on your investment, but you still want the purchase to constitute a good deal. Sometimes, this involves buying a property that isn’t move-in ready at the time of purchase. Nevertheless, when there are problems with a newly-purchased property that will be costly to fix and which are the responsibility of the sellers to repair, buyers have a right to request that repairs be made by sellers before the close of sale. The timing of these requests, and the buyer’s rights when requests are ignored or denied, are important to understand.

The inspection contingency deadline comes up fast

By default, California real estate sale contracts provide 17 days from after the contract has been ratified for buyers to complete inspections and make any necessary requests for repair.

You, the buyer, have a right to control inspections of the property

The buyer is in charge of any inspections conducted on the property and has a right to speak with the inspector and ask any questions they may have during the inspection. If a seller has made it difficult to schedule an inspection of the home or is personally interfering in the inspection, the buyer may have a right to an extension of time to conduct these inspections.

Requests for repair must be submitted before the inspection deadline

The 17-day deadline to make any requests for repairs comes up fast. Nevertheless, this is the date by which you must make your requests to repair items on the property you’re seeking to purchase.

The seller may not honor your request

If you request a repair, the seller has the right to ignore, deny, or agree to the request, or attempt to negotiate a compromise.

You have to take action by the inspection deadline

As a buyer, you must either rescind any requests and contingencies on the sale, request additional time to complete more inspections or repairs, or cancel the transaction if requests for repair are ignored or denied.

You may well be able to retain your earnest money deposit if you cancel the sale

If your requests for repairs are refused by the seller, you are likely entitled to a refund of your earnest money on deposit. Even if you cancel the sale after an unsuccessful negotiation of the repairs you requested, rather than an outright refusal to make repairs, a real estate lawyer can assist you in getting back the deposit funds you’ve provided to the buyer so far.

Repairs must be completed before closing

If you and the seller do agree that certain repairs be made to the property, these repairs must be completed by five days before the scheduled close of escrow.

If you are in need of skilled and knowledgeable legal counsel for a real estate transaction or disputed sale in Southern California, contact the San Diego real estate litigation attorney Jon Alan Enochs for a consultation, at 619-421-3956.

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