Florida’s Real Estate Contracts Invite Nitpicky Repair Lists

Glass shower door rubs frame. Recommend repair.

Sliding door needs adjustment.

Cracked outlet cover in living room. Recommend licensed electrician repair.

Sink drain assembly is loose. No leaks observed. Recommend review and repair by licensed plumber.

Suspect MICROBIO GROWTH! Observed at air conditioner registers!!  Need microbio hazard specialist to inspect and eradicate! (This was accompanied by a picture showing a sparkling clean air vent!)

And on and on.

Florida home inspection reports, nitpicky like this one, raise the hackles of the seller, and sometimes the listing agent (who me?).  Of course, we know the inspector is covering himself by recommending all the varied and assorted “specialists” to come out and do further “investigations”. But, do you really need a plumber to tighten a faucet? Do you need an electrician to replace an outlet cover? (Could you even find an electrician to do this?).  And the dreaded, potential MOLD observed.  Of course, I take that seriously, but where was the evidence in the photo? Help us out, Mr. Inspector.  Does the house have a pool? Then the inspector will recommend a professional pool inspector. Does the house have central air (well – we are in Florida!), then the inspector will recommend that an air conditioning company inspect.

How picky can the Florida Realtors Residential Contract for Purchase and Sale get? 

Here you go:
Property Condition: The following items shall be free of leaks, water damage or structural damage: ceiling, roof (including fascia and soffits), exterior and interior walls, doors, windows, and foundation. The above items together with pool, pool equipment, non-leased major appliances, heating, cooling, mechanical, electrical, security, sprinkler, septic and plumbing systems and machinery, seawalls, and dockage, are, and shall be maintained until Closing, in “Working Condition” (defined below). Torn screens (including pool and patio screens), fogged windows, and missing roof tiles or shingles shall be repaired or replaced by Seller prior to Closing. Seller is not required to repair or replace “Cosmetic Conditions” (defined below), unless the Cosmetic Conditions resulted from a defect in an item Seller is obligated to repair or replace. “Working Condition” means operating in the manner in which the item was designed to operate. “Cosmetic Conditions” means aesthetic imperfections that do not affect Working Condition of the item….

What is a Florida real estate seller to do? Normally, the purchase and sale agreement has a repair limit, for example, 1.5% of purchase price is the ceiling for general inspection repairs (there is a separate limit for wood destroying organism repairs and for closing out open permits). This amount can be negotiated. The alternative is to use a real estate contract specifying the property is to be sold “as is”. Normally, that comes with a “right to inspect and cancel” clause.  The negative of the “as is” contract is that the buyer can cancel. The regular contract does not usually include a right to cancel based on inspection results (but it could be added).

The best thing to do is prepare for the nitpicky repair requests in advance. Remember, if things are not operating as they were “designed to operate”, like a door closing perfectly, then that could trigger a repair request. Know this is going to happen. Your real estate agent should have a list of repair people that could assist in making the corrections. An alternative is to offer the buyer a monetary credit at closing in lieu of actually doing the repairs.  That way, the buyer can handle the items as they wish, and not worry about coming back to re-inspect the work you had done.

More questions?

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, lists and sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Freeport, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Contact a Florida attorney for specific Florida real estate contract questions.

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