Is Your Santa Rosa Beach Realtor Responsible for Lawn Care and Utilities?


Every once in a while I run into a situation where a Santa Rosa Beach FL short sale seller does not have the funds to keep their utilities on.  Their yard is overgrown. They cannot pay for lawn care.  When this is the case, what do you do?  I know agents who pay for customer’s utilities, lawn and other maintenance on a regular basis. They may consider this part of their cost of doing business if they are in the short sale specialty. That is fine, but I stopped paying for these types of items years ago.

I remember the first time I “paid” for someone’s water turn-on as a favor. They were to reimburse me.  Two bills later, they never did.  Sometimes you get a clue at the beginning of a transaction. Is the seller slow to send in short sale paperwork? Is it a strategic short sale?  These are the sellers who can afford to keep on utilities, but choose not to. They also may not be as committed to the sales process.  I just ran into this situation with a lock change in Santa Rosa Beach Florida.  The seller could not find his keys for an investment property he hadn’t seen in years.  He felt the short sale lender should pay for the lock change.  Would I step in and do it? No. Why not?  There had been other “clues” about the seller’s willingness to cooperate.  A serious and motivated seller is an integral part of the real estate sales process, short sale or not, and if that’s not the case, you probably shouldn’t take the listing.

So, what are some solutions to seller’s unwillingness or inability to maintain properties during the marketing period?  In the situation where a vacant, improved property’s yard becomes overgrown, and we get complaints from neighbors, what do we do? We state in our listing agreement that our sign will be removed, since the neighbors innocently expect the real estate company to also be the property management company. In the case where the seller does not turn on utilities, we state in the MLS: “Buyer is to turn on utilities for any desired inspections”. Most buyers understand the seller is in a financial predicament, and agree to pay. I’ve only had one problem with this over the years. The buyer did not have the funds either.  In that case, the seller agreed to reduce the earnest money requirement, and turn $100 back to the buyer for utilities.  Problem solved.

It’s Wendy!

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