You are buying a Los Angeles home and your offer has been accepted. The very first thing you are going to do is put your good faith deposit (generally 3% of the purchase price) into escrow. This is held, as its name suggests, to show good faith that you are serious about purchasing the property and it will be applied to the amount of the purchase price upon closing. It is fully refundable if you decide not to continue with the sale for a valid reason as specified in the contract.
The second thing is your agent will order a home inspection, for which your should be present.
Usually the home inspector will summarize their findings at the end of the inspection. For a first-time home buyer this might sound overwhelming, but if you listen carefully you will understand that much of what is found is normal, especially for an older home.
Unless the home inspector has a glowing report about the foundation it is advisable to get a foundation expert out and also a sewer line inspector. If there is a chimney, it is also good to get that inspected also. The home inspector generally suggests that you get a separate electrical and plumbing inspection, but unless there is something glaringly wrong, that can be at your discretion.
The inspectors will send their reports and then you can discuss the next step with your agent.
So what should you ask for in the Request for Repairs?
There is no set rule, but since the inspection period and request for repairs starts negotiations with the seller over again, reason needs to prevail, especially in this present sellers’ market.
Here are some things to think about:
- Did you pay full price or more for the home? If so, you might have some leeway to ask for a little more in repairs.
- If you paid less than full price, try and put yourself in the seller’s shoes. They have already given up some, so they may not be prepared to do a lot more.
- Get an estimate for the work involved in the repairs and see what you can live with and what you can’t, especially for the minor items.
- You might be able to get a handyman over to fix the electrical problems, or correct a minor leak.
- The same thing for doors that don’t close, drawers that are stuck, etc.
- You may need a new garage door….
- You certainly should ask for major items to be repaired:
- There may be a problem with a sewer line to the street. Depending on the cost, you should ask them to correct it.
- Foundation repairs can be costly and the seller should be approached to handle these.
- Same with chimney problems.
- A roof that is leaking should be addressed.
- The same with a major plumbing leak.
On an older home you may find that the electrical box needs upgrading, or possibly the plumbing. Maybe the roof has an estimated short life. These are not things that you should be requesting from the seller. The price of the home you are buying should hopefully reflect its condition. A perfect home would have cost you more.
You should be able to come to a meeting fo the minds with the seller once again and move forward to the next phase of escrow which is completing the loan process. Of course, if the home doesn’t appraise that is another matter.
When buying a Los Angeles home, don’t let the home inspection derail your dream.