Replacing the windows prior to closing

Scenario : I represent the buyer - we’re under contract - and we’ve agreed to repairs based on inspection report. All the old windows were to be replaced prior to closing. 

The listing agent is the seller. 

We’re about 2 weeks from closing, and I follow up about repair progress.

Listing Agent: most of the repairs are done, and we replaced the windows that were leaking. 

Me: Awesome, the buyer is expecting all the old windows to be replace, per our contract.

Listing Agent: I’m not doing that. I’m only going to fix the leaky windows. If the buyer doesn’t like it, I can cancel this deal and put the house back on the market. (bully tactic) 

Me: I’m sorry if you didn’t read the contract fully, but the buyer is not asking for anything more than what we all agreed to. If you cancel this deal, you’re in breach of our contract and liable for damages. If this goes into a court of law, it’ll stall your ability to sell this house to anyone. 

The agent changed his tune after that - he realized how ignorant he was being. No, you can’t just threaten to kill the deal and put it back on the market when you’re contractually bound! 

Note: There are agents who will use this tactic, hoping they will scare you into just agreeing to what they want. Know your rights and know the contract. The beauty of contracts are they’re black and white. Here’s what was agreed to. Simple! 


Outcome: our buyer got all the windows replaced at no additional cost to her. 


If agents are not confident in the terms of the contract, or are reactive or impulsive when speaking to the other agent - they might be selling you short. If you’re an agent reading this, we hope it informs you about how to negotiate for your clients, and how to stay firm on what was agreed to. If you’re unsure, take a pause, let the other agent know you’ll get back to them. You do not have to answer immediately. Know your rights - know your clients rights, and consult with your broker or lawyer.

 

Topic: Protect Yourself from Lies in Real Estate

This month has been an interesting month! A few situations came up that I want to share, to empower agents and homeowners to know their rights. I’ve been practicing real estate for 13 years, starting as a real estate investor at 20 years old. This is not legal advice. I am simply sharing real life experiences.

Scenario 1 : I’m representing a buyer. We write an offer on a property, and it gets accepted. I asked the agent via text: were there any previous offers or home inspections on the property? (communication in writing is always good)

Listing Agent: No inspections were done.

We get the home inspected. It is a SH*T show of an inspection. SH*T show. I’ve seen a lot of inspections in 13 years. Then, the home inspector mentions: you know, we were out here about a month ago. My ears perked up. I asked him for details - who was the inspector, who ordered the inspection?  I snapped a photo of the previous buyers’ names and the inspector who performed the inspection.  

I wrote the agent an email:
Dear (listing agent)

The inspection did not go well yesterday. We also found out that the home was inspected a month ago, by the same company prepared for (previous buyers). The buyer was shocked and upset.

Legally, sellers and agents are to disclose any adverse facts, malfunctions and defects they are aware of. The fact the sellers started working on the crawlspace fungus and duct work issues prior to our inspection, they knew some stuff was up. What else do they know, that they didn't disclose? One of the top reasons why people are sued in real estate is failure to disclose.

I also specifically asked you if you had offers or contracts on this property that went through inspection - you said no. On the phone, you also stated that the sellers got a pre-inspection on this. Then in text, you said sellers said no they did not get an inspection. Something is not adding up. 

The buyer spent $820 in inspections yesterday for radon, mold and home inspection. We could have expedited this if we were given information upfront. I'm sure she would be happy to share the inspection results so you can share them with any future buyers to expedite the sale for your sellers. My client is very upset at the lack of honesty and disclosure.

I would like to solve this before it escalates.To prevent her from contacting a lawyer, filing a formal complaint with TREC for failure to disclose, and creating a public review about this house, the sellers, and her experience working with you and your brokerage, I think refunding her the $820.00 would solve it for everyone.

Let me know your thoughts.”

Outcome: the listing agent called me apologizing and stated she was fairly new in the industry and didn’t know she had to disclose these things. When she spoke to her Broker, she realized she was in the wrong. She refunded our client $820.00 for home inspections. 

Our client found another house and recently closed and moved in!

Most agents wouldn’t go the extra mile and get inspections refunded for their client. If you’re an agent reading this, I hope it informs and inspires you. If you’re a homeowner reading this, I hope you know more about your options should you come across a scenario like this. Happy Hunting in the real estate jungle! :D

Q: How to avoid pitfalls when hiring contractors

A: I met with a home owner the other day for a consultation. During the conversation, she shared her experience with a handyman/contractor, and she wasn’t very pleased with the quality of work. She had hired this company about a year prior to our meeting.

That meeting inspired me to share tips to avoid frustration, disappointment and expectations unmet.

When hiring a contractor, I recommend that you get very clear in writing prior to giving any money. A simple one page contract will do. Questions to answer in this contract:

  1. What are they being hired to do?

    What is the scope of work? More detail is always better. The intention is to get as clear as possible before the work begins, so everyone is on the same page about what is expected. Details are your friend. Who’s responsible for clean up, disposal of trash, etc?

    Depending on the job, you may also want to specifically list out the brand and model of what’s being purchased. Example: dishwasher install - don’t leave it up to the contractor to select it. A staircase being installed - what are the specifics on materials? Are they buying the cheapest thing available?

  2. How much is labor and material?

    How much is labor cost and material cost? This protects all parties. Sometimes homeowners want to add things to the scope of work during the middle of the job. This is an opportunity to PAUSE - and create a CHANGE ORDER or an amendment to the contract. If the scope of work changes, so does the cost.

  3. Who is perform the work?

    Name the company, contractor, license number, insurance information.

  4. When will the work be completed? When is money changing hands?

    Deadlines and consequences laid out in the contract should it not be done in time. Consequences could be financial penalties to the contractor for missing the deadline. Daily rate, reducing their payout.

    Lay out the payment schedule. Perhaps 25% up front for materials, and draws based on work completion and passing inspections. I don’t usually hire contractors that ask for 50% up front.

    This is based on the scope of the job. Some jobs of $500 are treated differently than $50,000+ etc.

  5. Where is the work being done?

    Provide the address of the property in your contract.

    I hope this helps! If you need further assistance, or would prefer to hire a consultant to help you hire contractors and manage the work, feel free to reach out!

    Chrissy Kirkwood 714.423.8422

    Principal Broker of Kirkwood Property Group

Below is a template of the questions and details you want to clarify with the contractors prior to agreeing to work with them. :)

scope of work agrt.jpg
 
 

 

Q: HOW MUCH DO I SAVE IN COMMISSION ON A $270,000 HOUSE?

A: We just helped 3 sellers in the same price range. 270-275k range. Guess what! Each one saved about $6200 in commission by listing with Kirkwood Property Group. We care about our sellers and our community. What can each family do with an additional $6200.00 ?!?! <3

Do you love and support what we’re doing?

Tell your friends, family and co-workers! We want to help more people save money and apply it towards their passions.

We can have tea or coffee, and chat about your goals in real estate, and any questions you may have. We’re laid back and chill, but we also really know our stuff. I’ve been in real estate for 13 years in Nashville, TN!

Namaste,

Chrissy Kirkwood