Addendum Blues


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It’s not going to come as a surprise to anyone reading this blog but in today’s current housing market virtually nothing is certain.  We face a myriad of issues on a daily basis, whether it be low appraisals or short-sale stagnation, changing guidelines, revamped rules and regulations and any other assortment of housing woe ills.  The mortgage and real estate industries are not for the faint of heart.  Check your sanity at the door.

With twenty years in the industry I am convinced I lost my sanity a long time ago.  I can safely say that I’ve seen quite a few trends come and go.  But I still get caught off guard occasionally and I’ve come across a few things lately that really have me scratching my head. 

First and foremost, parties to transactions need to understand that when a purchase agreement or addendum is agreed upon they have legally committed themselves to whatever terms have been listed.  And, once something is put in writing it shouldn’t come as a surprise when both parties are expected to comply with the terms of the agreement. 

We have a transaction we are working on currently in which we have been delayed by at least two weeks because repairs have not been completed as specified in the purchase agreement.  It’s put considerable stress on the buyer and the buyer’s agent as day after day goes by with little or no progress being made.  Contractors with expired licenses have been hired, shoddy work has been performed, issues have been hidden and the buyer waits.  Inspections are delayed or not ordered at all.  Invoices are not received.  And the buyer waits.  And waits.  And waits. 

About a month ago I had a similar situation in which a purchaser put an offer on a home and during the course of the home inspection found out the property needed a laundry list of items done in order for it to be in satisfactory condition for the buyer to proceed.  The buyer’s agent put together an addendum outlining the work that would need to be performed.  Both the seller and buyer agreed to the terms and we were off to the finish line – or so we thought.  As we inched forward toward the the conclusion of our sale, it became apparent the seller hadn’t understood the scope of the work and the expense involved.  As with our current transaction, the seller tried to cut corners hoping the buyer wouldn’t notice.  Our closing was delayed but eventually work was performed properly and we were able to close the transaction.

Both of the transactions mentioned have involved sellers that purchased homes and then sold them a short while after their initial purchase.  Slap on a coat of paint, put in some new carpeting and countertops and serious defects go away right?  I’ve never felt more certain that a home inspector is the most important person involved in a transaction than I do now.  The old adage of “buyer beware” still rings true.

I’m hoping today is the magical day for my first consumer.  Permits appear from thin air.  Repairs are done.  Everyone lives happily ever after.  The customer is waiting and so are we.

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