Roof and window warranties will typically last for several years so if you are going to take Joe's suggestion, then you need to get the Seller to pay for multiple years - in my area the roof and the boiler probably would be covered by a home warranty (depends on the particular plan) but the windows probably are not covered.
One other point about roof and window warranties - you may have to register with the manufacturer in order to make the transferred warranty aplicable for you - sometimes you need to do that within a short period of time after purchasing the home. So if transferable warranties are provided, please review the documentation to see what you need to do in order to make them valid for you.
As several have mentioned, I also think it is reasonable to ask for copies of the permits prior to spending money on the inspection - if no permits were obtained, you will need to determine whether you want to go forward as that will become a potential issue when you go to sell the home. If permits cannot be provided, the Seller may or may not be willing to do what it takes to get the work permitted after the fact but if the Seller does agreet o get the work permitted, then I would make it a requirement prior to closing (and you may or may not have the time to wit for the work to get done).
How attractive is this home relative to the alternatives? If there is another attractive option, or if you have time, you may want to pursue something else - I like John's quote of "So it ends as it began" - that really may be wise words here - good luck in the negotiations.
I'm sorry it's at the expense of your potential home, but I glad you found out it was a lemon before it was your heating bills that were through the roof....
Here's my shocked face to hear an attorney was the seller ----> :-\
This is not to say anything about attorneys other than if you want to goose step around the law, you have to know it first... I have no doubt that everything that was done was perfectly within the confines of the law... and I will bet that as far as attorneys go, the seller is pretty darn good at their job.
It sounds like you are on your way - I hope your inspection goes well!
That assumption may or may not be correct on a house by house basis - the work may have been done by a professional and in accordance with the codes but because of the fees charged by the town/county, no permit was obtained. I would agree with Jon that the type of market when you go to sell will have an influence on whether it is an issue or not. Sounds like you made some headway with the seller - keep us posted.
More than likely this should be a fine property (especially for Cambridge, Cambridge used to have rent control and some properties got dilapidated because of it), but if thereâ€™s something that a home inspector wouldnâ€™t be able to tell about, cause he/she canâ€™t see it, theres a chance the owner didnâ€™t do it. I use the example of insulation, which they might not have redone (but they didnâ€™t have to either if theyâ€™re not selling it as a â€œtotal gut renovationâ€). For the insulation example, thereâ€™s nothing dangerous to you because of it, but your heating bulls might be a little higher because of it.
With all due respect, the seller probably is a little annoyed, however a reasonable person should understand your anxieties if they know youâ€™re a first time home buyer. Has that been told to the seller?
I read on a little bit to understand that the property is no longer on the market after your offer. This is a good thing, it means you donâ€™t have anyone else competing for the same property. Her comment that she wants to wait for the summer is a valid point, however she should have said Spring Market (not summer). Properties typically sell for more in the spring, because there are more buyers.
HERES THE IMPORTANT THINGS:
Every news story that comes on the news about a bad economy, and a bad housing market, is not falling upon deaf ears to the seller. As much as they put forth their tough negotiating front, they are nervous about the market. They donâ€™t know whatâ€™s going to happen in the near future. They are fishing for buyers and it looks like youâ€™re the only one theyâ€™ve caught, they donâ€™t want you to get away. AND your pretty much the listing agents last hope, she has no guarantees that the seller is going to relist with her come summertime. Most likely the agent wants the property sold no matter what here, and you and your agent need to feed her reasons that the seller should sell to you right now.
If your buyers agent says things like
- My buyer is Ready willing and able, and those buyers are getting harder and harder to find with mortgage companies tightening up their underwriting.
- With the economy possibly slipping into recession do you really think that youâ€™ll be able to sell this house for more than my offer in the short term?
- Is the seller confident enough that the offer sheâ€™ll get in the summer will be high enough to make up for the additional overhead itâ€™s going to cost to wait until then?
The sellers agent will use the same points when talking to the seller. And while those points may make you nervous to hear too, you should be planning on owning for at least 3 years (hopefully more), I donâ€™t suspect that youâ€™ll have the same issues when youâ€™re ready to sell.
Also keep in mind itâ€™s only because this is a slow market that theyâ€™re even still listening to you, if you brought up these concerns in 2000 they would have laughed at you, and you would have never heard from them againâ€¦
The warranties will vary by company so in order to answer your question, you probably need to know what company provided the roofing material - you then may be able to go on-line and see what the warranty is and what you need to do if you were to buy the home. If she can find the contractor, maybe the contractor has better records - if you move forward with this home, I would be sure to get an inspection done immediately as you may need to get one or more specialists in to more closely examine an item or two that the inspector is concerned about. A beautiful, unique home in a great location or at a great price would be worthy of all of this work - I hope that is what you are getting!
From your story, I'm less concerned about the fact that she can't put her hands on the warranty - that doesn't strike me as a big deal or unreasonable. I'm not sure I can find the paperwork for what I've had done to my house. What bothers me is what I perceive as her abrupt, take-it-or-leave-it, annoyed attitude (which I might be imagining and, if so, I apologize).
If my seller (or her agent) were using language that felt antagonistic or combative rather than cooperative - even as we negotiate - I, personally, would not move forward. I am not so invested in this house that I would participate in a protracted, potentially unpleasant process with someone who was rude or uncooperative.
However, if this is The House for you, obviously, you're in a much more difficult position!
Another way to approach this would be to negotiate a home warranty into the deal. It sounds as if any info that you may get on the renovations will be minimal at best. If you decide to press on with this deal ask your Buyer's agent about negotiating a Home Warranty Plan, paid by the Seller, into the deal. The coverages vary but you may be able to find one that will cover the items in the property that concern you. If the Seller refuses the home warranty you always have the option of purchasing the plan for yourself. The last one I bought for a client was around $500.
The seller can't 'unilaterally' cross out a paragraph without YOU agreeing, and still consider herself under contract. That wouldn't be any different than you crossing our the seller's price, and making it $100,000 less, and then signing it. I don't think they'd accept that, do you?
ICK --- then why is it on the darn market? The seller prefers to own a vacant place?
The other agent should be reminded that successfull negotiation tactics DON'T involve moving interested parties further away from the table.... I'm sure this one's been on the market for more than a few days here...
I've developed in Cambridge before (Cambridge is rough), and I've been on the other side of this, and I think there's a confusion in terminology. I don't think you mean that you want to see the contract. (you are right on the warranty though)
Their contract is none of your business. What they paid to get the work done is none of your business. What IS your business is that they did the work right, and that the work is backed up.
What you should be asking for here is copies of permits, and warranties.
If they're selling a newly renovated home "as-is" my eyebrow would be raised too...
It doesn't really mean that there's anything wrong with the house, but if they're not calling it a "gut-renovation" I would be suprised if ALL the appropriate permits were pulled...
Again, this doesn't necessarily mean they did a bad job, but they might have cut a few corners a home inspector won't know about.
Ask them what the R factor of the insulation is ;-) see how they respond
From the sounds of it, I would value it as a nice looking place, but I wouldn't value the renovation with top dollar.
I feel the same thing too. During the negotiation, the listing has been saying "the seller doesn't have to sell the house" and didn't give much room to negotiate. I don't have to buy that house either. I just don't want to walk away if it is just some mis-communication between the two parties.
So if the seller really wants to break the deal, she has the stepstone as not providing the manufacture information. I will walk away without spending time and money on inspection.
There's a big difference between "we can't get a hold of the contractor yet, but once we do, we'll provide that information" and "the seller is not going to provide the contracts she had with her contractors".
If all they're saying is that they haven't been able to reach the contractor, but when they do, we'll provide that information, in the meantime do your inspection, and if anything comes up we'll repair it. I think I'd be okay with that... you can write something into your contract that states "contingent upon the seller providing the following warranties and receipts".
A wiser man that I once commented "So it ends as it began". I repeat that to myself every so often. If there are problems dealing with the other party at the beginning of a transaction, most likely you'll encounter them later on.
Best of Luck To You!
In Massachusetts you have a 10 day inspection period after the acceptance of an offer to purchase. If your inspection turns up something that changes your mind about buying the house you can either negotiate repairs with the seller or use the findings to cancel the sale and recoup your earest money deposit. In order to take advantage of the manufacturers warrenty on the materials used in the rehab you would have to now the manufacturer of the products. It sounds as if your are not being represented by a buyers agent and it is probably to late to get one. I would strongly suggest getting an attorney to review the deal.
It sounds to me that they made a number of cosmetic improvements and don't want to share how little in actual material renovatios were made.
I would believe that your state's real estate laws require the Seller to provide a "Seller Property Disclosure Statement" of some sort - even if the home is being sold "as-is" (unless the home is being sold by an executor, administrator, the courts, a bank, etc.) - on the electrical, plumbing, heating, baths and kitchen , windows, roof, siding - the current condition, when they where updated, etc. If the Seller tells you that she replaced the roof, in addition to knowing its age/condition, you also need to know if the existing roofing material was removed or not, and, of the roof ever leaked during her ownership.
An home inspector would certainly tell the roof's age and condition, but I would believe you would want answers to these questions - before you shell out the $ for the cost of a home inspection?
I would also be concerned if she pulled permits when this renovation work was done. Ask about that too. Did a licensed electrician do the electrical work. How about the plumbing? This is serious stuff!
I am really really lucky on having the advise from here! Without all the suggestions, I wouldn't be confident to walk away. As a first time buyer, I never know what requests are reasonable and what are too much.
Just last week, nearly all homes in that area except that house dropped their prices $15K-$35K. I would be so stupid to pay my offer price to that house. I don't know how its listing agent feels. But definitely he has no plan to bring me back -- I never got the check he claimed to send back, and he couldn't give me any tracking number either.
My BIGGEST lesson to share with other first time buyers:
(1) NEVER deal with UNcooperative agents/sellers.
(2) NEVER trust any promises unless they are in writing.
Otherwise, "So it ends as it began" (--John).
The inspection reviewed that the renovation is unprofessional and contractor took a lot of shortcuts. Some places even don't meet the building code. The inspector couldn't understand how it could pass the city permit inspection...
The seller only agreed to make a couple repairs and refused to lower the price to cover other repairs. When I decided to withdraw my offer, she and the listing agent tried to hold my deposit. They used their brokerage principal to threaten us.
Fortunately, we have nothing to be scared. Our offer stated clearly about the inspection contingency. In our repair request, we also clearly stated that we will withdraw offer if the seller doesn't repair all the requested items. Finally the listing agent had to agree to return my check.
Even in the end, they still tried to play some nasty act -- when I sent them my deposit, they asked me to send overnight and gave them the tracking number. Now they stopped to my agent's emails. I don't know whether they really sent the check so I have to make stop-payment to protect myself.
The house is a good one. But the crappy renovation turned it into a slum. The lies and fake promises from seller/listing agent turned the buying experience a waste of time, money and emotion...
Now the house is back on market again -- although the listing agent told me the seller would move in right away if I don't act quickly to buy.
I hope another buyer won't be trapped by those lies again. The seller is an registered attorney. However, I could tell she tried to make every advantage of me through the whole process.
Though it says a buyer's market, I found buyers are actually in a vulnerable position -- subject to the risk of down market, very few properties to choose, the flaws of the properties, the lies of the seller/agent, the waste of time and money (on inspection, etc).
For seller, there is nothing to lose except leaving the lockbox and the MLS listing there. My seller even got a free inspection paid by me.
Besides all the downsides, I have proceeded to schedule a home inspection. (In between I have tried to walk away and resume the talk with another home B. However, B's agent didn't response until 24 hours later. I was very disappointed So I went back to the first home and signed the offer before I got B's response.)
Here is my recent progress:
* Roof: the seller finally figures out the material of the roof. But still doesn't know the manufacture. The listing agent told us the name of the contractor (for us to contact).
He is licensed but not with any company. I googled but couldn't find his contact. The listing agent is getting back to seller for the contact. I am still waiting.
Usually each round trip communication takes 1+ day. I don't know why it always takes so much time to get any information. The seller must be too busy or too lazy.
* Roof warranty: I checked a couple manufactures but I found the warranty will be invalid if there is change of ownership. Some allows transfer at the charge of $200.
I asked the listing agent whether the seller can take the efforts to transfer the warranty, I will pay the charges. Still I haven't heard back from the seller.
* Permits: since the seller doesn't have ideas of warranties, I don't put any hope on the permits. It would be beyond her knowledge (The listing agent said the contractor did everything for the seller).
I have checked the government documents and there are a lot permits associated with renovation. I will have the inspection this weekend. I plan to ask the inspector what permits should be obtained and what I need to get from the seller in this case.
During this process, I am really surprised that the seller has so little knowledge and recode maintenance about the home. People spend a lot of time in managing paperwork. Aren't the records for the home among the most important to keep?
Thanks a lot for the detailed suggestion.
After a lot more communication today, I got better understanding of the seller's situation. She did the exterior renovation 2 years ago so she has lost contact with the contractor. The contractor did everything for her so she doesn't know the manufacture information. Maybe herself doesn't care the detailed work or lost those documents, so she is unhappy with my request in the offer.
To make the things simpler, I have dropped my request down to just the warrant or manufacture info of the roof. She agreed to find that out from the contractor. For windows and boiler, she said we could find out manufacturer's names from the actual items. Are the manufacturer's names good enough? Or do I still need the actual warranty to get protected?
For permits, the only permit mentioned in the disclosure is the one for electrical update. Any other permits that I should ask about?
If the seller couldn't give me the permit for the electrical update. Will I be OK with just the seller disclosure?
I could have walked away. But the listing agent said that the seller does want to sell. The expired list will be back on market if our deal couldn't get through. So I will wait some more time for the seller to get the contractor information.
Now I still have other options as backup. To some extent, listing agents or sellers are not very proactive, either. Is it seasonal? Maybe the slow market makes everyone tired. :(
Thanks for suggestion on home warranty.
I check some home warranty plans but I found the roof coverage is not renewable after the first year of home sale. Is the plan you bought for your client better than that? Any way to get coverage after the first year?
"In response to your last e-mail; should your buyer want to go forward with this transaction please advise.
At this point she either accepts the signed offer as is; schedules the home inspection and the addresses any concerns at that time or have her attorney include in the purchase and sales / should it go that far.
As I said in our phone conversation the property is not being mis-represented"
Is it time for me to walk away?
The home is vacant but the seller didn't relist it. The listing agent said the seller may keep it till the summer to get better price.
Thanks for your answer. I have no interest in details the contract. Because the seller said she couldn't reach the contractor to get the warranties nor the manufacture information. So I suggested her to show me the contract then at least I can confirm what were done and what materials were used.
About the insulation, the seller said it wasn't done by her so she has no idea about it. (She inherited the house and did the renovations on window, roof, siding, boiler, plumbing and the interior items.
The seller didn't give much negotiation room and claimed her renovation was costly. So I gave the home the best price I could offer and requested the warranties. Now the turning point has come to the warranties.
I have a buyer agent. She has been helping me to communicate with the listing agent. She forwarded the listing agent's email to me.
Now seller said she couldn't provide those documents because everything was done by a contractor and she couldn't reach the contractor so far. She said she would do the repairs if anything comes up from inspection.
But I don't want to take the risk of repairing roof, window and boiler without the warranty.
Now my agent will ask for the manufacture information or the contractor's name again. If the seller still refuses, I won't accept the offer (She countered my offer by removing my request of warranty in the offer).
The home wasn't listed as "as-in" sale. The listing agent kept saying that he would get those documents for me from the seller during the negotiation stage. Now it comes to the final signing of the offer and the seller just refuses to provide any warranty or receipt.
Yes, the sell did sign the "Seller Property Disclosure Statement". The seller never lived in the property (I think she inherited it from her father. )
In that statement, only the heating and the electrical were stated as "updated 2007". The permit was obtained for electrical update. Plumbing and roof were just "no problem" without actual age.
I am going to have an inspection if I buy it. Now I am at the turning point whether I should proceed.
I don't know why either. Here is the reply from the listing agent:
"the seller is not going to provide the contracts she had with her contractors, It is evident that the property has been renovated and not lived in since the renovations. ... regarding the other renovations again it is evident that they have been done and again with respect...the home inspection would point out any defects."
Is the seller just being lazy? Or there could be some hidden problem?
My another concern is when it comes to time for repairs. I heard that roof and windows usually come with manufacture warranties. Will the repairs cost more without manufacture warranties?