Home Selling in North Hills>Question Details

Jeannette Po…, Both Buyer and Seller in California

my home is selling for $300K, how much of this amount is expected to be returned in comps when selling "as is"?

Asked by Jeannette Polfus, California Sat Aug 13, 2011

I'm the person with the bad fireplace. Now the buyer wants hard-wired smoke alarms.

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I'm not sure what your entire question is, however, I'll answer the question about the smoke detectors.

The C.A.R. purchase agreement calls for a smoke detector in place and working (as per California Health & Safety Code § 13113.8) – this is typically in the hallway outside the bedrooms. If it is a two story home with bedrooms on two levels, then it is reasonable to ensure that there are two detectors in place.

There is a misconception out there that sellers are required to put a smoke detector in each room: this is NOT the case UNLESS:

(1) It is new construction,
(2) You’ve recently performed work on your home in excess of $1,000 that ALSO required building permits during the sale,
(3) You performed work on your home during escrow in excess of $1,000 that ALSO required building permits.

If you do not qualify for items 1-3 above, then you don’t need an alarm in each room.

As an example, permits are not normally required for repairs to a fireplace and/or chimney.

As for ensuring that the smoke detectors are hardwired, that is not applicable unless:

(1) It is new construction,
(2) You are performing extensive work and upgrades to your home AND adding extensive square footage – at this point, not only do you need hardwired smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, you also need sprinklers.

I’m quite confident this DOES NOT apply in your case.

You can read the entire C.A.R. Smoke Detector Requirements here:

You might want to provide the buyer’s agent with a copy of this document.

So … I’m guessing you need one battery powered smoke detector outside your bedrooms. As for the issue of hardwiring, since it is not required by code, it is considered an UPGRADE, which most certainly DOES NOT fall into the category of “AS-IS.”

Here is a post that specifically deals with reasonable Requests for Repairs and “upgrades” such as requested by your buyer – make sure you read it:

Requests For Repairs Reality Check: 4 Important Rules To Understand

You might want to provide the buyer’s agent with a copy of this post as well.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 14, 2011

If you can clarify the first part of your question, we might be able to give you a better overall answer.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 14, 2011
Hi Jeannette,

I'm guessing your first question is dealing with how much you should drop the sales price due to the surprise issues with your fireplace. If I'm correct, then my answer to you is to base it off of any estimates to complete the repairs. You will be the only one who can determine if you will pay the entire cost of repairs yourself or ask the Buyer's to share in the cost of repairs.

You should also understand that every Seller says they wish to sell their home "as is", but that is not always possible. And there is a misconception that simply because the Seller and Buyer agree that the sale is "as is" that the Buyer cannot or should not make further requests after completing their property inspections. Your home is a perfect example because you discovered an unknown problem with your fireplace due to your prospective Buyer's property inspection or fireplace inspection. This problem is most likely going to fall under safety and soundness, so any potential Buyer is going to in all likely hood want these surprise repairs taken care of. Furthermore, their Lender and any other prospective Buyer's Lender for that matter, will require these repairs be made prior to close of escrow.

With regards to the smoke detectors. You as the Seller must by law prior to selling your home install smoke detectors and strap the water heater's in the home. You must also install proper carbon minoxide detectors in your home prior to sale as well due to recent legislation. Selling the home "as is" does not remove this obligation. Your Realtor should be able to explain what your City code requirements are regarding installation. If your Cities code requirements are more stringent than the State's then the Cities code requirements should be followed. Lastly, unless your Cities code requirements stipulate hard-wired smoke detectors, then it's my opinion, simple battery operated smoke detectors will be fine. If the Buyer's persist in this request, then request that the Buyer's themselves pay for their purchase and installation. You may also contact your Cities Code Enforcement office to determine yourself what is required of you regarding detector installation. Good luck!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 15, 2011
Jeaneatte, I remember your fireplace question...and already answered your question on that. The smoke alarms (although not the hard wired variety) may well be (like the fireplace) a lender required condition for your buyer obtaining financing. The cold, hard facts are that both you and buyer can agree to an "as is" sale; however, there is nothing in that agreement that applies to the financing component.

The appraiser or inspector may have brought up the need for smoke alarms and the underwriter may have added a condition for the requisrement. I think most lenders are going to require the smoke alarms so I would install them. Negotiating the hard wired variety may be your best bet.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 15, 2011
Hi Jeanette,

Emily is right about checking your contract which probably already has provisions regarding smoke detectors, though it's possible that you may still have to negotiate the issue.

Buyers sometimes won't drive too hard a bargain going into a sale and then try to get credits or price reductions for every little (and big) thing that they find, but if you got an OK price on your house and think that this demand is the end of it you might just count your blessings, do the work, and move on to your new home.

Better that, than having to remarket your existing home and continuing making mortgage payments. Best of Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 14, 2011
As is means As is.

Check page 2 of the purchase contract, about mid way down there is a box that the buyer agent would have checked regarding who pays for installation of possibly needed smoke alarms. If the box is checked that you need to pay for them, then you may have to pay for them UNLESS you countered back on the offer that the whole house sale is AS IS.

Tell the buyer to get his own darn smoke alarms & give him a dictionary with As-Is highlighted.

562-430-3053 c
Realtor Since 1996
Main Street Realtors
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 13, 2011
Sorry, Jeannette, I don't understand the question, It sounds like you you are having a rough time selling your home. If you have a real estate agent he/she should be able to answer your questions about comps.

All my best,
Dot Chance, Realtor®
Certified Distressed Property Expert – CDPE®
DRE License #01494182
Keller Williams Realty World Media Center

WHEN YOU THINK OF REAL ESTATE...Think DotChance.com! My business thrives from your referrals!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 13, 2011
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