Home Buying in Silver Spring>Question Details

Max, Other/Just Looking in Washington, DC

Please help.Should home seller pay for tree removal, which tree experts have determined needs to come down, or give credit for removal cost to buyer?

Asked by Max, Washington, DC Tue Jul 16, 2013

My friend has a contract on a house. There is a large tree very close to the house. I sent tree expert company to look at it. They recommend it be removed, due to the poor health of the tree. This will run $5000-$6000. What options does my friend have? Not at settlement yet. Can she get the seller to remove it now? Can she get a price reduction/credit for the estimated cost of removal? Are there any other options, i.e., termination of contract? Seems like she should have options since this is something learned prior to settlement, and is a pre-existing issue. Please help.

Help the community by answering this question:


This is a question your friend MUST direct to her agent.
The agent knows the details of the contract.
As Ron stated, there are at least two optons but the involved agent will know if there are more AND the rest of the story.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 16, 2013
I'm not sure but if it were me, I would suggest taking it down. If experts are saying that it needs to come down, then they should probably remove it. I think it would be better for the property as well as the landscaping aspect. Hopefully you're able to figure things out. http://www.ashmeretreesolutions.com.au/services/tree-removal/
Flag Mon Mar 9, 2015
I agree with Annette, your friend should speak with her agent about this issues. It depends on what is included in the contract. I think it is definitely worth speaking to the agent and selling party. If your friends walk about from the house it is possible they could lose their earnest money. I would have them speak with their agent see what options they have. http://www.davestreesvcs.net
Flag Sat Jan 17, 2015
I agree, you should definitely direct this question to your agent. They will be able to go through your contract with you to find a solution. I'm sure that if you talked with the seller, they would be willing to help you out as well. Cutting down a tree can be expensive, so I don't blame you for wanting to get help. http://www.yarnelltreeohio.com/services
Flag Thu Jan 15, 2015
Is the tree mentioned in the Purchase Contract?
Assuming, NOT!
Does the Buyer have an Inspection Contingency, that has not expired?
Assuming NOT!
Then the Buyer basically has two options;
Walk away and lose the Deposit, or,
Buy the tree.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 16, 2013
I think Ron hit the nail on the head. Your friend will almost certainly have to pay for the tree removal. There might be details that we are unaware of, but this seems pretty straightforward. If there is nothing in the contract about tree services, then the seller has no obligation to pay for any.

Flag Fri Jan 2, 2015
While negotiating, she could definitely bring the prospect up with whoever she is planning to buy from (whether that be an owner, a developer, etc.). So, if she brings it up as a condition to her settling the contract, then she and the seller can negotiate the some sort of agreement. But I would get my ducks in a row first, get a couple of estimate and have a back-up plan in case the seller absolutely refuses (a price reduction/credit, for example). http://brownstormservice.net/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 22, 2015
Since this isn't a cost necessarily associated with functioning of the house itself, I don't think that the sellers would owe anything more than a small credit, if that. Though it doesn't hurt to ask. It's more of an aesthetic thing, and the homeowners didn't do the damage or contribute to it directly. However, getting it removed shouldn't be too pricy or hard if your friend shops around with local tree companies. They can likely find one that will work with them and do it for the right price. Just make sure they don't jump in too fast with anyone. This is something they are better taking time with.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 23, 2015
Isn't that something that depends on the seller? The seller doesn't have to do anything unless it's presented in the form of an agreement. Why does the tree need to come down? Just because the health is poor it needs to be removed? http://www.advancedarborcare.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 5, 2015
I agree that unless there is a signed agreement in which the seller agrees to remove the tree, your friend will likely be stuck removing the tree. She may be able to negotiate a difference in cost with the buyer to compensate for the tree, but that may be all she can do at this point. I would recommend she talk to the sellers and her agent as soon as she can. http://www.darrelemelstreeservice.com/Services/
Flag Tue Jul 14, 2015
Who the liable party is depends on how much the seller knew before the transaction and if there was anything mentioned in the contract about the tree. If the buyer knew about the tree needing to be removed before they closed the sale, they should have made sure it was put into the contract. I agree with several people on here though. It's a question that should be directed to the agent. They'll know the details of the purchase. It sounds like they should get it removed as soon as possible though. http://www.ooalinc.com/about.html
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 11, 2014
Why does the tree need to be removed? I think if you just want it removed and it doesn't really pose a threat to the house then you will have to pay for the tree lopping. If it's rubbing against the house or something then the current owner of the house should probably pay for it. http://www.highlandtrees.com.au
Flag Tue Jan 27, 2015
I would have your friend talk to the seller to see what can be done to take care of the tree. If it is a hazard to the home, it would probably be the best idea to have the seller remove it. However, since your friend already has the contract this might be a bit difficult. I would honestly just talk to the seller and see if something can be arranged, even if the cost is split in some way. http://www.a-1experttreeservice.net/resources.html
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 11, 2014
Your friend should definitely have an opportunity to negotiate a way to get the tree removed properly at the sellers expense. It is a current issue with the home. If she backs out of the sale the seller will have to remove it before any sales happen. It may be up to the sellers discretion whether they remove it prior to the sale or restructure the sale to allow for removal costs. Your friend should definitely fight for any option that she has.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 17, 2014
I agree with Jackson, there has to be a way for you friend to negotiate this. I think that he should talk to his realtor to see what they can work out. Removing a tree can be difficult and pricey, so I hope that you're friend is able to get this whole situation figured out soon. http://www.jerrystreeservicela.com/Stump_Removal_Inglewood_CA.html
Flag Wed Dec 3, 2014
In my mind, if it is a preexisting issue the contract should be void. This is something that a Realtor can help with. They will know the situation better and know how to better help your friend. I hope she gets it all worked out. As far as getting the tree removed though, that should be pretty easy. There are a lot of good services around that can help with that. http://www.affordablecuts.net/Services.html
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 5, 2014
I don't think the seller has to help at all for the tree service cost. It is recommended to be moved, but that doesn't mean the seller has to listen to the advice. You might just have the buy the house before you can get tree service for it. http://www.sylvestertreeservice.com
Flag Tue Jan 20, 2015
This is something that can be negotiated between the buyer and the seller. If the tree isn't in imminent danger of falling it is something the buyer should budget for in the future for removal. I can't imagine a $5,000 - $6,000 tree removal cost.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 23, 2014
If your friend isn't locked into an agreement, negotiate the tree situation. If they are not very attached to the house you could even stop pursuing that house and go look for another one. Probably getting a reduction of the price will be your best option.
Michael Foster http://www.thearboristsurrey.ca
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 20, 2014
I imagine the tree company likes to make $6000, and that is always good to keep in mind. Is your friend in the "home inspection" period still? If so they could ask for "repairs" to be done.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 13, 2014
I agree. The agent has to be involved. Your suggestion that she seek credit from the seller for the cost of the removal is also a good one, and could be pursued. The same could be said of termination of the contract, if that means more to your friend than this specific house. It will all depend on the temperament of the parties. Mediation/arbitration is one of the top recommended ways to settle private business issues like this. Your friend could also consult different contractors to get a some quotes on the tree's removal.

Helen Lund | http://www.woodlandtreeandlandscape.com/nj-tree-services.html
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 13, 2014
It would probably come down to an agreement between the agent and the previous owner. Getting a tree removal is something that I would think would be done before the home would be sold. That being said, it wouldn't be to difficult to get done if that doesn't work out. Just call a service nearby and have them come give you an estimate, thought it sounds like you already got one, I'd keep looking. http://brownstormservice.net/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 29, 2014
Anything you can see with your naked eye such as a tree too close to the house SHOULD be included in the initial offer and negotiated with the seller up front, This is not a home inspection issue and most sellers will not credit or reduce their price as it should have been done prior. Hidden defects that usually are negotiated are things you can not see such as well, septic, furnace not working, leaks, roof etc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 15, 2014
I would advise her to talk to her agent ASAP. Trees can be very hazardous if they are not rooted deeply or are getting old. I would do everything possible to have it removed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 15, 2014
Well Max-you have certainly gotten a lot of advice so I for one am definitely curious about the outcome.
Let us know what happened!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 18, 2013
Of course a tree removal company is going to recommend removal of a tree.......that doesn't necessarily make it right.

Your friend should get multiple companies to evaluate the situation and offer estimates. $5,000 to $6,000 seems quite excessive.

The extent to which the seller is responsible should be clearly outlined in their purchase agreement and their agent should be all over this, taking measures to preserve the transaction.

When parties reach a stalemate and refuse to accept compromise, it's often difficult to identify a solution....
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 18, 2013
Hi Max!! Ask in writing. Maybe you could negotiate, the seller could say no. The seller could offer money to rectify the problem. Or you could price the tree removal and adjust your offering price accordingly with an explanation to the seller a reason for offsetting the full list price.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 18, 2013
Hello Max!

I was part of a transaction years ago that sounds very similar to this one. Since you didn't state where your friend is in terms of contingencies, it's hard to really give specific advise. However, the buyer in my transaction got three (3) quotes to remove the tree and submitted an addendum, requesting that both the buyer and seller split the cost of the tree removal. The Seller agreed to split the cost as the buyer was highly qualified and the seller didn't want to risk putting the property back on the market over a tree. It turned out to be a win-win for both parties. "You have not because you ask not."

I hope this helps!

Bridgette "Kyria" Chase
Exit Bennett Realty
301.974.7110 | mobile
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 16, 2013
I was going to suggest something along these lines. Open communication between the buyer and seller can generally solve problems like these. The tree definitely needs to be removed, but both the buyer and seller should compromise on the price. If a contract has already been written up, then a lawyer might need to get involved. http://www.timberlinetreeservice.ca
Flag Tue Mar 10, 2015
Ron hit the nail on the head. This type of situation pops up all the time. Buyers are eager to place an offer on a contract with basic inspections however no TREE Inspections. THEN....Grandma...Uncle Jim...Aunt Susie...Cousin Jim Bob...all want to come over to see what the Buyer JUST put a contract in for....THEN...Cousin Jim Bob..."The Tree Expert" notices that the tree looks in poor condition and is close to the house....Oopps...."Cousin BUYER...you should get that inspected....."...not thinking however its not in the list of inspections....AND not realizing that SELLERS are typically NOT TREE Experts or they would have probably taken care of the tree prior to settlement....as Ron said....walk away from the contract and lose your deposit...(careful with that advise thou....I have seen lawsuits in the past)....or the Buyer just bought a poor...sad tree.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 16, 2013
Hi Max,

Your friend should have had a contractual right to inspect the house for a period of time after ratification. If the concern about the tree was raised at that time, the buyer could have asked the Seller to address it. However, it is unlikely the Seller would have done anything about it as you are buying the house not the tree.

Why are you sending a "tree expert" on her behalf? And what kind of tree costs $5k - $6k to remove? Sounds to me like you need (1) a new tree expert and (2) a real estate attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 16, 2013
Hi Max, i dont believe the seller has to do anything about the tree or give a credit. But, the buyer can negotiate something assuming you're still within the home inspection contingency deadline - credit, remove, or deal's off.

Now, if you're outside the protections of a contingency, there isn't much you can do, unless losing your deposit is better than buying the house with the tree problem.

I would also like to say that a tree costing $5-6,000 to remove is stunning - you should probably get an estimate from a few less popular, yet qualified, companies.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 16, 2013
Exactly. There's no reason this can't still be negotiated. The main thing is to talk to the buyer about the options your friend has available. The price for the house could be lowered, or the tree could be removed prior to selling. In either case, they'll probably compromise on the price. http://www.treecuttime.com
Flag Fri Feb 20, 2015
Please have your friend's Realtor direct her to a settlement or real estate attorney for a review of the contract and some good home town practical advice.
Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 16, 2013
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer