We are currently in escrow for an REO home in California. After the inspection, we have found only two MAJOR

Asked by Kassie, Riverside, CA Sat Jan 17, 2009

issues with the property. The roof has apparent holes in the garage, is the end of it's life and is also a fire hazard, made from wood. Also, the previous owner's have turned part of the garage into a fourth bedroom with one problem: the gas water heater is located next to the bedroom and is also an explosion hazard and illegal according to our inspector. According to our realtor, there is a permit for the bedroom. What is the likelihood that the bank will pay for the new roof (8-11K) and relocating the water heater to a safer place (2K)?

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Linda Slocum,…, , Santa Clarita, CA
Sun Jan 18, 2009
The bank will usually consider paying for items that could cause damage to the home while the home is still for sale, like termites or roof leaks. At times they will consider other items as well, if they think they will detract from the sale of the home.

Prepare a contract addendum stating what you are requesting, and have the listing agent present it to the bank. You'll also need to provide at least 2 quotes for each repair item requested in order for it to be considered, and these quotes should be from licensed contractors.

Good luck!
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William Lopez, , Riverside, CA
Wed Jan 28, 2009
Hi Kassie,
I represented a buyer a month ago in a very similar situation. As the comments state above, the homes are being sold AS-IS and the banks are not likely to make any repairs.
However, you have time working on your side. Here's the scenario:
- A house is listed for $200K today... but in a few months, the price may need to be reduced if there aren't any buyers
- There are approx $5K in repairs that you can find right away
- Just for arguement sake, you're happy with a $200K sales price... but wait, you have approximately $5K in repairs.
- Why not offer $200K and request for a $5k credit towards repairs.

Yes the bank is basically taking a $5K loss, however, they are able to take another foreclosure off their books and get back to business.

If you're not too far into escrow, your Realtor may still be able to provide an addendum... make sure you provide something to backup the credit.

Good luck
William Lopez
0 votes
Shel-lee Dav…, Agent, Rolling Hills Estates, CA
Sun Jan 18, 2009

In Riverside, with the high rates of foreclosure and bank owned properties, we are seeing more leniency from the banks with repair requests. Also, the two items you mentioned are Health and Safety issues. Make sure your realtor uses those terms in the request for repairs. Both these items would probably prevent you from getting FHA financing and the banks know this. Chances are they will either pay for the repairs or significantly discount the purchase price to hang on to the sale.

Remember, in real estate, everything is negotiable. It is the power of the negotiator you hired as your agent that is most important. Unfortunately, with REO properties, your agents negotiating power is not as great as with a "real" seller, since you are dealing with the bank's asset manager and some of them are very inexperienced. So, have your agent write up the request for repairs, noting the health and safety issues. If you are unlucky enough to have a "newer" asset manager, be prepared to look for a new property or make the repairs yourself. If you are dealing with an asset manager with some time in this market you should get the repairs requested. Dare to Dream.

Shel-lee Davis
Real Estate Consultant
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
0 votes
Randy Hooker, Agent, Chandler, AZ
Sun Jan 18, 2009
Hi Kassie!

The answer to your question is... slim to none! My guess is that your purchase contract with the bank/seller included an "as-is" clause or addendum, which basically stated that the property would convey in its present condition, and that NO repairs or replacements would be made by the bank/seller. Am I right?

On the other hand, I would recommend that your Buyer's Agent go ahead and attempt to 'negotiate' the major repairs/replacements. S/he should submit the inspection report(s) to the seller's agent, along with contractors' estimates, and make a formal request for the seller to either make the repairs or credit you an 'allowance' for them. If they say No, and you don't feel like you want the property "as-is", then you most likely have the option of canceling the contract and moving on. Or if you feel the property is still worth it, then you can proceed with the transaction and do the repairs/replacements yourself.

Make sense?

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