What to Do When Home Repairs Aren’t Done at Closing


We just bought a new house – hurrah! Of course, there were repairs that needed to be done before we moved in, each of them documented in a formal repair proposal and sent to the seller.

We had a list of ten items that needed to be fixed. Some of them were big (like fixing a cracked tub that had leaked into the floor below) and some were smaller (like fixing a dyer vent). When we went to do our walk-through the day of closing, we found that only three out of ten repairs had been done.

Here’s what we did when we found out the repairs weren’t fixed, and we still wanted to move in:

  1. Talk to your Realtor first: Your Realtor is there as your advocate. Tell them exactly what hasn’t been fixed (they’re usually at the walk-through with you and can make a list right there). Once they have noted what still needs to be repaired, they’ll connect with the seller’s agent to tell them we’ll be sending another request.
  2. Decide if you want to move in as scheduled: This is a tough call. While you still have a signed contract saying they’ll repair these things, you’re also giving the seller ALL YOUR MONEY! Who’s to say they won’t just pick up and leave you with the fixes? Then you have legal issues, which is not what you want after just buying a house. Talk to your Realtor to decide what’s right for you.
  3. If you move in as scheduled: Get your Realtor to write an addendum to the contract, stating that you’re not taking the house “as is” and you’ll still request all fixes be done by a certain date. We gave them one week. This is submitted at the closing table or before, and ensures that the seller knows these things need to be done. The seller needs to sign this addendum as well (sometimes easier said than done!)
  4. If you don’t move in as scheduled: You still send the same addendum to the seller, and state that you will not close until the repairs are complete. You can put a time frame on the addendum as well, so you’re not stuck waiting in limbo. In both cases, your Realtor will keep on the seller’s Realtor to make sure everything is being completed.
  5. Coordinate the repairs yourself: Once we moved in, we gave my number to the seller’s Realtor, who then passed it on to the seller’s general contractor/property manager. I was able to coordinate directly to get all repairs done while I was at the house. I was also able to speak directly with the property manager (not always the case) to express our concerns. I like being in control of the repairs, so you can watch the trades and ensure the job is being done properly.
  6. Get receipts: We’d requested in writing that all repairs be done by a certified professional. While some were done by the seller’s property manager, some of the items we made sure were fixed properly and were given receipts for. This allows us to go back to the company who did repairs if something goes wrong or wasn’t done properly.

Repairs are usually part of any real estate deal and cause a lot of headaches. We want to know – What has your experience been with getting repairs done on a home you’re buying?


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