Realtor Risk-Reducing Secrets
Wouldn’t you love it if every real estate deal was all cash for the full listed price and an “AS IS” sale? Of course you would! If every deal was like that, you’d never have to mess with managing repairs. Managing repairs in a real estate transaction is a case study in conflict. The buyer wants the repairs to be perfect while the seller wants them to be cheap. It’s no secret that there is no such thing as a perfect repair, and if there was such a thing, it would surely not be cheap. HomePro Inspections has the expert insight into how realtors can reduce their risk.
Protect Your Buyer, Your Seller, and Your Real Estate License!
What do YOU want in a real estate repair? Having asked this question to thousands of real estate agents here in Jacksonville as well as in 30 Realtor Associations around Florida, you’ve told me the three most important things you want from a repair in a real estate transaction:
- Be accepted by both buyer and seller
- Be consistent with the contract
- Protect YOUR license
A Guide to Repair Requests
The key to having the repairs accepted by both the buyer and seller is a well-written repair request. The more clear and precise the specification of work is written, the more likely the repair will be completed in an acceptable manner to all parties. A repair request that reads “repair damaged siding” will rarely result in an acceptable outcome. The repair request should read something like this: “Remove and replace rotted wood along bottom (3) feet of rear wall of home, and replace with similar material and paint to match. Repair any additional damage to sheathing or structure if discovered after siding removal.” With this sort of detail, there is a much better chance that all concerned will understand what to expect.
Reduce Your Risk
Your Purchase and Sale Agreement contains language that all repairs will be done by a properly licensed contractor. It reads clearly, but in practice it does get blurred! By contract, the home seller cannot typically do the repairs. IF, by agreement, the buyer allows the seller to do the repairs, the seller is still bound by the local permit regulations. This is an area where the contract is often breached and the law broken. Florida Statute Chapter 489 “Construction Contracting” has regulated the building trades for over 40 years, yet the term “licensed contractor” seems to baffle even the most brilliant among us. At least a portion of the problem is that the FS 489 does not use the term “licensed contractor”; rather, they use “Certified Contractor” or “Registered Contractor”. In simplest terms, a “Certified Contractor” holds a license issued by the State whereas a “Registered Contractor” holds a license issued by a local jurisdiction.
No Such Thing as an “Occupational License”
Once upon a time, the City of Jacksonville did issue “Occupational Licenses”. The purpose of that occupational license was not to certify competency as a contractor, but rather to collect taxes. The confusion caused by the term “occupational license” allowed “unlicensed contractors” to illegally deceive you by claiming to be working under their “occupational license”. Someone holding an “occupational license” was never able to pull permits or do work that required a certified or registered contractor. It was always illegal to hire them to do that work. A few years ago, Jacksonville stopped issuing “occupational licenses” and started issuing the more aptly named “Business Tax Receipt”. Hence, there is no such thing as an “occupational license”!
What’s the best way to protect your license and livelihood while still providing superb real estate service during real estate repairs? I knew you’d ask! The Florida Real Estate Commission has approved a 3-hour CEU program for your education and protection entitled “Reducing Realtor Risk During Real Estate Repairs”. In plain talk, it explains how to minimize the number of repairs requested, write clear repair requests, and be compliant with both your contract and the law. The program has been presented to over 20 Realtor Boards across Florida. Want to reduce the risk of real estate repairs sooner? Prefer a private program exclusive to only your company? Contact HomePro Inspections today by calling (904)268-8211 to get scheduled immediately, before another deal is lost or commission eroded.