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As a home seller, to what extent am I obligated to pay for repairs?

Crescent City, CA |

I am selling my home in California. It is a cash sale. My agent represents both me and the buyer. In the purchase agreement (which I did not look at as closely as I should have. I trusted my agent) it says I am responsible for all the inspections as well as for all the repairs. Based on the inspections so far, the repairs are already much higher than I expected, and if I have to pay for them, I'd rather not sell the house at all! Is there any way I can cancel the purchase agreement?

Attorney Answers 3


Ms. Chubaty is correct. Simply trusting someone does not mean that you should legally obligate yourself without having a full understanding of the scope of the obligation. That issue aside, you should contact a local real estate attorney to review the listing agreement and the sale agreement to help you determine the appropriate course of action. Most standard sale agreements would give you the ability to negotiate with the buyer regarding recommended repairs. Be sure to take all of your paperwork with you when you go see a local attorney for assistance.

When responding to questions posted on Avvo, I provide a general purpose response based on California law as I am licensed in California. In reviewing my response, you are specifically advised that your use of, or reliance upon any response I provide is not advisable. I do not have all relevant background details or facts related to your issue / matter, thus I am not in a position to give you legal advice. Further, your review, use of, or reliance upon my response does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us nor does it qualify as a legal consultation for any purpose. 

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Thank you to all attorneys. Fortunately the buyers cancelled the purchase agreement, so I did not have to deal with the repairs after all. I'll be much wiser and much more careful in signing future purchase agreements for my house. I am sad to say that I am pretty disillusioned with the role that real estate agents play. When considering the amount of commission they make, I really expected my agent to do a good job for me. Oh well. Live and learn.


Trusting or not trusting someone has nothing to do with signing and binding yourself to a legal document. Under the law, you are expected to have understood and assented to the terms of any agreements you sign.

It is unusual that your purchase agreement makes seller exclusively responsible for inspections and repairs. What you have briefly described here sounds very one sided. Furthermore, default provisions and remedies should ideally be spelled out in the contract. To find out whether you can cancel and what the consequences of doing so would be, I suggest you contact a local attorney experienced in real estate transactions.

DISCLAIMER The information provided here is intended for informational and educational purposes ONLY. The reader of this website acknowledges that the information provided here IS NOT financial, legal, or tax advice. Reader is therefore advised to immediately speak with a licensed attorney regarding his or her legal matters and situation.

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I agree with the answers given by both attorneys. However, without hearing the full story it is hard to determine what (if any relief) you may have. What exactly were the representations made by the agent when going over the purchase agreement? Were any concessions made by the buyer in return for your concession? While I'm a licensed r.e. broker, it's been a while since I've looked at the purchase agreement, or discussed the r.e. community's customary practice with respect to the making of repairs. From what I recall, everything is negotiable, and the agent's overriding concern is to close the deal as quickly as possible. Bottom line talk to an attorney before you cancel anything.

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