We've been working for families that are looking to sell their homes that are being rebuilt to replace those which they lost in the 2016 wildfire.
It is an ongoing tragedy and it’s an honour to be able to help.
Families come to us anywhere from the blueprint stage to the final inspection, but they have similar (great) questions such as:
- “What kind of problems can arise?”
- “What happens if things get delayed?”
This post answers those questions and helps give some solutions.
The Offer Stage
Fast forward and let’s imagine your home is pending (we have successfully negotiated a purchase contract), and the buyer is working through their financing and inspection conditions.
It is very common that the home and other improvements to the land (for example, a deck or a concrete parking pad) might not be complete at the time of the offer coming in. If this happens, it’s actually a good thing since it means we must be selling the home quickly which means no carrying costs once it’s built (it will become the property of the buyers as soon as the last nail is driven)!
It can be a nervous time, but there’s no need to worry. A REALTOR®’s job is very varied, and we help out wherever we can. So, for example, if that means working for you in discussions with your builder, that’s what we will do. It’s all about putting a contract in place that offers some flexibility and that has realistic timelines that your builder can work within.
What might a sound agreement look like? There might be...
- An option for a buyer hold-back for any agreed items that may not be completed before possession. This takes some pressure off you the seller (and your builder).
- A seller’s legal condition. This gives you a chance to have the (often complex) purchase contract reviewed by a lawyer prior to you signing off on it.
Communication While Building
All the work that is still required to be completed can fit into two groups. Group one is items that the negotiated contract allows to be finished post-possession (with hold-backs). This group is not the priority at this stage.
There’s another group: Those pesky items that need to be completed before the new homeowner calls the property their home. This is where a good relationship with your builder and clear communication is key…
While negotiating the purchase contract with the buyers, we like to keep your builder in the loop. We are doing our due diligence that the timelines we are promising to the buyers can be executed by the builder.
Once the home is pending, let’s get that contract into the hands of the builder and communicate it effectively to them. This will ensure that they have ample time to address the issues and can make a plan to get them complete. Because builders are working on multiple projects, we do want to give them as much notice as possible to ensure that they have time to schedule the remaining work within the required timelines. We will also ask the builder to keep us in the loop regarding the schedule.
There are definitely going to be bumps in the road, it is best that you expect that upfront.
Weather will delay outside work.
Lack of materials will delay inside work.
As unexpected issues arise, we ask that you please keep us in the loop. Here’s why that’s helpful:
- We can act as an intermediary between you and your builder (or just another squeaky wheel). We can help by communicating your questions or concerns on your behalf.
- Our role is to advocate for your interests to the buyer’s agent in the run-up to possession (and beyond).
Home Warranty & Quality Builders
Here is a little nugget of solid information. When working with a builder, get really detailed information on how the new home warranty works. This can then be passed on to the buyer’s agent for communication with the buyers. When hiring a builder, finding out how long the builder plans to stay in town might be important...
Quality builders show their professionalism by being there for the new homeowner, long after the owner receives the keys. The builder’s performance impacts their reputation, and therefore, their future sales. Local builders who plan to be around for a while (or for good) are surely more likely to be there for the buyers than those who are here only for the rebuild. Warranty companies are there as an additional backstop.
All of this, when communicated effectively to the buyers (through their agent), can help in the event that some of those aforementioned “pesky items” cannot be completed by possession. It’s okay because under the warranty, noted deficiencies must be completed under the home warranty! This will go some way to calming the nerves of the buyers (and therefore the nerves of you, the seller).
So you’ve done all that, and now it’s the witching hour; the buyers are coming to do their walk-through!
Your heartbeat accelerates.
You cross your fingers.
One of two things might happen:
- A) It’s a clean, successful walk-through. You naturally stay calm.
- B) A few deficient items come up. The buyer is feeling several different feelings. This causes you to feel several different feelings. But again, miraculously, you can stay calm.
Why do you ultimately feel calm in either circumstance?
Because you and your agent worked as a team.
Teamwork = Happiness
You and your specialist A-Team listing agent worked as a team: Together, you talked to the builder, and your agent spoke to the buyer's agent regularly also. Throughout the process, all parties always had a deep understanding of the build and a good agreement was written up as well as checked by your lawyer. Through the warranty, you have in writing that all remaining issues will be rectified soon after possession.
It’s all kosher.
Here’s a reality: Unexpected events will happen because a rebuild is a complicated process with multiple stakeholders & suppliers. At the core of a stress-free transaction is a seamless, trusting relationship between you and your listing agent. You can share your concerns along the way, and a great agent will put solutions in place, and sometimes just be a shoulder to cry on (or someone to vent to).
It is going to be a tremendous feeling when we call to let you know that keys have been released. It’s a challenging process, but with the right team, there’s nothing to fear. You can allow yourself to get excited about what’s next for you in life!