Step 6 in the Escrow Process for Buyers is Buyers’ Response to Inspection.
As the buyer, you and your agent review the inspection results and prepare the 35R (the response form) to be delivered to the Seller by their agent. Careful, if the deadline passes without delivering your response, it is the same as waiving your right to respond. Seller has a limited time (delineated in the Inspection Addendum which is part of the mutually accepted contract) to respond. Seller has a choice of responses. Buyer then has limited time to accept, reject, or propose something different to Seller’s response.
Here is an example of a recent inspection our clients have been through, and the results of the Response to Inspection.
The House: A stylish home in Bear Creek Country Club in Woodinville, currently lived in by owner, with 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, and 3,200 square feet on three levels. Inspection was conducted while Buyer was out of town, so we as his agents were present. Inspector found that the house was generally well maintained and in good condition, with certain exceptions which he put into the Inspection Summary report. The list included that the folding closet doors in the family room were hard to open, the windows and doors in the lower level were missing knows or twisters, the crawl space had rodent traps in it which indicated to him that they had a rodent problem, the trap door with stairs in the garage (which led up to a large storage area under the roof) didn’t have sheet rock on it. Since the “attic” area extended all across the house, a fire in the garage would easily penetrate the rest of the home through the trap door, so it was not up to fire code. (It seemed the access ladder and trap door was added after the home was constructed). The outside deck showed a very worn spot under the edge of the overhang roof, even though all the rest of the deck was in good condition. This was due to a broken gutter and downspout which allowed the rainwater to hit the deck and wear it down. There was also a broken place on the curb in the front of the house. Last but quite important, the toilet in the upstairs bathroom was a bit loose (the inspector explained this is a seal issue and a tightening-the-bolts issue) and some moisture had actually seeped into the bathroom floor. The Buyer and my team (Dave and myself) talked it over and we decided to ask for everything on this list, although we knew they might not agree to fix everything. We thought by asking for it all, we had a better chance of getting those repairs that were really important to the Buyer. However, the Sellers surprised us by agreeing to everything except the curb repair, which was least important anyway.
The rat traps turned out to be preventative measures as they (and many others in the neighborhood) had a contract with a pest company to make sure a rodent problem didn’t start. The bathroom floor was puzzling as how are we supposed to tell if the moisture did damage? But they had their repair person put in writing that he’d inspected it and his findings, and that was satisfactory to the Buyer. Dave likes to have any repair person put in writing that they certify the repair, which makes them take it seriously. He used to do that as a commercial lender and was responsible to the Bank for making sure there were no surprises. That’s the easiest way and you don’t have to have it reinspected to guarantee the results. The water falling onto the deck was solved when they had a complete new gutter put onto that spot rather than trying to repair the existing gutter. They put sheet rock over the trap door in the garage ceiling, and had all the doors and windows put into proper working condition.
Once the 35R is agreed upon the escrow process proceeds to Pending, and the Seller has until closing to make the agreed upon repairs. It’s a good idea to put in a timeline if anything needs to be done or inspected sooner than closing. Also to make sure you will have time and access to do a walkthrough or a reinspect if you so desire, which is what we recommend. It would seem obvious that you would be granted that, but doesn’t always seem so obvious to the Seller, although usually they are cooperative.