A buyer client of mine purchased a 2 bedroom condo in 30 Nelson St in late 2018, a nice 2 years old building in a quiet neighbourhood extremely close to the financial district, making her daily commute a breeze.
I usually recommend my clients to hire a professional inspector for their protection unless they insist it’s absolutely unnecessary. In this case, the inspector found 2 issues that requires seller’s attention, hence I carefully worded them into the contract as follows:
“Seller agrees to submit a maintenance request to the building manager and obtain contractor quotes for
- fixing the visible cracks on the ceiling
- fixing the wobbly/uneven flooring near both bathrooms.
Seller agrees to either hire the contractor to fix the aforementioned issues prior to closing, or reduce the selling price by the same amount indicated on the contractor quotes. Buyer will be consulted to jointly make this decision.”
Upon the building contractor’s inspection, they have concluded that the wobbly flooring isn’t fixable, see below:
” He (the building contractor) also looked at the flooring by the bathrooms, and said that there is nothing that can be done about the flooring. There is a gap between the wood and the tile because of the concrete underneath and he will not touch the flooring.”
In many cases, it could have stopped right here since the building contractor has deemed the floor non-fixable as it’s basically a little part of the laminate flooring near the bathroom tiles that moves up and down a little as people steps onto it, and when all else fails, I believe the only possible solution is to replace the flooring for the ENTIRE UNIT, which could be a long shot from seller’s perspective.
To protect my buyers, I reached out to our lawyer, and she was able to back me up since my wording in the contract was pretty tight and clear that seller must provide a solution and/or price reduction for whatever solution that’s feasible for addressing the issue, even if it means to replace the entire unit’s flooring:
With my lawyer on my side, I sent the following email to the seller:
“Regarding the flooring, per the contract seller is responsible for fixing the flooring or deduct price based on quote. Understand that the contractor prefer not to touch the floor because it is not an easy fix, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an issue. What we ask is:
1) Have the contractor or alternative contractors make recommendations on what are the alternative possible options to fix the floor issue, associated with quote on cost
2) Provide a quote on replacing the entire unit’s flooring, if no other option is viable.
Understand that seller is going through a tough time right now and we don’t want to cause issues outside of the agreement. Just hoping that both sides do what we can to honour what’s been agreed upon so that buyer’s interest is also protected. “
As a result, the seller agreed to obtain a quote from a contract of their choice as follows:
“Labour and material to remove existing floor and install new floor matching existing one is $6400 plus HST”
That quote sounded little steep to me as I recently replaced my investment condo’s floor for much less, similar square footage, guess seller’s contractor based the quote on very high-end material/labor. Anyway, I’m responsible for maximizing the buyer’s benefit in this case, and given there’s limited time before closing, with our lawyer’s help, we were able to successful obtain the additional $6400+HST credit for my buyer, as shown on the closing adjustment:
And my buyer client gave me a big “HIGH FIVE”
Not to mention that the same unit layout, 5 floors below, were sold for 40K higher than my buyer’s net price only 2 months after!
Another “HIGH FIVE”!
Lesson of the day:
1) When it comes to your biggest purchase in life, hire a smart and experienced realtor who knows how to protect your interest and how to write customized contract clauses effectively. Even a great lawyer cannot defend a badly written contract.
2) Hire a good lawyer that’s not afraid of standing up for you, even when there’s the potential for litigation. Not all real estate lawyers have the same capabilities, choose wisely as it will make a difference when sh!t hits the fan.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Yinan Xia, MBA, Broker
Wechat ID: windysummer