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Old 20.02.2021, 22:12
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Would current owners paint the house before we move in?

After house hunting for a really long time, I think we finally found „the one“!

…but the house seems neglected: the windows are dirty and full of spider webs, the garage door is damaged and the cellar room has an awful smell. On 4 walls in different rooms there are small but noticeable horizontal hairline cracks - the realtor assured us that this could be solved by a painter. They also added „lean to“ roofs next to the house for their wood pile which looks tired.

Overall the place needs a decent clean and the inside and outside could use a coat of paint.

Could we request the realtor to obtain a quote to have the place cleaned and painted and the structures removed, and then deduct it from the asking price.

What could we reasonably expect from the current owner?
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Old 20.02.2021, 22:35
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Re: Would current owners paint the house before we move in?

Depends entirely on how competitive the market is. From the seller's perspective all you're saying is "price is too high i want a discount bla bla bla"

How long is the house on the market?

Around Zurich market is pretty hot, house could be gone before you get that quote and picky buyers with unreasonable demands like you just get ghosted
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Old 21.02.2021, 07:46
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Re: Would current owners paint the house before we move in?

Of course you can negotiate. Tell the realtor that if you purchased it, it would have to be brought up to be professionally inspected, repaired, cleaned and the outside painted. Optionally they could knock off X francs.

Please remember the realtor is not working for you. They likely will not be happy with a price reduction as it reduces their commission. You might want to talk to the owners directly.
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Old 21.02.2021, 08:07
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Re: Would current owners paint the house before we move in?

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After house hunting for a really long time, I think we finally found „the one“!

…but the house seems neglected: the windows are dirty and full of spider webs, the garage door is damaged and the cellar room has an awful smell. On 4 walls in different rooms there are small but noticeable horizontal hairline cracks - the realtor assured us that this could be solved by a painter. They also added „lean to“ roofs next to the house for their wood pile which looks tired.

Overall the place needs a decent clean and the inside and outside could use a coat of paint.

Could we request the realtor to obtain a quote to have the place cleaned and painted and the structures removed, and then deduct it from the asking price.

What could we reasonably expect from the current owner?
What you can accomplish here really depends on the circumstances under which it is being sold. Is it an estate sale? Is the house currently lived in? How long has it been on the market? In Aargau property ownership can be looked up online, but to find the owner could be more challenging if they are not living there, or deceased, and the property is being sold by the inheritors.

Cellar smell could have a number of causes, but someone should look at it. You could ask the AGV to come take a look on the basis that you don't want to buy the house and first thing you need to do is make a claim. https://www.agv-ag.ch/

What type of construction is the house? How old is it? What the realtor tells you about the cracks may be true, or not. You could go back with a painter to look at it to give you a price.

Repairs and the replacement of broken items can be deducted off your taxes.

Assuming you will be obtaining a mortgage, what does your bank say about the house price? Do you have all the necessary documents to give them? Has the house been appraised by a SVIT member? Perhaps the realtor will not give you this document but your bank can ask for it.
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Old 21.02.2021, 08:30
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Re: Would current owners paint the house before we move in?

There are two points here.

- what can you expect the current owner to do - nothing, if they were going to do it they would have already

- what can you take into account in your negotiation - everything, and then a bit more, as always

It's very common here to buy a property but get the whole place refurbished before moving it, introducing a certain amount of risk but also allowing you to set it up how you like it and deduct a chunk of costs from tax.

If the seller does the work, you get to pay for it in the cost of the property with no tax deduction.
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Old 21.02.2021, 09:50
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Re: Would current owners paint the house before we move in?

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If the seller does the work, you get to pay for it in the cost of the property with no tax deduction.
And is much more likely to cut corners, just to make things look better when they're actually not. "Papering over the cracks" is a great expression to describe this.

So yes, you should neither expect nor want the seller to do any remedial work before you buy it, especially those of us with half a clue that can take on some of the renovations ourselves. You then negotiate to buy the house for what it should be worth minus the cost of required renovations, done by a professional, and have the choice of how much you choose to do once you've bought it, by whom, and how much you're prepared to pay for it.
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Old 21.02.2021, 09:52
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Re: Would current owners paint the house before we move in?

I would counsel against asking the owner to do repairs. Rather, just make an offer that you think is fair, considering what needs to be done.

Asking the seller to do repairs or renovation means that they will likely be done at the least expense and quality, and possibly not to your liking. Not to mention the hassle of guarantee transfer.

You would generally be better off making an offer that reflected your view of the property's worth, without comment, then doing the work yourself.

---

In making any offer under the asking price, do be aware that you are running the risk of losing out to other buyers. You need to weight that up for yourself.

Be aware that the seller might have already considered needed repairs in the asking price... or not. FYI, all of the houses I have looked at - old houses - have been offered 'as is'.


---

To be honest - as a seller, I would tell any buyer who demanded I do work on the house to take a hike. I would be too busy with my move to deal with the hassle. In fact, I wouldn't even let that buyer make a counter offer, as they had just shown that they are going to be difficult to deal with. I'd just move on to the next buyer.

On the other hand, I would entertain hassle-free offers of X less than the asking price. If no one offered better within my time frame, then that offer of X less would win.

Just the way I would approach it, YMMV.

Good luck with the purchase.
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Old 21.02.2021, 11:56
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Re: Would current owners paint the house before we move in?

Thanks to all for their comments and great suggestions! It helped me to see the process from the other side as well…

The house was built by the current owners in 2006, with lots of great features like rainwater storage, sun panels for the boiler and lots of light. They just seemed to loose the motivation for the upkeep.

So I‘ll write to the agent with our counter offer and request to have a Bauleiter come and have a look if they accept.

I like the place, but at that price I‘m also prepared to walk away.
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Old 21.02.2021, 12:28
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Re: Would current owners paint the house before we move in?

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Thanks to all for their comments and great suggestions! It helped me to see the process from the other side as well…

The house was built by the current owners in 2006, with lots of great features like rainwater storage, sun panels for the boiler and lots of light. They just seemed to loose the motivation for the upkeep.

So I‘ll write to the agent with our counter offer and request to have a Bauleiter come and have a look if they accept.

I like the place, but at that price I‘m also prepared to walk away.
They probably did not believe the 1% a year figure for upkeep is not that unrealistic especially as hot water boilers may be near the end of their life.
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