Thinking of buying a new home this winter in Northern Virginia? The first question you need to ask you agent is “have you attended training and understand the new Northern Virginia regional sales contract?”
When buying real estate in Northern Virginia the term “cavaet emptor” (buyer beware) is often used. With the new regional sales contract the term “buyer beware” words take on a new meaning. Here’s a glimpse at what I mean.
Currently our Regional Sales Contract states in Paragraph 7 the “seller warrants, except as otherwise noted that the existing appliances, heating, cooling, electrical systems, and smoke detectors (as required) are in normal working order.” When you had a home inspection and found a burner on the stove wasn’t working or there was a problem with an electric outlet in the bathroom the seller HAD to fix it. No questions asked and it was not part of any negotiations over other items your home inspector may have found that need attention.
As of January 1, 2012 that statement goes away and all of those systems are “as is.” When you choose the option to have a home inspection, which as a buyer you should always do, you now must include any request for repairs for those systems in your home inspection repair request. If during negotiations you agree the burner on the stove doesn’t need to be fixed, the owner is no longer required to fix it before closing. End of story.
Buying a new home is a huge financial investment. It’s surprising the number of times an issue arises with a contract that could have been avoided if the agent had a better handle on what each paragraph, check box or addendum meant. If you are buying or selling a home in Northern Virginia make sure you are 100% comfortable with contract you are ratifying. If your agent can’t explain the changes to the new contract and you don’t understand them DON’T SIGN until you do.