What Is a Seller Obligated to Repair?

When selling a home, there are usually little things that need fixing. From the small bits of maintenance that the previous owner may have neglected to slightly more extensive issues. The question is: What is the seller obligated to repair?

If you think it depends on how much they want to sell their house, you’re right! But there are also some general principles in real estate law that apply when selling any property.

In this blog post, we answer some common questions regarding what a seller must repair as part of their obligation as a seller. We will also discuss what it means to sell your home as-is and whether you’re expected to take care of any repairs. To learn more, read on!

What Must a Seller Repair before Selling?

A seller has no general obligation to repair defects in the house before selling. This also applies to defects in a title or easements. As a seller, you do not have to repair previous damage or defects in the property. However, if the defects are serious enough, it might be difficult to sell the house. 

A serious defect is one that might cause a prospective buyer to walk away from the deal. Even though you aren’t generally obligated to repair defects, you should make sure the property is in “normal condition” when you sell it. 

Normal condition means that it’s reasonably safe, sanitary, and fit to be lived in. All defects that are significant enough to lower the value of the property or pose a safety risk must be repaired. This includes problems with the foundation, roof, heating system, electrical wiring, and plumbing.

How Much Does a Seller Have to Repair before Selling?

You can’t just do the minimum amount of repairs necessary to meet the standard of normal conditions. Instead, you must repair the defects so that the house is in the same condition as comparable houses in the area. 

This means that you must make the house in “like new condition.” You must also bear in mind that some defects might not be readily apparent to a potential buyer. So to be safe, you should do more than the minimum repairs necessary for the house to be in normal condition.

You should bring the house up to what a reasonable person would expect a house to be in. As a seller, you need to be aware that you might have to spend significant amounts of money on repairing defects.

Responsibilities When Selling Real Estate

There are a number of things that sellers are obligated to repair before selling their homes. These include any safety hazards, code violations, and anything that could potentially decrease the value of the home. In some cases, the seller may be required to make repairs even if they were not aware of the issue. 

Some common examples of repairs that may be required include: 

  • Fixing any damage to the structure of the home
  • Making sure all electrical and plumbing systems are up to code
  • Repairing any leaks or water damage
  • Pest control (if infestation is present)
  • Replacing any broken windows or doors
  • Fixing any stairs or railings that are in disrepair

It is important to note that the seller is not responsible for making any cosmetic repairs. These are repairs that do not affect the safety or function of the home but rather are purely aesthetic. For example, painting, re-carpeting, or landscaping would all be considered cosmetic repairs. 

If you are selling your home, it is important to be aware of what repairs you may be required to make. By being proactive and taking care of these items before putting your home on the market, you can avoid any delays or problems during the selling process.

Should You Pay for Repairs before Selling Your House?

Sometimes, a seller will pay for repairs before selling the house. If you do this, you must make sure you are clear about what repairs you’re paying for. You should also make sure that all repairs are completed before you put the house on the market. 

If you don’t, a buyer could refuse to buy the house because of incomplete work. If you pay for repairs as part of a purchase contract, you have the right to expect them to be completed. You could sue the buyer if they fail to complete the repairs. 

Real estate contracts have provisions regarding what repairs a seller must make. If you have to make repairs as part of the contract, make sure that they are completed before the closing. 

If a buyer refuses to close because of incomplete repairs, you cannot simply refuse to make them. Instead, you could sue the buyer for the amount you need to complete the repairs.

What Must Be Fixed Regardless of Whether the House Is Sold or Not?

There are some defects that must be fixed regardless of whether you sell the house or not. If there is lead paint in the house, you must abate it or remove it from the house. And as discussed, you must also make sure that the house does not have toxic mold or other potentially harmful issues. 

If there is a code violation on the property, it must be fixed. Code violations often involve safety issues, such as a lack of proper electrical wiring or a broken stairway.

What Are the Seller’s Obligations Regarding Major Repairs?

As a home seller, you are obligated to disclose any and all information about the property that could potentially affect the value or function of the home. 

This includes any issues with major systems or structural components, such as the roof, foundation, HVAC, plumbing, or electrical systems. If you are aware of any problems with these areas of the home, you will need to have them repaired before putting your house on the market. 

In some cases, you may be able to sell the house “as is” if the buyer is willing to accept responsibility for making the repairs themselves. However, this is typically only an option if the repairs are relatively minor and do not pose a significant safety hazard. 

If you are unsure whether or not a repair is considered to be major, it is always best to err on the side of caution and have the issue addressed before listing your home. This will help to avoid any potential problems that could arise during the sale process.

What about Minor Repairs?

If the buyer requests that the seller repair minor defects in the property, the seller is obligated to make those repairs if they are within the scope of what is reasonable. 

For example, if a door is sticking and needs to be sanded down, or a tile is cracked and needs to be replaced, these would be considered minor repairs that the seller would need to make. 

However, if the buyer requests that the seller replace all of the windows in the house, this would not be considered a minor repair, and the seller would not be obligated to make this type of repair.

Homes Sold As-Is

If a home is being sold as-is, it means that the seller is not obligated to make any repairs. The buyer will be responsible for any and all repairs that need to be made. This includes major repairs like a new roof or HVAC system, as well as smaller items like leaky faucets or cracked windows.

It’s important to note that just because a home is being sold as-is, it doesn’t mean that it’s in bad condition. In fact, many homes are sold as-is because the sellers have already made all of the necessary repairs. They may be selling the home because they’re moving out of state or downsizing, and they don’t want to deal with making any more repairs.

If you’re thinking about buying a home that’s being sold as-is, be sure to have it inspected by a professional. This will give you an idea of what repairs need to be made and how much they’ll cost. You can then use this information to negotiate with the seller or decide if the home is right for you.


As you can see, there are a few key things that a seller is obligated to repair before selling their home. These include any safety hazards, code violations, and material defects. It’s important to keep in mind that a seller is not obligated to repair every little thing that’s wrong with the home—they only have to make sure that the home is safe and livable.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, it’s a good idea to get an inspection first. This way, you’ll know exactly what needs to be repaired and what doesn’t. Once you have a list of repairs, you can start negotiating with the buyer about who will pay for them.

If you’d rather avoid all of the legalities and headaches involved in selling a home, you can always accept an offer from ASAP Cash Home Buyers. We’re a cash home buyer that buys homes as-is, so you don’t have to worry about making any repairs. We’ll even take care of the closing costs! Contact us today to learn more. We would love to make you an offer.

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