Don’t fix house before you own it

Warning for buyers

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Recently, a couple buying a home in the desirable Upper Rockridge neighborhood in Oakland, Calif., asked the seller if they could have some work done to the property before closing. Ordinarily, this is something that real estate agents discourage for a number of reasons. However, in this case, the buyers wanted to have a chemical treatment done that was recommended in the wood pest inspection report. They have a baby and didn't want to risk exposing their young child to chemicals by having the work done while they were living there. The sellers were already out of the house, so they agreed to let the buyers have the work done early. An amendment to the contract was drawn up stipulating that the buyers could have the work done before closing, at their expense. The buyers had purchased the property in its "as is" condition; the sellers weren't required to have this work done. The buyers' loan was formally approved; all contract contingencies had been removed. The work was scheduled for...