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Many of you are doing work in your home. But be careful not to do anything... The operation can be expensive when you want to sell your property.

Precautions for selling a house renovated by a handyman

Doing your work yourself can be detrimental at a sale

An experienced handyman can be tempted to embark on important projects: the repair of an electrical installation, the creation of a bathroom...
With the advice of DIY stores and precautions, the work can be suitable for you in your daily life. As long as you keep the house, no problem arises. Difficulties can arise in case of sale.
If the installation has not been carried out in the rules of art and standards, the buyer can get a high compensation as the case attests that the Court of Cassation had to know (judgment of 03/03/2010, no. of appeal 09-11282).
Spouses had made themselves the first floor of their house. They sell their home on August 10, 1999. In 2004, the buyers notice a collapse of the supporting beams with an attack of xylophagous insects. They demand compensation from the sellers. In their defense, they make the following two arguments:

  • they are not construction professionals;
  • the buyers did not maintain the frame.
The arguments will not be retained by the judges. These are the result of an expertise, a choice of poor quality materials and a defective realization of remanufacturing operations and large scale and related to construction. Conclusion: the sellers had to pay to the buyers: 48 489,38 € for the repair of the material damages and 5 000 € for the non-material damage.

The seller as a builder

The whole case is based on Articles 1792 et seq. Of the Civil Code. The principle laid down by these texts is as follows: anyone who sells a building that he has built or had built is considered to be a builder.
But every builder is responsible for 10 years, towards the client (that is to say, the one for whom the work is done) but also the successive purchasers of the property during this period:

  • damage that compromises the strength of the building: collapse of the frame, collapse of the floors, significant cracks in the walls...;
  • damage that affects the strength of the equipment that forms part of the building, such as pipes embedded in the floor;
  • damage that prevents the house from being habitable: water infiltration, poor thermal insulation...
This is called the ten-year guarantee.
When an owner renovates his property himself and sells it within 10 years after the work, he may have to compensate the purchaser if serious defects appear... in the manner of a builder. An electrical installation renovated but not in the standards, for example, can be considered dangerous and make the property uninhabitable. As such, the seller will be bound by the ten-year guarantee.
Beyond 10 years, the warranty no longer plays: hence the importance for the seller to keep the proof of the date of the work (for example, invoices for equipment purchased for the work).

For less serious damage

Damage occurring after renovation work is often not serious. They do not fall under the decennial guarantee. They do not compromise the solidity of the building or the dwelling of the house. We are talking about intermediate damage. Have been considered as such by the law:

  • blackening or greening of a facade;
  • microcracks,
  • the defects due to a bad application of the coating...
The purchaser of the property, however, has the means to act. He can play the "contractual liability"of the seller-handyman but only if the damage was not visible at the time of the sale.He must have appeared after.And again it is necessary that the purchaser proves the fault of the seller-handyman (Court of Cassation, judgment of 13 February 2013, Appeal No. 11-28376) He was 5 years old, from the moment he discovered the defective workmanship, to ask the seller for compensation.

The guarantee of hidden defects

The buyer has a third legal tool to be compensated for poorly executed work by the seller: the guarantee of hidden defects.
The problem encountered must be serious: it must prevent to live normally in the house or so diminishing its use that the buyer would not have bought it, or not at that price, if he had been aware of it. In addition, the defect must have been non-apparent at the time of acquisition. In other words, it should not be able to be detected by the purchaser during the sale by conducting basic checks of the house, with vigilance.
And it is not the clause in all deeds of sale that the seller can not be held responsible for vices he ignores that protects you against this type of action. This mention has no effect on the seller who has carried out work. Constantly, the court of cassation considers that the person who renovated perfectly knows the vices affecting the work.
If the purchaser seizes the justice for hidden defect, he has the choice between two types of procedure:

  • request a cancellation of the sale by engaging a so-called crippling action;
  • or a price decrease with an "estimated action".
In both cases, from the moment he has discovered the defect, he has two years to go to court.

Deco work excluded

The seller-handyman does not risk anything for maintenance work, landscaping, decoration. The purchaser can not claim any compensation for the poorly laid wallpaper that is peeling off, the poor quality paint flaking off, the strips of plasterboard that appear.

Take all precautions to do renovation work

For the renovations do not improvise. Surround yourself with tips from professionals, including DIY hardware vendors. And respect the instructions for implementing the products and materials used in the installation instructions or instructions for use.


Video Instruction: 5 DIY Kitchen Remodel Projects to Sell Your Home