“We’re negotiating to buy a home and the seller is supposed to do a list of repairs before we close. How do I know they’ll do the work or if it will be done well?”
Assuming you have it in writing that the seller will do the work, if they don’t, then they’d be in violation of the contract. Your recourse would be to not close until they do the work or to sue the seller after closing.
As far as quality, the work must be done in a “workmanlike” manner. But there’s a big gap between the loose guideline of “workmanlike” and it being done well.
The best way to protect yourself is to say the sale is contingent on your approval of the completed work.
However, that gives you quite a bit of power and the seller won’t agree to that if they or their agent are smart.
It’s for precisely this reason that we advise our clients to take credits over work.
However if that’s not feasible here, you need to weigh the risk of:
- Losing the home if you insist on it being contingent on your approval of their work
- The work being mediocre if you agree without that contingency
It’s your call.
NOTE: Yours is really a legal question, so I recommend you consult with an attorney.