Question Details

Dave, Home Seller in North Carolina

Can a buyer pull out at walk through over dead plants outside the home?

Asked by Dave, North Carolina Sun Aug 19, 2007

We had planted a large amount of shrubs (~200) on hillsides on our property when we put our house on the market, and due to a horrible drought, we've lost a number of them. We've already been through inspection (which went well) but could the buyer show up at walk through and back out over a landscaping issue?

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The right thing to do would be to get an estimate from the landscaper who planted the shrubs, or if you planted them yourself, the person you bought them from (they may cut you a break on the replacement plants). Give the estimate to your realtor so that they can let the buyers realtor know that you will either replace these plants before move-in or give them a credit at the table in the amount of the estimate. It would be better to discuss this before the final walk through, which is usually right before closing. That way everything can get ironed out early.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 19, 2007
Dave,
I am assuming the drought is well known in your area, is that correct?
Do you normally have adequate rainfall or do you have a water system set up for your plants?
Here is one way to look at it: If everyone in your area is experiencing the same situation, then the buyers may be aware, and would certainly understand if normally there is no need to extra irrigation, so you do not have a system set up to do it.

It is not as though once you opened escrow you decided to stop watering the plants to save money, right?
So, in concert with the other advice you've received so far, discuss the situation with your Realtor, who, I would think, have some suggestions. Preventing surprises for buyers is ALWAYS a good idea.

Best of luck to you.
Keith
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 19, 2007
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
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Dave....
I would concur with the previous commnets. Best thing would be to address this with the Buyer via their agent to make sure there is no misunderstanding whan it closes. In California, we all understand water conservation. Good luck to you.
Web Reference: http://pamiwnterbauer.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 19, 2007
Pam Winterba…, Real Estate Pro in San Ramon, CA
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Dave,
Paul is absolutely right. If the problem occurred after inspection, I recommend you contact the buyers agent and apprise them of the situation as soon as possible. Also do this even if the condition was present at inspection, because it MAY have been overlooked by the inspector and/or the buyer if he/she was not present for said inspection. At worst, you may be required to replace the dead/dying shrubs or provide a credit to the buyer for such. Better to solve this now. If you wait and find out later that it is an issue, your closing may be delayed. Best of luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 19, 2007
I agree with Paul, it depends on the condition of the property when they performed the inspection and the subsequent negotiation.

Although I do understand the Draught situation as I am in the northern part of Marin in California. The water district has imposed a draught policy, although not as extended as it was when there was a severe drought, but I am seeing browing lawns, both in my own backyard and my neighbor's frontyard and other places.

If this happened after the inspection period, and you don't want your buyers to walk away, you might want to explain the situation to the buyers as this is not what you nor they can do, but perhaps negotiate some credit back so they can plant drought resisitent plants, which will be better in the long run anyway.

Best,
Sylvia .
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 19, 2007
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Novato, CA
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The buyer most likely would have to provide you with the opportunity to restore the property to the condition that it was in when the purchase agreement was executed. Different localities might have varying views on what constitutes a material matter in this regard, so check with a local Real Estate attorney if you have questions regarding your contract. The biggest question I have is whether the landscape was in the same condition at the time of the inspection. If it is something that occured subsequent to the inspection, it could be a problem. If the property was in the same condition at the time of the inspection, I don't see how the buyer has any recourse. Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 19, 2007
I would be up front with the buyer and not wait until the final walk through. Be prepared to offer a credit back if asked.
Web Reference: http://www.cindihagley.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 19, 2007
The Hagley G…, Real Estate Pro in Pleasanton, CA
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Generally, by the time you get to the walk-thru, the buyer is committed to finalizing the deal and not very likely to back out. You should be prepared to offer a credit at closing for the number of shrubs that have died since the buyer put in their offer. Sellers are expected to keep the property maintained in the condition it was when the buyer put in a contract to purchase. So, could they back out? They could try to, but what they really are doing is looking for remediation in the form of money back.
Web Reference: http://www.dianeglander.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Aug 19, 2007
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