Question Details

Doug, Home Buyer in Walnut Creek, CA

Final Walkthrough Potential Problem

Asked by Doug, Walnut Creek, CA Tue Mar 25, 2008

Let's say at the final walkthrough I see that a repair that was supposed to be fixed has not been fixed, and the seller refuses to fix it or credit back, what are my options?

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Doug, did you have a signed addendum that the seller signed stating they would cover the repair? If so that is part of the contract. You certainly have reason to stand firm. Now if you asked the seller to make the repair and you are not happy with the way they did it...that could be different. I always warn buyers when you are having sellers make repairs how they do it is in their discretion, not necessarily yours. I also like to see the receipts from the sellers proving the repair was actually done.

One of your options is tell the seller you aren't going to close. Another option as another agent said, is have the seller put money into escrow with the title company so that you can have the problem fixed after closing. It is always better to have things corrected before going to the closing. That is my best suggestion. Going ahead and fixing the problem after usually is a biggger headache than if it was dealt with before signing at the closing.

I once had an issue and my buyers decided to close. Even though there was a problem that was supposed to be dealt with after closing, the sellers said "sorry, not our problem anymore. We don't own the house." It all worked out, but it got very ugly to the point attorneys getting involved would have been the next step.

Is this a very minor repair or major? If it is like clean the gutters I would say just close if you are comfortable with that..it is minor, if it is replace the roof don't sign anything until it is taken care of!

I hope this information helps! Best Wishes to you!
Web Reference: http://www.gomelinda.com/
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
If it is a buyers market, you can always call the sellers bliff and not close. You have to decide if this item is worth walking away from this home.
If the market in your area is similar to the rest of the country, the seller would be foolish to walk away from the sale.
Another suggestion is to find out the real reason why they will not take care of it. It may just be a $ factor and it cannot be done.
Good luck!!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
If you need to close because you sold your other home or given up your rental you could ask for the seller to escrow the estimated repair cost at the closing to be held by an attorney. Some times attorneys will ask for more than the estimated cost as an incentive to the party to get the job done.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
If the seller agreed to fix the problem by signing a document, you can ask to postpone the closing untill he has done the repairs. By signing the amendment to the contract he commits in taking care of whatever is agreed on. By not taking care of the problem he is in breach of the contract. Of course if all this was agreed on verbally, there is probably not much you can do.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
"as long you didn't sign the closing documents, you can postpone the closing."

This goes back to the issue of whether the seller agrees to make the repairs. I'm sure the seller's agent would encourage them to make the repair, but they may refuse saying that their contractor thinks it's not necessary. And then I'm between a rock in a hard place because if I don't close I lose the deposit, and if I do close, I have to sue to get the repairs paid by the seller.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
I understand that this is a stressing situation for you and I tell you that I have been through some stressfull ones myself with my clients. But the fact is, as long you didn't sign the closing documents, you can postpone the closing. I would rely on my realtor since she knows the situation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
"what is your realtor advising?"

My agent is saying that if the problem happens, we'll deal with it at that point.

"you have all the right to know what exactly is the problem BEFORE you close on the property."

The problem is that if I know the problem a day before closing, is that really enough time? I'd rather know a week before closing so it can be sorted out properly rather than rushing through everything.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
Doug, what is your realtor advising? Anyway, you have all the right to know what exactly is the problem BEFORE you close on the property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
Thanks for the replies everyone. The situation is that a repair which they agreed to was not done because their contractor said it's not necessary. This is a minor structural issue and I want to bring in a neutral contractor to confirm this, but they won't let anyone in until the final walkthrough, which is a couple of business days before closing. (Seller is moving out and does not want to be disturbed while moving.) I really don't feel comfortable waiting so long to find out about this but I guess this is how it's normally done, right?

According to the escrow people, if they refuse to fix I can walk away but would lose the deposit. So it seems like no matter what I have to go through with the purchase and sue afterwards. However, most likely it won't need to be fixed (according to their person), and if it does, they'll address it fairly by fixing or crediting back. I tend to assume the worst with things and just hate waiting so long to find out what is going on.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
Doug,
Magda is correct. So what you have is a choice. You are both bound by the contract and the repair was an amendment to that contract. So you actually could walk away and get your money back. It is a hard question that is put on you. I would suggest consulting your agent and if need be an attorney. At any rate I would postpone the closing since if you close you accept it as is.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 25, 2008
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