Home Buying in 30047>Question Details

J. Wagner, Home Buyer in Georgia

I purchased a home and several items on our contract weren't done, what re-course do I have against the seller

Asked by J. Wagner, Georgia Tue May 6, 2008

The house was not cleaned by a professional company as the contract stated, nor were the carpets cleaned. Several items were removed from the home that were supposed to stay. We brought these things up at the closing as we did a walk through the day before, and were given assurances and the number of the service that was supposed to do the cleaning. As for the items, taked I was wondering if that would be considered theft, since all items should have stayed with the home per the signed contract.

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Answers

12
Talk to you agent for some remedies, if not contact an attorney that specializes in real estate law.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 6, 2008
Your contract is your guide and you were entitled to complete fulfillment of all of the terms. Your recourse to resolve this with no expense is greatly limited now that you have settled. All of these items should have been taken care of before you signed on the dotted line. If you have access to the Sellers, contact them directly. And a follow up call to your agent would be appropriate as well.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 6, 2008
yes, they may have signed a legal contract, and the seller may have legal obligations, but enforcing those legal obligations may be difficult, time-consuming and costly, and effectively end up unsuccessful.

Sometimes, being in the right, can be exhausting, and expensive. Only you can decide if you're willing to pursue the seller, for the cleaning and missing items. You may be legally in the right, and still not regain those items.

Josh's notion that a "good realtor" with "good contracts" could have saved you this problem is cute. A good realtor would have suggested what I suggested... 1) don't close without those issues resolved, or 2) have them set-aside an escrow account with enough money to make you whole.

At this stage, you're tilting at windmills, even though you're in the right. I know it's not the answer you wanted to hear.

Sorry.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 6, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in 60201
MVP'08
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J.

Usually you get better answers than this!!! Jason was right.

I like Karsten's answer as well.

Although your leverage is gone to encourage the seller to do what is right. You lost that when you closed. However, the seller DID sign a contract. Depending on your situation you could take the seller to small claims court or if it warrants hiring an attorney then do so!

I have a few clients that have gone through this and come out successful!

As a Realtor I know how frustrating it can be to have everyone just push the closing through. The truth is, that if you have a good Realtor and use good contracts, then you still have legal obligations that survive the closing. Assuming you didn't sign anything that said anything counter to that.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 6, 2008
Joshua Jarvis, Real Estate Pro in Duluth, GA
MVP'08
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Hello J...

Yeah, unfortunately, the below answers are all accurate. As much as I hate to say. For the dollar amounts of what you're out, it's not going to be worth your time, unless the items they took had some pretty good values, like a refrigerator or such. Hopefully you had an agent working on your behalf - let them figure it out. They shouldn't have let you close. If you didn't have an agent on your side, then I would recommend in the future you do - a good agent usually keeps things like this from happening. Also, let your agent and the other agent know you're going to pursue some kind of recourse. Us agents are very typically left on the hook for many items.

If you'd like the name of a good real estate attorney, let me know. I have one I really like.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 6, 2008
J,
It appears there were many loose items involved in this deal....too many of them to close without a clear means of resolution.
Our recommendation is that you consult an attorney for a review of the contract, closing process, and a recommendation.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 17, 2008
Why did you close if things weren't squared away? You could have delayed closing, set a sum in escrow to cover the incomplete work/missing items or just settled for a lump sum credit at closing - your agent did a lousy job of watching your back - my guess is that you're out of luck.

Hank
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 17, 2008
As I am not an attorney and I am not qualified to give legal advice. You should contact your Realtor to attempt to resolve the matter with the seller and the Listing Agent. If you are unsuccessful you can let them all know you are going to seek legal counsel on the matter. You may or may not decide to contact a real estate attorney to see what your legal rights are and worst case scenario a letter from a attorney can sometimes motivate people. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 6, 2008
Since your contract for the purchase is really a document that carries you up until closing, all of the issues needed to be resolved prior to signing your closing papers. Since I guess they weren't, you'll have to try and work it out through your Realtor and the Sellers. If that fails you can try to take them to court, but the time to do anything was prior to your closing. Sorry, I know that isn't what you want to hear.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 6, 2008
J,

If all of the facts have been accurately presented, all of the previous responses are basically correct. The advice is also correct - the closing should have been postponed or a reasonable amount of monies should have been held. I would difer somewhat and say that the closing attorney (who I would assume you or your agent selected), as well as your agent, should have advised you of the above options.

With that said, if the sellers are still in the local area, just as a matter of principle, I would pursue them in small claims court. If the sellers have relocated out of the state, I would treat it as a bought lesson. If in what would be a rare case - hopefully - your agent and/or attorney advised you to go ahead and close, I would have a discussion with them concerning your monetary loses and compensation.

Either way, it will cost you additional monies. Good luck and next time, pick a different Realtor and attorney.

Dave G.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 6, 2008
you gave up the "leverage" you had by "closing". The purpose of the walk-through is to identify problems like these. When you do find issues like this, you then refuse to close, or you have them set aside enough money at the closing to fix the problems (ie: you might have had them set aside $300.00 for a professional cleaning crew, $200.000 to have the carpet cleaned and $500.00 for the missing items. If the items were not completed & returned within 72 hours, the seller forfeits the $1,000.00 and you now have money to take care of these things yourself.)

By closing without a set-aside, and without having those issues resolved, you've given up your biggest and best bargaining chip, and while I would allow your attorney to continue to complain and harass them by mail, you should understand that the likelihood of a good resolution, unless the seller decides to be a nice guy, is small.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 6, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in 60201
MVP'08
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Jason, Are you kidding me?

JWagner, If you have closed escrow, there is probably little recourse. You should have had an amount held back from the sellers at closing and placed in an escrow account until the missing items reappeared. This is a civil issue, not a criminal one. Don't waste your time pursuing claims that will get you no where. Where was your agent in all this? Ask him to follow up with the cleaning company or hire another one on your behalf.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 6, 2008
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