Can a seller change the selling price on a house after a repair addendum has been signed?

Asked by MattW, La Vista, NE Sat Jun 9, 2012

My wife and I found a house for sale for 132,000. We have done the purchase agreement and did an addendum to have some issues fixed in the house (fuse box and the roof). The seller signed the addendum and had the roof repaired. Now he is trying to change the price on the house to recoup the costs of the repair. Since the addendum was that we would pay the price of the purchase agreement contigent on the repairs being done, can he legally or even more importantly ethically change the price? My concern now is that we spent money doing a home inspection and the seller now is going to profit off of it and we have no way to recoup that money spent. Even our RA is not sure what do to do with this as he has never seen anyone try it before. Any advice or help would be appreciated.

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Dennis Thomas, Agent, Omaha, NE
Sat Jun 9, 2012
If the addendum was signed and accepted by both parties, then that would be the agreed upon terms of sale. Best to contact your agents manager for a discussion with the seller and listing agent. They can advise if you need to review with an attorney to confirm details.
1 vote
Thanks Dennis for the quick response. My real estate agent was absolutely floored when the selling agent told him this. He has been doing this for 20 years and has never once ever seen someone try this before. I even looked online and have yet to find anyone discussing a seller try this before.
Flag Sat Jun 9, 2012
MattW, Home Buyer, La Vista, NE
Sat Jun 9, 2012
Just an update.
We did the home inspection on Friday. We had sent the addendum Friday afternoon to the seller. He took a copy of the addendum and then went and began doing the work on the house without ever signing the addendum. So legally, I guess there isn't anything I can do on that. However, from what my agent just told me, the seller's broker actually is about to drop the guy as a client because of the ethical implications.
But at the end of the day, I just got screwed because I essentially just paid for this guy's home inspection and I'm not getting anything out of this other than the aggravation of having to find and go through the process all over again for another house.

Thanks everyone for your quick response. If you have any suggestions I am all ears.
0 votes
Not all is lost Matt. You paid for that home inspection and legally it is yours. Not the home seller, his agent, or the company that did the inspection. The party that paid for the inspection owns the inspection report. If the next potential buyer wants to see the report, you can sell it to him. Now that the home owner is aware of any problems the inspection uncovered he/she must disclose it. Consider yourself fortunate because that house just wasn't meant to be your 'home.' Your cup is half full my friend.
Susan Steinacher-Real Estate Associates
Flag Sun Jun 10, 2012
Billie Atkin…, Agent, Omaha, NE
Sat Jun 9, 2012
No he can't change the contract without your approval since he signed off on a price and repairs as
part of the deal. Have your agent elevate this to their broker/manager. You have a contract all parties must honor. A real estate attorney can assist but sometimes just the threat of legal action is enough to put a deal back on tract.
0 votes
Angela May's…, Agent, Omaha, NE
Sat Jun 9, 2012
Hi Matt,

To clarify, the sellers had already signed/agreed to the purchase agreement and signed/agreed to all requested repairs?

If so, legally, the seller cannot just change the price without all parties agreeing and signing off on it. If he wanted to recoup any monies for repairs he would've needed to counter your inspection addendum stating he'd make all requested repairs and the purchase price (or closing costs) would be adjusted to "X" amount of dollars.

Based on the information you provided above, if he's doing this after-the-fact and you choose not to sign off on it, he would not be able to legally walk away from the transaction without breaching the contract (unless there was another hurdle such as it didin't appraise out, etc.).

Good luck with everything!
~Angela May, Realtor
0 votes
Fred Collins, , Omaha, NE
Sat Jun 9, 2012
If you agreed to the repairs being done and remove the contingency from the inspection, he has to sell you the house unless you fail to comply with other parts of the contract. I would talk to the agent's broker about it. Legally, he can't change the price without you agreeing. If they agreed in writing that the roof and fuse box had to be repaired at 132k, it has to be repaired for the sale to be completed. You may want to consult some legal advice as well if they will not be cooperative. What Dennis mentioned is very much correct.
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