How To Handle A Seller Who Does Not Complete Repairs

neighbor peering over fence

Buyer requests repairs. Seller doesn’t do all the repairs. Closing is in a few days. What to do?

I recently reviewed a file that had just this situation. The buyer’s agent created a second repair addendum reiterating the repairs still to be done. Not the right thing at all.

Addenda are intended to modify the terms of a contract. In this contract, the buyer already agreed to make the repairs. He just didn’t do it. Creating a second obligation only increases the chances of an ambiguity and an arbitrator who will have to decide which document applies.

Instead, the buyer’s agent needs to have a conversation with the buyer. What if the repairs are not made before the closing date? Should the buyer hold up closing? Terminate the contract and seek her damages? Close anyway and pursue the seller?

Any of those things. The question is really, what will create the least amount of damage to the buyer. If the loan lock is about to expire, close the transaction and pursue the seller. If the buyer is feeling wishy-washy about the property, terminate and pursue earnest money and costs. If the buyer has time and doesn’t need to move, force the seller to make the repairs. You might need my help for that one.

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