Real Estate buyers, was the property a mess on your walkthrough? Here’s what we can do.
Imagine yourself on closing day.
You’re nervous. You’re excited. You’re going on 2 hours of sleep.
After all, you’re about to make the largest investment of your lifetime.
You meet your agent at the house for your walkthrough, planning to do a little mental decorating before the closing. You’ve even been watching lots of HGTV in preparation for this moment.
You unlock the front door to your new house, and… your jaw drops. You see nothing but stuff. And it’s everywhere. Furniture, toys, dirt, trash. There’s even a dirty fish tank. The place is a total disaster. Where’s the seller? Has he moved to Argentina? No cleaning service, no moving truck in sight.
You feel like screaming.
You’re closing in 2 hours! You need answers, but no one’s talking. It’s time to call your attorney.
People, this isn’t an exaggeration. Despite warnings from their agent and attorney, sellers will leave their properties in poor condition on closing day, and it happens all.. the… time.
BROOM CLEAN CONDITION – IT’S IN THE CONTRACT
IN most residential real estate transactions, the contract provides that you shall receive possession of the house, at closing, in broom clean condition. If it’s not in the contract, we’ll put it there in attorney review. Sometimes this clause doesn’t make it from the contract to the sellers’ brain. Or, if the sellers are aware, maybe they chose to ignore it. Maybe they just don’t care.
So, when we are moments away from closing, exactly what can be done about this?
The answer is, plenty. Just don’t panic. We’re used to this. We’ve got your back. As soon as you let us know what happened, we’ll get to work on a solution.
Let’s diagnose the problem. What’s the extent of the mess? Are the sellers on the beach in the Bahamas, or are they working on it? If we need do it ourselves, how much will it cost for us to get the stuff out of the house and to put the house in broom clean condition? How can we make you, the buyer, whole?
THE SOLUTION: A CREDIT OR ESCROW
Once we determine our possible damages, we’ll talk to sellers’ attorney. Generally, we’ll demand a credit at closing which would be enough to hire a cleaning service and movers to extract the stuff from the property. If the sellers can convince us that they just need time we might ask for a smaller credit for the inconvenience and escrow enough funds to ensure the sellers will comply within a finite amount of time, or face penalties. We’ll type up an escrow agreement at the closing table.
Bottom line – we’ll do what is necessary to protect you, or we won’t close.
This is going to sound cliche, but when it comes to real estate, we have to expect the unexpected. We’re always prepared to negotiate when necessary. Sometimes things can get heated when one party doesn’t live up to his/her contractual duty. And this is also why you need an experienced real estate attorney sitting next to you at the closing table.
Peter L Berk, Partner, O’Keefe, Rivera & Berk, LLC