What happens if the seller trashes the house after closing?

On Behalf of | Sep 30, 2021 | Residential Real Estate

Buying residential real estate in New York means taking calculated risks. You will likely need a mortgage, and being able to repay that debt means you need to remain continually employed for decades, in most cases.

Your property could also lose value. It can be hard to predict how a neighborhood might change over a few years, meaning that a home that is currently in a nice family neighborhood could eventually be in an undesirable area due to changes nearby. Another possibility is that you will buy a home in one condition and take possession of a home in a very different state.

Unfortunately, some sellers will damage what used to be their own home when they move out by accident. Others might even cause intentional damage to the property out of spite. What happens to you when the house isn’t in the right condition when you take possession?

There could be insurance that will cover the issue

If there are holes in the drywall or broken windows as the result of accidents while the seller moved out, the insurance for their moving company might cover the costs you incur to repair things. If there were no professionals involved, then you may need to reach out to the seller or their real estate agent.

Sometimes, their agent may be in a position to compensate you or handle the repairs. They can also potentially pass along a message to the seller regarding the damage. Their agent might be able to encourage them to make repairs or compensate you for the damage.

However, sometimes you will have no choice but to take civil action against a seller when they leave a property in worse condition than it was in when you made your offer or inspected it prior to closing.

Closing and inspection paperwork can help your claim

It is not always easy to prove that a seller damaged your new home. Thankfully, inspections and disclosures from your recent transaction can help you show what condition the property should have been in at the time of possession. Your own documentation, like photographs or estimates from repair professionals, can help prove the condition of the property at the time you took possession.

With the right evidence, you may be able to ask the courts to have the seller repay you for the damages or to cover the costs directly if you have delayed making them during your claim. Understanding when you may have to litigate a residential real estate issue can help you be proactive enough in responding to a dispute.