What if there’s new damage to a home during a final walkthrough?

On Behalf of | May 22, 2024 | Residential Real Estate

Many buyers think of real estate transactions as done deals once a seller accepts an offer. They believe that all they need to do is wait until their closing date and then their possession date. However, there are countless things that can go wrong between when the seller accepts the offer on the property and when everyone finally signs the documents.

In some cases, there could be challenges with the financing for the transaction. Other times, there might be concerns about the property itself. Appraisals and inspections could uncover details that give buyers cold feet and lead to a canceled transaction. Other times, it is the final walkthrough right before the closing that uncovers significant damage.

Sellers could damage their home by accident while moving out or out of spite. What can buyers do when they discover surprise damage at a property right before closing?

Renegotiating is an option

Some damage looks disconcerting but is relatively affordable to address. Moving companies might put a hole in the wall or scuff up the paint around the house. Sellers could potentially agree to pay for the repairs now necessary at the property. Other times, the damage may be more extensive. Movers may have damaged vintage woodworking that could cost thousands to replace or which could negatively impact the fair market value of the property. Buyers may need to renegotiate the terms of the transaction with the sellers to account for the damage. They may be able to set a slightly lower price accounting for that damage and the cost to repair it or may include clauses that make the seller responsible for arranging and paying for the necessary repairs.

Buyers may need to cancel the transaction

Some sellers simply refuse to take accountability for the damage they caused when vacating a property. In that challenging scenario, buyers may have two options available. They could accept the damage without any compensation, or they could seek to cancel the transaction. Walking away from a real estate transaction can be frustrating, and it could also potentially be expensive. Buyers who do not have protective contingencies in their contracts could be at risk of serious financial setbacks, including the loss of their earnest money, if they cancel the closing.

It is important to have the right support when negotiating a purchase agreement for a property and when dealing with a surprise issue, such as damage to a property after negotiating an offer. Walking away from a real estate transaction or negotiating with a seller before closing can be a very stressful experience. Buyers often require assistance when a real estate transaction suddenly becomes more complex than they initially expected it to be.