Imagine buying a product from a store, taking it home, and then discovering there’s a problem with it. Disappointing, yes, but not a catastrophe. You can simply take it back for repair or exchange. But, what if it’s possession day, and you discover
there’s a problem with your new home? Then what? And aren’t real estate agents hired to prevent any and all problems (wink)?
The vast majority of the time, buyer and seller have good intentions and are acting in good faith throughout the life of a real estate transaction. But misunderstandings are common. One lawyer told me of a homeowner who asked if they could take the plants. The lawyer said ‘of course,’ assuming they meant a potted plant sitting on the kitchen table. The homeowner intended something entirely different and dug up the shrubs in the front yard and yes, took them when they moved.
Understandably, the buyer wasn’t impressed.
99% of problems can be solved with improved communication. The other 1% is probably something the agent can’t solve on his own. (Hey, we’re good, but even a superhero has limited powers.)
So, what are the most common problems encountered on possession day?
- A delay in getting the keys. (Please don’t schedule your moving truck for the exact minute of closing.)
- The seller (or his tenants!) not having completely moved out. (Pre-close walkthroughs can help with this.)
- An item expected to be included with the home is missing. (Exhibit A: see above.)
- Something needs repair that was not disclosed by the seller, or it literally stopped working right before closing day. (Appliances notoriously stop working after the home inspection. It’s just what they do.)
- Damage to the property caused by the seller. (For example, a heavy item dropped during the move and cracking a floor tile.
- Miscellaneous items left behind by the previous homeowner. (Such as a rogue motorcycle. No, I’m not kidding.)
Fortunately, these are not super common events, and a lot can be done at time of offer to prevent unforeseen hassles. Spend as much time as you need when writing an offer with your real estate agent. It’s not just about getting the best price… there are lots of moving parts when drafting terms and conditions! Once the paperwork is signed, it can be very tough to go back and make amends later.
That said, in most cases, you can expect minimal or no issues when you move into your new home.
But, if something is wrong, you have options. So, call us immediately. In all likelihood, I will be able to quickly resolve the issue. If it’s a serious matter, such as missing items, I may get your real estate lawyer involved to arrange for the return of the item(s) or compensation. So don’t worry. Let the professionals handle it.