Termite Report Stalls Close of Escrow | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 25 October 2012 14:30

By Phil Hunt

Special to the Times

Q: We have been in escrow for about three months, trying to purchase a home. The termite report calls for $20,000 in work for a clearance. We are thinking that he is not doing the work because our offer is below asking price and he accepted before anyone knew the amount of work. He may be thinking of getting out of our deal and trying to sell it to another buyer at a higher price to help offset the work required. How can we make the owner do the work and close escrow with us?

A: I am not an attorney and I can not give legal advice. You should contact an attorney for legal advice. If I were your agent, however, here is what I would advise you to do:

Send the seller a notice to perform. This is a notice, usually sent from the seller to the buyer because buyers are usually the parties who do not get business done according to the time frames within the Purchase Agreement.

But, in your case, I am presuming that the termite clearance was called for in the Purchase Agreement with the seller to do the clearance.

If not, then you are the ones to do the clearance and you would be the ones who are holding up the closing.

Once the time frames within the Purchase Agreement have been missed by either party, the damaged party can send a “notice to perform” to the delinquent party, giving the delinquent party 72 hours to correct the missed time frame and proceed to close escrow.

If the delinquent party does not respond to the notice, the offended party can withdraw from the Purchase Agreement, under the guidance of their attorney.

There are legal steps that must be taken to assure the offended party that the deal is legally dead and that both parties are free to move on to other deals.

There could be damages to the offended party; an attorney can advise you as to your legal rights to try to collect damages for specific performance of the contract. Sometimes, it pays to have your agent reopen negotiations with the other party to try to solve issues that develop.

If you really are set on this property, maybe an increase in price may work. Sometimes, the path of least resistance is the best path to take.

Most people do not have the time or the money to become involved in a long, drawn-out court battle over the purchase of a house when there are other properties for sale right now. It may be to your advantage to end the deal, get your deposit back and let the seller keep the property.

Another option is to do nothing, just wait for the seller to do what the contract calls for; however, be sure it is not your responsibility to do the work.

Your real estate agent can give you guidance; but, if it takes legal action, contact an attorney. Good luck.

Phil Hunt is a real estate broker in Castro Valley. Fax questions to 583-5480.



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