Seller breach of contract on home. I need advice.

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Bcoleman7506
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Seller breach of contract on home. I need advice.

Post by Bcoleman7506 »

Went into a contract with a seller of a home. We asked for grounding of upstairs electric as it is only a two prong electrical system. Sellers agreed and signed contract.

Upon follow up inspection the sellers did not ground the electric upstairs. They then tried to pass off running a ground wire from a GFCI plug, which we had a master electrician go out and came back saying that does not ground the wire properly.

The sellers are now saying they plan to breach the contract and not go through with sale. What would you recommend I do here? I want the home, but if I buy it, I would have to install approx ~$3,500 worth of electrical work that the sellers are refusing to do, even though they signed the contract stating they would. Need advise.
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TheTimeLord
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by TheTimeLord »

Sounds like but not clear if the agreement to do the electrical was verbal and not part of the actual contract. If you want the house consider asking for a discount on the price that would cover the work then you will be able to supervise. If I was the seller I would prefer to do that instead of worry about if a buyer approved of the work or not.
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7eight9
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by 7eight9 »

If you want to force the sale the key words are specific performance (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_performance). You will likely need to hire an attorney.
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stan1
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by stan1 »

I would offer a reasonable lower price and take care of the work myself after close. Yes it might cost more than you expect but under pressure of closing the sale the seller is going to go for the cheapest, most minimal solution possible to check the box as done.

So I'd counter with a $3500 adjustment to start, you might settle for $2000 or $1500 if you want the house. Most sellers will go along with this to keep the sale on track to close. It can be expensive to put a house back on the market, especially right now with a lot of market uncertainty in most places.
vtjon02
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by vtjon02 »

7eight9 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:21 pm If you want to force the sale the key words are specific performance (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_performance). You will likely need to hire an attorney.
Good luck, there are way too many ways for both buyers and sellers to get out of contracts. You will also nearly always not be able to enforce the sale but rather get some kind of monetary compensation.

What makes real estate transactions work is when both parties have a mutual goal, move the property from seller to buyer.

When I sold a home many years ago the buyers were walking all over us and my realtor was useless. Fixed something, then fixed something else, then complaint then complaint then complaint. The realtor kept telling me to accept it, then accept it then give in more. I finally said that I was done making repairs and that no further action would be taken. That they could buy as it was or move on. WE closed a few weeks later. Was very stressful.

From the seller's perspective it may not be worth it to go through with the transaction to keep you happy. I don't know if that is the case but if you want the house try to be reasonable and work with the seller to come to a mutually beneficial solution. If they will give you a concession, great. But you'll have to ask yourself if you want to move on or deal with it. Just make a decision and stick with it.

This isn't about winning the argument and having them honor what they said.
Pete3
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by Pete3 »

Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:12 pm I would have to install approx ~$3,500 worth of electrical work that the sellers are refusing to do
Home sale price? Or more importantly, what % of the sale price does $3500 represent?
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Watty
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by Watty »

Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:12 pm What would you recommend I do here?
There are lots of things you can do to pay hardball that might be justified but in addition to paying for things like lawyers fees the seller will also likely bad mouth you to your new neighbors and you may find that even before you move in you are known in the neighborhood as the person who treated the prior owner badly.

In retrospect it would have been better to have asked for a discount instead of asking for them to fix the wiring. You could have then had the work done yourself. I suspect that the seller thought it would only cost a few hundred dollars which is why they agreed to it.

A lot of it depends on what you have in writing, how expensive the house is, and if you have two real estate agents involved. If the house is worth lot and there are two real estate agents involved and you push hard the real estate agents may accept a reduced commission to get the deal to close. If both you, the seller, and each of the real estate agents give up a bit it would not be too bad for anyone.

If everything was in writing you could just offer to walk away from the deal if the seller pays all your expenses that you have already paid for things like the inspection, appraisal, etc. That would leave it in the sellers ballpark and they might decide that it is less expensive to fix the wiring.

One issue for the seller is that until your contract is resolved the seller will have a hard time selling the house. That would push their ability to sell the house back to at least the planned closing date even if you just decline to modify the contract.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by adamthesmythe »

What exactly did they agree to do?

Apparently the buyers did a quick and dirty repair. They think you are in breach by not going through with the purchase after doing the repair. You don't find the repair satisfactory and refuse to purchase in the present condition.

If the agreement to repair was very specific you may have grounds for a specific performance suit. I read that such suits are time-consuming, expensive, and not always effective.

Your best option is to reach some sort of agreement, recognizing that you will not be very happy with it.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by ResearchMed »

Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:12 pm Went into a contract with a seller of a home. We asked for grounding of upstairs electric as it is only a two prong electrical system. Sellers agreed and signed contract.

Upon follow up inspection the sellers did not ground the electric upstairs. They then tried to pass off running a ground wire from a GFCI plug, which we had a master electrician go out and came back saying that does not ground the wire properly.

The sellers are now saying they plan to breach the contract and not go through with sale. What would you recommend I do here? I want the home, but if I buy it, I would have to install approx ~$3,500 worth of electrical work that the sellers are refusing to do, even though they signed the contract stating they would. Need advise.
Are the sellers stating that they plan to breach the contract, period, or that they plan to breach the contract and not sell IF you continue about the electrical/~$3,500 issue?

And yes, what percent of purchase price is $3,500? Yes, it's also the principle (and not simply the principal), but if you *really* want the house... think back to the negotiations. Would you have offered a few thousand more if you knew that's what it would take to get the house you really want?

And next time, IF there is something that you want fixed, seriously consider adjusting the purchase price and doing the work after closing. You want that work done "right" more than the sellers do, etc.
Or in some cases, once one is working on X, they decide to add a little y as long as the <whatever> is being worked on, for not much more money at all. Or to do it "better" once one thinks about it more.
(But try to avoid handling it this way if fixing X might *require* fixing y, too, although one doesn't always know such things in advance, unfortunately.)

RM
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WildBill
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by WildBill »

Howdy

I may be misunderstanding, and reading details in, but in reading your description of the repair I suspect with the use of GFCI plugs the repair likely brings the wiring up to current code.

If that is the case, and if you did not specify a specific type of repair my thought is that the seller has done his job. Better to spend a bit more time figuring this out before you jump into accusations of breach of contract.

If buyer and seller both want to do a deal you will find your way to an agreement.


Good luck

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid
Topic Author
Bcoleman7506
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by Bcoleman7506 »

WildBill wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:09 pm Howdy

I may be misunderstanding, and reading details in, but in reading your description of the repair I suspect with the use of GFCI plugs the repair likely brings the wiring up to current code.

If that is the case, and if you did not specify a specific type of repair my thought is that the seller has done his job. Better to spend a bit more time figuring this out before you jump into accusations of breach of contract.

If buyer and seller both want to do a deal you will find your way to an agreement.


Good luck

W B

Thanks for all the replies. We specifically stated in the contract “ground upstairs wiring.” Not “bring upstairs electrical to code.” What they did was exactly that though, they brought it up to code yesterday but did not ground it.

The purchase price was $290,000, it appraised at $306k so I’m not trying to be an a-hole but at the same time, I’m the type of person who believes if you sign your name on the dotted line, you do the work.

I think we’re going to concede that they just run a dedicated 3 prong receptacle upstairs and be done with it. It just angers me quite a bit, and there’s a very long backstory. They’ve consistently weaseled out of things, and also listed the home 400 square ft over what the appraisal came back with (20% of the home).

It is an investment property so we played hard ball throughout the process. We got $10k off the initial asking price, quite a few repairs, and some extra cash for more repairs. I think we’ve done well so I think pushing it at this point may be unnecessary. Just was curious what the consensus was with some unbiased opinions.
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Bcoleman7506
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by Bcoleman7506 »

And I guess before anyone says, “you should have checked the sq footage yourself,” we did inquire and they sent me back a signed appraisal with the listed sq footage. The home was built in the 1920s so there was some disagreement on using ANSI measurements on a home that old. I guess in all reality, since we have that appraisal now, we can use it ourselves when the time comes.
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Bcoleman7506
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by Bcoleman7506 »

ResearchMed wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:01 pm
Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:12 pm Went into a contract with a seller of a home. We asked for grounding of upstairs electric as it is only a two prong electrical system. Sellers agreed and signed contract.

Upon follow up inspection the sellers did not ground the electric upstairs. They then tried to pass off running a ground wire from a GFCI plug, which we had a master electrician go out and came back saying that does not ground the wire properly.

The sellers are now saying they plan to breach the contract and not go through with sale. What would you recommend I do here? I want the home, but if I buy it, I would have to install approx ~$3,500 worth of electrical work that the sellers are refusing to do, even though they signed the contract stating they would. Need advise.
Are the sellers stating that they plan to breach the contract, period, or that they plan to breach the contract and not sell IF you continue about the electrical/~$3,500 issue?

And yes, what percent of purchase price is $3,500? Yes, it's also the principle (and not simply the principal), but if you *really* want the house... think back to the negotiations. Would you have offered a few thousand more if you knew that's what it would take to get the house you really want?

And next time, IF there is something that you want fixed, seriously consider adjusting the purchase price and doing the work after closing. You want that work done "right" more than the sellers do, etc.
Or in some cases, once one is working on X, they decide to add a little y as long as the <whatever> is being worked on, for not much more money at all. Or to do it "better" once one thinks about it more.
(But try to avoid handling it this way if fixing X might *require* fixing y, too, although one doesn't always know such things in advance, unfortunately.)

RM

They concede that they messed up. They are willing to breach the contract regardless
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LiveSimple
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by LiveSimple »

There is going to be other things you do need to fix as you move in, let us say the A/C dropped working on the third day of your closing, what are you going to do ? Unless there was an insurance provided.

Home ownership comes with something to fix; so take the home "as is" and move on.

The house was without the earth wire for so long, so it will work for you as well, unless there is a new code.

Many years ago, I ran an earth wire or a third wire to the thermostat, the contracts were making more holes and cavities in the basement wood to run the wire. Really thought did I really needed that third wire, modern thermostats like NEST do need three wires...

Again what % is $3500 to your purchase price. It is a 1% if you home purchase is $350 K
quantAndHold
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by quantAndHold »

What does your realtor say? You have a professional handling things, right?

A seller who’s willing to bail over a $3500 difference either knows they can quickly sell it to someone else, or they’re so sick of trying to deal with a difficult buyer that they’re willing to take the risk of relisting.

I think at this point, either go through with the sale and fix it yourself, or find another place.

Edit...lots of older houses have ungrounded, two prong outlets. Asking for the seller to upgrade them isn’t really a normal part of most real estate transactions.
Last edited by quantAndHold on Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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HomeStretch
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by HomeStretch »

Did the Seller say why they plan to breach the contract?

Did your agent give you any feedback?

If you really want the house and the reason for the breach is something fixable (like you pay less and agree to do the work after closing), then work on compromising to make the close happen.

If the reason is because the Seller can get more money due to market conditions or thinks the cost of the repairs is more than they want to pay, then you might not be able to make the deal happen without making a larger financial concession.

In any case, consider consulting with your real estate agent and/or attorney for expert advice.
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Bcoleman7506
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by Bcoleman7506 »

quantAndHold wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:59 pm What does your realtor say? You have a professional handling things, right?

A seller who’s willing to bail over a $3500 difference either knows they can quickly sell it to someone else, or they’re so sick of trying to deal with a difficult buyer that they’re willing to take the risk of relisting.

I think at this point, either go through with the sale and fix it yourself, or find another place.
Yes I do. She said it’s up to me. Technically they signed a contract so they need to do the work. On the other hand, they’re willing to breach because they think they can sell without the ground wires.
WildBill
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by WildBill »

Howdy
[/
It is an investment property so we played hard ball throughout the process. We got $10k off the initial asking price, quite a few repairs, and some extra cash for more repairs. I think we’ve done well so I think pushing it at this point may be unnecessary. Just was curious what the consensus was with some unbiased opinions.]

My unbiased opinion is that you have pushed the seller past the point where he is willing to go and it is time to close. :twisted:

Happy haggling

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid
quantAndHold
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by quantAndHold »

Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:02 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:59 pm What does your realtor say? You have a professional handling things, right?

A seller who’s willing to bail over a $3500 difference either knows they can quickly sell it to someone else, or they’re so sick of trying to deal with a difficult buyer that they’re willing to take the risk of relisting.

I think at this point, either go through with the sale and fix it yourself, or find another place.
Yes I do. She said it’s up to me. Technically they signed a contract so they need to do the work. On the other hand, they’re willing to breach because they think they can sell without the ground wires.
Lots of old houses still have 2 prong outlets. Grounding outlets is more of an upgrade than a repair, and if a buyer asked me for that kind of work I might agree to it in a buyer’s market, but I would think it was an unusual request.

In my own 1929 house, we eventually had the entire house rewired, but we lived with 2 prong outlets for 20 years, and just dealt with individual outlets when we wanted to plug something into them. I did the GFCI thing on a couple of outlets that were hard to run wires to. The research I did at the time was that it was a safe solution as long as the outlets are properly labeled.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
a_movable_life
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by a_movable_life »

Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:02 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:59 pm What does your realtor say? You have a professional handling things, right?

A seller who’s willing to bail over a $3500 difference either knows they can quickly sell it to someone else, or they’re so sick of trying to deal with a difficult buyer that they’re willing to take the risk of relisting.

I think at this point, either go through with the sale and fix it yourself, or find another place.
Yes I do. She said it’s up to me. Technically they signed a contract so they need to do the work. On the other hand, they’re willing to breach because they think they can sell without the ground wires.
You said you played hardball the whole time and got a ton of concessions already. Maybe their concern is that they fix this, and then what else do you come with that they need to work on.

Maybe they are thinking "We know this place is 15K under market, rates are way down, maybe we take a chance and relist."
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galawdawg
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by galawdawg »

Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:25 pm Thanks for all the replies. We specifically stated in the contract “ground upstairs wiring.” Not “bring upstairs electrical to code.” What they did was exactly that though, they brought it up to code yesterday but did not ground it.

The purchase price was $290,000, it appraised at $306k so I’m not trying to be an a-hole but at the same time, I’m the type of person who believes if you sign your name on the dotted line, you do the work.

I think we’re going to concede that they just run a dedicated 3 prong receptacle upstairs and be done with it. It just angers me quite a bit, and there’s a very long backstory. They’ve consistently weaseled out of things, and also listed the home 400 square ft over what the appraisal came back with (20% of the home).

It is an investment property so we played hard ball throughout the process. We got $10k off the initial asking price, quite a few repairs, and some extra cash for more repairs. I think we’ve done well so I think pushing it at this point may be unnecessary. Just was curious what the consensus was with some unbiased opinions.
Who wrote that addendum or provision in the contract? You or the seller?
The term "ground upstairs wiring" in your contract is vague and a court may not enforce its terms. From a legal perspective, it is unlikely you could force specific performance. Even if you could, the litigation expenses would far outweigh the estimate for the electrical improvements.

So as I see it your options are to renegotiate the price, close without the electrical improvements, or walk away from the deal. In the future, if you are a real estate investor, it might be wise to have an attorney you trust review your contracts and such. A few hundred spent on the front end could save you thousands on the back end.

IANYL.
Carefreeap
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by Carefreeap »

a_movable_life wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:30 pm
Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:02 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:59 pm What does your realtor say? You have a professional handling things, right?

A seller who’s willing to bail over a $3500 difference either knows they can quickly sell it to someone else, or they’re so sick of trying to deal with a difficult buyer that they’re willing to take the risk of relisting.

I think at this point, either go through with the sale and fix it yourself, or find another place.
Yes I do. She said it’s up to me. Technically they signed a contract so they need to do the work. On the other hand, they’re willing to breach because they think they can sell without the ground wires.
You said you played hardball the whole time and got a ton of concessions already. Maybe their concern is that they fix this, and then what else do you come with that they need to work on.

Maybe they are thinking "We know this place is 15K under market, rates are way down, maybe we take a chance and relist."
+1

At some point enough is enough!
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makingmistakes
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by makingmistakes »

a_movable_life wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:30 pm
Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:02 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:59 pm What does your realtor say? You have a professional handling things, right?

A seller who’s willing to bail over a $3500 difference either knows they can quickly sell it to someone else, or they’re so sick of trying to deal with a difficult buyer that they’re willing to take the risk of relisting.

I think at this point, either go through with the sale and fix it yourself, or find another place.
Yes I do. She said it’s up to me. Technically they signed a contract so they need to do the work. On the other hand, they’re willing to breach because they think they can sell without the ground wires.
You said you played hardball the whole time and got a ton of concessions already. Maybe their concern is that they fix this, and then what else do you come with that they need to work on.

Maybe they are thinking "We know this place is 15K under market, rates are way down, maybe we take a chance and relist."
Given what we’ve learned, that’s what I’d be saying as the seller. It’s up to code - anything else should be on the buyer.
-ryan-
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by -ryan- »

The cost involved in rewiring would be a deal breaker for me as well if I was the seller. They should not have agreed to it in the first place if they weren’t willing to spend the money. To be fair, a downstream GFCI receptacle with no ground wire is still safer for the human user than a standard grounded receptacle, but it will not provide protection to equipment. I think if you do purchase the home it would make more sense for now to run dedicated circuits where you need grounding to protect specific equipment and use ungrounded GFCI protection elsewhere.

Sorry you are going through this! I have an old house and have gradually had to rewire most of it. At least what was feasible without taking down walls. Until you are ready for major remodeling there will always be compromises with old electrical.
Thegame14
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by Thegame14 »

either buy the house knowing you need to do the electrical work for $3.500 or walk away from the deal, no other options that make sense. You are not going to get a lawyer invovled for $3,500
CurlyDave
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by CurlyDave »

The house is a rental.

If what they did is safe, it is "good enough". This is not the hill to fight and die on. You are getting it under market, and with a gonzo interest rate.

I would go ahead and close. Get a lawyer involved and his fees will eat you alive.
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Bcoleman7506
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by Bcoleman7506 »

I have to admit I’m surprised with how little it appears a contract is worth as written and signed (at least from the responses on this board). To me it seems pretty cut and dry, the seller signed he would do grounding upstairs, he didn’t, now he’s willing to break a contract to relist. To me it just doesn’t seem right that this is even a possibility.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by ResearchMed »

Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:54 pm I have to admit I’m surprised with how little it appears a contract is worth as written and signed (at least from the responses on this board). To me it seems pretty cut and dry, the seller signed he would do grounding upstairs, he didn’t, now he’s willing to break a contract to relist. To me it just doesn’t seem right that this is even a possibility.
Yeah, unfortunately, in too many cases, a contract isn't even worth the paper it's written on (if it's on paper at all!)... because it can be so costly and time-consuming to go after the breaching party.

On the other hand, in your case, it's still not quite clear (to us) what the seller agreed to and just what they did.
And was it written? In our state, at least, any real estate agreement is only valid if it is written and signed. Verbal agreements are automatically not enforceable, and many people don't realize that until it is too late.

But the bottom line is: What is the best thing for YOU to do NOW? That would include costs, time, and aggravation.

Is this your first home purchase?
Most of us with some real estate experience have learned some time ago that there are almost always "things" that didn't get noticed, etc., during the inspection/purchase time. And that's just part of buying a house... and life.

If you really want this house, then this amount probably shouldn't stop you UNLESS you will continue to be annoyed for a long time to come, in which case you will not enjoy this house as your new home.
Which is better for you: This house, as is, or starting over for another house? (That's a serious question, not intended to be snarky.)

RM
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muddgirl
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by muddgirl »

Realtors are usually not lawyers. If you have a legal question you need to talk to a lawyer, not your realtor. The realtor's job is to talk you down off a cliff so you don't lose a good deal over $3k. The seller's realtor should be talking them off the same cliff. I suspect they're bluffing because in the end a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush (or a buyer on contract is worth two offers). Maybe the realtors can chip in to cover some of the difference, to get the house sold?

It's not that the contract is worthless, it's that the cost to enforce it is likely more than the difference you're arguing over.
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8foot7
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Post by 8foot7 »

Our last house, the buyers came in significantly below asking. For various reasons we accepted just to get the whole thing over with. Then on a three year old house they had an inspection and sent a list of over 30 repairs, many bogus, most minor, a couple of reasonable ones. They also wanted our two year old fridge that cost $3,250 new. We fixed the two or three reasonable repairs, a few of the minor ones, video’d the bogus ones to show they were bogus. It wasn’t enough. Two inspectors, one GC to give an opinion, and three rounds later, we said enough, we will do one more thing of their choosing and that’s it or we would tear up the agreement and realist. Their realtor wrote us and asked us to hang in there as she was telling the buyers they were being unreasonable. We were so tired of the constant feeling of “what fresh he’ll is this” that the buyers almost lost a really good deal.

Moral of the story, if you keep driving and driving and driving the human beings on the other side of a transaction, at some point they will reach an event horizon from which there is no coming back.
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by onourway »

Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:54 pm I have to admit I’m surprised with how little it appears a contract is worth as written and signed (at least from the responses on this board). To me it seems pretty cut and dry, the seller signed he would do grounding upstairs, he didn’t, now he’s willing to break a contract to relist. To me it just doesn’t seem right that this is even a possibility.
I mean, I think I had a reasonable understanding as a teenager that contracts were not easily enforceable unless you were willing to spend the money to keep after it...

I also think that most people would believe that bringing those outlets up to code fulfilled their obligation.

I think you are going to get stung by pushing too far.
veindoc
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by veindoc »

WildBill wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:20 pm Howdy
[/
It is an investment property so we played hard ball throughout the process. We got $10k off the initial asking price, quite a few repairs, and some extra cash for more repairs. I think we’ve done well so I think pushing it at this point may be unnecessary. Just was curious what the consensus was with some unbiased opinions.]

My unbiased opinion is that you have pushed the seller past the point where he is willing to go and it is time to close. :twisted:

Happy haggling

W B
Agreed

You’ve obviously crossed the line. And possibly their expected profit from the sale is falling below the point where the sale is worth it to them.
Also think your language in the contract was too vague to enforce.
Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered. Move on.
hudson
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by hudson »

Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:12 pm Went into a contract with a seller of a home. We asked for grounding of upstairs electric as it is only a two prong electrical system. Sellers agreed and signed contract.

Upon follow up inspection the sellers did not ground the electric upstairs. They then tried to pass off running a ground wire from a GFCI plug, which we had a master electrician go out and came back saying that does not ground the wire properly.

The sellers are now saying they plan to breach the contract and not go through with sale. What would you recommend I do here? I want the home, but if I buy it, I would have to install approx ~$3,500 worth of electrical work that the sellers are refusing to do, even though they signed the contract stating they would. Need advise.
An attorney costs at least $7K just to get started....plus all costs...plus your time.
If it's worth it, hire an attorney and see how it goes.
If you want the house, maybe figure out how far or low you can go; then have your agent work on it.
Otherwise, what does it cost to walk away?
Last edited by hudson on Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
fabdog
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by fabdog »

I have to admit I’m surprised with how little it appears a contract is worth as written and signed (at least from the responses on this board). To me it seems pretty cut and dry, the seller signed he would do grounding upstairs, he didn’t, now he’s willing to break a contract to relist. To me it just doesn’t seem right that this is even a possibility.
You asked for people's feedback. They gave it to you. As many folks have noted, you can certainly pursue forcing the issue, and spend way more money for an uncertain result.

So your choices are

Accept the repairs as done, and take your deal you negotiated at a great rate

Walk away (perhaps claiming any earnest money you put down)

I understand this doesn't fit with your sense of right and wrong.. but it is what it is.

Mike
kimura king
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by kimura king »

OP try not to take everything so literally or seriously. I do the same thing, it frustrates me and I have to keep real estate 101 in mind.

Real estate 101: everyone is trying to screw you (buyer, seller, agent, lender, etc etc etc, all of em are trying to screw you - metaphorically speaking of course).

I think all considered you've found a reasonable deal. Decide and move on.
fyre4ce
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by fyre4ce »

If I were you I'd try to settle financially. There is some ambiguity in the contract and they made some effort. I'd tell them if the take an additional $2k off the price to cover the work you'll do, then they have a deal. I understand the principle of not being taken advantage of, but that's not what's going on here. It's just a negotiation. Getting the deal closed is worth time and money.
GibsonL6s
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by GibsonL6s »

Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 1:12 pm Went into a contract with a seller of a home. We asked for grounding of upstairs electric as it is only a two prong electrical system. Sellers agreed and signed contract.

Upon follow up inspection the sellers did not ground the electric upstairs. They then tried to pass off running a ground wire from a GFCI plug, which we had a master electrician go out and came back saying that does not ground the wire properly.

The sellers are now saying they plan to breach the contract and not go through with sale. What would you recommend I do here? I want the home, but if I buy it, I would have to install approx ~$3,500 worth of electrical work that the sellers are refusing to do, even though they signed the contract stating they would. Need advise.
The devil is in the details, was this a verbal promise or is it written into the contract? If it is verbal, they will argue they did it and you breached, putting your deposit at risk which may not be worth it for you. Also when is the closing date, has it passed? My suggestion would be to suggest a meeting at the property with both parties electricians present and just have them fix it to both parties satisfaction, split it and move on with life. No one will come out ahead in litigation for this little money.

Good luck
aristotelian
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by aristotelian »

Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:36 pm They concede that they messed up. They are willing to breach the contract regardless
Will they knock $3500 off the purchase price and you do the work? If not, they are playing hardball and it is up to you whether to walk away over $3500.
RTF
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by RTF »

Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 5:54 pm I have to admit I’m surprised with how little it appears a contract is worth as written and signed (at least from the responses on this board). To me it seems pretty cut and dry, the seller signed he would do grounding upstairs, he didn’t, now he’s willing to break a contract to relist. To me it just doesn’t seem right that this is even a possibility.

Probably because at some point when people get fed up with being taken advantage of, they’ll start doing things they normally wouldn’t. I sold a property not long ago and had a similar experience as yours but on the other end. When buying an investment property you need to play “hard ball” as you mentioned, but most people know when enough is enough. I’d personally probably have other concerns when buying a rental property that’s almost 100 yrs old than grounded upstairs wiring.
lakja
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by lakja »

Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:02 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:59 pm What does your realtor say? You have a professional handling things, right?

A seller who’s willing to bail over a $3500 difference either knows they can quickly sell it to someone else, or they’re so sick of trying to deal with a difficult buyer that they’re willing to take the risk of relisting.

I think at this point, either go through with the sale and fix it yourself, or find another place.
Yes I do. She said it’s up to me. Technically they signed a contract so they need to do the work. On the other hand, they’re willing to breach because they think they can sell without the ground wires.
[offensive comment removed by admin LadyGeek] and they’ve made several concessions. Sounds like they’re done dealing with you. Either close or move on. You can complain about contract, but you’re going to spend more than $3,500 and time fighting this.
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Bcoleman7506
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by Bcoleman7506 »

lakja wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:36 pm
Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:02 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:59 pm What does your realtor say? You have a professional handling things, right?

A seller who’s willing to bail over a $3500 difference either knows they can quickly sell it to someone else, or they’re so sick of trying to deal with a difficult buyer that they’re willing to take the risk of relisting.

I think at this point, either go through with the sale and fix it yourself, or find another place.
Yes I do. She said it’s up to me. Technically they signed a contract so they need to do the work. On the other hand, they’re willing to breach because they think they can sell without the ground wires.
[offensive comment removed by admin LadyGeek] and they’ve made several concessions. Sounds like they’re done dealing with you. Either close or move on. You can complain about contract, but you’re going to spend more than $3,500 and time fighting this.
[response to offensive comment removed by admin LadyGeek] It hasn’t been a heated argument or anything, we’ve just got to a point of agreement on this property and I guess I just expected what we agreed upon. Even them breaching contract was cordial for the most part, they admitted they made a mistake but that they would be better off just breaching contract and moving forward. Yes they have made concessions, but none of these concessions were cosmetic. They were problems that needed to addressed and would have had to been disclosed had they pursued a new buyer. I was just more or less curious on the opinions here. I have since, thanks to the beating you fine folks have given me, decided to purchase the home, they took an extra $1k off the home price and all is well. I do appreciate all of you folks. And now I must go see my therapist ;)

As for the investment thing, if you want to discuss that further, it is an old home in a historic neighborhood in a urban area near a college. Plenty of renters but we also plan on living there for a while first, so it was half personal half investment. We were in no rush to find a home. Just wanted to take advantage of the interest rates and, really more so when we bought it, the uncertainty right now with coronavirus.
Normchad
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by Normchad »

If I really wanted the house, I’d ask for a monetary concession. And if they refused, I’d probably go through with closing anyway.

This represents just 1% of the deal. It sucks for everybody, but you can’t afford to just lawyer up for all these headaches in life.

Real estate contracts are full of all sorts of outs; on both sides. Honestly, if a buyer can’t get financing for some reason, the sale also falls through and the seller doesn’t have recourse.

The electrical code is complicated; and not everybody reads it the same way. This is an older house, and standards were different then. If you want to really go to the mat in this one, stop dealing it’s master electricians, and call the city inspector. It sounds like the work they did wasn’t inspected, etc. The inspector is the final word on what is “good enough”.
Normchad
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by Normchad »

Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:59 pm
lakja wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:36 pm
Bcoleman7506 wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 3:02 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 2:59 pm What does your realtor say? You have a professional handling things, right?

A seller who’s willing to bail over a $3500 difference either knows they can quickly sell it to someone else, or they’re so sick of trying to deal with a difficult buyer that they’re willing to take the risk of relisting.

I think at this point, either go through with the sale and fix it yourself, or find another place.
Yes I do. She said it’s up to me. Technically they signed a contract so they need to do the work. On the other hand, they’re willing to breach because they think they can sell without the ground wires.
[offensive comment removed by admin LadyGeek] and they’ve made several concessions. Sounds like they’re done dealing with you. Either close or move on. You can complain about contract, but you’re going to spend more than $3,500 and time fighting this.
[response to offensive comment removed by admin LadyGeek] It hasn’t been a heated argument or anything, we’ve just got to a point of agreement on this property and I guess I just expected what we agreed upon. Even them breaching contract was cordial for the most part, they admitted they made a mistake but that they would be better off just breaching contract and moving forward. Yes they have made concessions, but none of these concessions were cosmetic. They were problems that needed to addressed and would have had to been disclosed had they pursued a new buyer. I was just more or less curious on the opinions here. I have since, thanks to the beating you fine folks have given me, decided to purchase the home, they took an extra $1k off the home price and all is well. I do appreciate all of you folks. And now I must go see my therapist ;)

As for the investment thing, if you want to discuss that further, it is an old home in a historic neighborhood in a urban area near a college. Plenty of renters but we also plan on living there for a while first, so it was half personal half investment. We were in no rush to find a home. Just wanted to take advantage of the interest rates and, really more so when we bought it, the uncertainty right now with coronavirus.
I apologize, I didn’t see your update while I was typing mine. Sounds like you have all reached a mutually agreeable way forward, which is the best you can hope for. Best of luck with everything!
Ping Pong
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by Ping Pong »

What do you plan on plugging into the outlet that requires a 3 prong connector? With the advent of plastic, most things only require a 2 prong outlet nowadays.
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F150HD
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by F150HD »

Ping Pong wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:50 pm What do you plan on plugging into the outlet that requires a 3 prong connector? With the advent of plastic, most things only require a 2 prong outlet nowadays.
I have heard some insurers wont insure a home that does not have grounded outlets.

any surge protector for a HDTV will require a grounded 3 prong outlet.

The charging cord for my mac laptop has 3 prongs.

etc
Last edited by F150HD on Fri Jun 05, 2020 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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F150HD
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by F150HD »

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kimura king
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by kimura king »

good job getting it done op. sounds like you got a good deal on the place.
JonnyB
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by JonnyB »

Make the real estate agents work for their commission. Tell them to work out a deal or there will be no sale. Each agent kicks in $500, the seller $2,000 and you the rest. The agents have a lot to lose if the deal doesn't go through.
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by LadyGeek »

I removed an off-topic comment. As a reminder, see: General Etiquette
We expect this forum to be a place where people can feel comfortable asking questions and where debates and discussions are conducted in civil tones.

At all times we must conduct ourselves in a respectful manner to other posters.
Update: I fixed the spelling in the thread title - "advise" to "advice".
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Re: Seller breach of contract on home. I need advise.

Post by remomnyc »

Congrats on your purchase. Glad getting a third party perspective helped you close the deal.
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