As many of you know I have just sold a home (mine) in Florida and purchased a home in Michigan (mine again, unless the wife is in the room then it is hers!). I have been out of the loop with a variety of issues of selling an buying with only 1300 miles separating the properties.
Let me relate part of my self representation issues. I wrote the purchase agreement....just like I would for a client. Now I represent myself and wife so do I do things differently....not at all. I cover all the issues and even confirm in writing within the contract the items that are to remain with the property. I get an "as written" acceptance. That makes me smile. My offer was accepted and no addendum's or counter offers....on to the inspections. The home is just over a year old....I did not expect any issues and none were found.
Financing was a none issue.....we were all set so just setting the close and possession. The possession was at close, not a common practice in Michigan but a very common practice in Florida. So my Florida home was possession at close and I wrote my offer in Michigan with a possession at close too. I also added a pre-closing walk through as a condition of the contract.
The day before close all has gone somewhat OK....the sellers have made us a bit nervous with gestures, body language and little statements. We are cautiously optimistic everything will be fine......wrong! We wrote into the contract all window treatments stay....some were missing. We wrote into the contract all pond accessories also stay. The contract already covers light fixtures and other attachments so this should not be a problem. WRONG again!
The seller had removed an $800.00 light fixture, also he had removed the pond heater that keeps the fish alive in the winter months...the seller had removed exterior plants and shrubs. I am in Florida my wife along with a designated agent call me asking what should we do? It was simple for me.....I called the agent and said we have a breech of contract.....the seller has removed and listed the items for the seller's agent. She said she could hardly believe it....and would call and have it taken care of immediately. OK, was my response. I added one other little thing...."we are not closing until this is resolved". The agent says, "you can't be serious, closing is in an hour". I said, "it was. When these issues are resolved we can reschedule the closing and any costs we incure for rewriting or delaying the close caused by your sellers actions will also be at his expense. The seller's agent says, "they will never go for that"....my response, "no problem, we have a contract that they breached....we will store our belongings and add it to the bill.
I offered a simple option for the seller. We can put the items on a "bill of sale" and they can pay us with a check for the items they took at close. This does not change the HUD 1 and all is right in the world or they can go to court and spend a lot more money....they have a choice and I need an answer in a half hour!
We closed, the seller's made the right choice!
Now would you like to know the reason for them removing items? We got such a good deal on the property that they felt they were owed some of the items they took because of the lower purchase price! They were shocked when we objected!
They understood the contract and thought they could do as they please. The seller's agent was willing to just let it go to close and handle it at close....we all know that doesn't work....surprised she tried that one. My question to the agent was "did you think the contract was just a guide or was it really a contract"? Her response, "I see this type of stuff all the time, most people let it go". I see it too but I follow the contract so each party to the transaction gets what they expect not what one is willing to give or take.
So do you follow the contract or do you let it go?