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I am buying a home in AL, and am about 30 days away from closing. About a week ago the seller and I agreed upon a list of repairs via an Inspection Addendum and Request for Repairs.

Today my realtor told me that the seller has decided to NOT fix one of the major items they had agreed to fix.

What are my options at this point? To me, it seems like we NO LONGER have a negotiated Request for Repairs as the seller has decided that they are not going to fix what they had agreed to. The item they chose not to fix is an item that I feel strongly about and I do not want the house if this item is not repaired.

Thanks for any advice.

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    Did they tell you why they are not fixing it? Also where are you located?
    – NuWin
    Aug 14, 2015 at 3:22
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    I am guessing that AL equals Alabama Aug 14, 2015 at 10:21

2 Answers 2

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That's correct. If you did not write it as "or will reduce the price by $xxxx to reflect the cost of correcting this" and they haven't accepted the cash alternative, you have no agreement unless you consider that answer acceptable. You're still negotiating. You can decide it isn't worth fighting over, you can make them a new offer adjusted as you see fit, or you can walk away. If you're inclined to continue negotiating, you may or may not want to deliberately delay making the next offer and let them stew a bit.

I definitely wanted the seller to either fix the leaking oil tank or (preferably) drop the price by the cost of fixing it (since I was considering switching to gas). On the other hand, I didn't feel like fighting about the cracked toilet tank; it wasn't leaking yet (and might never), just annoying and I could deal with it myself. Various other details went one way or the other until we were both satisfied; in the end I paid $600 more than I planned but they left me the piano (which I gifted to a friend who wanted it).

That's the way it goes -- dicker until you either agree or don't. Someone else may overbid you, but on the other hand you may find an even better house tomorrow.

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Obviously I don't have the exact text of what you signed. It's possible that there are details in there that make a difference. But from what you said:

If you have a signed agreement in which the seller says they will do X as part of the conditions of the sale, and now they are refusing to do X, then they are in breach of contract. Options include:

One: Walk away. If they're not living up to their end of the contract, you are not obligated to live up to yours. To take an extreme case: If someone signed a contract agreeing to sell you their house for $X, and then they say that they've decided not to give you the house after all, you certainly do not still owe them the money. If they do not accept that the deal is just over, if they insist that you are committed to buy the house despite their breaching the contract, I'd talk to a lawyer about just what the legalities are.

Two: Sue them. If they signed a contract and now are not living up to the contract, you could get a court to force them to follow through. Whether this is worth the time and expense is a decision you would have to make. I probably wouldn't unless I already had some expenses related to the deal that I can't recover any other way -- like if I had agreed to pay a part of the costs of some repairs and had already paid significant money, etc.

Three: Renegotiate. I suspect this would be unproductive. You're starting off with a disadvantage: You had just negotiated a deal with you paying $X for Y. Now they say they've decided they don't feel like giving you Y, so let's start negotiations over again, taking $X for Y as your starting offer and we will bid you down from there. But it's possible that they would be willing to make a serious offer to replace the repairs they decided they are unwilling to make. Or maybe you want the house badly enough that this issue isn't important enough to scuttle the deal.

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    You do have some leverage: the real estate agents. They want their money. In some cases if the amount of money in dispute is small they may pay for the item,even though it reduces their net income on the deal. They can also point out that the courts may decide that the decision to not repair was not justified, and the agents are still owed their commission paid for by the seller. That 6% penalty without the sale is huge. Aug 14, 2015 at 14:00
  • @mhoran_psprep Fair enough. I'd say the biggest leverage you have is the ability to cancel the deal. If I promised to pay $X for a house given that A, B, and C repairs were made, and now the seller is saying that they are not going to do repair A, at the very least I would say that the price I pay should be reduced by what it would cost me to get A done by someone else. I might say forget it, I'm not buying the house without this. The seller would then have to consider whether they want to lose the sale over this. Can they find someone else who will buy the house for the same price without ...
    – Jay
    Mar 28, 2022 at 14:15
  • ... this being done?
    – Jay
    Mar 28, 2022 at 14:15

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