I recently bought a house. The seller agreed to give me a check to company of my choice for work I wanted done to the house.

My father recommended a company to me. I had them come look at the house and give me a quote. I chose them and the seller now has a check written to that company. The company is now saying they will not do the work.

What can/should I do?

  • 3
    Go back to the seller? – quid Jun 7 '17 at 1:23
  • And ask them to write a check to a different company? – ajb32x Jun 7 '17 at 1:27
  • Did you get an estimate prior to completing the purchase? Is there a maximum amount? Are you in some way obligated by your lender to make the repair? – mhoran_psprep Jun 7 '17 at 1:55
  • I reworded your question from "I now have a check written" to "the seller now has a check written" to make it clear who wrote the check. – Michael Jun 7 '17 at 11:46
  • @mhoran_psprep I got quotes from three different companies, these included prices to do the work. I chose one, the seller wrote the check. My lender isn't really involved in this so they don't care. I am having a somewhat related problem with home owners insurance that I asked a question about today though. – ajb32x Jun 7 '17 at 14:42

I would start by going to the company and saying that you have this check for them. If they do the work, they can have the check. If not, they can't. If they still won't do the work, find out why. Let the next company know if it's work related (e.g. extra difficulty due to something not immediately obvious).

Once you've exhausted that, get new quotes from several companies. Get a binding agreement to do the work. Then go back to the seller for a replacement check. That conversation will be a lot easier if the new check is for the same amount or less than the old check. Consider the possibility that it would be easier to get a check made out to you in the original amount.

If the seller won't give you a replacement check, you might have to talk to a lawyer to achieve anything more. If you have a written contract with the company that was going to do the work, you might be able to sue them. Possibly you give them their check and they give you money (cash, check, whatever) in return. Perhaps they do the work after all. Depending on your agreement with the seller, you might be able to sue there instead. This is not a great option, particularly if the amount is small.

If you can make a deal with the company or the seller, that is better than suing. At some point, suing is mostly throwing away money, as the lawyer will cost money. For $100, it's not worth it. For $1000, it's questionable (consider small claims court). For $10,000, then maybe a lawyer. Part of the problem though is that you really need a lawyer to read the documentation for this.

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  • 3
    In addition to Brythan's good advice, don't forget the most important lesson from all of this. In the future, don't drag third parties into your real estate transaction because it gives random merchants the ability to screw up your purchase. If the seller agrees to pay to fix something, have them credit you at settlement, and then you can hire whomever you like to actually do the work. – Nobody Jun 7 '17 at 12:14
  • @rpl Yes. I wonder how this arrangement came about. If the seller agreed to pay \$X toward some repair, why not just write a check to you or give you a credit at closing? If instead of having the home repair done you used the money to buy furniture or go on vacation, or to pay for prostitutes and cocaine for that matter, what difference does it make to the seller? – Jay Jun 7 '17 at 13:14
  • 1
    Yeah, I wanted them to write me a check, but for some reason the seller refused to do that. They would only pay a company. – ajb32x Jun 7 '17 at 14:14
  • 1
    People get weird about this sort of thing. I guess they imagine that if you get a concession from them for something that you don't actually intend to fix, then you've somehow gotten one over on them. Best to hold firm in those cases, though, as appeasing that particular quirk is a recipe for headaches. Besides, they will almost always get over it eventually, if it becomes clear that you're not going to go along. – Nobody Jun 7 '17 at 14:47

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