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backing out of the contract

home inspector found a crack in the foundation. seller agreed to fix it buy putting in new bricks. Had a structural engineer come out and said that the corner of the house needed to be reinforced or its going to crack again. Seller says he is not going to get it reinforced. Can i back out of the deal?
  • April 16 2011 - Nashville
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Answers (6)

Hi There!

It is so unfortunate when buyers and sellers can't come together on inspection repairs, but it happens all the time. My advice is to really step back and take a deep breath.  Then, make sure you have more than one opinion from a structural engineer and make sure they are reputable.  It is important to determine that the work actually needs to be completed and that you get a good bid for the work preformed.

Have you thought about splitting the costs for the repair? I know that it feels like it is the seller's responsibility, but does it really matter whose responsibility it is if you aren't able to purchase the home that you like?  Maybe the seller would be willing to take half the responsibility with you?

If you and the seller are still not able to come into an agreement then yes you can as long as you are still in your inspection period per your contract.  The seller is never required to fix something during this period, but you are not required to move forward with the purchase either. 

I wish you the best of luck!
  • April 16 2011
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If you requested in writing (or verbally) that the seller repair the brick in the corner of the house and they have fixed the brick, they may well have satisfied the terms of the agreement.

If you requested that structural repairs be done to prevent future damage, then you might have a case.
  • April 16 2011
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Thanks for your question.  First we need to know if you have a Realtor working for you?  Doesn't sound like it and as a buyer, we cost you nothing and can handle these types of situations.  You have to go by what is on the fully executed agreement (contract) you both signed....hopefully you signed one.

Good luck!
  • April 16 2011
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If you are still under your home inspection period, you can definitely back out and get your earnest money refunded. I recommend that you look over your contract carefully. The Tennessee Association of Realtors Purchase and Sale Agreement has very specific language regarding the timeframe of negotiation repairs. Make sure you stick to the calendar in the contract or you could end up in a situation where you can't back out.
  • April 16 2011
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Yes. Stephanie gives good advice here McKay. Review page number five of the Purchase and Sale Agreement (particularly section D, line 248) to see if you are within your timeline. If you are, it's a straight forward process of notification. If you are not, it's a stickier situation, but may still allow for you to have a choice in what happens next. You have a few options, some are messy.

The crucial elements may be your correspondence with the homeowners, the general inspector, and the structural engineer during this process. Were you exchanging information via e-mail or text or something that establishes a timeline or that could potentially extend your inspection period?

  • April 16 2011
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Kevin and Stephanie offer great advice. Your options will depend largely on the verbiage used when requesting repairs from the seller and if you are still in your inspection period per your contract. Best of Luck!
  • April 20 2011
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