The current housing market has created an interesting problem. Sellers are feeling like they’re “giving” their house away, and buyers feel like they’re doing the sellers a favor by taking it off their hands.

Problem is, both parties are a bit disgruntled with each other. Sometimes, when a seller is moving out, they may accidentally damage something. Let’s say, they put a little hole in the wall or spill something on the carpet. Usually, by the time something like this happens the buyer has already done a final walk-through on the property and everything looked fine. So, the sellers move out, leave the damage; then the buyers move in and find it. Who’s the first person they call and scream at?? Their agent.

It’s not your real estate agent’s fault this has happened. It’s the seller’s fault for not bringing it to anyone’s attention and/or repairing it. You see, the contract says that the seller will deliver the home to the buyer in the same condition it was whenever the contract was written. If the home was damaged by a tornado or fire, the buyer would either have the right to cancel or the right to the insurance money for the repairs.

Now, I’ve been preaching this to the agents in our office since we’ve had many issues with this lately. Every seller out there needs to read and understand that paragraph in our contracts. Ultimately, the agent cannot really do anything after the sale has closed. We can offer to put the two parties in contact with each other, or even act as a mediator for a face-to-face meeting with the sellers and the buyers. But, we are not the ‘judge and jury’ enforcers of the contract. If there’s a serious problem with the property after closing, your only option may be small claims court.

Either way, please know that your agent isn’t leaving you high and dry in this situation, it’s that we can only legally offer so much.

Disclaimer: We sell real estate in Missouri and Kansas. Laws and contracts will vary from state to state.