Dan Gizzard entered into a FR/BAR contract (“Contract”) to buy a single family home from Evan Pill-Grim dubbed the “Pilgrim House”. Dan was not the most sophisticated buyer but he did make the contract contingent on financing and a limited inspection period at the request of his Realtor, Donna Gravy. The closing was set for 9:00 am the day before Thanksgiving. Dan felt this provided him ample time to close and move in so he did not have to take off of work. Dan was so excited to spend his first Thanksgiving at his new place he had movers lined up far in advance to deliver his furniture at 10:00 am on the closing date.
All seemed to be proceeding as planned until Dan conducted his walk-through on the morning of closing. To everyone’s surprise the Seller had not begun moving his belongings out of the house. When questioned about the status of the move Evan said “I will have my stuff(ing) out before the turkey hits the smoker”. In other words, before Thanksgiving! Evan referred Dan to Paragraph 4 of the Contract which stipulates a Closing Date of November 22, 2017. Evan deduced that he had all day (and apparently all night) on November 22nd to move. Donna quickly responded that Paragraph 6(a) of the Contract requires, at Closing, the Seller to remove all personal items and trash from the Property and shall deliver keys, garage door openers, access devises and codes, as applicable, to Dan. Donna also pointed out that Paragraph 4 requires the parties to close on November 22nd at a time established by the Closing Agent. She reminded the Seller that the Closing Agent set the closing time for 9:00 am.
Soon after leaving the Pilgrim House, Dan and Donna met with Attorney Will Stuffingballs to sign his closing documents and ask how to proceed now that the Buyer’s movers will not be able to deliver furniture as previously scheduled. Attorney Stuffingballs agreed with Donna’s interpretation of the Contract and added that any potential damages that are a result of the Seller’s non-performance could be sought by Dan per Paragraph 15(b) of the Contract. Dan is not litigious by nature and did not want to proceed to mediation as required under Paragraph 16 of the Contract. Dan simply wanted to be in his home for Thanksgiving! However, Dan was hopeful that with a little prodding by Attorney Stuffingballs, the Seller could be convinced to cover Dan’s “out of pocket” expenses, due to the Seller’s delay.
Evan arrived up at the Closing within minutes after Dan finished signing. Attorney Stuffingballs proceeded to explain to Evan that by not having his stuff(ing) out of the house on time (per the Contract) it was causing significant delays and damages to the Buyer. After a bit of back and forth Evan agreed to finally break bread with the Buyer and pay for any out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the delay. Attorney Stuffingballs drafted an addendum addressing their agreement and immediately submitted it to the Buyer’s lender for approval. The Buyer and lender funds were held in escrow until the Buyer confirmed that all of Seller’s personal items and trash were removed from the Pilgrim House. Luckily the Buyer was able to confirm in writing before the end of the day that all funds could be disbursed. Although tired from moving all evening, Dan was able to enjoy his first Thanksgiving in his new home.
For many of us, the meaning of Thanksgiving usually includes gorging ourselves, football games, family reunions, the Macy’s Day Parade, and/or preparing for Black Friday. No matter how you intend to celebrate Thanksgiving we wish all of you a wonderful holiday and big heartfelt “Thank You” for being part of our business and personal lives.
As always, if you have any questions about a seller’s obligations on the closing date, we urge you to consult with your real estate attorney.
Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC
Article Authored by Jamie A. Ebling, Esq. firstname.lastname@example.org
This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.
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