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What You Can Do If The House You're Selling Is Damaged While Under Contract

What You Can Do If The House You’re Selling Is Damaged While Under Contract

It’s not that uncommon for a house to incur damage when an individual is trying to sell it. This often happens due to things like a hail storm, fire, hurricane, or vandalism. However, it can be particularly frustrating when buyers have already put an offer down on the house. Whatever the cause of the damage, you need to find a remedy for the situation as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you’ll see your buyers leaving fast. This is what you can do if the house you’re selling is damaged while under contract.

Reduce the Price

If you don’t have the time or desire to make the repairs and you want to go through with the sale of your home as quickly as possible, you could always reduce the price so that the buyers can make the repairs themselves in the future. This works best when the damage isn’t too severe, and the buyers want to purchase your house no matter what.

Replace Appliances

Appliances aren’t the most important part of a house because it’s fairly easy to update them. However, if appliances that you were including with the house were damaged, you need to talk to your buyers. They may have no problem with this. Buyers often expect to update appliances after they move in. However, they may ask you to knock a few thousand dollars off the price, depending on the appliance.

However, if your buyers were expecting and need a move-in ready house, they may want you to replace the damaged appliances before they move in. They may even be willing to pay slightly more to accommodate this.

Get Water Damage Restoration

Many different types of problems can result in water damage. For example, an earthquake may cause a ruptured pipe, and a fire put out with water leaves puddles. While some types of damage can be left alone for a short while, water can start damaging the house fast. It can cause structural issues and can cause mold, so it’s important to get it taken care of as soon as possible. 

Water damage restoration services can help fix it. They can identify the problem, and they can tell you how long it will take to resolve all of the issues that they find. By hiring this type of service to fix the water damage, you will ensure that the issue is fixed the right way and that the buyers won’t have to deal with it again because you failed to fix it properly.

Check for Structural Damage

Even if you didn’t have water damage, you may have structural damage from an earthquake or from heavy vandalism. Structural damage can be subtle, and you may not notice any at first glance. However, if you end up selling the house with undisclosed structural damage, you may face legal or financial issues down the road. To prevent that, look around the house for signs of structural damage. You may have to look in several areas of the house.

Start in the basement, if you have one. Here you should look for bulging concrete or brick walls. You should also check for cracks. While small cracks are common and likely not a sign of damage, cracks larger than an eighth of an inch could be a sign of structural damage. Finally, check damp areas where moisture is getting through the foundation.

Throughout the house, look for sloped or uneven floors, doors and windows that stick when opened or closed, and cracks in your drywall. You may also see gaps around your window or door frames. All of these indicate structural damage.

Arrange a New Inspection

If you haven’t done the home inspection yet, you’ll want to check the house and make repairs before they come. Alternatively, when they come, you can talk with them about the areas you already know need repairs and you can describe what plans you have for those. You’ll likely have to schedule a follow up inspection after those repairs are taken care of.

However, if you have already had the inspection done and signed off on, you may have to schedule another one. The buyer or the lender may require it before the sale can go through if the house has been in a natural disaster or if they hear that the house was damaged another way. By getting this taken care of quickly, you can finish the sale sooner.

Take Out a Loan to Fix It

You might be tempted to put off fixing the damage because you don’t have a lot of extra money. However, you may be able to take out a loan so that you will have the necessary funds to make the necessary repairs. After you sell your house, you can use the profits to pay off the loan.

File a Claim With Your Insurance Company

In some instances, you may be able to get your insurance company to pay for the repairs by filing a claim. Do keep in mind that it can take a while for them to approve and pay the claim. This is why it’s imperative that you keep the buyer informed as to what’s going on. Many buyers won’t have a problem delaying the closing if it means that the damage will be repaired before they purchase the home.

If the house you are selling gets damaged while you are under contract, there are some things that you can do. Just make sure you resolve the situation as soon as possible so that the buyer doesn’t end up backing out of the sale. Communicating regularly with your buyer can help prevent issues.

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