It’s been raining Texas-size volumes now for weeks. We’ve shifted from a low water table to tables (and cars) floating away in the water. The Texas Rowing Club is flooded out (irony, no?). If you have recently purchased but not yet closed on your new house, know that the Sellers must close “in the condition that Buyers saw it in". So, if there is any water damage today then Sellers are responsible for fixes and repairs (we call it "remediation”) that will bring the new house back up to the standard it was sold.
Advice For Buyers Post Flood ("Austin-polyptic Flood")
Steps to Take Prior to Close
Your REALTOR is there to support you. If they haven’t already reached out to you with a property update, then ask them to confirm if there has been any water damage to your new property and house. If there has been any damage the past few weeks request details (photos/writing). And, work to determine what the remediation plan will be.
Consider visiting the house. It’s important for you to see any water damage for yourself.
No panic button required! Your Realtor, lawyer, and Title Company understand (all too well) your pre-close scenario. For you it means “experienced professionals are on your team”. And, we are here to help!
Advice For Sellers Post-Flood ("Austin-polyptic Flood")
Steps to Take Prior to Close
Regardless of what stage of the sales process you are currently in (either during or post option period), if you have not closed on the sale of your home then you are responsible for fixing ALL water-related damages to the home. The Buyer is entitled to take possession of the home in the same condition that they originally purchased it from you (see below Agreement of Purchase and Sale*).
Taking Possession as shown in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale
The following are key paragraphs that you will want to understand in your Agreement of Purchase and Sale:
ACCEPTANCE OF PROPERTY CONDITION: "As Is" means the present condition of the Property with any and all defects and without warranty except for the warranties of title and the warranties in this contract. Buyer’s agreement to accept the Property As Is under Paragraph 7D(1) or (2) does not preclude Buyer from inspecting the Property under Paragraph 7A, from negotiating repairs or treatments in a subsequent amendment, or from terminating this contract during the Option Period, if any.
CASUALTY LOSS: If any part of the Property is damaged or destroyed by fire or other casualty after the effective date of this contract, Seller shall restore the Property to its previous condition as soon as reasonably possible, but in any event by the Closing Date. If Seller fails to do so due to factors beyond Seller's control, Buyer may (a) terminate this
contract and the earnest money will be refunded to Buyer (b) extend the time for performance up to 15 days and the Closing Date will be extended as necessary or (c) accept
the Property in its damaged condition with an assignment of insurance proceeds, if permitted by Seller’s insurance carrier, and receive credit from Seller at closing in the amount of the deductible under the insurance policy. Seller’s obligations under this paragraph are independent of any other obligations of Seller under this contract.
With that in mind here are some helpful thoughts:
> Inspect the house from top to bottom. Check for signs of water damage on ceilings, around windows, doors - all of which are prone to leaks and and around entryways which are prone to back flow issues due to negative slopes and drainage.
> Contact your Realtor, Lawyer and Title Company as soon as possible. They’re there to help you now. If you do not disclose issues now, you may have bigger financial issues later. People take mold and water damages extremely seriously. Far better (and less expensive) to deal with the issues now than the time, cost and pains of a potential lawsuit in your future.
> Call in the professionals for tactical support. Your Realtor should have key people for testing for mold-like substances, remediation and water-proofing. Let them help you to utilize their network of exceptional professionals to alleviate time and stress.