Can a seller change terms after a purchase contract is signed?

The seller advertised certain HOA fees and did not disclose that they were not approved by the DRE at the time of contract signing. After close to a month has passed, the seller sends my agent an e-mail stating that water is not included though originally advertised. Their reasoning was that “there is a line item for water but each unit will be billed in addition to the HOA fee.” The HOA fee also increased. My agent has been requesting the HOA documents since contract signing. The seller keeps giving us the run-around and saying that they will provide the approved information “tomorrow.”

Asked on August 29, 2011 California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Typically the seller cannot change the terms of an agreed to written agreement for the sale of real estate. The parties are bound by the terms as agreed with a slated date of close.

In your situation, the purchase price for the unit is what the parties have agreed to in the agreement and the agreement controls. If there is now a disclosure that the property purchased does not come with certain items as represented that it would have such as water being included in certain monthly association fees, then there is the possibility that you overpaid for the property based upon what was initially represented.

The documentation provided you after close should have been provided to you prior to close and your real estate agent should have made sure that you had this information in hand before closing.

You should consult with a competent real estate attorney regarding this problem.

Good luck.

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