Is it illegal for a home seller to alter a home (water proof the basement) without permission from the buyer a week before closing?

Asked on July 29, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes and no.

Yes, in that until closing, it is the seller's home--he or she may legally modify, renovate, etc. it.

No, in that if the change is one that damages the home or decreases its value, the buyer could likely use that as grounds to either get out of the contract and not buy the home, or else seek compensation. However, if the change is to the buyer's advantage, like waterproofing a previously not-wateproofed basement, the buyer will be unable to get compensation or get out of the transaction; only negative or detrimental changes will give the buyer legal grounds to terminate the contract or sue for damages.

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