What to do if I sold my house with an agreement to pay for the roof repairs to the buyers satisfaction?

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What to do if I sold my house with an agreement to pay for the roof repairs to the buyers satisfaction?

The roofer and I agreed to an amount and a date. I have a description of the job that was to be done. The roofer spoke with the buyer and came out on a different day when the buyer was home which was Saturday worked that day and Sunday asked for payment which the buyer gave him my cashiers check. Once the roofer left I was called by my agent who told me the roofer didn’t do the right job and the buyer was going to sue me. All the paperwork I signed said to the buyer’s satisfaction so with him paying him I would of assumed he was happy with the work sense he had a chance to check it right then and choose not to.

Asked on December 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Given what you have written about it seems that the buyer is trying to get money from you for the roof that you paid for which the buyer delivered the cashier's check to the roofer. Based upon what you have written it seems that the buyer was in fact satisfied given his release of the cashier's check to the roofer.

I would ask that your real estate agent get involved in the matter since the satisfaction wording should never have been written. Rather, the roof should have been repaired in accordance with acceptable roofing practices.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, "buyer's satisfaction" does not by itself 1) require the buyer to look into problems before paying over your cashier check and 2) does not even require the buyer to be reasonable--that is, maybe the roofer did a commercially acceptable job, but the buyer is expecting the quality work you see nationally known contractors do on HGTV. While the buyer would still be bound by the covenant of good faith and fair dealing--the obligation, imposed on all parties to contracts by the law, that they not unreasonably try to deprive the other party of the benefit of the agreement--the nature of the agreement you came to does give the buyer latitude to sue you, especially if problems were discovered after the roofer left or if there is anything that could have been done better.

You may wish to try to settle: get something in writing outlining exactly what the buyer's concerns are, then draft (and get him to sign) a new agreement stating that if those problems are corrected, the roof will be deemed fixed properly--as an alternative to potentially being involved in litigation.

In the future, do not enter into agreements like this, that give so much power to the other side.


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