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

UPDATED: Jul 29, 2015

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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 7 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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