If a seller cannot deliver the premises as promised at closing so the sale never takes place, are they responsible for any out-of-pocket fees that the buyer incurred?

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If a seller cannot deliver the premises as promised at closing so the sale never takes place, are they responsible for any out-of-pocket fees that the buyer incurred?

We had a home in escrow in a for sale by owner. The home was occupied by a tenant. Our contract required that the tenant vacate within 30 days and prior to the close of escrow. We had a VA appraisal completed for a cost of $500. The tenant failed to move. We extended escrow twice but after 2 months we cancelled escrow as the tenant still has not moved. The seller now refuses to pay the appraisal despite not having the tenant out in 30 days and not delivering the home as such in the first period of escrow. Are they legally obligated to pay the fee? They refuse stating it was “my” appraisal that “I” ordered.

Asked on October 15, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Oregon

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for the situation.  I hate to throw this back in your lap but what does your contract state?  There are generally "contingency clauses" in a contract that will allow you to back out - which you did - and state who will pay what.  Obviously you get your escrow back if the seller can not fulfill his obligations.  And you may be able to collect the inspection fee under contract law in your state.  Speak with your attorney for the sale.  Good luck.


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