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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 19127
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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I'm on about day 60 of Escrow. The original agreement was,

Customer Question

I'm on about day 60 of Escrow. The original agreement was for 30, but the sellers had to fix the foundation because we have an FHA loan.
The week (or so) that our offer was accepted, the neighbor started building a house in the empty lot.
In breaking ground on this they:
1) Broke half of a 14 step brick staircase (older brick)
2) Took out the fence that was between properties because it was 6 inches on their property (So we're told. I believe it to be accurate that the fence was on their, but not 100% positive)
3) Took out the pole that held the front door gate in place and the gate itself.
4) A small tree between the properties (though was definitely on our side).
5) A small water pipe that ran to a faucet.
Throughout escrow we have been told by the sellers that they had a deal worked out with the neighbor and everything would be fixed before sale.
We kept on them and last week the neighbor patched up the staircase, doing a very shoddy job. The seller then went back and did additional work to it, but just enough to past FHA, not actually fixing the stairs. (They legitimately look terrible and are uneven.)
I've now reached out to the neighbor to get his fixes in writing as the work is not done and we're closing this Friday. I have not received a response to the email I sent him in the specifics of his timeline, but do expect something back.
I want to know:
A) What steps might I have to take if he denies the work.
B) What steps to take if he accepts all the responsibility.
C) What steps to take if he accepts only part of the responsibility.
D) Do we lose our legal rights if we close on the house in the current condition?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Your agreement should not be and must not be with a neighbor who has nothing to do with your purchase. Your issue is with the Seller. The Seller should deal with the neighbor and not you. The repairs should be done by a professional. The Seller must get all these things fixed or the closing should be postponed until the repairs are done. Otherwise, you WILL lose your legal rights if you close on the house in the current condition. The repairs are not going to be done after the closing. Promises are broken once everyone has been paid. So, the time to do something is BEFORE the sale is closed. I have seen this movie one too many times. You need to get all issues resolved before the closing or run the risk of nothing getting done and you winding up with the responsibility of fixing things that should have been the responsibility of the Seller.

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