Make Your Home in Hamilton

Andrew Caton is passionate about two things - Real Estate and the Greater Hamilton, Ontario area including Hamilton Mountain, Stoney Creek, Ancaster, Dundas and Waterdown. Through the blog we hope to share the best of our city as well as provide timely and helpful real estate advice - whether you're buying or selling a home.
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What Could Go Wrong on Closing Day?

What Could Go Wrong on Closing Day?

The big day is finally here. No, not your wedding, but the day you FINALLY get the keys to your new home! Turning that key and walking into your new home is an exciting and problem-free process – most of the time. Unfortunately, sometimes clients who have bought a home call us after they have moved in to report a problem. Often the problem has been discovered quickly, but sometimes a problem surfaces after a couple of days or weeks. For example:

  • Air conditioner or furnace not working;
  • Broken appliances;
  • Mould;
  • Leaky pipe;
  • Missing items that were to be left such as mirrors, shelving or pool equipment;
  • Garbage left behind;
  • Damage to the walls or flooring caused during the move out.

Closing Day Problems Explained

Regardless of the problem, this is very frustrating and discouraging for clients. Sometimes the problem is one that a home inspection should have detected. Sometimes the problem is a breach of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Regardless, in the best case scenario, the cost to fix the problem is minimal and one which the clients can cover themselves without the need for further formal legal action against the seller.

What should you do if the problem isn't a minor one? First, call us immediately! From there, we will be able to advise you on your options.

Response to a Breach of Contract

If the problem is a breach of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, there is more leverage in addressing the seller. In this case (or if the cost to repair is unmanageable for our clients), we write to the seller's lawyer setting out that the seller is liable. This is part of our service for our clients and there is no additional fee.

The response from the seller's lawyer does depend on the nature of the problem and the Agreement itself, but often the response is that the seller was unaware of the problem; that the buyer had the benefit of having a professional home inspection and/or the buyer's own inspection or that the problem arose after the buyer took possession or that the principle of "buyer beware" applies. In a nutshell, the seller denies responsibility.

If the response is not one of accepting financial responsibility (which it almost always is) or negotiating compensation, then the buyer bears the cost. However, the buyer must then decide whether to commence a claim against the seller, usually in small claims court. In making this decision, the buyer should consider the repair cost, the cost to hire a lawyer or paralegal, the likelihood of success and the time to be invested. 

In the end, having a lawyer who is proficient in Real Estate is the first step in making sure that any surprises are dealt with in the appropriate manner and ensures you the best chance of successfully navigating any problems after closing.

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