How to avoid post-sale disputes

Once you’ve sold your home, the last thing you want is an argument with the buyer that could delay closing or even derail the whole deal.

However, such disputes do sometimes arise, usually certain arrangements that were agreed to in the sale agreement have later been changed by the buyer or seller, or both parties, without being put in writing.

Dallas Kruger, co-founder and CEO of Utopia Concierge and Realty Services, says these arrangements might include a date for the removal of certain items that were not included in the sale, for example, such as artworks, mirrors, light fittings and antique furniture.

They might also include a date by which the sellers agree to complete certain repairs or improvements, like repainting the property or replacing some broken items. And they will almost certainly include an occupation date – which is the day the sellers will move out and the buyers will move in.”

She says that in most cases, the occupation date is set for the month-end or month-start closest to the estimated date on which the property will actually be registered in the new owner’s name, so that both sellers and buyers can make firm plans about furniture removals, service cut-off dates and changes of address and school, for example.

The sale agreement will usually also stipulate an amount of occupational rent that has to be paid if for some reason registration takes place earlier or later than was anticipated.

But what if the sellers find a new home sooner than expected? Or what if they need to move quickly to secure a new job in another town? They might then offer the buyers the opportunity to occupy their home earlier than the date stated in the sale agreement. Alternatively, the buyers might ask for an earlier occupation date, especially if they are currently renting accommodation and nearing the end of a lease.”

Well, none of these arrangements should be a problem if they are written down and signed by both parties, says Dallas. It is when they are made ad hoc that problems can arise.

The buyers who have moved in early to help the sellers out and ensure that the property is not left empty will then very likely not see why they should pay any occupational rent for this extra time in the property. Or the sellers who have agreed to leave early could easily just change their minds and leave the buyers out in the cold for a month or two.

This is why we always, always recommend that sellers and buyers who need to make any changes to the procedures outlined in the sale agreement immediately contact the estate agent who negotiated that agreement and ask them to draw up an addendum noting these changes and get is dated and signed by both parties as soon as possible.”

*For more expert real estate advice, contact us at Utopia Real Estate and Concierge Services today. We are your one-stop shop for a hassle-free home sale or purchase in beautiful Panama!