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Sniper on Roof? Green Pool? The Wacky Ways a Home Sale Can Stall

By Lucas Smith | July 12, 2021

We’ve talked before in this space about odd, unexpected and unique things that can happen during an escrow. Believe it or not, there are bizarre and expected scenarios that can stop a house closing in its tracks.

Let’s explore a few.

Things like snipers on the roof of the bank building, which necessitated the evacuation of the building and prevented the funding of the loan to close the transaction on time. This led to the discovery at the time of signing the loan documents that the buyer had gotten married while in escrow, and the escrow officer had to scramble to update the vesting to reflect his change in marital status to not blow the close date.

Or how about roof tiles broken by the fumigation company when the house was tented? The tents are heavy, they require walking on the roof to install, and frequently a few tiles are broken in the process of either putting the tent on or taking it off. Most fumigation agreements have a provision for replacing a certain number of tiles broken in the process. They note how many were already damaged prior to the tenting, and how many were broken when the tent comes off.

If you provide the replacement tiles, the fume company will schedule the repairs to be made at no cost, if it is within the constraints of the tile replacement allowance in the contract. Put all of this in the context of when the tenting usually occurs, which is typically close to the end of escrow.

So, when the fume company calls to say the tiles, which have been bought and left at the house, cannot be replaced the day before close of escrow because the roofer sustained an injury and had to go to the doctor that day, and the next available time would be a week later. This takes patience, trust, and creativity to overcome.

Or the case where the electricity was shut off because the buyers arranged to have the service changed to their account based on the expected closing date. In the meantime, the sellers never made arrangements to take the service out of their name because the close of escrow was delayed, which stops the pool filter from running.And since the sellers had moved out, no one was there to realize the pool filter was not running.

During hot summer days, a saltwater pool’s filter needs to run for a number of hours every day. After an electricity outage, the electrically-powered gizmo that controls the pool filter needs to be reset. No filtering means more algae and it could take a week or longer to get the pool gal out to see what’s going on. The last thing you want is to have to shock a green, algae-filled pool back to blue when the new owners are at the front door.

Could this be any more fun?

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