‘They took all the bulbs’: East Coast realtors spill the tea on some of the near disasters they saw on closing day

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Homes are selling like hot cakes right now, but it’s a stressful time: bidding, paperwork, contracts, organizing, packing and sorting. It can be a monumental task.

And like any monumental event in one’s life, it’s natural to expect a curve or two. And, sometimes, those curve balls turn into volleyball when problems arise on closing day.

John Kenny of Bedford, Nova Scotia has worked in real estate for 15 years and is a sales professional with the Sutton Realty Professional Group. He is also known professionally as Kilted Kenny.

Like many other professionals in the real estate industry, he sorted through his fair share of curve balls on closing day, including one that occurred on a cold February day in Bedford.

“My client and I went to a pre-closing walkthrough on the last day they would have picked up the house, which had been vacated by owners who had moved to Vancouver about a month prior,” he recalled.

“We entered the house and immediately felt the cold. I noticed that the heat was regulated around minus 10 degrees on the ground floor. Then we went upstairs, everything was fine, always chilly but sinks and toilets worked well.”

From vendors carrying light bulbs to people still packing on closing day, realtors have seen it all while helping new buyers get their keys.  - Story Blocks
From vendors carrying light bulbs to people still packing on closing day, realtors have seen it all while helping new buyers get their keys. – Story Blocks

When Kenny and his client entered the basement, the reason it was so cold was revealed.

“Vendors had completely turned off the heat on the lower level resulting in three-quarters to an inch of water all over the floor – only it was ice now because of the temperature. It was a skating rink “recalls Kenny.

“The sellers felt that when the house was officially sold and the conditions met no longer concerned them, they therefore felt that it was not their responsibility to continue to heat it either.”

The sellers were originally from another country and didn’t think to ask their agent, he adds.

The water was coming from a broken hot water baseboard pipe from the heating system.

“And the sellers were initially of the view that they wouldn’t pay for the damage,” he added.

John solved the problem with his clients, who got the insurance proceeds to fix everything and replace the flooring, some drywall and plumbing that were affected.

In his 15 years in the business, realtor John Kenny has had his fair share of curveballs on closing day.  - Contributed
In his 15 years in the business, realtor John Kenny has had his fair share of curveballs on closing day. – Contributed

All packed – no

Kenny recalled another closing day walkthrough with an overjoyed customer buying a new mobile home that didn’t go to plan.

“Their moving truck was loaded and they were planning to move in as soon as they had taken possession of it through the lawyers. As usual, we had booked our pre-closing walkthrough for 9 a.m. morning “


“You can be as prepared as you want – some things are just out of your control.” John Kenny


When Kenny and his client arrived, “we saw the salesman’s moving truck in the driveway, which is never a good sign,” he says.

“We entered the house through the kitchen and started to inspect. I could clearly hear a machine pulsing in the background. I walked down the hall and announced myself, only to find the elderly landlady still sleeping with her breathing apparatus on and all of her bedroom furniture still assembled,” Kenny said.

“I came out and a man was sleeping in the moving van. It was her son who was there from the country ready to bring his mother home.

Lesson?

“You can be as prepared as you want – some things are just out of your control.”

Go the extra mile

Sometimes curveballs continue to happen past the close.

Kenny had a client who moved from Ontario to Nova Scotia to start his military career as a pilot in the Armed Forces.

“He bought a condo with strong bones in a nice building, but it needed some renovations, which had to be done after the purchase and which was supposed to take two weeks,” he said. “He ordered the materials and I remembered his choice of flooring was specific but hadn’t given it much thought. A week after closing he arrived intending to stay at a hotel for the week .”

During the third week, Kenny made a courtesy call to his client just to see how he liked the new condo.

“He reported to me that the flooring was out of stock at Home Depot, so he was now sleeping in the condo on his mattress in the middle of the living room. The kitchen was still dismantled and the floor might have been out for three weeks,” Kenny said. “I felt really bad for him. So I invited him to my house for two weeks so that he could live normally and the work could be finished.

Estate agent James Beaton stresses that it's important to write down all the items you want to include in the sale.  - Contributed
Estate agent James Beaton stresses that it’s important to write down all the items you want to include in the sale. – Contributed

Even the bulbs

James Beaton is a Realtor and Sales Representative at EXIT Realty PEI.

Beaton says that in a standard contract, the fixtures and chattels section deals with everything that needs to be included in the purchase and sale agreement.

“Items that are screwed, nailed, bolted or built into the house/structure must be included in the purchase and sale agreement at the agreed price,” he says.

This means that things like kitchen cabinets, plumbing, furnace go with the house.

Another way of putting it, he says, is “the way the standard contract is written, if you could pick up the house and shake it, anything that falls would not be included in the sale.”

He points out that “it is important to write down all the items you would like to include in the sale, including but not limited to standard appliances, patios, sheds, etc. Just because the items are discussed in the listing does not form part of the purchase contract.

But sometimes the quality of a contract’s drafting doesn’t matter. Like Kenny, Beaton has had his fair share of unique events on Closing Day.

“On one particular closing day, the vendors were so cheap they took all the light bulbs, the bathroom vanity, and even the toilet paper holder,” Beaton recalls. “Luckily it was resolved, and the sellers cooperated and returned these items, the property closed in time and everyone got on with their lives.

Sometimes, however, these situations are not resolved so easily.

“A similar situation occurred during the pre-closing visit, and the sellers refused to communicate with us,” he says. the seller and get what should legally be yours when it’s only worth a few hundred dollars? »

Not always, he says.

“Overall, sometimes it’s best for the buyer to roll up their sleeves and take care of it themselves, close the sale, and move in to avoid potential temporary homelessness in this fast-paced market they have may have already sold his old house to buy this new house.

Another tip from Beaton is to always expect to clean the new house before moving in.

“Your level of cleanliness will likely be different from that of the sellers. If the property is really messy, it might be better to add a condition that the seller must have the property cleaned by a professional that suits you.

Advice for tricky situations

Kenny advises officers who encounter strange closeout situations to “stay cool, calm and focused on the task at hand.”

“Your client is more than likely already nervous on closing day because it is a big step and we are the source of professionalism and the reason why they are looking for and absolutely need someone to rely on during this time” , he said. “Falling down in front of a stressed customer is the last thing he needs. Take a deep breath and assure them that everything can be fixed in time… well, almost everything.

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