We are grateful to report that our office has both power and internet and will be open by 8:30 on Monday. We hope to make ourselves available to you, so please don’t hesitate to reach out directly.
Below please find our initial thoughts to help you in handling your contracts:
The Next Few days: Give an extension to allow the Buyer more time. We have already spoken to many parties who had expected to close this upcoming week (or were supposed to close last week), and who need time to determine many things regarding the Property.
Though every situation will vary, we generally believe that a two (2) week extension is an appropriate place to start. You can achieve this by using the closing date addendum (NABOR), or by inserting the following language into any contract addendum/amendment:
“The Closing Date shall be ___________.”
For this week: Allow the Buyer to conduct a follow up inspection. In addition to NABOR even including this requirement in the contract (see “Buyer Limited Purpose Post Casualty Inspection Rights”), we believe that it is important to allow a Buyer to do a second inspection to determine if the Property has experienced any damage. This promotes trust and goodwill in the transaction, and could even uncover damage (or lack thereof) of which the Seller is unaware. FR/BAR includes similar allowances under the Final Walk Through / Reinspection.
Tip: Do not attempt to modify the contract without speaking to an attorney first. For example, do not agree to “repair all damage” to the Property without legal advice – the contract may already provide for this and better protects the rights and responsibilities of both parties.
For this month: Maintain Insurance and update all Parties. Ensure that the Property is insured at all times, and that any damage (even if deemed minor!) be updated on the Sellers Disclosure. Furthermore, if the Seller refuses to disclose known defects, caused by the storm or otherwise, you may be required to disclose.
Throughout this Process: Your clients Must speak to an Attorney. Though we know it is tempting to want to help, advising clients of their “requirements” or “options” regarding the contract, especially in these uncertain times, could lead them to make poor decisions.
Note: There will likely be companies suggesting homeowners sign an Assignment of Benefits regarding roof or flood damage. Homeowners should have all contracts reviewed by an attorney before signing.
As always, please contact our office if you need our help.
Stay safe. Help others where you can. God bless.