Thursday, August 25, 2011

There's a storm front coming - what if the house is destroyed pre-closing?

Buyers: The general rule is that if you have not taken possession or closed the deal, you can cancel the contract because of a mutual impossibility of performance. Nonetheless, you are in a great position because you may also demand performance with a price reduction. The price reduction would be the fair market value of what was lost in the storm as determined by an appraisal (this would likely be litigated as I'm sure the seller's appraisal would differ with yours). Yet, should you wish to cancel the contract, you can get your deposit back and that is the direction you will likely go. Anyway, lets hope the storm changes course and you can close on a fabulous property that's now in contract.
Sellers: You may have to take a price reduction as stated above, but hopefully your homeowners policy covers your loss. Nonetheless, its likely the deal will just be cancelled and you will have to rebuild.

Disclaimer: This advice assumes material damage to the premises and is based upon NY General Obligations Law 5-1311(1)(a)