Coldwater, MI asked in Real Estate Law for Michigan

Q: What happens if we are unable to get rid of all of the household items before the new owners move in?

My son inherited my ex-husband's house after his death. My son is three hours away at college, so we (myself and husband) have been responsible for cleaning the house out. The house sold, and the new owners will take possession in couple of weeks. We've had an estate sale, and now have listings on Ebay and Craigslist to sell the remaining household items, but so far we have been unable to sell everything. The new owner has contacted my son demanding that everything must be out of the house and barn before they take possession, but we re having a hard time getting rid of everything. Is there anything the new owners can do to my son is we are unable to get rid of everything?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
Answered
  • Howell, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: It depends on what is in the sales agreement that the buyer and seller (ex's estate? Son? other?) agreed to. Does it call for the house to be empty and 'broom clean'?

WORST case, the purchaser could hire someone to clean the place out and charge you for the labor and rubbish removal. Neutral case, you lose the stuff and the buyer keeps what is left. Best case? The buyer works with you allowing you to keep some stuff in the garage etc until it is sold, but all of that is subject to negotiation.

To avoid this is pretty easy. Rent/borrow a truck and a storage unit, and clean the place out yesterday. Then you can sell at your leisure. Stuff not worth the cost of a storage unit? The answer is to pitch the stuff.

This is NOT likely going to flame into a legal issue, so long as people are reasonable. If the buyer wants the house NOW,then the 'option' is to clean it out in whatever way possible as soon as possible. Or risk being sued for damages if they have to clean it out.

-- This answer is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney/client relationship.

I am licensed to practice in Michigan only. Please seek competent local legal help if you feel you need legal advice

David Soble
David Soble
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Farmington Hills, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: Generally, purchase agreements require that a home be vacated by the seller before a closing. That would include the seller's personal property. Buyers should perform a 'final walk through" of a home before a closing to ensure that the home is in the same condition that it was at the time of the purchase offer, and that repairs, if any, have been completed. Buyers do not have to close on a property if the overall condition is not acceptable. If your son is having a difficult time paying for the removal of the home contents, the parties could also agree to hold money back from the seller's proceeds to pay for the removal of personal property.

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