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Real Estate Sales in Jamaica
Who Is Responsible For The Home Being Sold?

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Real Estate Sales In Jamaica
Who is responsible for the home being sold?

The following is an article by Paula Jackson, Licensed Real Estate Broker, Realtor, republished with her permission, detailing the responsibilities in the selling process.

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The closing period of a sale is that period when all the documents have been signed and all monies have been paid, awaiting the transferred property title.

Vendors and buyers would agree on a specific period for the sale to close; that date sets the framework for everything that happens from the time the deposit is paid to the final paperwork of the titles transfer, which usually takes 90 to 120 days and in most cases, this period elapses and it becomes very disheartening for both parties.

Often, while waiting on the long process, a seller may overlook his responsibilities on the property, thinking that the property has been sold and should be the buyer’s responsibility.

This is not so!

All general upkeep of the property is the responsibility of whoever’s name the title is in. Therefore, if the closing is still pending, the seller is liable for all upkeep.

A home that is maintained even when it is vacant will surely impress interested buyers and if not maintained, the neighbors can get testy because your property has become an eyesore. 

A CASE in Point!

A client had a property for sale. She also had an offer that was accepted and the sale process was well within 1 year due to unforeseen issues.

She‘ migrated, leaving the sale to continue and never made any arrangements for property maintenance. So, before the sale could be finalized, unfortunately, one of the purchasers died and the other was unable to secure the loan alone, forcing the sale to be cancelled and the property returned to the market.

When the seller vacated, the property was in need of moderate repairs, however, due to the length of time being unoccupied, it deteriorated significantly.

The vendor argued that the purchaser, the purchaser’s attorney and the realtor are to be held fully responsible for the lengthy process and are responsible to offset her loss.

Who is RESPONSIBLE for the property upkeep?

To hold a seller responsible for repairs e after the closing, the buyer must prove that the seller withheld material facts about the property’s condition.

After the close, the seller is unlikely to be held liable for any repairs, however, the buyer has a duty to perform diligent inspections and property investigation before making an offer.

Problems that pop up after the closing may have been brought to light beforehand by the seller, the seller's real estate agent or a home inspector.

Sellers, their agents and inspectors have a duty to disclose known defects as well as any material facts that may affect the home's desirability.

A seller's failure to disclose the need for repairs may constitute fraud on the seller's part, which may make them liable for all or part of the cost of repairs after closing.

Maintenance and repairs are an inherent part of home ownership and so the new home buyers often discover property defects after the closing process.

In the case above, the property still belongs to the seller and had she been carrying out regular inspections, the overall repairs would have been cushioned.

She is now faced with either selling the property at a lower price or spending more on repairs hoping to re-coup those funds. 

Seller Responsibilities

A seller, during the closing period is required to: 

  • Maintain the house in good condition 
  • Negotiate and perhaps repair something the buyer’s inspector finds 
  • Notify your utility companies of a final service date 
  • Prepare for vacant possession
  • Don’t cancel the homeowner’s insurance policy until the transfer of ownership has been recorded. 

Paula Jackson is a Licensed Real Estate Broker Realtor® with over 14 years in the Industry. She dedicates herself to the full service of Real Estate Business with the aim of creating a long term relationships by conducting business with the highest level of professional ethics.

This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Email feedback to paulann.pj@gmail.com, and for all the latest listings visit our website at www.jcrealtyja.com

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