House #48 was under contract to sell about six weeks ago, and was scheduled to close at the beginning of January. Unfortunately, about a week prior to closing, we had a burst pipe in an upstairs bathroom (this was when temps were around -10 degrees in the area and the house was vacant). There was damage to sheetrock, hardwood floors and some cabinets, but we had everything repaired and ready to go within the week and were ready to close on schedule.
Turns out, the buyers were looking for a reason to back out of the deal (they were first-time buyers and it appears they got cold feet a couple weeks before closing), and used the burst pipe to ask for a termination of the contract. They believed that not only did they have the right to terminate, but that they had the right to get their earnest money back as well (Wisconsin state contracts have some weird provisions, and I believe our agent handled the entire situation poorly, but that’s a topic for another post).
Given that the earnest money was $5000, we weren’t going to give it up that easily. They dug in and got an attorney; we did the same. Ultimately, after a couple weeks, I think they realized that they weren’t going to win in court, and we realized that we weren’t going to be able to sell the house while we had this contract dispute unresolved — we offered to split the earnest money down the middle, and they quickly agreed.
After losing the sale and spending about $4000 to repair the damage from the burst pipe, we decided to take the house off the market for two weeks, spruce it up and re-stage it. We just put the house back on the market this weekend.