Buyers may be backing out...

13 years ago

I'm coming off the sidelines to post to seek opinions and advice.

We listed our house three weeks ago, had four showings, then received an offer. They buyers are a young couple who saw the house once and then came back a second time with their parents and an uncle. We were asking $449k, they bid $420, and we settled on $430. Part of our accepting that offer was our realtor made clear upfront that our home needs a new roof, which they said they understood. The roof is two layers, so it was up to them to tear it off and start over (which I would do) or add a third layer (legal here) for a reduced price, but with a shorter shelf life. The roof is in good condition, with no leaks, but it is 20 years old and so has about reached its full life.

The couple had the inspection last Wednesday, and our realtor told us everything was fine, that there was nothing that was going to break the deal. Then yesterday, he called me to say the buyers believe the roof is going to be a $15k-$20k job, not a $10k job to to tear off and replace, as we had said. We have written estimates for a total roof replacement for $10k, when we thought we might do it ourselves. Furthermore, the buyer sent his agent an email, which she forwarded to our realtor, who in turn forwarded it to me, insisiting there are three layers of roof on our house, and his inspection report says so, that no sellers trying to sell their home are going to be able to dispute that, and he's going to make a new, reduced offer on the house. Our realtor asked if he could see the inspection report, and the buyer said he paid for it, so no.

I don't know what to say. Our roof most definitely has two layers, not three, and my husband thinks their inspector may have erred, looking at our roof from the ground (the first layer is shingle and not plywood, so it may look like three). We've already had roofing contractors here ourselves to give estimates, all in the range of $10k. I said to our realtor as far as I know no one has come by to look at the house and give this buyer a real estimate (I work from home), and in any case I would imagine a good roofer would want to come inside the house to inspect it from the interior. I told him the buyers were welcome to bring contractors into the house this week if they wanted to get estimates, and not just drive-by estimations.

This buyer finished his email saying they still really love the home and want to work something out with us. If they did, wouldn't they have roofing contractors come to the house? My realtor thinks they have cold feet and are using the roof as an out, and has told them we've been honest about the condition of the roof from the start, that's already been reflected in the offer we accepted, and they need to make a decision. Basically he's prepping us to put our house back on the market. I pulled the estimates we have for the roof and told him we'd be glad to share those with the buyers as well, even though I imagine they'd want to get their own. Our Realtor told us he doesn't think that's going to help any. And he doesn't seem worried about our getting another offer. I do hate that we've lost some time.

I'd hate for this deal to fall apart over a misunderstanding, but maybe our Realtor is right, and they just have cold feet and want an out.

What do you think? I'd like to know not only for my curiosity but if we run into this again with another set of buyers. We really don't have the $ to do the roof ourselves. We haven't found another house to buy yet so we're not under the gun to unload this house, but of course it would've been nice to make the deal! Ah well...

Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this situation.

Comments (24)