Apr. 17, 2012
Dear George: I entered into a contract to buy a house. We’re set to close next week, but one of the sellers died yesterday. I doubt we’ll be able to close on time, and I’ve been told there are estate issues. Does the death terminate the contract? I still want the house.
Answer: Death does not terminate contractual obligations. The estate is still bound by the contract. There will be delays due to probate proceedings, but you should go through probate to protect yourself from future title issues.
Dear George: We purchased a four-year old home that the builder had lived in since completion. We’ve since learned that the home has many problems – cracks in the foundation, roof tiles held together by caulk, appliances without serial numbers, etc. Do we have recourse to get the builder to repair these things?
Answer: Did the builder provide you with a warranty when you closed? If he did, read it thoroughly. Many builders provide a 10-year structural warranty on a home but because the builder lived in the home, this home may not be eligible. Instead, you may have received a seller’s disclosure notice. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible and show her any documents you have.
E-mail a question to ask George & Chuck or fax it to 713-978-6684. The answers to questions in this column do not contain legal advice. If you wish to obtain legal advice, you should consult your own attorney.