Seller Worst nightmare

20 Replies

So my mother-in-law is in the process of selling her home with a realtor, and the end buyers somehow convinced them to let their family move in 2 days before the closing. Now the day before the closing the buyers decided to disclose an encroachment of the house against the city, to the title company halting the closing process after they’ve already moved in.

My mother-in-law’s realtor is supposedly speaking with a lawyer about the situation, saying they didn’t have intent to buy since they waited for the last minute to bring up this problem.

The Encroachment issue is the pool wires are crossing city lines underground, which would take x amount of time to fix as well as x amount of money.

My question is what would be the best way to solve this issue?

Try and fix the encroachment issue or go about the process of removing the buyers(squatters) ?? Also would removing them require an eviction process? This is In Virginia Beach, VA as we.

@Ira Jeter , that's a sad mistake.  There are some questions that need to be answered:

What kind of paperwork did the realtor have the buyers sign regarding taking possession before closing?  Who gave final approval to allow them to move in?  Do the buyers have an attorney?  How much escrow deposit is being held.

You said the buyers decided to disclose to the title company info about an encroachment?  That is the title company's responsibility to discover, not to have the buyer give that info.  

Something definitely is not connecting, nor is this passing the smell test.  Get an attorney.

>The Encroachment issue is the pool wires are crossing city lines underground, which would take x amount of time to fix as well as x amount of money

I am not a lawyer.  Anything I indicate should be checked with an expert on the laws of your area. 

Are the pool wires on the city property? In my market, typically utility lines on the owner property do not include exclusive access to the property.  This is not always the case with easements that can place restrictions on the use of the property.  For example, an easement on my property forbids building anything over the easement including garden boxes (which I personally think would be easy to move if needed).  Even these easements do not indicate I can not run wires across the easement but I suppose that is possible.  

If the pool wires are on city land then the issue needs to be addressed regardless.  I have trouble seeing how this would occur.  Where would the circuit breaker be located?  If on city land I would cut the power and abandon the existing wires on the city land.   

As for the potential buyers, I would get their squatting asses out of there as soon as legally possible.  Find out the process for your area and get their asses out of the property.  If necessary hire an attorney to get it done.

Good luck



I would assume this came to light due to a current survey?  I don’t know that “pool wires crossing city lines underground” is necessarily an “encroachment”....as this is likely an easement or right of way granted to the city, not city owned property.  Typically any city ROW is on the edge of a property, not sure how or why “pool wires” presumably coming from the house panel, would cross perimeter easement areas?

A letter from the City okaying this May be the easiest solution....if that is even necessary.

@Wayne Brooks that makes sense, I don’t have all the necessary info yet, just what my mom has told me and she is currently out of state. All inspections and appraisals were good to go, then right before closing this survey surfaces out of the blue, just feel like the buyers are trying to pull a fast one

@Dan I’m not 100% sure exactly which wires are encroaching but they said it’s underground in regards to the pool. I personally feel like this was all a ploy for the buyers to get in a place since their contingency for buying the home, is their home had to sell first which I believe it is under contract now

@Ira Jeter

“their contingency for buying the home, is their home had to sell first which I believe it is under contract now”

That makes even less sense Ira. 

That means they were not “2 days from closing‘ ...the closing isn’t going to happen until after their current home sells which still hasn’t sold. 

It also means there’s no reason they should have been allowed to move in as the closing coulda have been months away if the buyers home sale fell through. Some “professional” really dropped the ball here. 

Originally posted by @Ira Jeter :

@Dan I’m not 100% sure exactly which wires are encroaching but they said it’s underground in regards to the pool. I personally feel like this was all a ploy for the buyers to get in a place since their contingency for buying the home, is their home had to sell first which I believe it is under contract now

 You are right, it was a scam by the buyers.  Hopefully they are paying rent.

Sounds like you have a good argument against the agent/broker in this transaction as well. I would seek legal advice, possibly a formal complaint to the department of real estate and board of realtors and a lesson as to NEVER allow any buyers to have possession of your property prior to close of escrow.

@Ira Jeter Just so you know, surveys are typically, always done just prior to closing, so as not to waste money doing one in case financing falls through.  The “letting them move in prior to closing” was the only real mistake....had they not, they likely wouldn’t be making a big deal out if this.....unless it truly is an issue, as we have no way of knowing since You don’t really know what the issue is.

Huge mistake letting people move in before closing. Did they sign a "Use and Occupancy Agreement?" Are they paying rent for each day they occupy the premises? You need to immediately file for eviction.

In the deals I’ve seen with taking possession early, there is usually a daily rental charge of closing is delayed. Look to see what was put in for that amount. Early possession is needed in some cases and a reasonable charge should be applied. 

@Will Barnard Gives you great advice here as well as the others. If market is good in her area- I’d advise her to walk and list with another realtor who won’t let something like this happen. Mainly that’s spiteful on my part- because I’ve been burned by people like that in the past. If you have to fix the problem regardless- maybe it’s best to fix and close- but man I hate to see people win when they pull those surprises.

It’s not ideal, but there are ways to mitigate the risks when letting someone take possession prior to closing, just like for letting a seller retain possession after closing....make the buyer put up Substantial additional, non refundable EM, spell out time limits, rental rates, default, etc.

Is there an easment on your mother in laws property by the city? And then wires are run underground to her pool in the easement when that isn't allowed. If that is the case you have to get something from the city that says it's ok, or you move the wires. pool wires should not be too hard to move and that might be easier. Now if it is the pump and everything might be more. I am guessing you don't have a rent clause for thier occupancy. I would see what you can legally file based on the aggreement in terms of eviction. The threat to file may be enough to move things along.

Your Mom's realtor hopefully stressed what a bad idea it is to allow possession prior to closing. If not, the realtor should be fired. The best course of action is to have your mom seek legal counsel so all paperwork can be reviewed and a determination of how to proceed can be made.

@Nigel Guisinger is right on when he brought up that the early possession agreement should have addressed a daily rent amount.  If it didn’t shame on your MILs agent.  It is an odd thing for you to say the “buyer’s did not disclose” something related to the seller’s house, because it would be the seller disclosing in this scenario, not the buyer.  The seller should have confirmed all contingencies, the appraisal, title and survey were cleared before agreeing to early possession.  It seems like this will be a simple fix and as long as the buyer pays the agreed upon daily rate - as long as the seller negotiated they pay one.

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