Buying my first home and need some advice. At a high level:
Located in North Carolina 8/16/21 Seller accepted offer and went under contract 8/28/21 Appraisal comes back at sale price (subject to home completion) 9/13/21 Due diligence period ends 9/15/21 Agreed upon settlement date
Home is a new construction SFH with a small, independent builder. It was sitting vacant for the last year during covid and needed to be completed (repainted, caulking, trim, no glass shower door, no garbage disposal, fireplace insert with no logs, surround or mantle, missing some fixtures, staining decks, etc.)
Seller is the owner, real estate agent, and GC/builder in one. He has dragged his feet with completing the home and initially refused to complete the items noted above.
Our contract states: “AGREED‐UPON REPAIRS AND/OR IMPROVEMENTS Seller agrees, prior to Settlement Date and at Sellers expense to complete the following items: Construction on home to be complete at the time of closing, including providing CO, missing floorboards in place, fireplace mantle, and any other aspect of providing a fully completed home.”
How can I have him complete the home? My agent said he does not have to complete the extras (I.e. garbage disposal, shower door, etc). Eventually, they started painting and completing the repairs. The inspection was scheduled for 9/9/21 (six days before our initial closing date)
9/8/21 – My agent and I tried to access the home to see inspections can take place the following day as planned but the seller had changed the lockbox code, we were unable to access home during DD period. On this day, we noted someone had driven into the garage door and dented it. 9/9/21 – inspection unable to take place as home was incomplete + we were unable to access 9/10/21 – we sign an amendment to push back closing to 9/29/21 9/15/21 – my RE agent proposed changing my closing attorney, I agreed 9/20/21 – today my lender informed me that I will be charged 0.25% in loan fees as I missed my 30 day rate lock/closing window 9/29/21 – current updated closing date
The seller has been largely unresponsive, has not agreed to complete all of the repairs or provide any type of seller credit. I’m not copied on any communications, it’s all completed through my agent. We initially requested $5k seller credit in early September. He will not respond to emails, calls, etc. We were able to reach him to extend our settlement date to 9/29/21 through an attorney.
Additionally, I should note that the seller requested that we use his closing attorney as he had already prepared the title work (previously built + sold the home next door). I initially felt uncomfortable about this due to the potential conflict of interest but my agent assured me it’s normal at times and we had title insurance. Then on 9/15/21, my agent proposed switching settlement attorneys to her usual attorney since all of the delays and difficulty getting a hold of the seller/builder, I agreed. We did not prepare any amendment to our contract with this change.
I feel so overwhelmed and not sure where to start to tackle this mess. Please share any advice. I’m not sure if the seller will complete the home or if we will pass all inspections. I’m thinking we may have a delayed closing again. I’d also like for the seller to pay for all expenses related to the delayed closing or failed inspection costs (I.e. storage fees, .25% loan points, or additional inspection costs if needed).
Has anyone ever encountered a similar situation in NC? My agent mentioned we can file a complaint with the NC or my city’s construction licensing board and that may motivate him to finish but I’m not sure the best route to take.
Additionally, online lenders had offered me a better rate with a lender credit too. I decided to go with a local lender as I thought we’d need to close fast and I always see them recommended. Now my lender is charging .25% points in for the delayed closing/rate lock in addition to the $995 loan origination fee. Over $2k. How can I negotiate with them? Any recommendations? My rate is 2.625% for a 30 year fixed.