When white-glove movers damage a home as a seller vacates

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2024 | Real Estate Closings

Buyers do not take possession of real property immediately after a seller accepts their offer. Instead, the move-out and move-in processes occur according to a specific schedule that the parties negotiate. Frequently, the seller vacates the property immediately prior to closing. The buyer and their agent may do a final walk-through to inspect the property before closing.

Other times, they may agree to take possession after the closing occurs, giving the seller a few additional days to arrange their move. Larger properties containing valuable furnishings often require the services of white-glove moving companies. These services promise to move personal property safely and securely with minimal damage to the possessions or the property. Unfortunately, sometimes even well-rated moving services damage a property. What happens when buyers discover damage caused by the move-out process?

Timing is everything in a real estate transaction

Whether the closing has occurred or not plays a major role in how buyers handle unexpected property damage. Movers can potentially do significant damage to a property if they are not cautious when moving large items or working near built-in features at the property.

Dropping a heavy item could cause major damage to vintage hardwood floors. Movers could knock the finial piece off of a carved staircase. They could put holes in plaster walls and damage vintage panes of leaded glass.

In many cases, white-glove moving companies carry extensive insurance. However, the seller may be the party that needs to pursue a claim. The buyer may need to communicate with their agent who can let the seller’s agent know about the issue. Typically, proper documentation is crucial in such cases.

Occasionally, the sellers, their agent or the moving company may try to deny responsibility and blame the buyers. At that point, the situation may require litigation. In scenarios where sellers may have used uninsured services for moving, they may have a degree of personal liability for the damage to the property. Civil litigation might be necessary in that scenario as well.

Documenting the damage and quantifying repair costs are both important steps in a real estate dispute related to a recent transaction. Buyers, sellers and agents who know what steps to take have a better chance of securing a mutually agreeable solution to a challenging situation.