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For any credit/repair request made during the inspection period, you have several options.
1. You can accept their request to make sure the buyer does not cancel and continues with the escrow.
2. You can refuse to offer any credit or repair. The buyer then must decide if they want to continue or cancel.
3. You can offer a partial credit or negotiated repair. If you can reach an agreement with the buyer, they will then continue.
Number 1 is the most popular options, but sometimes some negotiation is needed.
If their requests are for a large credit or a lot of repairs, negotiating it down to something fair works best.
In this case, you have to look at what they are requesting to be repaired. The contract does call for the home to be in the same condition it was during the inspection. So for example if a new leak happened they would expect you to repair that.
Sometimes it is not as obvious if this is something new or something that existed during the inspection period.
The buyer does not have a lot of leverage here because they can't cancel the escrow.
They have to negotiate with you and reach an agreement.
Should they decide to close late because of this issue, they would then have breached the contract and you would have the right to cancel the escrow and keep their deposits.
Most of the time they have an extension they can use. A typical extension might be for 10 to 15 days.
While you could argue that they don't have an automatic right to extend and the lender being late is not a reason beyond their control, normally most sellers will allow the extension period to be used.
If it is going past the extension period, then they have breached the contract.
You could then cancel and ask to keep their deposits, or you could give them an additional extension, or you could negotiate some type of fee per day to help you cover the extra costs the late closing is causing you.
Keep in mind you do not have an automatic right to keep their deposits, even if they breach the contract. The buyer has to agree to your request in order for escrow to release the deposit money to you. Most buyers will fight this, so you might end up settling, for example, keeping 1/2 their deposits.
You can withdraw a counter offer at anytime until it is accepted and that acceptance is delivered to you.
So if you receive a better offer you can simply withdraw your current counter offer and take the higher offer.
You have no obligations to the buyer until they sign your counter offer and open escrow.
Once in escrow, the only way a seller can cancel is if the buyer breaches the contract. You could breach the contract yourself by refusing to continue, but you might get hit with a damages lawsuit.
So if you receive a higher offer, the best thing to do is put it into backup position. Should the buyer miss a deadline you then have the option to cancel the escrow and take your higher backup offer.