Q: What can be done if the seller trashes the house after the buyer sees it? A friend purchased a house that was in normal condition when they viewed the house, and made their offer.

When they finally got the keys after the closing, they walked in to find that the seller had trashed things like the carpet, bathrooms, and walls, and had left items in the garage.

Is small claims court the only possible way to get restitution?

A: Your friend made a mistake: He or she should have done a final walk-through of the property to make sure it was in the same condition it was when the offer was accepted.

If your friend had walked through the house, he or she would have seen the damage and would have been able to use their significant leverage to negotiate a settlement at the closing.

Now, your friend will have to go through small claims court, which will take time, and may not be able to collect.