Seller left the house with a leaking fridge and flooding…what are my options?

California

Closed escrow last week, but had a seller in possession (SIP) agreement to let them stay 5 days to move out.

SIP expired yesterday, we went to view the property and seller was not fully moved out. They were close so we just did a final walk through and did not see any issues.

Today, we went to view the property (seller gone) and noticed a huge leak in the fridge (kitchen is upstairs), followed by flooding in kitchen which leaked through the floor to the downstairs bedroom. Bedroom was soaked, water damage on walls/ceilings, etc.

My realtor is telling me to schedule the home warranty assessor to come in first and determine reason for leak (likely water filter to fridge was replaced and not reinstalled correctly, which will not be covered by home warranty), and then we can go back to the seller to ask for $ for damages (had handyman estimate at a few thousand). Understand the approach here as to have independent verification of the problem, but why wouldn't I go back to the seller immediately? I'm concerned because seller is moving out of the country (and might already be out) and would like to move ASAP.

What's the best approach here? I think it's obvious that as part of their move out, they must have caused the issue and I want to handle it right away. Realtor is taking a more slow (but calculated) approach and is telling me there is nothing to worry about and that things will get resolved in due time.

More real estate tips at Program Realty Wix site

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