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Old 12-27-2008, 01:56 PM
 
33 posts, read 90,838 times
Reputation: 16

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I need good advice as I plan to represent myself in a civil court hearing.

I had a real estate "enforceable contract" and the buyer backed out of the deal and bought another pieces of real estate. I was in financial troble at the time and if he would have stuck to the deal I would have been able to bail myself out of debt. I was later forced to put the building up fro auction and basically I just broke even. I was never late on a payment and the auction was only advantageous because I avoided the bank taking it back. It didn't matter really because I have to file bankruptcy now anyway. Anyway The guy offered me 140k and breached the contract. The auction sold my building for 92,500. The auction company got 6% or $5,500 and another 800 for advertsing. Therefore, I lost $53,750 by this guy breaching the contract.

He works for a large fed and state funded school operation and has hired two topgun attorneys. I want justice. I am flat broke, I cannot retain a good real estate laywer, matter of fact I have to postpone filing bankruptcy because I do not have the money to get the ball rolling. I have hired a bankruptcy laywer. For $250, he has kept the collection agencies off my back but it awaiting to commence once I get the money to file through. so....

Where do I start? I have represented myself in 2 small claims court cases and won both. But this is a bigger ballgame.


Any good books that cover this?
Any good suggestions?
Can I sue him (or the company) for punitive damage?

I need all the help I can get. His lawyers have already scoofed at me for wanting to represent myself. I think they think I don't have chance. I want to prove that I can muster up a good game and I would love to be awarded the money I have lost due to somene not adhereing to a contract.

I want justice.

Cheeko
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:06 PM
Status: "October is the eighth month" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: Just south of Denver since 1989
10,676 posts, read 28,486,584 times
Reputation: 6842
more questions:
what contact did you use, was there an offer and an acceptance, did you hire a broker or an attorney, why did the buyer back out, was the earnest money kept, was there a termination agreement, since you broke even can you prove damages....
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:12 PM
 
33 posts, read 90,838 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2bindenver View Post
more questions:
what contact did you use, was there an offer and an acceptance, did you hire a broker or an attorney, why did the buyer back out, was the earnest money kept, was there a termination agreement, since you broke even can you prove damages....
We drew up our own. I know bad move...BUT..on the paper there was an offer and an acceptance. At the bottom where I signed it I actually wrote "accepted at 140k" then dated and signed it. I took it to a real estate lawyer and he said I had an "enforceable" contract. Listed was price, steps of progression (appraisel, inspection,etc), the address of the building, both of our signatures, approval from his board and he stated "things will proceed quickly". There was no earnest money down.

He backed out because he found another building to buy. He even had an appraisel done and had it approved by his board members. This I have in writing. He admitted he had the financing (I have that in writing and verbal) and the only continguecy was that it had to pass a asbestos inpection. He had scheduled for that but then found another building and informed me he wanted to "retract his offer". I told him he couldnt and he stated that he could and that he could have evn walked away at the day of closing if he wanted to. he told me he saved 20k by buying another building and thats why he breached. Him and his lawyers are saying the contract was no good. The real estate lawyer I consulted with said the paper we signed had all the necessary things to be "an enforceable contract". I could not afford to hire him and thats why I want to represent myself. BUT I need a lot of help because I want to win this case.

I "broke even" from the auction sale price at 92,500. At that price, I had enough to pay off the bank note and pay off the auction company and that's it. He contracted with me at 140k. Therefore I lost about 50k (potential profit) by him breaching out. (the difference from his contract and the auction sale price.) Damages? yes, because I took such a loss I had to file bankruptcy. I have been stressed out mentally since he backed out as well.

I need all the help I can get...and thanks for replying.

Cheeko

Last edited by cheeko; 12-27-2008 at 02:25 PM..
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:25 PM
Status: "October is the eighth month" (set 18 days ago)
 
Location: Just south of Denver since 1989
10,676 posts, read 28,486,584 times
Reputation: 6842
I think your are out of luck, but I am not a judge or an attorney. You didn't use an approved real estate contract. You did not get earnest money. You cannot prove that you were damaged. If you had a contract for $140, 000 you should have been able to get another for $140,000 - did you try? Filing bk usually means more than just the one incident.

I've lost plenty on money in real estate, never had to file bk because of it.
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:46 PM
 
33 posts, read 90,838 times
Reputation: 16
This may be of imporatnce and it may hurt me.

When he backed out of the deal, I really didn't know what to do. So I did two things. At the same time I had another interested buyer. I originally was asking 120k. The guy (who later breached) originally contacted me first and said he was interested in my building. It was only talk. Another party, a women was also interested. I told her I have a guy who was interested in the building. She informed me that she would offer more and asked what would I accept for the building. I told her 135k and she could have it. She aggreed but I told her I wanted to speak to the other guy first (since he contacted me before she did). I guess I felt bad for the other guy. Even though we had nothing in writing (from either party) i still felt obligated to talk with the guy and tell him of the gals larger offer. I told him since he came to me first that I felt as though I need to give him another chance to buy the building. I told him that I didn't plan on a bidding war but since we had nothing in writing I was going to give him a chance to make me an offer. That was if he was still interested. He said he had plenty of available money and offered me 140k. I thought to myself wow, thats ok with me.

Now at this point I was concerned because I had nothing in writing. I mentioned to him that maybe we should hire a real estate broker or attorney. He said we didn't need one and that they would just take money and that we could do it ourselves. agreed and we scribbled some stuff off and signed it. I thought, ok done deal. I immediately called the other gal and told her I signed a deal with the guy. She didnt seem too upset and thanked me and said she had another place in mind anyway. The next day this guy scheduled an appraisel. That was done and appraised at 165k..much higher than our aggreed 140k. He said he needed his (school)boards approval and got it and wrote that it has been approved and we would commence with the inspection and then schedule closing. (i have this inw ritihng and he dated it and signed it).It was the weekend of memorial day. When I came back he said he was rejecting the offer and buying another building.

I didlt know what to do. i should have just stopped there but I wrote him a letter. I still felt we had a binding contractual agreement and I wanted it dissolved so I could call up the other gal and see if she was still interested. In the letter I sent to him it was a agreement to get out of purchasing my office. It had a place for him to sign and for me to sign and thus he would be free of all penalties. He never signed it and I never heard from him. Also in then letter was na actual real estate contract and a place where he could sign and I included a 1500 $ in earnst money. 4-5 days passed and he mailed me back our original contract, nothing more. He crossed a line through the writing and wrote "void". Underneath he wrote he was no longer buying my building. I called the other lady back to see if she still wanted my building. She informed me she did not. Boom. I was SOL.
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:48 PM
 
33 posts, read 90,838 times
Reputation: 16
I would have made about 50k. That would have helped me pay off my debts (med bills credit cards). I am no longer working as well and may have to file for disability.

Despite me filing for bk, Isn't a loss of 50k not damage enough? The guy breached the contract. I was left with no option but to auction it off (or the bank would have forclosed on it.) btw It was listed with a realtor and I had no takers either.
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:54 PM
 
33 posts, read 90,838 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2bindenver View Post
I think your are out of luck, but I am not a judge or an attorney. You didn't use an approved real estate contract. You did not get earnest money. You cannot prove that you were damaged. If you had a contract for $140, 000 you should have been able to get another for $140,000 - did you try? Filing bk usually means more than just the one incident.

I've lost plenty on money in real estate, never had to file bk because of it.

The real estate lawyer I consulted with said a real estate contract wasn't a necessity. What was contained in our paper met the criteria. He said earnest money is just an option. He used the words "enforceable contract". He charged me approx $700 for the consult.
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:55 PM
 
Location: southern california
55,237 posts, read 72,392,137 times
Reputation: 47449
never never represent yourself in a court of law.
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Old 12-27-2008, 03:01 PM
 
33 posts, read 90,838 times
Reputation: 16
Thanks. You must be lawyer. Anyway, there is no risk of fines or jailtime (for me) if I am unsuccessful. I believe I really have nothing to lose.

I do not have any money for a lawyer to represent me. I have won two times in small claims courts and they were both for a substantial amount of money. in both cases I won quite convincingly.
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Old 12-27-2008, 03:04 PM
 
33 posts, read 90,838 times
Reputation: 16
I think my biggest concern it that he says that he terminated the contract. I say not.

Now the lawyer I hired said it was "enforceable". So my question is: what does it take to terminate a contractual agreement? ( a paper with both signatures stating the dissolution, one signature, a voided copy of the actual contract etc)
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