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Old 02-16-2009, 10:58 AM
VSB VSB started this thread
 
Location: Raleigh
167 posts, read 525,736 times
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Default Can a seller refuse to "release" you from a contract?

  1. We signed and submitted a termination letter for our housing contract based on the presence of water in the crawlspace. In our (standard) contract, there is a plainly written provision that the presence of water or drainage issues gives us the right to do so.
  2. The seller, who had previously been easy to reach, has responded neither to calls nor email. Does his failure to respond prevent us from pursuing other homes since we technically have a standing "offer to purchase?"
  3. Or, if the seller "refuses" to sign the termination, can he legally prevent us from pursuing other homes?
  4. I assume, that if he fails to respond, he has a certain amount of time, before we are "free" to do what we want and pursue other options.
Any ideas?
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:03 AM
 
Location: Barrington
18,480 posts, read 13,253,684 times
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Depends on what your contracts says?

Is this an earnest money issue?

Do you have a real estate agent?
Do your have an attorney?
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:06 AM
VSB VSB started this thread
 
Location: Raleigh
167 posts, read 525,736 times
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Contract doesn't cover this topic, i.e. buyer submits termination, seller hasn't acknowledged receiving it, and hasn't returned phone calls or emails, so where do we stand?

I have both an attorney and an agent.

While I am confident we are entitled to 100% of our earnest money, I don't care if we lose it. We just want to be free to sign an offer on other homes.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
16,166 posts, read 21,815,523 times
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Does your contract have a paragraph that states when notifications are considered to have been delivered, and to whom? (Most do.) The answer should be in what that says, but I defer to your attorney who is presumably familiar with real estate law in your area.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:48 AM
VSB VSB started this thread
 
Location: Raleigh
167 posts, read 525,736 times
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The contract does not indicate this specific point. I think it really comes down to earnest money.

The bottom line is: Once we sign and deliver a termination, then the contract is terminated.

However, pursuing other homes may jeopardize the earnest money because it gives the appearance that we were not "acting in good faith," i.e. that we simply changed our minds and decided we weren't interested in the house.

Even if this were true, which it isn't, I can't imagine how someone goes about proving that (unless they're mind readers). How things look, and how things are, are different things, although maybe not to a jury.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Barrington
18,480 posts, read 13,253,684 times
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In my area, a home cannot go back on the market if there is a pending earnest money issue.

Your agent and attorney should be able to advise you as to what you need to do to get your earnest money refunded. They know your contract and laws.
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:09 PM
VSB VSB started this thread
 
Location: Raleigh
167 posts, read 525,736 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by middle-aged mom View Post
In my area, a home cannot go back on the market if there is a pending earnest money issue.

Your agent and attorney should be able to advise you as to what you need to do to get your earnest money refunded. They know your contract and laws.
That's interesting, and would hurt the sellers far more than us, especially since we can move on without it. Again, our primary concern is being "free" to pursue other properties which may interest us.
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
10,799 posts, read 17,773,200 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VSB View Post
That's interesting, and would hurt the sellers far more than us, especially since we can move on without it. Again, our primary concern is being "free" to pursue other properties which may interest us.
Out here we can have contested earnest money but the termination needs to be signed with a few exceptions. We have some clauses that just allow for the buyer to put in writing an unconditional disapproval and it is automatically terminated.

So it depends on what your attorney says about termination of the contract and what is required.
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Old 02-16-2009, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Central New Jersey
238 posts, read 634,441 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VSB View Post
That's interesting, and would hurt the sellers far more than us, especially since we can move on without it. Again, our primary concern is being "free" to pursue other properties which may interest us.
Your attorney is key here - he/she should issue a "time is of the essence" clause in the attorney review response to the seller's attorney.

Your agent should be able to advise as well.

You can shop for another home but, until the attorney gives you the go ahead, I would recommend that you include a contingency in any offer.
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:37 PM
Status: "I am not Groot." (set 6 days ago)
 
Location: Cary, NC
19,241 posts, read 29,661,940 times
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VSB,

Since you are have a Realtor and an attorney, it would seem that you have the out of state folks here outgunned with good local advice.
They have been reduced to referring you to your contract, which is the right answer.
Again, your local talent should be giving you guidance based on the details included in the standard paperwork.


As I review the Offer to Purchase and Contract, NCAR Standard Form 2-T, it appears to me that drainage issues are "necessary repairs" which Seller must refuse to repair before you have the right to terminate. And the wording appears to be subject to interpretation, at that.
You don't mention a Repair Request and Agreement, or that such a request has been made and denied by the Seller.
Again, your local talent should be giving you guidance based on the details included in the standard paperwork. This advice, whether your termination is viable and you are free to shop, should be a slam dunk for your attorney.
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