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Old 09-23-2007, 05:11 PM
Location: Halfway between Number 4 Privet Drive and Forks, WA
1,516 posts, read 4,540,463 times
Reputation: 677


My sister is selling her home (fsbo). She is closing Thursday. Contract has been signed and was contingent upon inspection & appraisal, which came back fine. Buyer now wants her to come down off price or pay half of closing (in contract buyer agreed to pay agreed upon price and buyer was paying all of closing). Buyer has only put $500 in earnest money down on house. She claims to have talked to her real estate agent friend that advised her if my sister wouldn't come off price, she would only lose her earnest money.

Is this true?
I advised my sister to call real estate attorney immediately to make her pay the contracted price or sue. What can sister sue for if it comes to that?
Just earnest money? Non specific performance?

Need opinions asap, please, thanks so much!
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Old 09-23-2007, 05:19 PM
Location: Moved to town. Miss 'my' woods and critters.
25,464 posts, read 13,372,791 times
Reputation: 31755
As a Realtor, I am not allowed to give legal advice. If I was in your sister's predicament, I would contact a real estate attorney as soon as possible.

Hate to say this, since it is too late, but all the more reason to hire an agent to work for sellers. A contract is a contract. Good luck to your sister and please let us know what transpires.
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Old 09-23-2007, 05:28 PM
Location: Bloomington IN
8,588 posts, read 11,852,281 times
Reputation: 24227
In situations such as this, a "friendly" letter from an attorney often is enough to scare the buyer into closing. What your sister may sue for depends upon the terms of the contract.
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Old 09-23-2007, 05:32 PM
Location: Montana
2,203 posts, read 9,189,831 times
Reputation: 1129
Your sister definitely needs to see a GOOD real estate attorney ASAP. Her recourse will depend on the terms of the contract. It could just be loss of the buyers earnest money deposit. However there may be the possibility of suing for specific performance, or perhaps damages. Only a real estate attorney would be able to advise your sister. Of course, what's possible from a legal standpoint, and what's practical and feasible from a financial standpoint, may be two different things.

I sure hate to see your sister get burned like this. Perhaps the buyer didn't have representation either and didn't know the market value of your sister's house, and has since discovered she may be paying too much. Sounds like both parties to this deal really need specific information about the market value of the home, the validity of the contract, and the potential recourse in the case of breech by either party.

As Northwoods Voyager pointed out, we agents are here to protect the interests of the parties on both sides of the deal, so that neither the buyer or the seller gets burned.
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Old 09-23-2007, 05:59 PM
Location: Halfway between Number 4 Privet Drive and Forks, WA
1,516 posts, read 4,540,463 times
Reputation: 677
Thanks...I forgot to mention that even though my sister went fsbo, she did hire an agent (at like 1%) to do the contracts for them both and was present at signing. I'm pretty sure the buyer was unrepresented, unless the agent that was hired by my sister was acting in a dual agency relationship.

I told her to contact a RE attorney asap.

The crazy thing is, we are only talking about a $2,000 reduction off the price or paying half of closing (which would be about the same amount), however, my guess is the contract trumps, and I'm guessing there might be more at stake than just the earnest money buyer has put down. (i.e price for minor repairs sister had to do, attorney costs (if case was ruled in sisters favor)). So, if buyer does back out, she could feasibly lose more than just her earnest money. But I have no idea on real estate law...

Thanks ya'll so much, she is a little less stressed now after your advice!
I will let you know what happens...
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Old 09-23-2007, 06:11 PM
Location: Just south of Denver since 1989
11,746 posts, read 33,793,112 times
Reputation: 8801
Your sister needs to read her contract. It may be worth it to offer something to the buyer to perform, versus letting her walk and reselling the property.

I lost a buyer on my house 6 years ago, when the buyer on their house walked for the same house a few doors down that was put on the market for $5000 less than their contracted price...The buyers were afraid to tell me so they didn't for two weeks- I would have given them the $5,000 if I knew - it cost me 6 more months on the market and two more failed contracts...

Sometimes reminding the buyer that the money they spent on the appraisal and the inspection works...

Last edited by 2bindenver; 09-23-2007 at 06:21 PM..
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Old 09-23-2007, 06:58 PM
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
2,124 posts, read 8,729,634 times
Reputation: 818
Anyone can sue for any reason at anytime.... Winning is another matter!! your sister may have a case, but what she pays in the long run may be more than it's worth. she may have to eat the $2k :: gulp ::

Talk to her attorney, but be prepared to hear some options that she may not like....

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Old 09-23-2007, 07:33 PM
16,159 posts, read 31,799,844 times
Reputation: 20500
Those peeps trying to be mess with the contract with your sister better heed Karma!!
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Old 09-23-2007, 07:41 PM
Location: New Mexico
631 posts, read 2,411,457 times
Reputation: 331
It sounds like last minute extortion to me and it's too bad. It's hard to believe the buyers would walk away from the house over 2K unless they've just changed their minds on the purchase all together. It almost sounds like they are playing a game thinking so close to closing your sister would go for it. It's a tough one to know what to do w/o being involved in it. I would almost want to say take it to closing and see what happens then take it from there.
Did they change their mind in writing? Yep, a real estate attorney is needed here.

I had buyers that recently had a house off the market so long the seller could pull the plug at anytime. Their answer was, their lender told them after all this time he wouldn't, which they were right. Honestly if it were my house, I would have. We had cash buyers waiting in the wings waiting for them to default! I was dying to pull the plug on them after that remark but the seller let them BS their way to closing.
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Old 09-24-2007, 06:13 AM
Location: LEAVING CD
22,974 posts, read 26,413,214 times
Reputation: 15640
Being realistic as I try to be I would offer to split it and tell the buyer "ok, I am willing to split it and give up 1k or we can both get legal reps and fight it out which will cost YOU way more when I win". And, buy the way, your realtor friend better be ready to testify as to why he/she was encouraging you to default on a contract and won't the real estate board be happy with him/her when I report this mess?

Sometimes it's better to give a little to get it done, no it's not right what your buyer is doing but how important is getting it done to you? If you go straight to a fight you still make payments while you fight and IF you only half win you still lose. Just make sure they know you're serious about only going for half.
Now the one question I have is if a realtor friend gives advice could that constitute rep status?
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