Home Buying in Bergen County>Question Details

Stressed Buy…, Home Buyer in Bergen County, NJ

Escrow held to resolve issues after closing

Asked by Stressed Buyer, Bergen County, NJ Tue Sep 30, 2008

I bought a home 2 years ago. the seller was able to get a temporary CO from the town but promised to resolve all issues within 3 months. money was held in escrow to pay for all expenses and we have added addendum to the contract of sale at closing to grant us the right to conduct the work if the fixes were not completed by seller within 3 months. 2 years have gone by, my attorney who is holding the money in escrow will NOT release the funds without the seller's approval. i had received warning letters from the town and also wanted to rent out the home so i went ahead, hired contractors, and resolve all issues with the town. the seller now does not want to reimburse all the cost. where can i get legal help for free? will the town's attorney help me resolve this matter? the problem is that the seller has an attorney and i don't. i do not want to spend 10 - 20 K to litigate this for 4 - 5 K worth of work and hold up all the funds for even longer. what are my options?

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8
Hello,

Reading through your question it sounds like the addendum to the contract was not clearly written. It sounds like whoever did the addendum for you just gave you the right to do the work but not to release the money to you to do it should the seller not get it done.

Did you have an attorney? I am not sure because you said that " my attorney who is holding the money in escrow will NOT release the funds..." then later in your questions you say the "problem is that the seller has an attorney and I don't"...

Who is the title company? They may be able to help.

Take care,
Angela "Angie" Allchin
Century 21 Rauh & Johns
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 20, 2008
I'd be happy to take a look a look at your situation. My office is in Paterson, 951 Madison Avenue, Paterson, NJ. We have litigated these cases before and have been sucessful. Chang & Scolavino, 973-925-2525. Call and set up an appointment, its free and we're not that far from Route 4.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 14, 2008
Bill in NJ, escrow funds cant be released without both attorney's or court approval.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 2, 2008
Stressed,

The question that comes to mind is, why won't your attorney release the escrow funds? And what happened to your attorney?

Could there be more to this? What was the hold up on getting the work done sooner?

The bottom line seems to be that you would benefit from legal advice....and probably the best place to start is wiht your original attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 2, 2008
hopefully you had more than enough held to cover work done and allowed by the addendum. Your attorney can release the money to the court but nobody works for free especially if you are an investor (you rent the house out) Not likely town will help you out either. Ask sellers attorney what seller is willing to cover, maybe you arent too far away.
I had a similar nightmare where seller did work (new heating systems installed)and warranty didnt cover me; so be glad you oversaw and paid it yourself
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 2, 2008
It sounds to me like someone did a sloppy job writing the escrow instructions. I think if they had been written correctly he wouldn't need to get additional seller approval. You might need a different attorney to sue your real estate attorney. It sounds like there is more to this story though than is in your question - like another side. On the other hand the seller can't get the money either - right?

Too bad your escrow instruction didn't direct the attorney to release the money to you if the work wasn't completed within the 3 months by the seller.

In any case this is a legal issue and you need a legal opinion (from an attorney ) for a solution.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 30, 2008
You shouldnt have to. You can call or contact the New Jersey bar association first of all for free assitance. however if you file a small claim suit for the amount and name the seller and teh attorney in teh suit, when you go to court ask the money to be transferred to you by a judicial order. briong proof that it was done, beofre nad after pictures and paid bills, and you can do it your self. the attroney may settle before he has to waste a day in court. the agreement for teh attorney holding the money should have stated that in the event the seller does not perform the following items, the money is transferred to the buyer upon completion of work. after all that is why teh mony was put there, just in case the seller does not do the work. first thing you should do, is write a letter to the attorney, include all of your evidence along with the statement of the money was held in case teh seller did not do teh work, and include your receipts and tell him you want it turned over to you, you do not need teh sellers signature. if teh lawyer wont release go with the suit and file a complaint against him with the bar. of course this is only my oppinion and not legal advise, you probabily could at least get a free session with any lawyer who may be able to help alot cheaper. good luck
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 30, 2008
The attorney who closed this deal for you should be helping you get your money.
That's part of the closing process and what he/she was paid for. I wouldn't hurt to ask your Realtor to assist you, too.
Web Reference: http://www.dianeglander.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 30, 2008
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