Home Buying in Hoboken>Question Details

Helppleasenj, Home Buyer in Hoboken, NJ

Help?? Where seller fails to respond to info requests during attorney review, is there no restriction on terminating for higher offer acceptance?

Asked by Helppleasenj, Hoboken, NJ Thu Jul 12, 2012

I'm the “almost” buyer in this situation- where contract signed, rec’d attorney comment, then requested clarification on Yard ownership/interest that was advertised as Deeded Yard, this being the only open item before reverting with acceptance. No response after ½ day to my request for info, then rec'd letter from attorney terminating the contract. Reason- seller received higher offer.

Primary question: Where failure by seller to promptly respond to info requests during attorney review, impacting by ability to timely revert close attorney review, wouldn't there be some restriction on terminating contract for higher offer until buyer has received info requested and had some reasonable timeframe to act on it?

Here, the unavailability of critical info and lack of timely response for it, I believe has results in my loss of this property. Also, it appears Yard was falsely advertised as Deeded and rather is a Limited Common Element of the Condo.

Help the community by answering this question:


I am sorry you did have this experience, it is disheartening to lose something you fell in love with.

So that you understand the attorney review period is NOT a 'sleep on it' period. If you need to sleep on it then you shouldn't be putting in an offer.

In MANY states once you sign that contract your locked in as if there was no attorney review. As Realtors we are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice, and especially (and unfortunately) because so many people have a less than stellar view of Realtors the customer feels alot more protected having an attorney. There are many items that can come up (assessment, encroachments, environmental, etc) and as Realtors we do not have the ability to address those items - but your attorney does and that is why you have him/her. I personally can't imagine working in a state that does not use attorneys because it would put alot more liability on the agent. So if there is a breach of contract at that point I would imagine you would have to get an attorney involved as opposed to having one already there to protect your interest.

Also - it doesn't HAVE To be 3 days. I have had attorneys and buyers that know what they are getting is desirable and rush attorney review to be done in 1 day. That only works though if the seller's side is quick to respond. I will add in order to have something like that work its best to use local attorneys that know each other, or make sure you have a full time real estate attorney that knows your needs and is will to get on the phone with the other attorney and not just lazily send out a rider.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
Hi again, sorry to hear that you are saddened. I too lost a home that my husband and I fell in love with, and were outbid during review. It's not fun. In retrospect we too could have taken a few extra steps to ensure that didn't happen.

For the future, know that attorney review can be 2 hours it can be 100 hours. You should have an attorney ready who knows the area well, has relationships with other local attorney's and can advise you on the best strategy to get out of attorney review quickly to secure your home.

For example, attorney review conclusion and an extra period to review outstanding supporting items. The attorney review is so that each party can hire an attorney to represent them during the length of the transaction, not really so that either party can sleep on it.

If you decide to sell your home you should be committed to the decision, and likewise if you decide to buy one.
I agree you should have been given an opportunity to adjust your offer. We are seeing this happen more where seller's often aren't countering offers so buyer's really have to go in with their offer as a highest and best scenario and prep their attorney's of the environment so that they work diligently and effectively in as little 'review' time as possible while still protecting your best interests.
You'll find something else!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
It is disappointing when a buyer thinks they ahve found a home and somebody else comes along and they lose it. The proper thing would have been to come to you and let you know another offer came in and would you like to adjust your pirce so they can make a final decision. as for deeded and limited common element .... it is confusing to most and many believe they ahve a deeded yard when in fact it is a limited common element but if the bylaws call for that unit to have exclusive use the net effect is the same and from an appraisers point of view it would be valued the same since supporting documents can show the yard os for that home
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
Thanks very much for the replies. This is what I had otherwise heard but wanted the confirmation.

It is a shame in my opinion however. I get that the 3 days period is intended as a "sleep on it" period, given the size of this decision, but I'd imagine its more to ensure the buyer is sure of the decision and that the seller truly wants to sell. Allowing the seller to walk away simply to accept another offer at this point does not seem to be the purpose, otherwise seller can list low and allow the buyers to price the property rather than taking diligence in assessing proper market value themselves. If this is allowed, why don't we see more places put up for auction, like ebay, with reserve prices in place.

This whole allowance of bidding should be fully allowed or not allowed. In this instance I became fully emotionally attached to this place, as did my lined up renter become in my other property, only to have my signed contract term'd, then entering a bidding war, and then losing that too.

I'm crushed but as is life. This was certainly a learning experience.

Thanks again...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
Nope. Bottom line is during attorney review period, which can be longer than the 3 days usually written in the contract, EITHER PARTY can cancel the contract without giving a reason.
In this case you KNOW the reason, but they didn't have to give you one.

I have seen sellers attorneys take from 2 or 3 days to weeks to respond to the buyers attorney requests, to conclude attorney review, and visa versa, so 1/2 day is nothing.

As far as how the listing was "advertised" maybe you misunderstood what was in the listing, or, perhaps the listing agent just entered it into the MLS incorrectly. It happens, and I wouldn't be so quick to use the term "falsely advertised".

You'd be surprised how many listings I see in developments where there is a monthly maintenance fee, ownership is "condo", (meaning ALL common grounds are owned jointly by all residents, and usually the exterior of the home is included in the maintenance as well) and the listing agent puts "fee simple" (meaning it's owned inside and outside by the resident, and only the common GROUNDS are covered by the maintenance fees) and visa versa.

Mistakes happen.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
In NJ, anytime during attny review the sller or buyer have thr right to drop out of a contract with no penalties so if yo u have not completed attny reveiw the seller can accept another offer. Depending on what answers you are waiting for there are ways to protect yourself...for example, many buyers want to see the financials of the building...your attny can complete attny review subject to you having 5 days to review the financials once they are provided...that protects you that the seller cant accept any other offers and yet if you receive the financials and dont like them you would have the right to terminate the contract
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
As an FYI there is no such thing as a deeded yard. A deeded yard would require a separate deed for the piece of property and that is extremely rare and highly unlikely given zone rules and regulations about lot sizes. All outdoor spaces on a condo are a limited common element of some form. If you were working with an experienced realtor they would have told you that before walking in the door. Same with deeded parking... However there are actually about 6 building in Hoboken that have actual deeded parking as opposed to transferable spot that are actually assigned limited common elements.

And evn if this were not an issue from the sounds of it timing was just not on your side. It's about timing in real estate and sellers can accept an offer until out of attorney review just like buyers can walk away unless out of attorney review with no recourse.

Half a day is nothing... Sometimes we wait days if not weeks for responses on items. Loss of this property too you was you were simply not aggressive enough. If you offer we're terminated because they received another higher offer you should have increased your offer, or asked for a chance to match the higher offer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 12, 2012
Hello, unfortunately if I understand your question correctly, no there is no restriction on terminating the contract. During the review period the seller may entertain other offers and can decide to take a higher/better one regardless of any open questions as long as still under review.
So sorry.
It's important to enlist the help of an experienced agent in markets like the current one we are in that doesnt favor buyers and high competition.
You can however at this point present a new, higher offer to the other party to see of that will win you a contract, if you do, make the deeded yard a condition to your offer.
Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 12, 2012
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer