Home Buying in Gainesville>Question Details

Larry07, Home Buyer in 32608

I had to walk away from a closing on buying a house because on the final walk in the house was not in the perfect conditions

Asked by Larry07, 32608 Sat Sep 29, 2012

I had to walk away from a closing on buying a house because on the final walk in the house was not in the perfect conditions it was when we made the offer. The seller refused to fix the damaged walls and doors because those were esthetically issues (probably damages when she moved out). We decided to walk away because we asked for money to be deducted to repair walls and doors but seller declined, hence we told the realtor we were not closing
The next day, the realtor send us a letter on Friday saying I must sign it by Monday or else he was going to notify his corporate lawyer and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

The letter is a release and cancellation on contract in which I am authorizing the Escrow money to be given to the seller.
Question. Am I in the obligation to sign this. What happened if I don't. Is there any chance I can get part of my deposit back and am I ruining those chances by signing this? How many days do I legally have to sign? Thanks

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Answers

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If you're choosing to walk away from the contract now, then you have the choice of signing the release and forfeiting your deposit or pursuing legal action to get it back.

If you sign the release, then your deposit is immediately released to the sellers and the transaction is closed.

If you don't sign, then you'll have to hire your attorney to pursue your deposit. Otherwise, by not signing immediately, nobody gets the money and it sits in escrow. If you use your attorney, then I'd hope your deposit is worth at least $100K. If not, then it's likely not worth the $20-40K it'll cost for the slim chance to recover your deposit.

As for which option you should pursue, you'll have to check with your attorney for a legal consultation.
Web Reference: http://www.archershomes.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2012
In the State of Florida the real estate broker who is holding your funds is required to notify the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) when there is a dispute regarding the escrow funds. Within 15 business days of receiving the "last parties" demand or good faith doubt, the broker holding the funds must notify FREC in writing of the dispute or doubts. Within 30 business days the broker must initiate a settlement procedure and notify FREC. The broker has 4 options to choose from:

1. Request a disbursement order from FREC
2. Submit the matter to arbitrations (your contract may have an arbitration clause)
3. Submit the mater to mediation with consent of all parties, which must be concluded in 90 days
4. Seek adjudication of the matter thru the court

Depending upon the amount of money you have at stake you may want to hire a real estate litigation attorney to assist you in getting your money back. Cost is relevant when making this decision; it clearly depends upon how much you have a stake. A settlement could take as much as a year once both parties hire attorneys.

It's is unfortunate that you were not able to come to a meeting of the minds with the seller, or that the agent wasn't willing to negotiate a bit of their commission with you to fix up the banged up doors and walls to complete the sale. Instead the agent makes 0 on this deal and has to sell the property all over again.

Depending upon the local MLS rules some local boards will not allow a listing to be put back to Active status again until any escrow funds are returned or a dispute is resolved. Check with the local board of REALTORS to check their MLS rules regarding the status of listing with escrow disputes. The agent may not want to risk having the seller’s property off the market for a long period of time and that might give you some negotiating power to get your money back if the seller wants their property back on the market to find another buyer.

By not encouraging the seller to return your funds, this agent is the real loser. It also sounds like they are inexperienced, if they are saying they have to notify DPBR, that’s incorrect and you certainly don’t have to sign anything by Monday. They have opened up a door for all parties that will cause nothing but long term grief and aggravation. They may be too inexperienced to know that too. You have the potential to make that agents life pretty miserable, escrow disputes are not a pleasant.

It appears at this time they are waiting for an answer from you by requesting you to sign the Release and Cancellation of Contract (maybe so they can put it back on the market?) Seems the ball is in your court. As you appear to be the “last party” to make a statement, which must be in writing, and to the agent and their brokerage firm, that you have “doubts” that the seller is entitled to your escrow money based upon the possibility that the seller breached the contract regarding the “final walk thru inspection” clause of your contract. If you don’t understand your contract seek the advise of an attorney.

Good luck.
Beverly Howe, ABR, GRI, TRC, CIPS
broker@floridabuyerbroker.com
"The most important thing a buyer can do is first of all work with a buyer broker." As stated by AARP and the Consumer Federation of America in the REALTOR News.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2012
Simple, There is always a dollar value to any problem, a bonus to the buyer if both agents are on point! So give the buyer a little extra over the expenses needing to be addressed so all are happy giving a win / win for both sides. The seller does not wants to incurr another payment!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 30, 2012
Hi Larry,

I am sorry to hear that you were not able to consummate the transaction. In my own opinion, your request for the damages are reasonable unless of course the amount you are asking for is not reasonable.

I could not understand why simple issues such as what you have mentioned can't be resolved at the closing through amicable agreement.

With regard to your question, please consult your lawyer first before signing the release form.

Good Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2012
Where this is a legal issue, you really need a lawyer to review your contract. Hopefully your contract was contingent upon a final walkthrough. if so you should be covered, if not, it will depend on how your contract is worded if you ar ein default or if the seller is in default. the next hopefully is that you put in writing the request the home did not pass your walkthrough, 2nd hopefully you have some before photos and after photos than most import you put in writing for the seller to fix or credit you for teh damage found in the walkthrough, now you want in writing from the seller they refuse to fix or credit you. NEXT in writing from you the request to be released in full with a retunr of your deposit bacause of the damage and quite what your contract actually says. your agent should be guiding you. A lawyer can quote law to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2012
Hi Larry,

You definitely the advice of an attorney.

The question you will have to ask yourself is: Is it in my best interest to walk away from the escrow money, or is it better to accept the house as is and fix the walls.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2012
Talk to an attorney. This is a legal question.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2012
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