Home Buying in Los Angeles>Question Details

C. Wood, Home Seller in Los Angeles, CA

My buyer's purchase contract expired without a request for extension. All contigencies had been removed. Am I obligated to sell without an?

Asked by C. Wood, Los Angeles, CA Fri Jul 13, 2012

extension? Further, the buyer has threatened to sue me to preform. Today, I received a letter from their attorney - this after I agreed to refund their entire deposit! We both were represented by Realtors. The original purchase contract expired 45 days ago and the buyer's agent would not return the calls of my broker. Can a buyer legally induce a seller "to sell" if the purchase contract was not extended?

Help the community by answering this question:


BeachBrokerBill’s answer
Why did you sign the sales contract if you did not want to sell? OR why do you now not want to sell? It would seem that with contingencies signed off and you still willing to refund their entire deposit.....something changed on your end and you want out.

The answer to your question is easy....YES, there are numerous legal proceedings that a buyer can initiate to compel the sale or a settlement to go away. So buckle up and bring your attorney, it could be a bumpy ride. Did your broker not send over a Notice to Perform followed by an escrow cancellation? The "wouldn't return my calls" excuse isn't much of a defense. Even if they did send those forms, escrow cannot cancel without both seller and buyer signing instructions to do so.

See, this is a real life example of what many agents do understand, that in truth, a contract cannot be unilaterally cancelled. Both parties have to agree to cancel. 99% of the time, they do...but you found part of the 1% that like to be difficult.

I am trying to understand what you mean by the RPA expired. I don't know that the contract has an expiration date...unless you wrote an additional term in to that affect...your listing agreement does expire, but that is a different deal.

They were likely in breach of the contract for not closing within the timeframe prescribed in the contract. But signing off on contingencies certainly shows they had intent to close. Now they are coming to you to cure the breach and fulfill the contract. This is another case for Kenny Tan!

Good luck.

CA DRE 01775528

P.S. Consider finding a different Realtor next time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 14, 2012
It depends... the devil is n the details...

generally speaking you are not required to give anyone an extension on their escrow... therefore they are in default for not performing and you should be able to cancel escrow and refund their money.

Anyone can tell you I am going to sue you, and there are tons of attorneys that would draft a letter for $200. Don't be too intimidated by it. If they did not perform, then you are not obligated to close escrow and certainly you do not have to give them an extension... consult with a local good real estate attorney and they can advise you...

Also your agent should be able to do some of the leg work for you... that is why you hired them... hopefully you did a good job at selecting a good and experienced accomplished agent and not just a family member that has a license... :)

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
Thanks. I guess when in doubt, call a RE lawyer. My broker did a good job but I wanted to get feedback from the professionals on this board before I spent anymore time or $ on a dead deal. From what I've been reading, if we end up in court and the buyer loses, they get to pay my legal fees. Go figure.
Flag Fri Jul 13, 2012
You need to talk with a Real Estate attorney.
We can not give legal advice.

Harold Sharpe - Broker
So Cal Homes
(951) 821-8211
California Department of Real Estate Broker License # 01312992
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 14, 2012
Something is missing from this story. The contract expired 45 days ago and what happened in the interim? At least one of the two Realtors should have been watching the transaction. Details are missing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
I don't think you're obligated to perform on a expired contract and to refund buyer's deposit. It seems that buyer had already breached contract by not closing according to contract. It would be up to you sell or refund buyer's deposit. Consult a real estate attorney.

Get your question answered by an experienced attorney:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
You can sue anyone for anything!!

It sounds like the buyer's agent was behind the 8 ball or are we only hearing one side of it?

Typically, if a buyer is running late on a close, the buyer's lender is creating problems. A good Realtor would be proactive in communicating this to the sellers and listing agent.

If the buyer sues, you will no doubt have to secure an attorney - why not have the buyer and seller's agents get together and try to sort out a solution?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
There is not enough information here. Clearly this is a complex event. In any case you should be talking to a lawyer, not asking for advice on a free forum.

The buyer has an attorney. You need to get one too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
This is confusing:
but you say you are the SELLER.

You say you offered to return their deposit, but you don't say that you changed your mind, didn't want to sell; yet, you were not prepared when the Escrow was ready to close.

You say the Buyer's Agent wouldn't return calls, but you say that they Buyers really wanted to buy.

You had a Contract to sell, yet you chose to ignore it.

I think you need to decide what you want to do, and you should see an Attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
There's some important information missing from this scenario.
You need to contact the listing agents Broker right away. And if calls aren't returned perhaps its best that you consult an attorney as well.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
If the buyer removed all contingencies, it appears that they had intention to close escrow. Did you/your agent send the "notice to perform" for the buyer to close escrow? Did they tell you the reason for the delay in closing escrow?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
This is definitely something you need to take up with your listing agent. But this is confusing. Once you are in escrow I believe you are talking about the escrow period expiring. At the time a buyer does not comply with dates, then they should be served with a 3-day Notice to Perform and if that is not answered then you had every right to cancel the contract. There is not enough information here to answer, and again, you need to consult with your agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 13, 2012
My agent presented two (2) 3-day notices to perform. The buyer 's agent did not respond to either. I told my agent to notify the seller's agent that the transaction would be cancelled. Its after they received notification that they threatened to sue, hence my receipt of their lawyer's letter to my broker. Do they have a legal leg to stand on? Thanks.
Flag Fri Jul 13, 2012
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2015 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer