Home Buying in 92881>Question Details

nanci.haskin, Home Buyer in Los Angeles, CA

Seller holding funds in cancelled escrow - has already re-listed property

Asked by nanci.haskin, Los Angeles, CA Mon Feb 18, 2013

We backed out of a purchase, as was our right under the terms of our contract, pending a pest inspection (which the agent did promised would be a clearance, so we put the complete funds into escrow.) The seller’s agent did not provide the inspection until an hour before escrow was to close and it was far from “clearance” or satisfactory. The sellers are now refusing to release our money from escrow until they get a portion of it, to which they have nothing in writing stating this would be an option. We have consulted with an attorney who has sent them a certified letter to release the funds (or go to Superior court). They are ignoring. Furthermore - they have re-listed the property. Can they do that? We would prefer not to go to court, however we are willing if it comes to that. They have been holding funds for 2 weeks now, preventing us from making offers on other properties and we are paying interest on that money.

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Heidi Franklin’s answer
First of all, your agent should be fighting for you. If the seller does not return your deposit when they should, they can be fined up to $1,000 for not doing so. Usually a buyer has 5 days to approve of any reports after they are received by the buyer. If you did not remove all contingencies, you should be owed your deposit back. Talk to your Attorney, you might be able to file a lien on the home. They might not be able to close escrow until the lien is cleared up. This is not legal advice, just some helpful ideas for you.
Wishing you all the best. I am sorry to hear your story.

Heidi Franklin
Remax Partners
(909) 772-8842
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 19, 2013
You are paying an attorney who is more familiar with the case than we are....what does your attorney suggest? Has anyone contacted the listing agent's broker? That would be my first step...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 18, 2013
We had an attorney send the letter. Would prefer not to go to court and have the money tied up longer, but are willing if necessary. Have also filed a complaint with the HCD against the agent and company license. Yes, the agent’s broker has been contacted. Apparently this is a dirty company. No response.
Flag Mon Feb 18, 2013
You are very deep into this transaction. You already have an attorney involved. There is nothing that we – who know only the details that you have shared – can add that will be of help to you. We often see questions on Trulia.com to which the only response can be “you need an attorney”. You already have an attorney. Second guessing from the peanut gallery will not be helpful for you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 18, 2013
We had an attorney send the letter. Would prefer not to go to court and have the money tied up longer, but are willing if necessary. Have also filed a complaint with the HCD against the agent and company license. Yes, the agent’s broker has been contacted. Apparently this is a dirty company. No response.
Flag Mon Feb 18, 2013
if you have signed and released contingencies there is no much you can do. if you did not signed the contingency removal they CANT hold any fund from you. worst case scenario they most they can keep would be 3%

if you have any other questions or concerns let me know i'll be happy to help you.


Miguel Guzman
cell 951-254-1011
Fax 951-493-7900
isellieocla@gmail.com
http://www.isellieocla.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 4, 2013
Hi Nanci,

After you received the "unsatisfactory clearance" did the sellers attempt or offer to get a proper clearance?

They can relist with a disclosure indicating offers are subject to cancellation of current escrow however they cannot close until they release funds.

Good luck to you

Steve Colvin
Premier Ca Realty
steve@premiercalrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 4, 2013
I can't add much to the previous answers but I do have a question.

Did you NOT have a Realtor of your own? If so, how did he or she allow all of this to occur? Was he/she new to the business or someone who just didn't know what they were doing???

It appears you have gotten horrible advice in this process. Since you've already hired an attorney, I hope he/sh'e a good one. Good luck and please update us after all this is over so we'll know the outcome.

Ray Wright
Keller Williams Realty
Direct: 951-354-1303
Email: RayWright@kw.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 3, 2013
If you signed for Mediation in your offer, I'd go to that agents Board of Realtor s ® and get mediation going. Also next time have a great Realtor ® represent you, I would have never let you place all funds into escrow until all contingencies where completed. You may have had funds tied up in escrow but a lot less.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 26, 2013
You asked if they can re list the property yet you already know they already have.
I would say you are already doing all that you can.
Depending on the deposit amount you may have gone to small claims court.
I am sure your real estate attorney is giving you good advice.

Harold Sharpe - Broker
So Cal Homes
(951) 821-8211
harold@homecorona.com
http://www.homecorona.com
California Department of Real Estate Broker License # 01312992
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 19, 2013
It exceeds the amount of small claims court. Thank you Harold. It’s really unfortunate that our money is going to be tied up while we execute the lengthy court battle.
Flag Tue Feb 19, 2013
Kimberley - Continued - - - and the report revealed wood destroying pest issues more extensive than they had anticipated. Consequently, and as was their right under Paragraph 1 of the Addendum, the Haskins instructed their realtor, XXX, to withdraw the purchase offer, which she did by email to XXX at XXXX Escrow at 3:20 p.m. on February 1, 2013.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 18, 2013
They can not close a new escrow until they release your deposit, sounds like they are being very difficult, as well as breech of contract, based on what you have said, but I would have to see all the details personally to make a solid determination .
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 18, 2013
Thank you Kimberly. The seller’s agent is Action Mobile - need I say more? We are new here and didn’t know of their reputation. Our attorney sent them this:
On January 6, 2013, you and the Haskins executed a Wood Destroying Pest Inspection and Allocation of Cost Addendum (hereinafter the “Addendum.”) to the MHPA (the “Agreement.”). Paragraph 1 of the Addendum provides, in pertinent part, that “Buyer may cancel the Agreement if dissatisfied with the condition described in the Wood Pest Report, even if the Wood Pest Addendum is not made part of the Agreement.”

Paragraph 2A of the Addendum provides that Seller shall pay for the Wood Pest Report.

On February 1, 2013, my clients deposited to escrow the full cash purchase amount, $XXX, with every intention of consummating the sale that day, contingent upon their receipt of a satisfactory termite inspection report. That report was not received by Mr. & Mrs. Haskin until 3:15 p.m. on February 1, (Continuing in another reply)
Flag Mon Feb 18, 2013
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