It is clear that the sellers are in the process of being relocated and that there is a 3rd party company involved in the relocation of the sellers. I am surprised that the seller was allowed to sign the contract, as most of the third parties require that the seller negotiate the contracts verbally, but the third party will normally do a buy out and then the third party company (in this case, Cartus) would then sign as the seller. Since the seller signed the contract, it is most likely a seller who does not have a buy out on his contract. My guess is that the third party company is reviewing the contract to make sure that there is nothing in the contract that could adversely affect the seller. In the Richmond area, you most likely used the standard contract form and added in things like personal property, closing date, etc. and any additional terms that would have been a concern to you. What does your agent say about the seller wanting this sentence added in? Your agent should be aware of any items that were written into the contract that could be a concern. I don't know that I would be concerned simply because the third party company is Cartus. I am guessing that there really isn't much to worry about-the third party company is only reviewing it for their client. If you are concerned, why don't you have the contract reviewed by your attorney? Good luck to you.
Long & Foster Realtors
Hopefully, this has all been resolved to your satisfaction by this point, but I thought it was important to answer your specific initial question, which was essentially "Do I have to sign this addendum requested by the Seller?"
In the interest of dislosure, I am a licensed attorney, in addition to being a Realtor. However, this post does not constitute legal advice, is about general legal principles only, and for answers to specific questions your attorney should be consulted.
Phew! That Disclaimer/Disclosure out of the way, here is my analysis of your initial question: You are under no legal obligation to execute the Addendum adding that language requested by the Seller. If the initial contract was properly ratified by all parties, with all signatures and any necessary initials, then you should have a fully ratified and binding contract under Virginia law.
It may be true that there is no downside to you to signing that Addendum, and it allows the Sellers to keep their relocation benefits. You could CHOOSE to sign the Addendum, certainly, and I am sure the Sellers would be grateful. But as a matter of law, if there is a fully ratified contract between the parties, neither party can REQUIRE the other party to accept an Addendum.
Clearly the involvement of the relocation company should have been disclosed on the front end. I suspect it was a matter of oversight, not intention. Best of luck with your purchase, and just remember, you are buying the home you wanted. Get excited!
Best regards and god luck,
Melissa Loughridge Savenko
509-511 N. Meadow Street
Richmond, Virginia 23220
Check out my blog at http://www.melissasavenko.typepad.com!
I've heard a lot of agents giving you advice to see if your settlement attorney could advise you, that's of course if you retained a settlement attorney and not just a settlement company.
Litigation is never the way to go, however if now you think you don't want the place, my advice, is to seek a way out on one of the many contingencies built into a Virginia contract. In Richmond, VA agents have a choice of 3 different purchase agreements, All have a financing, home inspection and hoa contingency built right in.
I agree with you though. Dealing with a relocation company is quite possibly as painful as dealing with a short sale or foreclosure. They require lots of paperwork, time, and check points, with lots of bureaucratic red tape, lots of levels of hierachy to approve this and that.
Trust me though the Seller has to go through just as much stuff as you the purchaser. Its a 2-way street of mounds of paperwork and checkpoints.
I'd love to hear the listing agents side of things with the whole disclosure thing. It's usually very evident by then that a relocation company is involved.
Not sure if I agree that there would be a price reduction just b/c of a relocation company involvement, but my experience with relos is they are, unless you have a very savvy listing agent on the otherside, a nuisance to work with.
First Choice Realty
Good luck. I expect all will work out fine.
Evelyn Hunt CRS, GRI, ePro
Classic Realty Services
My name is Jon, and I am with Cartus' Office of the President. Your comment above was forwarded to me in a Google Alert. I would like to speak with you and see whether your contract situation has been resolved. Please either call me at 888-767-9357 or email me at email@example.com.
I certainly understand what you are saying, and I agree that this should most likely have been disclosed by the seller and/or the sellers agent at the time of the original offer. Again, your Buyer Agent or Attorney can advise you on whether or not - a) you should or shouldn't sign the addendum that modifies the contract and b) whether you have a right to have any of your costs that you have already expended reimbursed to you. As April said, the relocation company is most likely paying the costs of this seller's commissions and other costs of sale, and are advising their transferee, which is most likely the reason for the review by the relocation company. However, the seller is ultimately the person who determines what price & terms they want to sell at, not the relocation company. This means that you may or may not have been able to get a much lower price than you have already gotten. The relocation company has no authority to tell a seller the amount of money they can or cannot accept for their property. But again, I would certainly say that at this point, you should probably be directing your questions for reimbursement of expended costs to your Buyer Agent and your attorney that is handling your side of the closing. Good luck to you with the transaction.
Long & Foster Realtors
I mean if the seller's agent had disclosed the future involvement of the relocation company before we submitted our offer, I would have submitted a much lower offer that they would still have accepted anyway. In other wolds, because of the lack of this important information (whether the seller's agent hide it intentionally or not, I don't know), I lost money. Now my question is that if I can get some of my money back in exchange of accepting the involvement of the relocation company. Thanks.
Other than the one sentence that they have asked you to put into your contract/addendum, are they asking you to pay a higher price than what has been negotiated? What does your Buyer Agent tell you she/he thinks is going on? With most of the relocation transactions that I have done in the past, the seller negotiates the price and terms and usually (if the seller has a buyout) the third party company signs off on the offer. I have never had a relocation seller negotiate a contract and get price and terms that were agreed to verbally by all parties and then have the third party company, like Cartus, come back and change all those items if they didn't like them. So it doesn't seem to me that, at least based on what you have indicated in your question, that Cartus will come back and now try to renegotiate the contract, simply based on this one line. If for some reason, they do try to renegotiate your contract, then I would suggest that you talk to your attorney that you have requested to do your side of the closing (hopefully, it is not the same attorney representing the seller.third party company) and talk to your Buyer Agent as to what your next recourse is. Again, I would not want to give legal advice as to whether or not you would have a case to recoup any costs you have already incurred. This is definitely a question for your attorney and Buyer Agent. Good luck to you on your transaction.
Barbara A. Reagan
Long & Foster Realtors
Licensed in NC & SC
Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS
What happens if you don't sign the addenda? I'm guessing, not much good. The Seller doesn't sell, you can spend a fair amount of money in court trying to get damages, it isn't pretty.
If the Seller is really intent on going through the relo company, I think your two best choices are to agree, or walk away from the deal.