Wary Buyer, Home Buyer in North Cat Mountain,...

We are interested in buying a house in austin, TX. We just learnt that the celler is going through a bad divorce. Although the property is in his

Asked by Wary Buyer, North Cat Mountain, Austin, TX Mon Feb 28, 2011

name, he cliams, that since he is going through a divorce, his wife can stall the sale iif she feels like it. Is there any way we can protect ourselves (besides walking away form it)?

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Answers

15
Hello WB,

I would call attorney Stan Motal of the Motal Firm at 512 716-1001. Stan specializes in real estate and can give you the very best counsel.

All the best!

Jeffrey Nyland, REALTOR®, GRI, SRS
The Nyland Team
Prudential Texas Realty
512-626-8552 (Direct)
512-267-3640 (Fax)
Jeffrey@NylandTeam.com
http://www.NylandTeam.com
Jeffrey Nyland TX AUC# 16644
Exceeding Expectations!
Web Reference: http://NylandTeam.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 28, 2011
HI Bettina,

You are right. It probably would have been more prudent to just go with other properties instead of getting into their mess. It is just that we had already made an offer on the property before we knew about the divorce. At that point we figured that if there was a way to protect ourselves that we would not be left in the lurch at the last minute, we would not walk away as we didn't want to penalise the poor guy just because he is going through a divorce. We figured we'd treat it like any other financial transaction and completely ignore their personal situation other than ensuring that we are legally protected. Perhaps some may call us foolish ... but that was our thinking.
We are in the post-inspection negotiation period, let us see where this takes us -- perhaps it will be an indication that it is time for us to move on to a less complicated property. As you say there is an abundance of property out there for sale right now :-). Thanks again for replying.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 10, 2011
Dear Wary Buyer,
The wife can hold up the closing if the asset/property title is in dispute. It might be more prudent to wait until their divorce is final. Otherwise there is an abundance of property for sale right now. Its possible you may find another home that you like as much or more than the home in question. Only you can decide if this one is worth the wait. The seller should be able to give you an idea of when the divorce is expected to be concluded.

Sincerely,
Betina
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 8, 2011
If he is a serious seller he should work that out with his wife. His wife may have a claim to the property even though it is in his name because they were married and that was their homestead. Texas has rules to protect spouses (male or female).

I would try to probe more and get more information on the situation. Because they are in the middle of a divorce you probably can't do anything until it is complete or both sides can come to an agreement on how to dispose of the property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 1, 2011
Thank you to each and everyone for answering my query. Your answers have been most helpful!!
From what I hear, it seems it may be more trouble than worth it -- And no, it is not a steal, nor a dream home -- just one we liked and one we made an offer on before we knew about the divorce. So it is one we can easily walk away from if need be -- we most likely will do that if the seller cannot provide the necessary guarantees in writing during the option period. Thanks again to each one of you -- you all have been wonderful and I shall most certainly let friends know :-)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 1, 2011
WB,

Hello. Divorces can make a transaction messy, before the contract is accepted. I would recommend that once you get the house under contract with favorable terms to your side, make sure during the option period you get something in writing that she will sign off her interest, if she has any. I believe if the house was purchased by him prior to the marriage, she has no interest and doesn't need to sign anything. I would definitely recommend consulting an attorney first, but his difficult divorce could mean you get an even better price for the inconvience factor. If you have a savvy buyers agent, you will get a great deal! Good luck!

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Mar 1, 2011
This is one of those transactions that has many possible outcomes-depends on when the property was acquired, whether funds were co-mingled to make payments, what the judge decides -this is told to you from personal experience, at this point it would not be a bad idea to seek the advice of an attorney. If this is the property you have to have for whatever reason, then patience is what you need since you may need to wait until the divorce is final to know, with certainty that you have a clear title for that particular property.
Good Luck to you.
Sonia Roberts, realtor
Canady Realty
Austin, TX
512) 709-1811
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 28, 2011
Can you share a little more detail? Like, why so interested in this one tricky deal? Is it a steal? The dream home? Other? Seems like a lot of work if it's not special.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 28, 2011
Sounds like a mess so why bother. If the home is in his name only and on title then his wife MIGHT not be involved when it comes to sell of this home.

Your buyer agent professional to sort out the situation with the listing agent

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
972-699-9111
http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 28, 2011
In Texas we are a common property state. All properties acquired during a marriage no matter what means is used to acquire it are held in common. The only way that this property can be conveyed to you is to have both parties whom acquired the property during the union sign off on it. We can't even list the property for sale without the consent of both parties. If you are out any money you can most likely sue the listing parties for not getting both owners to sign the listing agreement (home owner and agent are both at fault).

At this point I would worry greatly about not only making an offer but if the person who is offering the home for sale has the legal right to sell the property. If you were my client I wouldn't submit the offer on your behalf without some strong negotiations and verification of the listing agreement. I might even consult an attorney myself before submitting the offer.

You never know how these things turn out. You could step into a really great deal that is basically a fire sale. Or you could have a legal battle on your hands. My advice is to consult a real estate attorney before making any formal offers or signing anything.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 28, 2011
Wary Buyer, it sounds like this house may be more trouble than it's worth. If it is brought into the divorce, that can really muddy things up and drastically slow down the sale. You didn't say if you're already under contract or if you're working with a Realtor already. If you are, consult with him/her and perhaps a real estate attorney, if necessary. If you are not working with an agent, I would be happy to assist you with this, or perhaps another home NOT in the middle of a divorce! Feel free to click on my name to the right and call me for some further help or advice!! Joe Jarusinsky, REALTOR/Master Instructor, Keller Williams Realty, Austin's #1 Real Estate Co.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 28, 2011
Wary,
What does your agent say?
The short answer is as Steven stated it.
The long answer is as Anna framed it. (Ever wonder why an agent in New York would be answering questions in Texas, I do)
Bill
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 28, 2011
Wary!

You have several options to protect yourself, but the likelihood of success is probably not in your favor, or not in the time frame you want it to be. Check with an attorney (try Wally Tingley - 795-9100, or John Lione - 346-8966). The wife can probably quit claim her interest, but if the divorce turns sour and ends up before a Justice or arbitrator/mediator, that may not protect you if they want to go back in time to remedy inequities.

Jeffrey
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 28, 2011
Since Texas is a community property state, both husband and wife will have to sign the deed conveying title. I would also suggest having both names on the contract even if you have to amend the contract. This might prevent any surprises at closing.

Steve Nusinow
(512)922-7588
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 28, 2011
In order to best protect yourself consider an attorney who specializes in real estate, he/she can best advise as it relates to the specific situation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 28, 2011
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