Home Buying in New Jersey>Question Details

Yogi, Home Buyer in Philadelphia, PA

We tried to purchase a home in N.J. but the home insprction turned up $15000 in repairs including a faulty

Asked by Yogi, Philadelphia, PA Wed Jun 24, 2009

furnace and mold in several areas.They won't make repairs and refuse to return our earnest money, What recourse do we have.

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Sorry to hear of your dilemma. My guess is that you do not have a Realtor guiding you or you would ask that person and not post on line. Sorry for you but, if that is the case, you are now a poster child for why you need to work with a professional.

As you will note, several answers here are guessing, just as I have, about what you have and what is going on. So, without having the specifics, people from as far away as Arizona are trying to figure out what you have in New Jersey. Where's the sense in that?

I'm in New Jersey, I'm a licensed broker and Realtor and I haven't a clue as to where you stand. I wouldn't help you on a bet! Why not? I do this for a living (more or less.) There's no profit in straightening out this affair for any new agent. There is already a contract in place.

The larger issue though, is the advice that almost everyone has mentioned, that of the need for legal counsel. At this point you have a contract (or at least an implied one. I hope it is in writing.) The seller has some money of yours and does not wish to give it back. Does your contract cover this issue at all? Did you act within the time limits of the contract? Did you act as per the contract and was the contract clear that your request to be refunded your money be in writing? If there's a no in this string of answers to the questions, what other recourse do you have? There are a ton of other escapes that may be valid reasons to void the contract. I can think of a biggie right off the top of my head but, unfortunately, I have no idea of what your contract says or what else has transpired.

In my opinion, you have now passed from the casual advice stage to the legal counsel stage of negotiations, if not for litigation, then for legal advice as to your rights. While the seller may be a hard head (and it appears that way from your write-up,) he may have the good sense not to tangle with the courts. In the long run, he wants to sell the place and ANY complication will create a cloud over any subsequent interest on the part of a knowledgeable buyer. With a deposit on the house in place, I think you have created what is known as an "equitable Interest" in the property. A lawyer will be able to tell you and, if needed, the seller whether this is true and what it means. I am not qualified to do so.

Best wishes and try to stay off the bulletin boards as an example of what not to do in the future, ok?
3 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 25, 2009

As usualy William Holt was right on the money. You need serious legal advise pronto!!!

I do have a few questions though....a faulty furnace and mold issues totaled $15,000 in repairs???? Did you get estimates from professionals about the cost to remediate?? How bad was the mold issue, where is it, and was it visible when you looked at the house? Was the sale an "strictly as is sale"?? Are you being represented by an attorney?? If not get one ASAP and see what they say.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 26, 2009
Yogi, there is a lot of missing information here that makes it difficult to troubleshoot, was it an as is sale? Where the inspections timely? Who is "holding" your good faith deposit? Where are your professionals, ie, realtor, attorney etc etc.
Best of Luck
Kathy and Paul
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 26, 2009
Hi Yogi, William hit the nail on the head....get yourself some legal help.

Jeannie Feenick
"Unwavering Commitment to Service"
Search and connect at http://www.feenick.com
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 25, 2009
While oftentimes in south Jersey an attorney is not used in real estate transactions, sometimes it's necessary to call one in after the contract has been executed. Now is the time to do just that.

If you've used the standard NJAR contract and met the time frames outlined in the 'Inspection Contingency Clause' it should be pretty straight forward. If you haven't used the contract it might be a little more complicated, but not impossible. Call a NJ attorney, and good luck.

Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Atlantic Shore
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 25, 2009
Hi Yogi, So sorry to hear about this - hopefully you worked with a contract form that included inspection contingency protection. Also, I hope that you have real estate attorney representing you. My recommendation is that you seek the advice of your attorney. The inspection contingency should protect you in this case, and your earnest monies should be returned.

Good luck to you.
Jeannie Feenick
"Unwavering Commitment to Service"
Search and connect at http://www.feenick.com
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 24, 2009
As long as you completed the home inspection within the timefram alotted in the contract (inspection period) and provided the seller with either your disapproval or an option to correct these items (also within the inspection period) and they refused to make the repairs then you are absolutly entitled to get your earnest money back. Review the contract where it talks about the "inspection period" or you might also look on the form that you used to request the repairs (this is called a BINSR in Arizona).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 24, 2009
Hello Yogi,

Sorry about the situation. Do you have an attorney representing you? As a real estate broker associate, (not an attorney) I can not give you legal advice, I can advise you to seek an attornye to review your contract to give you advise. The attorney should be able to tell you if the seller can keep your deposit or not. Also, the attorney should be able to tell you what your recourse is regarding the selle'sr response regarding the home inspection report based on the terms of the contract, signed by you and the seller. Good luck. I hope all works out well for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 24, 2009
Hello, Yogi!
How are you?
You have to talk with an attorney who represents you in this transaction.
Sellers are not right in this situation, especially with mold. Mold is health hazard and not working properly furnace is possible fire hazard. Ask sellers for a credit or walk out off contract. You are right, if only you are not buying home in as-is condition, but still with mold you can demand credit for job to be done.
No one can force anyone to buy a house, if there are problems there that may increase risk of illness of people who will be living there.
This is my personal opinion.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 24, 2009
Did you make the agreement of sale contingent upon the home inspection? If so and you elected to have the ability to walk, then you are entitled to your money. The seller should still have to sign off on the release though and this can end up in court in some cases.

But if you did not make it contingent then you must see if there is any other contingency you can use to get out of the contract.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 24, 2009
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