I'm not a lawyer, so what follows is not legal advice. For that, you need a lawyer.
If you made a formal offer that was accepted, then you've got a contract. If you made a formal offer that the seller countered, and you agreed to the counter, then you've got a contract.
If you did not make a written offer, then you do not have an enforceable contract. If you made a written offer that the seller countered and you did not agree to--did not sign--the seller's counter, then you do not have a contract.
Bottom line: You and the seller need to sign the same document, agreeing to all the provisions, for there to be an enforceable contract.
Why did your agent say that it wasn't a contract?
And, again, I'm not a lawyer. But if the seller made improvements or repairs without there being a signed, ratified contract in place, that was his risk. If there was a signed contract in place and you had requested those repairs, then you're at risk.
What your agent told you wouldn't affect the validity of a contract. (However, the agent could still get into a lot of trouble if he/she misinformed you.)
As for the VA loan--I'm assuming you had some sort of financing contingency in the contract (if, in fact, there was a contract). If you can get the financing in line with the contract (assuming there is a valid contract), then that would remove your financing contingency.
Even if there's a valid contract in place, it's possible that there are other contingencies that could be used to get out of the contract. Depends on your contract.
Recognize, too, that anyone can sue anyone else over anything. It doesn't mean they're in the right. So even if there weren't an enforceable contract in place, the seller could sue you. It doesn't mean he's right. It doesn't mean he'd win. But he certainly can sue you.
Here's the question to ask your agent: "You told us that there wasn't an enforceable contract between us and the seller. On what basis did you make that statement?"
Try working with your agent. If you're not satisfied there, speak to the agent's broker. And, if appropriate consult with a lawyer.
Hope that helps.
May I ask? Why do you no longer wish to buy the home?
1. Susan Pesner , (703) 506-9440 | FAX: (703) 506-0929 | 7926 Jones Branch Drive, Suite 930, McLean, VA 22102
2. Marcus Simon, 703 821-EKKO (3556), 6824 Elm Street, McLean, Virginia 22101
Hope this helps!
You really may want to sit down with the Managing Broker of your agent and also with a real estate attorney if you have not one involved in this purchase, to see what you can do to protect yourself legally!
And as a good recommendation for the future it does not matter what anyone says, always get everything in writing, so that you have proof when you may need it and always always get a real estate attorney involved
to protect yourself --- just in case.... But first go through the contingencies in your signed contract with the
agent and broker and listen to them, then have a real estate attorney take care of it if need be.
Edith YourRealtor4Life! and Chicago and Northern Illinois Expert
Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients....
You might want to make sure you, first you have a ratified contract, if you do, did you put in any contingencies such as for financing, home inspection, etc? If so, have all those contingencies expired?
If you have a ratified contract, you might be able to approach the seller to see if they are willing to release you from your contract and get your earnest money deposit back, if not, I would consult a real estate attorney to see what other options you might have.
I find it VERY strange that VA loan changed over the weekend because this weekend was Christmas - and since Christmas was on Sunday the federal offices were closed Monday as well - so unless something changed during the week before Christmas ........ in which case your loan officer should have informed you then about the changes ......
Unfortunately - and FORTUNATELY - contract is a contract is a contract and should NEVER be taken lightly.
It is up to the Seller to release you from the contract, unless you can void the contract LEGALLY by using one of the remaining contingencies.
If it is any consolation, by LAW, the seller can either keep your earnest money deposit OR sue you for specific performance/damages, but NOT BOTH - the seller cannot keep the EMD and take to the court, only one.
I suggest you contact a real estate lawyer for a legal advice.
No lawyer can re-write the contract AFTER it was signed - if indeed you have a signed contract - but the lawyer can advise you as to your options.
If you have signed and "ratified" a contract then it is seems you indeed have a contract, which is a document between two parties, the buyer and the seller, which spells out both sides rights and obligations.
What your agent might have referred to (guessing here) was the series of "contingencies" that need to be fulfilled in order for a contract to go through. These are for instance, home inspection, home owners association documents, appraisal and/or financing. Once those are met and removed then there's really no "way out".
Again not knowing the specifics it is hard to tell, but it sounds you went through a home inspection (you mentioned fixing fireplace etc) and also through financing, have these contingencies been removed?
I would suggest talking to your agent so she can better explain.
The core of this answer is - Why?
I have worked with some customers who get cold feet or may find what they consider a better property.
Why do you want to kill this deal?
If you are working with the Listing Agent, then I guess this is a good example of why you need representation.
The goal of all Buyer's agents is to work in your best interest. If you feel they are not, speak to their broker.
I agree in part to what is said below. IF it was/is in a home owners association..I am pretty confident if you want out..you can get out. I don't care to share "how" to do it in this forum..but again I am confident you can get out. One question might be WHY did the agent now say you have no out..when before he said you can back out?
The real question is why do you want out? Cold feet? Not secure with the loan? Payments? Why would you ask for things to be fixed if you wanted out? If your story is as you say...sounds like someone is simply trying to get a commission. I would never hold someone to a contract if they have an out..and want out.
Some mentioned go to the manager or broker..I disagree. I believe you will be wasting precious time and the broker/manager 90% of the time will support the agent..and indeed also would like to share in the commission. Go directly to a real estate attorney..if you need a recommendation simply ask. Sounds like there are some shenanigans going on here. Perhaps with the loan officer as well. Either that or there is some serious communication issues.
Good luck and if you decide you could use some help..let me know.
Erik J. Weisskopf, ABR,CDPE,CRS,GRI
You will probably do good by contacting your agent and your agent's broker to see where you stand. I would also recommend contacting an attorney for advice. Its understandable to get cold feet, however, you may end up sacrificing your earnest money deposit if you don't perform.
I am not an attorney, so this is not intended to be legal advice.
My guess is that you have already completed the home inspection so that contingency was probably removed and you might have already received the HOA documents (if any) and it is possible that the review period has passed. (But I would check on this because it could help you to release your obligation if it is still a valid contingency.)
The other contingencies the appraisal and the financing are not a free walk away pass. However check your paperwork and see what your rights are under the appraisal and financing paragraphs.
It sounds like there is a lot of confusion and I don't know why your agent would tell you that it is not a contract when you are stating you had a ratified contract. He/she might have meant that there were ways to release your obligation, however it is likely they have passed.
At this point, My suggestion is to involve your agents sales manager and/or broker (hopefully your agent isn't their own broker!!!). If your agent is their own broker I would suggest contacting a Real Estate Attorney immediately.
If you need help feel free to contact me at email@example.com for further information.