Buyer non-responsive three months after proposed close

Asked by appdev2001, Fairfax, VA Tue Jan 8, 2013

I had a ratified contract in Aug 2012 (Fairfax, VA), and on the day of closing in September, found out that the seller was not a US citizen (has a greencard or something like that), so they either had to get an SSN or let me hold 10% of price so IRS can collect. Since that day, the seller has been eluding us and his own agent as well. I believe it could also be that 'sellers remorse' since the property already went up over 15% since. What legal action can i take? I don't really want to sue him for a thousand or two, but rather want the property. I had obviously given up on a LOT of other opportunities and to be honest, can't find another property in the same price range in the same area anymore. Any thoughts on what my legal options would be?


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David Confor…, , Vienna, VA
Wed Jan 9, 2013
As most other responses have stated, you need the advice of an experienced real estate attorney. In addition to being a real estate agent, I have been a practicing real estate lawyer for 15 years. If you are still looking for legal advice, please contact me for a free initial consultation.


David A. Conforti, Esq., C.P.A.
DC Living Real Estate
0 votes
appdev2001, Home Buyer, Fairfax, VA
Tue Jan 8, 2013
Appreciate all the responses. I shall try to provide more information as to why it took so long.

The title company discovered on the date of closing that taxes couldn't be collected from seller, and he either had to get a proper SSN /tax ID or have me (buyer) withhold it. The seller promised to pursue the official channel immediately and I guess we were just trying to be understanding. Seller clarified a few things with his legal counsel and finally agreed to make another trip to the US (he resides abroad, which i found much too late) late November/december and file the appropriate paperwork, and expected that to take 2-3 weeks. From the initial scheduled closing in September, it did not sound too long, so we agreed. Since mid-december, we haven't heard from them, so NOW we are considering other options.

not saying it was a prudent thing to do, just what happened.
0 votes
Terry McCarl…, Agent, Cape Coral, FL
Tue Jan 8, 2013
I think you should consult with a real estate attorney to discuss your options.
0 votes
Erik Weissko…, Agent, fairfax, VA
Tue Jan 8, 2013

as you state, you could perhaps have a lien of sorts so when/if he does would be able to buy. So..what to do in the meantime? I doubt you will sit around and wait..and perhaps if you go ahead and pursue something else..then you hopefully would have the resources to go back to plan A.

Most people however, do not have the resources and are acting on principal. So with that said, you may best be served by punting.

Again, I should have NEVER gotten to this point. Proper representation etc. typically would preclude nonsense like this. In addition, if this should have been advised to seek legal counsel IMMEDIATELY..not 3 months later.

Sorry to be so blunt..but I have always found it best to shoot straight.

Best of luck..

Kind Regards,

Erik J. Weisskopf, ABR,CDPE,CRS,GRI
Re/Max Distinctive Real Estate, Inc.
0 votes
Appreciate the response. i guess what i am trying to get at is "Can i get that lien (or whatever equivalent is)", presuming i am in a position to purchase when it does happen..
Flag Tue Jan 8, 2013
Linda Lorenzo, Agent, McKinney, TX
Tue Jan 8, 2013
Interesting question and answers here. Not sure why the title company didn't find out sooner that the seller was not a citizen. Also curious why you have waited 4 months to pursue this. Perhaps it is time to move on?
0 votes
George Creed, Agent, Vienna, VA
Tue Jan 8, 2013
Contact a real estate attorney about your problem and take ot from there.
0 votes
Sonal Goda, Agent, Chantilly, VA
Tue Jan 8, 2013
Hello - in response to your question... the contract is void as of the date of closing unless if you and the seller agreed to extend the closing date. Is there some reason that you think your contract is still valid?

It is hard to hear, but you can't make the seller sell you the property if he/she doesn't want to. If they want to hold the house, your only option is to sue for specific performance. If they don't want the house, it may be worth offering more than your original contract price and make it a win-win.

0 votes
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Tue Jan 8, 2013
Understanding that Realtors do not give LEGAL advice;
Move on and forget it.
You cannot demonstrate a LOSS, which you would need to file a suit.

That property is going to be tied up for a long time.
0 votes
Thanks for the response - initial research so far indicates you might be right. Will update once i speak with an attorney.
Flag Tue Jan 8, 2013
appdev2001, Home Buyer, Fairfax, VA
Tue Jan 8, 2013
Thanks Eric/Faiza,

My realtor's suggestion is to contact a real-estate attorney (and i think i am about to do that), but wanted to get other's opinions as well. I think the biggest complication (in my opinion) is that i still want the property versus just suing for performance and obtaining some money. Also, since the seller isn't a citizen, i figured there would be no real way of collecting in case of lack of response from seller (have seen enough of that). Our (my realtor and me) thought that we are trying to confirm with legal counsel is to see if we can place something analogous to a 'lien' on the property so that seller HAS to sell it to me at this price (whenever that happens).

Also, is there typically an 'expiry' on a contract beyond which it automatically becomes void?

Thanks for the input.
0 votes
Faiza Alvi, Agent, Woodbridge, VA
Tue Jan 8, 2013
Dear Home Buyer:

Have you talked to your Realtor on this? and what does he/she say. Your real estate agent can also call an attorney they work with to find legal answers for you. If you are not being represented by a buyer's agent please feel free to give me a call or email me directly and I will happy to sit with you to discuss your situation in details and help you with your real estate questions and needs.

Faiza Alvi - Realtor®
Prince William Realty, Inc.
703-389-7973 (Direct)
703-580-9995 (Fax)

I believe:
Real Estate is about building relationships
& serving clients with honesty, integrity & passion.
0 votes
Erik Weissko…, Agent, fairfax, VA
Tue Jan 8, 2013
I am always curious when I see these posts...

You have a Realtor representing you right?
What does your Realtor say?

Personally, I think it is ridiculous you have gotten to this point. My guess is your legal options are to sue the seller for "specific performance"..this is threatened often but rarely done. My other guess (I say guess because I am not an attorney and am not giving out legal advice) is that you will have to prove some loss. This is typically the difficult part.

My last guess is.. perhaps you would not care as much other than the fact the value in your opinion has gone up 15%. My suggestion would be to spend a few dollars with a good real estate attorney. If you need me.

As I always try to ask on these for you to provide some answers to the others can more easily answer your questions.

have a great day and best of luck.

Kind Regards,

Erik J. Weisskopf,ABR,CDPE,CRS,GRI
Re/Max Distinctive Real Estate
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