SMA: Having been blessed with the "best" answer to date, I guess I'll have to continue with the advice, now that youâ€™ve clarified your position somewhat.
Remember, I can't give you legal advice, that's what your attorney is for. However...
NJ contracts are â€œon or about," meaning that no specific date is set. That means you can wait forever, I guess. There is a way you can demand a change. You ORDER your attorney to send a "Time of the Essence" letter. In the letter, a specific time is set for the closing. Be there or be in default. This applies to BOTH parties.
If the deal goes into default, the defaulter is open for suit for damages, what ever you may decide that they may be and a court agrees.
Your attorney has had NO RESPONSE from the seller to a letter asking for details of the $30,000 lien and it's satisfaction. He has told you so. Now, what you can do and, if you had a good Realtor, you would be advised to do, is posit the question, can the seller pay off the lien at closing? In almost ALL cases, the biggest lien, that of the prime mortgage, are paid off at closing. Will the seller get enough out of the net proceeds to pay off the secondary lien as well? If so, problem solved. The closing agent (your attorney or the title company he hires to do his closing for him) simply pays off the secondary lien and clears the title record at the time of the closing.
If, on the other hand, the seller cannot get enough out of the closing to pay off all the liens, he has to bring cash to the closing, cash that he gets from other sources. If the seller has no other sources and can't pay off the liens, you really have only one alternative. That is that you pay off the liens from assets that you have. If the amount is small (as would happen in the case where the proceeds pays off 90% of the second lien, you might want to chip in your own money above the written deal in the contract. I'm sure that you might find the place worth a couple of grand more than your original deal. It would be too small a percentage to argue about, if the seller was out of funds.
The only thing that might be feasible is that, rather than cash from some of your own assets or sources (Hi dad, you won't guess what I need right now...) you might add the extra amount to your mortgage, if your mortgage bank will hold still for a slight increase. While time are a lot tougher in this regard than before, if you qualify and the house appraises, you may be in luck and at today's rate, every thousand extra on the mortgage will be far less than $7.00 a month!
Hope you get the home of your dreams and soon!