If a law firm handling a short sale never submitted the signed counter offer, can I sue the law firm, the seller or the bank for specific performance?

Asked by Meg86, Sanford, FL Thu Oct 11, 2012

Under contract since Feb to purchase a short sale. In Aug, the bank came back with a counter offer. The law firm representing the seller provided the wrong amount to my agent. We accepted the first amount, then a week went by and the new amount came back (the correct amount), we accepted that corrected counter offer amount. However the law firm for the seller never properly submitted our signed counteroffer to the bank. I have finally found out that the law firm never submitted the second counter offer and the bank has closed the file.Now the law firm is saying that they are resubmitting everything and starting over. The seller is saying if this doesnt close by Dec she will file bankruptcy and walk away. After the counteroffer was signed, I sold my home in reliance on the sale going through. I have to move and want to move into the house. What can I do???

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Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Mon Nov 18, 2013
Only a lawyer can say who you can or who you should sue. A buyer should always have someone negotiating on their behalf that has nearly daily communication with the short sale negotiaitor. Short sales should not take that long any longer. The one tip I have is every thing should be in writing, all offers, counters and addendums, sign everything, date and time stamp it.
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Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Fri Oct 12, 2012
As Danielle politely pointed out, in that stack of paper you signed with the law firm, and in that stack of papers from the bank called the short sale addendum, it is very clearly stated repeatedly that the chances for success are UNKNOWN and you agreed to hold all parties harmless.
However, you can sue anybody for anything. That is what keeps law offices solvent.
Without a doubt, you are in a very unfortunate situation. You committed to a timeline that involved a short sale and that rarely ends well. You need to find an REO or traditional sale that can close quickly or find a short term rental to extend your search window.
Discuss with your agent regarding your other option in regards to the subject home.
Meanwhile, you can consult an attorney regarding the potential of you prevailing in the short sale mess you describe. Short sales, the "Wild, Wild, West of Real Estate," present the illusion of rules but in reality anything can and does happen. With only 30% of short sale offers closing as short sales, you can clearly understand the requirement that only well informed and prepared buyers should even consider this option.

Best of success to you
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group

First Look: http://youtu.be/PumYpkgybXE
0 votes
Danielle Sha…, Agent, Cape Coral, FL
Thu Oct 11, 2012
Look at your contract and hire your own attorney. Discussions about suing people are legal questions which agents cannot answer for you.

The situation certainly is awful although I'm not sure it would be filed under specific performance, particularly with short sales. The state forms we use have many pre-written clauses regarding the fact that no one can guarantee a short sale will close at any time.

Best of luck to you.
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