Is it legal for a seller to force us to cancel the transaction by setting the deal up for failure.?

Asked by laph, Los Angeles, CA Fri Sep 21, 2012

My husband and I are in escrow, last day of contingency period. The sellers realtor has said verbally his buyer does not want to move forward with us but instead of canceling on us is putting road block after road block to force us to cancel. He never responded to our request for repairs until today (15 days after we submitted it to him), does not allow us or give us permission to make repairs ourselves at our own cost (loan condition) and basically has remained silent. Today is the last day for our contingency period and I do not want to loose our deposit. It is essentially leaving us no alternative but to cancel. Can this be legal or is there any recourse we can take? Please advise.

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carlos parra…, Other Pro, Monrovia, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2012
No it is not legal, but how can you prove it.
The best might be to prove that they did not use "good faith efforts" which is likely part of your contract language.
It seems these Seller obligations under the contract precede your obligations. In other words you cannot meet your obligations unless he meets his. So I do not understand why your contingency period would expire.
You can't force any one to sell. You can tie up their property by keeping escrow open so that they cannot sell to anyone else.
I am not an attorney and I am providing only an opinion.
1 vote
Jeffrey Sand…, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2012
If you are purchasing in California and using the California Association of Realtors (CAR) purchase agreement, refer to paragraph #14(B)(2) - the seller has no obligation to respond to or agree to your request for repairs. However, the seller does have the obligation to deliver all reports, disclosures. If he has not delivered the disclosures within the contractual time period that could work in your favor as it could extend your contingency and negate a cancellation right of the seller.

As far as your contingencies expiring, the CAR contract requires contingencies to be removed in writing, they don't expire passively. However, I have no idea which contract you used and your terms and conditions.

The above is not to be construed as legal advice as I am not an attorney, it is simply basic background on a real estate issue that pops up from time to time. Please consult with an attorney to seek a legal opinon and course of action. Good luck.
1 vote
William Tong, Agent, Arcadia, CA
Tue Sep 25, 2012
To be blunt, your agent needs to do a better job of taking care of you guys so you don't have to come here. There is a specific form that your agent needs to send to the listing agent so that the home seller does what he said he would do when he signed the purchase agreement.

The seller does not have to make any repairs or allow you to make repairs unless he said he would in the purchase agreement. Your agent should have gotten that cleared up when he submitted your offer on your behalf.

Do not worry about losing your deposit. There are a number of things that must happen before you do. You should be more worried about why the seller is doing this. Is there something seriously wrong with the home that they did not disclose and are afraid to now?

Look over the purchase agreement yourself. Then drive to the house and look it over. If you feel this house is worth fighting for, bring all of your documentation to a lawyer and get this house!

Good luck!

I would appreciate it if you picked my answer as the "best". :)

DRE #01903501
Golden Land Investments & Financial, Inc.
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Douglas Perez, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2012
It is Not legal.

At this point, refer to your contract with your agent and document everything. Usually it takes both parties signatures to cancel escrow and to release buyer's deposit.

A real estate attorney would be very helpful to advise you.

Have a blessed day!
0 votes
Kawain Payne, Agent, Seal Beach, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2012
I hope you can resolve this with out having to take legal action, but iIf you need a good Real Estate Attorney please email me. I can refer you to one.

Best of Success to you!
Kawain Payne
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2012
Dear Laph,
The California Purchase Agreement is a legally binding contract. I don't know all the details of your situation, but I'm hoping you have a really good buyer agent helping and advising you as to your options. If you don't, and must rely upon the listing agent's advice, your only real option at this point is to consult with a good Real Estate Attorney. I would not waste time here, but try to set up a consultation as soon as possible.
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Gary Geer, Agent, Antioch, IL
Sat Sep 22, 2012
Hopefully you have an attorney representing you. If not seek out an attorney to help you with this situation. We can't give legal advice. If you don't know what attorney to call ask your agent for a list of real estate attorneys that may help.
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Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sat Sep 22, 2012
When it comes to any necessary legal advice, it's always in one's best interest to consult with an attorney who specializes in real estate.....
0 votes
Suzanne MacD…, Agent, Succasunna, NJ
Sat Sep 22, 2012
I do hope you are using an attorney to close this transaction. And, if so, these are, indeed, legal questions you need to pose to your attorney. Having said that, however, there is, in any purchase of real estate, a duty to deal fairly with the other side. It's called acting in good faith. I would consult with an attorney because it sounds like the sellers are not acting in good faith.
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Tina Lam, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2012
Unfortunately, when you include the word "legal" in your question, you would need to direct your question to a real estate attorney. Realtors like myself are not permitted to provide legal advice on what you should do.

What I can say is that the seller isn't being nice about the transaction and in real estate law, you can file a lis pendens to compel the seller to perform.
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