What happens now? How can this be legal? We are left homeless with three children.

Asked by Mg, Odessa, FL Mon Nov 23, 2009

We went to contract on a short sale. Bank approved! Tonight the seller has backed out. Problem...we sold our own home and went to closing on it just this morning. The seller's realtor did not tell us that the seller was thinking of backing out and we have no home now. What recourse do we have? We are now homeless, with three children and no place to live.

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Bill Szydlowski’s answer
Bill Szydlow…, Agent, Tampa, FL
Mon Nov 23, 2009

I would recommend that you immediately contact a very good real estate attorney. Your realtor should have told you about this ahead of time if they had any idea this would happen. You may have an ethics situation. If you went thru the listing agent to buy the home, they probably they did not represent you at all, and therefore did not have to tell you. This happens alot with buyers in Florida. Let me know if you want to know the phone number of a very good real estate attorney. I would also recommend that you find a short term rental, possibly a corporate rental, like Mainsail by Marriot, to stay at until you find a home. This will save you some money, while you are working with your NEW realtor.

Bill Szydlowski
The Szydlowski Team
Future Home Realty
Web Reference:  http://www.tampamyhome.com
0 votes
Margaret Has…, Agent, Tampa, FL
Mon Aug 1, 2011
I tell my clients a short sale is never a sure thing until it closes. You as a buyer will never know the seller's situation. There a many, many unknowns that come in to play in a short sale. Sometimes there may be approval from the 1st mortgage holder, but there is a mortgage insurer who will ask the seller to bring perhaps a very large amount of money to closing. The same thing can happen with a 1st mortgage holder. If they don't think the seller is not in a hardship position, they will ask the seller to bring cash to closing. You will never know what goes on between the seller and the lenders, and the seller can back out at any time. It's always a gamble.
1 vote
Lisa Reeves, Agent, Tampa, FL
Mon Nov 23, 2009
You need to consult with a real estate attorney - your contract requires performance from both parties not just the buyer. Per the FAR and the FARBAR you have the right to have your deposit refunded "without waiving the right to seek damages or seek specific performance." Hopefully your agent and the listing agent will be able to get you a satisfactory solution but be prepared to seek legal advice and quickly.

Check to see if the title company or your agent has an attorney in the office to help. I also may suggest an attorney - Matt Myers his email is matt@lmolawfirm.com or office phone is (813) 251-5533.
1 vote
Alma Kee, Agent, Tampa, FL
Sun Nov 29, 2009
Sorry you had to experience this!

If you're still looking for a short term rental while you find your next house, I may be able to help. It'll be written as a 7 month lease but we'll let you cancel the lease with no penalty if you buy a house. It's a 3 bd, 2 bath 2 car garage hardwood floors, hardwood kitchen and bath cabinets, screened lanai. The schools with bus service are Lowry Elementary, Farnell Middle and Alonso High is just down the street. 1,800 sf $1,500 per month, $3k to move in. Charleston Corners community with Jr. Olympic sized community pool, two lighted tennis courts, playground and a clubhouse for party rentals.

Please call if you would like details, it's not listed yet on the Realtor mls system.

Alma Rose Kee, P.A.
Charles Rutenberg Realty, Inc.
0 votes
Tracey Martin, , Salinas, CA
Mon Nov 23, 2009
In California we have a addendum called a short sale addendum. It is full of important disclosure information for the buyer. One important disclosure is that the seller can walk if they are not comfortable with the language in their short sale approval letter, but it does not give them a deadline for making that decision. I see that as a problem with the form. A seller is more likely to walk if the lender approval letter leaves the lender's option to pursue a deficiency open. When I give an approval letter to my clients I tell them to take it to an attorney to make sure that continuing with the short sale is in their best interest and I tell them to do it right away. One of my sellers did not go to an attorney right way. I called him daily to remind him that there were buyers to consider and if he was going to back out he should do it soon. His excuse was that he did not want to spend the money on the attorney. I really thought he was going to go through with the sale. He was doing everything a seller does when they are moving forward. Things like making the home available to the buyers when they wanted to show the home to family, allowing the the appraiser to come in to appraise the home, and signing disclosures that go back and forth between buyers and sellers. Well, after 3 weeks he talked to an attorney who said "just live there for free until the bank throws you out." I was mortified. How could he do that to the buyers? I provided him with every piece of information I have explaining why a short sale would be better for him but he chose to walk. Luckily the buyers only expense was the appraisal but I felt very bad for them. I told my client that even though he had done nothing wrong as far as the contract goes, his lack of immediate action was not fair to the buyers and he should, at the very least, pay for their appraisal. It was the right thing to do. He did. What happened to you should not be allowed to happen. Sellers in a short sale transaction should have a time limit to back out. The seller's agent was probably just as surprised as you were when the seller informed her that they changed their mind. You need to find out if you ever signed an addendum informing you that the seller can walk and under what circumstances they are aloud to do so. Then you should talk to an attorney. If you did sign a addendum, was it ever explained to you? I'm not familiar with Florida real estate disclosure laws, but if it was not disclosed to you, you could probably sue for your expenses and temporary housing. I know it is of little comfort to you, but what happened to you does not happen often. God bless you and your family and I hope your Realtor is working hard to find you housing.
0 votes
Sean Dawes, , Philadelphia, PA
Mon Nov 23, 2009

You need to get yourself a real estate attorney. And in the meantime, you will have to probably rent an apartment or a hotel in the meantime. I would make sure you have copies of all of these expenses just in case you are entitled to damages from this.

Sean Dawes
Web Reference:  http://www.SeanDawes.com
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Home Buying in Odessa Zip Codes

Email me when…

Learn more