What to do when a seller who decides they do not want to sell to you (once in a contract) but cannot cancel, tries to sabotage it other ways?

Asked by laph, Los Angeles, CA Sat Sep 22, 2012

I was in a thirty day escrow period with a contingency that ended yest. My husband and I went through the proper channeling in a standard sale- inspection, appraisal, etc. We submitted our request for repairs within days of the contingency period. We did not receive a request for repairs acknowledgment back from the seller until yesterday (15 day post submittal). We only received it after my insistence. However the result of this no response left us at a halt for the things that needed to done to comply with loan requirements within the 30 days. In addition, we needed certs for roof and plumbing and the owner would not respond to our request to do them. In saying all this, we the buyers said we would absorb ALL cost. We had to ask for a 5 day extension, we were denied. The reason it has been so difficult is the seller realtor said that the seller does not want to move forward with us. Therefor we were forced to cancel (yest.) to make sure we do not loose our deposit. Help! Any hope?

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Jeffrey Sandorf’s answer
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
Sona Gallatin, Agent, Santa Clarita, CA
Fri Sep 28, 2012
Oh my gosh, sounds soooooo familiar! I had very similar situation and had my first escrow to ever fall apart because of the listing agent, wow. Would have never wanted this to happen to anyone else and I'm so sorry your going through it. You need to talk to the office manager, and hopefully it's not the same as listing agent. No response go to the board. Call escrow, you should not lose your deposit, did you have a buyers agent working with you?
0 votes
William Tong, Agent, Arcadia, CA
Tue Sep 25, 2012
I see that you posted a follow up question to the one I just answered. If you have cancelled your escrow, then the transaction is finished. HOWEVER, you can still bring legal action against the seller if he/she violated the terms of the purchase agreement. If you believe you have a case, bring all of your paperwork to a lawyer.

To be honest, the first thing you need to do is get a better agent to represent you. One who will actually represent your interests and fight for you.

Good Luck!

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

-William
310-256-3729
DRE #01903501
GoldenLandInc.com
Golden Land Investments & Financial, Inc.
0 votes
Janey Bishop, Agent, Calabasas, CA
Tue Sep 25, 2012
Why does the Seller not want to move forward? If he doesn't want to sell after all then you will probably have trouble forcing him to. If he wants to sell to someone else for a higher price than you may have recourse and should consult an attorney. What does you Realtor and the Broker say?
0 votes
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2012
If you canceled, the deal is over. It doesn't sound like there's any recourse. The seller has a right to say yes or no to repairs.

If you still wanted the hone, your buyer's agent should have been more proactive in getting a response...but then again, I know we are hearing only one part of the story.

Wishing you well - but it sounds like this deal is gone. Move on! It wasn't meant to be!
0 votes
carlos parra…, Other Pro, Monrovia, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2012
You have now cancelled the contract and closed escrow, in compliance with contract terms Your deposit should be returned.
Buying this house may not be a possibility for you now. You cannot force the Seller to sell to you. You may have legal recourse for your expenses due the the Sellers lack of "good faith efforts"
0 votes
Douglas Perez…, Home Buyer, Los Angeles, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2012
It sounds like you don't have an agent representing you in this ordeal. Do you know who is representing you?

Get a real estate attorney advise, http://plpc.info/askalawyer

Have a blessed day!
0 votes
SERGEY FEDNOV…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2012
It is always best to work on the transaction where all parties have mutual understanding and agreement. If you see that the seller is not intrested in selling his/her property it is best to find out right away and move onto the next.
0 votes
Jane Peters, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2012
It seems you have already canceled. So after the fact there is little or nothing you can do, unfortunately. It is not worth the trouble to pursue this any further. Time to move on.
0 votes
Laura Coffey, Agent, Santa Clarita, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2012
Per the CAR purchase agreement the seller does not have to respond to any request for repairs. It sounds like your agent did not advise you properly in the beginning and your lender seems over the top. Most roofers are not even supplying certs any more because of the liability.
I hate to sound harsh but the CAR purchase agreement clearly states time is of the essence for a reason. If you and your lender can not perform the seller has a right to cancel.
The only responsibility of the seller is to hand over the house in its current condition per the contract. If you feel or need more than that and they won't your only two choices are stick it out and back out.
I'm sorry your Realtor did not make that clear from the beginning.
Web Reference:  http://www.lauracoffey.com
0 votes
Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2012
I'm not an attorney or privy to the details of your transaction so you should go to your agent and/or his/her broker if they aren't giving you satisfactory answers. That said, in my experience any dispute regarding a seller who doesn't want to sell is unlikely to be forced to do so. I would take my deposit back and move on to something else, although you might want to take them to small claims court to get back any expenses on inspections and such if you have clearly been proceeding in good faith.
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sat Sep 22, 2012
What is your agent advising...also consider consulting with an attorney who specializes in real estate, have all related documentation reviewed, and go from there....
0 votes
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