Home Buying in Orange County>Question Details

Damion Const…, Home Buyer in Reston, VA

can we sue the negotiator who closes a file on a short sale with an active contract on the house?

Asked by Damion Constantopoulos, Reston, VA Mon Aug 15, 2011

We have an active contract on a short sale house, we were told that the selling bank had approved our offer. We had the inspection done and the appraisal. My agent called today to find out that CHASE Bank (negotiator) had closed the file. Now it has been reopened but might take another 3 weeks to get approval. I have a special needs child that has to have residence before I can register her for school. I also have an 8month pregnant wife. We have been jerk around since April.

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Vivianne Rutkowski’s answer
>>>My agent told me that the listing agent was on the phone everyday with the seller's bank to get the approval letter. If this was true, how would she have missed any deadlines and how could the bank accidently close the file?<<<


Unfortunately and FORTUNATELY real estate sale contracts MUST be in writing to be enforceable in the court.

Even *assuming* the listing agent is truthful with your agent and your agent is truthful with you, even then you need to have the final short sale approval in writing to be legally valid and enforceable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 17, 2011
It really makes my blood boil to read of your situation. You wife is ready to deliver, you've patiently waited out the process of the short sale only to be betrayed at the last hour. The previous owner very likely was treated in a similar manner.

As your agent advised you at the very beginning, short sales are the Wild Wild West of real estate. The sheriff (bank) holds, deals and sees all the cards. You, as the buyer have the least influence in the process and will indeed be the most abused. Here in Florida less that 30% of listed short sales close. With a track record like this only the thick skinned, infinitely patient and seasoned buyer should venture into this colossal mess.
Rather that chase bad money with good money, have your real estate professional show you bank owned property (have an attorney) or traditional sales. They can close quickly and you can find good values.
Web Reference: http://www.MyDunedin.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 16, 2011
Thank you all for the bare brass answers. I'm a not BS guy and don't like it when people are being shady around me. We have a written contract with the seller and listing agent verbally told us that their bank finally approved us. My Agent told me to move forward with the appraisal and inspection so when we got the approval letter we would be much more ahead. My agent told me that the listing agent was on the phone everyday with the seller's bank to get the approval letter. If this was true, how would she have missed any deadlines and how could the bank accidently close the file? You guys can see why I would be angry.
I understand that our great nation has turned into a communist state that needs to have the common man under their bootheel and make sure the banks can never be touched. :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 16, 2011
The short sale lender has no responsibility to the buyer of the property. You cannot sue them because you are being grossly inconvenienced. The short sale lender may have closed the file correctly. You have given us no insight as to why the file was closed. You may have an active contract which has been accepted by the seller but it is still subject to the short sale lender’s approval. That decision is out of your hands.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 15, 2011

I suggest that before you sue anyone and lose more time and money, you consult a real estate lawyer who is very experienced with short sales to make sure that you have a winnable case.

Real estate sale contract is between the purchaser and the seller - only.
Obviously, the short selling seller can sell only IF the seller's lender/lenders approve the short sale - LEGALLY the lenders are NOT obligated to approve the short sale UNLESS it's a good financial and business decision for the lender. Not all sellers qualify for the short sale. Sellers who might qualify for a short sale need to cooperate and be willing to provide all the necessary documents. Finally, the listing agent must submit all the paperwork on time and communicate with the lenders.

From what you wrote here, we only know that you have a signed contract with the seller - at least, I hope it is a ratified contract. The short sale approval needs to be in writing to have any value. You should not have had the appraisal and the home inspection done until the short sale was approved in writing and the title search done.

Your agent should have explained to you the risks associated with putting an offer on a short sale. Perhaps a traditional sale or a foreclosure would have been better choices for you, depending on your financing. Good luck with the transaction. I hope it works out for you and you are able to purchase this property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 15, 2011
Oh, Damion. This doesn't sound right. Your agent is probably the best to advise you the actual written agreement is... and he/she may need to refer you to an attorney for further interpretation. Unfortunately, in a short sale, you do typically not have a contract with the bank....therefore I am not sure what the basis of a legal claim would be. Sure their actions may result in damages to you, but I am not certain you have a reasonable expectation (under the law or a contract agreement) for them to do anything. A short sale contract is, quite honestly, a great big, mostly-unenforceable-on-anyone, "maybe".

Many times what seems "unfair" and "unjust" isn't wrong under the law.

I try very hard to make sure my clients understand the risks and potential rewards when they get into short sale situations - on either side. It sounds like you weren't fully educated about the risks to you as a buyer. Even if they reopen the file it doesn't mean you're going to get the house - you might, but no promises.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 15, 2011
In our wonderful country anyone can sue anyone for anything. Lawyers call it job security, but the question is will you WIN? I agree with Ron below. It does not sound like the bank ever signed anything so you really have nothing and a suit is going to be another waste of you time and money.

Short sales are slow and uncertain. Since you have certain needs that need to be addressed on a schedule you should look at regular sales and not crazy short sales. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 15, 2011
First of all, I am sorry to hear about your Special needs; however, the Bank is a Bank and they wouldn't have access to this information.

You said that you have an ACTIVE CONTRACT, and "WERE TOLD"; understand that VERBAL is not a Contract: Do you have a WRITTEN CONTRACT? If you do not, you have nothing.

As far as the extra 3 weeks; that is the nature of the beast;

I have had clients "jerked around" for a YEAR.
You just have to be patient; they are not trying to be mean, they just don't care.

Good luck and may God bless
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 15, 2011

I'm sorry to hear you are having issues with your short sale purchase but this usually does not without a reason.

Had the negotiator asked for information from the seller that wasn't provided?
Did the listing agent miss a deadline?
Was the approval in writing? A verbal approval is not considered by our Virginia Short Sale Contract to be an approval that would have triggered you to move forward with inspections and appraisals.

Hopefully your agent is advising you on your choices and that they can light a fire under Chase. My experience is that an email to the CEO's office will get them moving.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 15, 2011
Unfortunately given the nature of short sale nothing is said and done till your receive written short sale approval from all the banks. My guess is somebody at Chase made a mistake closed the file and now they may have to go thru a process to reopen and reprocess your file.

You may provide a copy of contract to the school to get the registration done. We do it all the time with new construction since the time frame is bit away and parents are anxious to enroll their kids in the school.

Good Luck
Ritu Desai
Associate Broker
Samson Properties
Email: Info@eNOVAHomes.com
Web Reference: http://www.eNOVAhomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 15, 2011
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