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#460357 - 01/12/18 10:35 PM Sellers quitting the sale
clof2001 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/19/09
Posts: 34
Loc: Southern CA
In late November, we made an offer on home we loved. It went back and forth a few times with multiple offers and bids but in the end we won the deal. Over the next few weeks, we completed all of the necessary items, inspections, pest control, appraisal, etc. and released all the contingencies, as did the sellers. Everything was golden. Loan funding was good to go.

We waited...and waited...to hear from the sellers (and their agent) for almost two weeks about close of escrow, final walk through, etc. Nothing. Out of the blue, our agent receives a call - sellers don't want to sell anymore. Then nothing for three days. Then an email with the cancellation of contract attached with the reason "Sellers do not want to sell" written in the "other" section of the cancellation reasons.

We never signed our end of it, because we are not interested in canceling and have performed on our end. Contacted an attorney, sent a demand to close a week ago, have heard nothing. Both sides had signed the arbitration/mediation clause in the contract and our attorney said that's the next step.

So, hoping for the best, expecting the worst. The fact that neither the sellers nor their agent is communicating anything is troubling. Meanwhile we have $30k earnest money sitting there doing nothing.

Anyone had experience with this with positive results? How far should we pursue?

Footnote:
According to Zillow, the house was "pending" twice in 2017, then canceled twice. Each subsequent re-list was for $20k and $15k more, respectively. Our offer in November was their third of the year.

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#460358 - 01/12/18 11:15 PM Re: Sellers quitting the sale [Re: clof2001]
Vermont Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 04/12/08
Posts: 7837
Loc: Vermont's North-East Kingdom
Has your Attorney been consulted regarding filing a suit to force the sale for the Seller's Breach of Contract ?

I've had these where a Seller just decided that moving would be just too difficult . . . . or, as in one case, "inconvenient" because it was Hunting Season. After firing his first Attorney; his new Attorney told him he had no recourse but to follow through on the legal commitment he had made . . . . and begrudgingly, he finally did.

Your Sellers seem to be playing games, not recognizing that this is "serious" business, and can have serious ramifications when they enter into a Contract with someone who expects performance (unlike the earlier two cancelled transactions; both without apparent penalty).

PS; You know, by simply re-listing, those Sellers may have opened themselves up to action against them by the prior Buyers, depending upon the reasons specified for failure to follow through back then.

They may have gone to the well one time too many.


Edited by Vermont (01/13/18 12:32 AM)
Edit Reason: Added PostScript
_________________________
Dale C. Hittle of GOLDEN RULE PROPERTIES in Glover, Vermont
Where We're Always Striving To Put Together "THE FAIR DEAL"

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#460359 - 01/13/18 01:03 AM Re: Sellers quitting the sale [Re: Vermont]
Long Walk Offline
Member

Registered: 06/27/08
Posts: 309
Loc: New Hampshire
A situation like this happened to me early on. My broker would not get an attorney involved due to the cost. The end result was that my buyer client lost confidence in me and moved on to another agent.

Short of a credible threat of a suit for specific performance, there isn't much you can do to motivate a seller like that. I was a new agent when that happened, but it happened later when I was the listing agent.

I was doing an REO for a mill. BOA was the owner of the property. It was a really bad property that I got an offer on. The buyer's agent told me that the buyer was a lawyer who was buying the property to do a low-end lease-option deal. Somehow, a problem arose that required a conference call with me, BOA, and the mill. The BOA rep had no real estate experience and no business experience based on her behavior on the call. Her strategy was to withdraw from the contract and sell the property to someone else. I will admit that I enjoyed telling her that the buyer would certainly cloud title with a suit and that it would be several years before BOA could sell the property if she pursued her desired course of action. In the end, the seller sold to the lawyer and we all moved on from our lives.

I'm not advocating barratry, but sometimes the only way to get people to do something they don't like is to credibly threaten them with something worse.

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#460360 - 01/13/18 01:39 AM Re: Sellers quitting the sale [Re: clof2001]
Vermont Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 04/12/08
Posts: 7837
Loc: Vermont's North-East Kingdom
Originally Posted By: Long Walk
". . . My broker would not get an attorney involved due to the cost . . ."

I don't know where you were located at the time this occurred; but usually, only a Party to the Contract can bring an action to force the sale . . . . and neither a Broker nor his Agent is a Party to the P&S Contract (even though they may have drafted it), only the Buyer or Seller.

I've found that most Buyers don't pursue their rights to force a Sale, even though they could also sue for reimbursement of any legal costs involved in making that happen. More often than not, time plays a big role, or they are fearful that the resentful Sellers would somehow damage the Property prior to the transfer, and they drop the idea, and just move on.

Forcing the Sale on a Buyer who has changed his/her mind is a little more difficult because they can easily wreck their credit rating IF they want to; but Sellers are often satisfied just receiving the Good Faith Deposit . . . . or a portion of it (if I get my piece of the action).
_________________________
Dale C. Hittle of GOLDEN RULE PROPERTIES in Glover, Vermont
Where We're Always Striving To Put Together "THE FAIR DEAL"

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#460361 - 01/13/18 02:04 AM Re: Sellers quitting the sale [Re: Vermont]
Long Walk Offline
Member

Registered: 06/27/08
Posts: 309
Loc: New Hampshire
I was in FL and the buyer did not want to sue. That left the broker suing for commissions. One of his other offices had the listing.

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#460365 - 01/14/18 01:14 AM Re: Sellers quitting the sale [Re: clof2001]
Bigtoe Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 10/14/07
Posts: 2266
Loc: Outer Banks
The listing broker owes you a commission per mls rules. Demand your commission and force the listing broker to pursue the commission from the seller or supply it out of their funds.
_________________________
Your Outer Banks real estate agent. Helping people buy and sell OBX real estate since 1989.

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#460372 - 01/15/18 02:50 AM Re: Sellers quitting the sale [Re: Bigtoe]
Long Walk Offline
Member

Registered: 06/27/08
Posts: 309
Loc: New Hampshire
Originally Posted By: Bigtoe
The listing broker owes you a commission per mls rules. Demand your commission and force the listing broker to pursue the commission from the seller or supply it out of their funds.
The OP is a buyer, not a broker, so I am guessing that this post is directed to me. If I'm wrong, please treat this post as clarification and background. I just re-read this thread and my posts may have caused some confusion.

In my case, early on (1999-ish), my buyer wouldn't hire a lawyer and then lost all confidence in me when my broker refused to do anything. My broker had both agents in that sale and on the buyer side where this seller was moving to locally. In his mind, the juice wasn't worth the squeeze, and the buyer felt the same way.

So, the buyer declined to pursue a suit for specific performance and the broker declined to pursue a suit for the commissions.

What MLS rules are you referring to? I have belonged to two MLS's and each had their own rules and by-laws. One of them(Columbia, SC) was privately owned and not owned by the local Board of REALTORs(r).

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