Post # 1
Hi All –
I’m hoping that someone on here may be able to offer me some advice in this situation. My fiance and I found a home that we loved and made an offer in the end of July. The seller accepted our offer and we both signed the binder agreeing to the terms. The sellers lawyer drafted a contract which he sent to my lawyer on August 1st. On Fri, August 3rd fiance and I went to our lawyer, signed the contract and left a $10,000 deposit. Our lawyer mailed the signed contracts and check to sellers lawyer on Monday, Aug 5th.
Now, from Wednesday Aug 5th to Monday, Aug 13th, the seller’s attorney claimed they never received anything. I find this HARD to believe since the two offices are within 2 miles of each other and someone could have hand delivered the paperwork to them faster than they are alledging it took to be received by mail. Either way, I followed up with our lawyer daily to check on the status. Also, on Aug 7th I spoke to the seller on the phone when he called me and told him we signed and lef the deposit and he said OH i didnt know, but now I’ll make sure we go sell. Also wanted to mention, since Aug 13th the sellers attorney has been telling us every excuse in the book why the sellers couldnt go sign (ie: didn’t receive it, had to work, on vacation, etc.)
This brings us to yesterday. I was driving to the store and passed the home we were purchasing. Outside the house I see, the sellers realtor, and inspector and a NEW buyer! I called my parents hysterical and so my father went by the house to talk to the realtor to see what was going on (my parents only live a few blocks from this home). Needless to say, by the time I made a U turn to go back to the house, there was a huge verbal blowout going on between the realtor and my father. The realtor told us point black that the seller is going with a higheroffer beause we took too long to get the contracts back!!
Now I feel like legally, this cant be done. We signed the contract within 48 hours of it being received by our lawyer. We told the seller the contracts were signed within 48 hours of signing. We had our lawyer call the sellers lawyer every day to follow up and were given every excuse in the book. We and the sellers signed the binder agreeing to the terms. WE did everything we were supposed to do and have been waiting onthe sellers to sign the contract, so HOW is this our fault?!
Because it’s the weekend we can’t get in touch with our lawyer until tomorrow, but I am a complete nervous hysterical wreck in the meantime. Has this happened to anyone else? Is this even legal? Someone please help 🙁
Post # 4
@NYBride_421: I am not a lawyer, and I Have not bought a house, but I would think if they did not receive the downpayment, they are free to sell to other people. If they did receive your payment, then I would see there being a problem.
Post # 5
Did you send by certified mail or signature delivery? Unless they’ve cashed your deposit check, you need something to show when the signed contract was received. If your lawyer did the mailing and didn’t send with delivery confirmation, you might be able to seek a small amount of damages there, because that’s negligent and a lawyer is expected to know better, but without proof of contract being received, you will have a very hard time pressing the seller to honor the contract.
Post # 6
I am a realtor, and unfortunately, there is no recourse in this situation. A purchase agreement is not binding until the seller signs the contract acknowledging that they accept your offer and a copy of the PA (signed by both parties) is delivered to you.
Sorry to be the barer of bad news. While it is unethical what the seller and his realtor did, it is not illegal.
Post # 7
@CanAmBride: Does it matter that the seller signed the binder accepting our offer? Also, since we signed the contract on 8/3 we’ve basically been lied to by the sellers lawyer who told us the sellers were on their way to sign the contract a week ago.
Also – Is there any recourse because of the realtor being so unethical? I’m sure we’ll get our deposit back, but now we’re pretty much out of luck for our $500 paid to the inspector and any other money we’re going to owe the insurance agent and lawyer ;(
Post # 8
@fishbone: The check was given to our lawyer when we signed the contract. He told us he sent the check the following business day to the sellers lawyer. They CLAIM it took 10 days to receive it. I am not sure whether it was sent with delivery confirmation, but I will ask that question tomorrow when I speak to the lawyer.
Post # 9
I hope things work out for you!
Post # 10
@NYBride_421: Do you have a copy of the purchase agreemen with both signatures? Until the signed agreement by both parties is delivered back to you, it is non-binding. They could sign every PA that comes through the door, but until both parties have a copy of the signed PA, it is not recognized.
If you have a copy with both signatures, the most you will be able to do is take them to small-claimes to recoup the costs you have paid for the transaction so far. I would also call the state’s board of realtors and file a claim against their agent.
Post # 11
The issue is the fact that the buyer never received your signed contract and deposit. I wonder if there was a deadline with the contract in which you were required to sign and return with the deposit. If they never heard from you then they were allowed to put it back on the market.
You need to prove that it was indeed sent and received. “Our lawyer mailed the signed contracts and check to sellers lawyer on Monday, Aug 5th.” Please check with you lawyer and see which mailing method was used. There should be a tracking number and someone should have had to sign for it.
If the lawyer never sent the paperwork or did not send it by the required deadline, then unfortunately there is no recourse with the seller.
Post # 12
I spoke to my lawyer this morning. The paperwork was signed sealed and delivered in 2 business days (which he has proof of). Regardless of this fact, he said that in NY it is not a legal binding contract until both parties sign. The only exception is if they deposited our check after we signed. That would be equivalent to a signature or acceptance. There have been cases where a signed binder held weight in court, however it has been so few that our lawyer doesn’t feel it’s worth us investing more money to pursue this in court.
Thanks for all your advice. It was basically on point with our lawyer. We’re waiting for the sellers lawyer to get back regarding our check being returned.
Theres a small chance the sellers may still sign if they’re afraid they’re in the wrong and can get sued. Highly unlikely. And at this point I don’t even want to deal with such low lives.