Buyer jilted at the Alter… the closing alter that is

by April 1, 2013 • 0 comments


I know it is not quite as earth shattering as being left at the wedding alter but it can be quite complicated and feelings and bank accounts are hurt all the same. If you read my blog you know that I try to talk about things that are happening in our office or at least in our Real Estate community so I can get it off my chest…… but also as a way to hear from wiser more amazing agents and people out there.

I was just involved with a deal where the buyer had performed all of his duties, his money is ready, inspections are done and in spite of low appraisal the buyer is ready to follow through with his nuptials and low and behold the seller gets cold feet. The seller hinted that he had lost that loving feeling and afraid of following through but even though all indicators were that he would be honorable… it was not to be.

So what in the world is the buyer to do? Does he have any remedies to at least get his money that he is out much less not being able to find a home comparable to the home that got away. It is very difficult in Florida to make a person sell his home if he does not wish to even if he is contractually obligated. That one is hard to believe!!! But the seller can sue in certain circumstances for Specific Performance.

To obtain specific performance, the purchaser must show that he or she was ready and able to perform at the closing. Specific performance may be granted where there is reasonable certainty as to what was intended in the contract and the meaning of the contract, taken as a whole, is understandable to the court. In order for a contract to be subject to specific performance, the contract must reflect that the obligations of the parties with respect to conditions of the contract and actions to be taken by the parties are clear, definite and certain. If the agreement is definite in all of its essential elements, specific performance can be granted.

“Essential elements” of the contract typically would be the purchase price, deposit amount, down payment amount, legal description of the property, financing terms, closing date and effective time period of the contract. It also could include an inventory of property on the premises that is to be included with the real property, specific conditions for sale, assignment of the contract to a third-party and terms for refinancing, particularly where the seller is holding the mortgage.

If the buyer seeks specific performance, he or she must remain ready to perform his or her obligations under the contract while the lawsuit is pending. Specific performance involves problems of proving contract certainty and reasonableness that are not involved in a lawsuit for damages.

It is also possible that the buyer could seek damages for the money that they spent to acquire the home such as inspections, appraisal and loan processing to name a few. With all the talk about repercussion what about the earned sales commission? (We will play with that one next week)

AS I have warned before I am not an attorney and I do not play one of TV or in the press so please consult an attorney if you find yourself in this precarious position. Thankfully this does not happen often but when it does keep a cool head, contact an attorney and weigh your options.

I would love to hear from my fellow agents and others that may have found themselves in this circumstance. Please change the names to protect the innocent and the NOT so innocent. Until next week, Please remember that, “The only people we have to get even with are those that have helped us”

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