Seller Backing Out - Posted by Todd

Posted by Ben (NJ) on February 18, 2001 at 12:08:56:

I think he died in jail, tried to escape from the
U.S. Marshall by fleeing to Israel. Guess he is (or was) crazy after all!

Seller Backing Out - Posted by Todd

Posted by Todd on February 16, 2001 at 13:05:16:

Tell me please what should I do here. I have a signed purchase agreement for a house at 75% of appraised value. The seller called me 24 hours after signing stating she is not going to sell it! I have a buyer ready to go on this and stand to make 25K. I tried reasoning with seller to no avail. Should I file a claim against property and cloud the title? She still has a 4-sale by owner sign in yard so I am wondering if she is looking for a better offer. What would the experts do here. Thanks in advance for the input.


Posted by KASUAL1 (MI) on February 17, 2001 at 11:36:34:

I’ve had this happen a couple of times. I asked the sellers to return my earnest money deposit, wished them good luck and headed down the road. Because I KNOW there is another (potentially better) deal just around the next corner, and if I don’t get to it soon, someone else will. I don’t have time to worry about the one that got away. Besides sometimes they come back and then you KNOW they are motivated. I’ve had that happen too! LIFE IS GOOD.

Crack open egg, insert face… - Posted by Ben (NJ)

Posted by Ben (NJ) on February 17, 2001 at 10:40:33:

FIRST check into Redline’s point, whether the seller has a time-frame to back out, read the boilerplate of the contract, there may be as long as a 10 day attorney review period. If you determine your case is a loser anyway THEN it can’t hurt to take the nice guy approach. It would be ten times worse if you take the hard-ass approach and then lose.

Re: Seller Backing Out - Posted by JoeS

Posted by JoeS on February 17, 2001 at 06:03:10:

I first find out the reason. If they say it’s because they decided to stay there forever and ever, or to GIVE the house to their heirs, I will let it go. But if they are selling to someone else, sorry, a contract is a contract. It is called “specific performance”, and it will cost you a couple of thousand bucks from start to finish. Is it worth it? Only you can decide. Usually a seller will sell when confronted with the possibility of a laesuit by you, knowing that they will lose anyway. Remember, if it was you that bailed on the deal, they would more than likely sue you for performance.

Re: Seller Backing Out - Posted by Bud Branstetter

Posted by Bud Branstetter on February 17, 2001 at 24:47:07:

I’m sort of on the fence whether to do anything or not. You could ask her if she would give you the option to buy if she sells in the future. Just to see if maybe she has a higher sales price prospect. Or let her know that you need to file a memorandum if she does not go through with your contract. If you do want to do something you can still wait and see if it does sell. A suit for tortious interference would still be available without the memorandum. Sold to an owner occupant-drop it, sold to another investor maybe depending what I thought of them.

Re: Seller Backing Out - Posted by TD

Posted by TD on February 16, 2001 at 22:55:36:

Without having read the particular of this contract, I’d have to say that when doing such deals, one should always endeavour to protect themselves wherever possible.

Clouding the title, by registering the agreement, or a memorandum thereof, is the best way to go here, for starters.

Then engage your attorney to begin more compelling discussions - such as a suit for “specific performance”. I don’t know if a deposit was involved here - but if so, I hope your attorney or title company has it on file, otherwise it doesn’t look good.

Nada - Posted by Redline

Posted by Redline on February 16, 2001 at 22:45:01:

Here in NJ there is a three day attorney review period on all real estate contracts. Which means for three days either party can back out for ANY reason whatsoever, with no recourse. I imagine other states have similair statutes.


Re: Seller Backing Out - Posted by Merle E Woolley

Posted by Merle E Woolley on February 16, 2001 at 19:23:40:

I guess this is an area where we differ from the norm. We have had a few sellers change their mind in 16 years and we always do the same thing … wish them well and go for the next one.

Guess that since we talk about helping people, it would be somewhat contradictory to force someone to sell to us … especially if they could sell at a better price … and even more so if they cancelled within 24 hours.

I’ve always felt that a cancellation suggests that I failed to properly explain some part of the transaction … or that I misjudged their real need … after all, I am the salesman involved. Isn’t that my responsibility?

Once when telling this to someone, the person asked, “Well what if the seller was simply too stupid to understand?”

Then, in that case, I would have excused myself before writing a contract. Life is too short to ever be accused of taking advantage of someone less fortunate.

Not likely that anyone will agree, but I recommend forgetting about this one and start looking for the next one. When I say forget, I mean forget. Do not spend any further time talking or thinking about
"what might have been." Just keep on going.


P.S. If you had spent any money after the contract … appraisals, surveys, etc, then you should expect the buyer to reimburse you if your contract so stipulates.

Re: Seller Backing Out - Posted by Stacy (AZ)

Posted by Stacy (AZ) on February 16, 2001 at 13:31:02:

Todd, that’s the “vida del inversionista loco.” People are people. Just can’t control everybody.

The most I’ve done in these cases is record a “Memorandum and Affidavit of Agreement” to cloud title, and send them a copy of it with a letter that states, basically, “here’s a copy of a document I’ve recorded that secures our purchase agreement”. I’ve only used it in cases where I thought there was a chance of salvaging the deal. I’m not so sure it’s possible in your case.

You could try to renegotiate with her. After all, you have $25K to play with. Would $15K be nice, if you had to give her $10K more to make the deal happen? Another option is to just tear-up the contract, and stop wasting time. Bringing suit to enforce a contract is in that category.

Just my 2 pesos.


Re: How good is - Posted by Ed Copp (OH)

Posted by Ed Copp (OH) on February 16, 2001 at 13:19:33:

Your Purchase Contract? Is it good enough to stand up in court?

If it is you might want to consider recording a Memorandum of Purchase Contract against the property to cloud the title.

If you are not sure about your contract then there is a good chance that it will have a loophole in it. I would suggest an expert opinion on your contract. You might be well served to have a good attorney give you an opinion on your contract.

Now if you are an expert, or could be considered an expert in the field, like perhaps a Realtor; then the court is likely to look unfavorably at one third of the purchase price as your potential profit. Professional jealousey is what this is called. The only professionals that are supposed to figure thier fee by dividing a number by three are lawyers (the judge used to be one). Good luck.

I happen to agree with you - Posted by Tim Jensen

Posted by Tim Jensen on February 16, 2001 at 22:43:36:


I take your approach. I just see no good reason to force someone’s hand. Who knows, once they see that someone was so easy to work with, if their other plans do not go work out, maybe they would call them back.

Re: Seller Backing Out - Posted by Stacy (AZ)

Posted by Stacy (AZ) on February 16, 2001 at 13:44:57:

Instead of “vida del inversionista loco” which means “life of the crazy investor,” I should have written “vida loca del inversionista” which means “the crazy life of the investor”.

Except, in Matt B’s case, the first one applies.


(Hey, just kidding, Matt)

Re: How good is - Posted by Todd

Posted by Todd on February 16, 2001 at 22:39:42:

In no way do I want to make my $ in the court room. I got her talking and discovered that the offer she signed was 4K less than what she bought it for 6 years ago. I made her a counter-offer of 5k more and she is now ready to talk. I really do not want to file any legal actions here and I am really not sure at this point of her mental health, and to exploit this would surely bite me in the you know what. So, she takes the 5K more or we move on. I have plenty of more deals in the hopper and this is just a character test maybe!
Thanks again to everyone for the great input.


You made me chuckle, Ed! [nt] - Posted by SusanL.–FL

Posted by SusanL.–FL on February 16, 2001 at 14:59:15:


that’s what I’m hoping… - Posted by TRandle

Posted by TRandle on February 17, 2001 at 24:52:03:

I just went through this. One week prior to closing, seller says he’s changed his mind. I WAS emotionally attached to the outcome; 2,000 s.f. SFH (garage already converted) on 1/4 acre corner lot on a highway in the middle of town. I had not only eventually agreed to his full price, but I was getting a conventional loan to purchase and doing a refi for the down because I was going to lease it until I could get it rezoned. It was screaming commercial at me - one of four properties left in the area.

Anyway, I got over it and agree that it’s not worth the hassle to force the issue. Now I’m just trying to get my expenses back and planning to touch base with the seller every so often.

huh? - Posted by Matt B

Posted by Matt B on February 16, 2001 at 13:56:26:

What did I miss here? How did I become the “crazy investor”?

Actually, I kind of like that. I could run TV spots with me acting as the “CRRRRAAAAZZZZY Investor” who is just so crazy, he’ll take over the payments on your house that has no equity! How do I do it??? Because I’m the CCCCRRRRRRRAAAAAZZZZZYYY Investor!!!

P.S. Do I need to say that in Spanish? (I am quite fluent. Especially after a few gin and tonics. That might help with the whole “crazy” look as well.)

Ed "Mark 'em Down "Lane - Posted by AnnNC

Posted by AnnNC on February 18, 2001 at 15:42:23:

This was a real person, a used car dealer in Miami “decades ago”.
He would be on TV with a car and a sledge hammer.
He would say, for example, “$900!”, then bust out a window, and say “$800!”. It went on like that. Honest truth.I watched it myself. Scary. Like "No Ed! I’ll buy it!
Put that hammer down!"
Couldn’t resist.
We should all be craaaaazy like you, Matt.

This isn’t such a bad idea, really… - Posted by HR

Posted by HR on February 18, 2001 at 07:47:41:


I’ve actuallly thought about marketing myself this way over the radio. No joke. Why?

Because to this day, I still remember crazy Eddie from Cranston, Rhode Island… a city next to the one I grew up in. Crazy Eddie was so crazy, he could give you a stereo deal no one else could beat. It’s a great idea that stuck. I still rememember it today, decades later.


Don’t you mean Cuba Libra?? (NT) - Posted by JoeNJ

Posted by JoeNJ on February 17, 2001 at 24:26:43: