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Posted: 10/8/2005 6:34:02 PM EDT
I saw this partially addressed on NYP's thread, but did not want to hijack it.

These are only hypothical questions (at least at this time) on buying and selling your home.

Granted these scenarios do not happen all the time, but they do happen. I just want to get an idea on what to do if in fact it happens to me.

What do you do when you are *selling* your home, you go to closing and the buyer just gets up and walks out on the deal? At first thought I figured you pretty much get to keep the earnest money and then go and try to find another buyer. This is also going on the assumption that you have a signed contract, buyer got financing etc., but for whatever reason the buyer walks. What else would/could you do?

The next scenario is just the opposite, you are *buying* a home and the seller just gets up and walks out of the closing leaving you high and dry. Since he would have your earnest money, you would/should get that back but again, you have a signed contract, financing, etc. But in the mean time say you did sell your house and then you pretty much have no where to go. I do know of one couple that did in fact happen to. Going to court over it could happen, but that does not solve the immediate problem of where to live, etc. Has this happened to anyone out there? What did/could you do?

Again, these are just hypotheticals, but since I am in the process of starting to buy/sell I just want to get a "heads up" on what to do if in fact this would happen.

Thanks.
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 6:41:05 PM EDT
Hire a real estate attorney. A friend of mine just bought a house. The sellers called the realtor a week before closing and said, "We're not selling." and hung up. The realtor simply called back and said you signed a contract, you have to sell, or we will sue. He closed a week later.
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 6:41:52 PM EDT
He who walks loses. I would certainly keep earnest money if the seller decided against buying at the last minute. I'd probably return it if he /she could not get financing. HOWEVER, I would expect a serious buyer to already be approved for a certain amount of money [pre approved] and if not I would not accept their offer in the first place. Earnest money is money you should EXPECT to lose if yo back out thru no fault of the seller or house condition [hidden problems]

If you as a seller backs out be prepared to pay a hell of a lot more then earnest money if the realtor decides to file in court that you breeched contract.
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 6:54:50 PM EDT
Yes, I totally understand about suing in court and what all. A signed contract is a contract. But, it could take months or longer to get to court. This does not necessarily solve the short term problem. And, it takes a court ruling to enforce the contract, so again, that may take awhile.

I also understand how earnest money works and how financing works. That is why I said up front, for the sake of the argument, both sides have the financing, etc., they just simply get up and walk out of closing.

I also intend on having the realtor and probably a real estate attorney at closing as well, especially if I smell something in the works.

I know this has happened to some others out there, what say 'ye?
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 7:58:13 PM EDT
When I was selling homes I was all too happy to act as a buyers agent. What you do is find the home you are interested in and then go to an agent at another broker and ask them to handle the sale for you. The home sellers agent acts on his behalf and your agent acts on yours.

In the case of a buyer putting up money they would give the downpayment to me. I would then put it in a designated account my broker held. When the sale went through I would deliver a check at closing. I never had one fall through but if it had I would have simply returned the money to the buyer.  That money never gets to the seller until the deal closes.

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