Here is a weird one…. I am the buyers agent on this one. My only non-distressed sale since 2008 that I was only the buyers agent for. I am now very distressed.
My buyer was looking for a very cheap home or an owner carry. We had been looking for a while. On May 5, 2011 a nice little owner carry popped up with good terms. My client liked the home and offered. There were 2 offers and it was an estate sale and the sellers weren’t prepared to do anything until some stuff with the estate was settled. My buyer offered slightly better terms and hoped for the best. We waited and waited extending the acceptance date over and over again. Finally on May 26 we came to terms. We had a signed contract. A bit later we were told that 2 people would need to sign the closing docs to sell the house but we would catch up with everything at closing.
Fast forward to June 24, 2011. We are finally ready to close. My buyer comes to closing. The original signer comes to closing. The other signer does nothing. He doesn’t sign the docs, email, phone or anything. Title tries again and again nothing. Meanwhile my buyer sells his manufactured home on a rental lot and moves in (since we were just waiting on Fedex) with permission of the seller who signed. My buyer fixes some plumbing and puts up a fence.
Around July 1 I am getting pretty antsy. I ask the title officer pointed questions about their contact with the other signer. I am not convinced that he knows we are looking for him. I do an internet search for him and pass the information I obtain to the listing agent and the title officer. By now I have the permission from the listing agent to contact both sellers (signers). I make my attempt and am ignored (my search yielded 2 other emails, a work address and a work phone number and a facebook account).
On July 6 he contacts the title officer with tax questions and basically tells us yes he knew we were looking for him. More attempts to contact him by title and his sister that are ignored. More addendum’s to extend closing are written and signed by sister. I have started cc everyone with pointed messages asking for a timeline and reminding them that this is a real estate contract and “time is of the essence” I ask the other agent to try to contact the brother and she claims since he didn’t sign the buyers rep that she feels uncomfortable contacting him. The listing agent is very busy with her out of town family.
On July 12 I am cc on a email from him to his lawyer talking about forming a legal entity. I write him and the lawyer cc everyone on his original letter asking whether he intends to sign the contract and for a timetable if he does. The sister and the other agent are very pleased with my questions. I called the sister and she reports that her brother is not responding to her calls or emails. Today I wrote the lawyer, called the other agent and her broker. My buyer is frustrated and ready to seek legal council. I told him not to do anything with the contract until he talks to the lawyer.
Just reached the estate attorney’s secretary. I at least know that the silent seller is talking to his lawyer….
Question: Who is legally at fault? The brother, the sister, the listing agent, myself or my client. What are the remedies if the brother fails to proceed to closing? How as a buyers agent do I avoid this in the future? Any advice? I will keep you posted