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  1. #11
    The Guild President

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    Default Re: House Selling Angst

    Toni, a realtor once told me, "Buyers are liars." In other words, they say they want certain things, but then change their mind. If these people had rejected 80 homes before yours, they are probably not too serious about buying. When push came to shove, they couldn't bring themselves to make the commitment. I'm so sorry you have been put through this. You have worked hard to prepare your house to go on the market, and you have had to do a lot of work to let go of the emotions associated with owning that house. These buyers are not worthy of owning that beautiful house. I have confidence that you will soon find the ones that are.

  2. #12
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: House Selling Angst

    Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone! You are just the most awesome and supportive group of people in the world.

    Forgive me for not being super specific about things, but given that we're a nationwide group, there is a chance that the buyer who backed out could be a forum member, so I'm not saying too much online.

    I can tell you this, it is a corporate move back to their home state (my state) and they are seriously under the gun to close escrow by a certain date. After pressuring us no end ("offer expires at noon tomorrow"), after telling us how much they loved our house (after rejecting 82 others), and after cutting into precious family time at Thanksgiving, the reason that they gave for backing out is that they need a one-story home due to some issues with arthritis. I also know that they cannot have found a different home, because the paperwork got signed and they immediately got on a plane.

    As for my kids, the norm was that when they'd come for a visit, they'd spend about a quarter of their time visiting old friends. If we move away, they'll probably never see those friends again. I can understand their sadness. We're closing a chapter in their lives.

    It's a bit irritating to find out that "earnest money" doesn't mean anything at all. The laws must have changed, because when I used to put, say, $2,000 earnest money on a house, that money was gone! If I backed out, I lost the money. But I'm being told that because there were inspection contingencies in the contract, they can back out due to arthritis and not owe us anything. I'm going to have to ask our realtor if there's some kind of non-refundable earnest money any more, because this really doesn't seem right.

    Most of all, I do want to thank you all for your caring words. They have lifted my heart immensely tonight. Bless you all!
    Toni ... If I keep sewing long enough, will they make their own dinner?

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  4. #13
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: House Selling Angst

    I guess home buying legalities are quite different in the US. You will find the perfect buyer.who will fall in love with your home.

    When I've listed or bought houses with realtor, they usually ensure that the buyers have been pre-approved by the banks or mortgage company for maximum amount. So someone approved for $220k would not be considered a serious buyer for an $800K house, unless they had proof of funds. Financing is usually a condition of sale, so they can't back out 'cause they can't afford it.

    Also the closing date cannot be moved, unless both parties agree to the new date. The only other condition might be pre-inspection, where a buyer is given 3-5 days deadline to get inspection and either accept or reject purchase. They have option to want $$$ for remedies but this is not binding on seller to pay for any of these costs. We have had inspections done on this home, and it is useful as it provides a full list of things that need to be fixed, whether cosmetic or for safety.

    Then there's such a thing as a bidding war. When DH & I sold our houses to buy one together, there was a shortage of homes. My house was listed and open visits for 2 days, then bids were accepted on both a few days later. I considered 3 offers above asking price, no conditions of inspection or financing pre-verified. So it was a matter of me choosing the family that would best suit the neighbourhood. Same for DH. This made buying the house we wanted a very strong offer for the buyer.

    I know things will work out. Have faith, Toni.

    Enjoy life and do what makes you happy. Everything else will follow.

    Every day I try to do one thing that challenges my comfort zone.

  5. #14
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: House Selling Angst

    Thank you, Suzanne.

    I'm going to have a serious talk with my realtor. I believe she gave us bad advice about not getting the buyers' earnest money. Yes, they had legal recourse to back out if the inspection showed something serious, but the inspection hadn't yet taken place. Backing out because it was a two-story house? Let's just say that wasn't a hidden defect.

    Of course, we signed away our rights based on our realtor's advice, so there's no chance now of getting the earnest money. But I'm still going to have a chat with her.
    Toni ... If I keep sewing long enough, will they make their own dinner?

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  7. #15
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: House Selling Angst

    That giving the earnest money back sounded so fishy to me too. Now that the shock of the situation has settled in hopefully you and your family will enjoy one last Christmas there. Your house WILL sell and your kids will forgive you for moving. We sold our family home too, my daughters weren't very happy about it but now, 10 yrs later, they are all older, wiser-- they can see it was right for us. We planned on downsizing but wound up buying a house about 800 sq ft larger than the one we sold, but now I have my own sewing room!

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  9. #16
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: House Selling Angst

    Toni, I'm so sorry the deal fell thru, I know how frustrating that can be. But on the up side, thankfully it didn't happen the day of closing! That's how I ended up buying my current home: multiple offers were made, the sellers chose a different buyer instead of me, and literally at the closing table the buyers started making demands that weren't in the contract, and the deal fell thru. We were contacted to see if we were still interested, and we jumped at it! Since we were pre-qualified and we were even able to reimburse the original buyers for the appraisal and inspection that they had gotten done, so there was no delay in waiting for those, as a result we were able to close in 3 weeks.

    Now may I be the fly in the ointment? I'm surprised that if the buyers made a full price offer why there would have been additional negotiations back and forth. Maybe there were some contingencies that they wanted, or you wanted that they didn't, that made them change their mind? You don't need to answer that question, it's really none of my business, just something for you to consider (or ask your Realtor).

    But either way, if the FINAL agreement hadn't been SIGNED off by both parties, sadly then the contract was not binding and they would be entitled to a return of their earnest money.

    I hope the next buyer will be the perfect buyer for you and you have a successful sale.

  10. #17
    The Guild President

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    Default Re: House Selling Angst

    We sold our home in NJ two years ago. In NJ, as we and several friends discovered, hand money (earnest money) always gets returned and contracts are broken half the time. The reasons don't really matter. As sellers, you're on pins and needles until you close. But you will sell, and go onto a great new chapter.
    Diana Grey

  11. #18
    Applique Angel

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    Default Re: House Selling Angst

    When I sold a house there was an option fee (very small, like $50-150) and then there was earnest money after the option and contract, which is more like 1% of the selling price. The option fee is always non-refundable, and one buyer backed out and had no reason so I got $75 for my time but they hadn't yet put down earnest money and even if they had I would not have been able to keep it.

    As far as funding I've heard of people being pre-qualified for an amount based on preliminary bank review of credit rating, income, etc., finding a house they love at the top end of that, and then when the final mortgage process gets going in advance of closing things are found that reduce the amount that the lender will actually give. If this is even just a few thousand less than the original or if the closing costs can't be met by the buyer, the funding will fall through. It could even be the lender/mortgage company not being satisfied with "where did the down payment come from" evidence and deciding they will no longer back the loan.

  12. #19
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: House Selling Angst

    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline T. View Post
    Now may I be the fly in the ointment? I'm surprised that if the buyers made a full price offer why there would have been additional negotiations back and forth. Maybe there were some contingencies that they wanted, or you wanted that they didn't, that made them change their mind? You don't need to answer that question, it's really none of my business, just something for you to consider (or ask your Realtor).

    But either way, if the FINAL agreement hadn't been SIGNED off by both parties, sadly then the contract was not binding and they would be entitled to a return of their earnest money.
    Amazing story about how you got your house! And you are welcome to be a fly in my ointment anytime you wish, my friend.

    The negotiations pertained to us getting out of the house in the timeframe they wanted. They had to close escrow before the end of the year, and we knew we couldn't pack up and get out in that short a time. Eventually they offered to rent the house back to us for two weeks after escrow closed. It's the reason I'm so confused; they have to close escrow THIS MONTH! And they are the ones who made the suggestion to rent to us. I thought it was a WIN WIN since their stuff is already in storage (out of state).

    You bring up an interesting phrase "if the FINAL agreement hadn't been SIGNED." I suppose it's not final until money changes hands, but the final offer had been signed by everyone involved.

    I don't think I'll ever understand what happened.
    Toni ... If I keep sewing long enough, will they make their own dinner?

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  14. #20
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: House Selling Angst

    Quote Originally Posted by Squeaky View Post
    When I sold a house there was an option fee (very small, like $50-150) and then there was earnest money after the option and contract, which is more like 1% of the selling price. The option fee is always non-refundable, and one buyer backed out and had no reason so I got $75 for my time but they hadn't yet put down earnest money and even if they had I would not have been able to keep it.

    As far as funding I've heard of people being pre-qualified for an amount based on preliminary bank review of credit rating, income, etc., finding a house they love at the top end of that, and then when the final mortgage process gets going in advance of closing things are found that reduce the amount that the lender will actually give. If this is even just a few thousand less than the original or if the closing costs can't be met by the buyer, the funding will fall through. It could even be the lender/mortgage company not being satisfied with "where did the down payment come from" evidence and deciding they will no longer back the loan.
    I like that "option fee" idea. I'm going to see if that can be done in California.

    I don't think the buyers' funding fell apart, as this all happened over the holiday weekend,and they cancelled on Monday. There just wasn't enough time for a funder to even look at their application.
    Toni ... If I keep sewing long enough, will they make their own dinner?

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