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KimberlyLaw, Attorney and Real Estate Broker
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4219
Experience:  13 years of experience in real estate law: Foreclosures, Landlord-Tenant, Condo/Coop, Property Law, Deeds, Purchases/Sales, Estates.
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Hello I just wanted ask a question about Arizona Real Estate.

Customer Question

Hello I just wanted ask a question about Arizona Real Estate. I am a buyer in the Phoenix
Arizona that was in the process of purchasing a SHORT SALE home. I had already waited 4 months for approval on the 1st and 2nd lien from the banks involved with this seller and finally receiving their approval. All documents were performed and completed along with an appraisal and an inspection. The seller in the 23rd hour emails his agent that he wouldn't be coming to the title signing the day of close. I have waited patiently and followed all guidelines for this home purchase that I intend to live in and I was left with nothing except a SORRY from his agent. I went through with the COE today and signed all docs before it was to go bank into a SS status. What is my next step? Do I have grounds for SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE and what are my chances of getting it to a LIFT/STAY should the seller file bankruptcy?
Thank you
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  KimberlyLaw replied 6 years ago.
Hello, I am happy to assist you today.

Unfortunately, as a buyer, you don't have a right to specific performance. This is a very narrow area of the law that is almost never applied. Your remedy is to get your down payment back, and at most some nominal fees that you paid in the process. But even fees like the appraisal are normal fees that you would pay in the course of the transaction knowing that you take the risk that it may not go through. So you can't generally get those types of fees.

So you should send a letter by certified mail, return receipt, demanding your down payment back by a certain date. The escrow agent will have to evaluate the situation and return it to you, but if they have any question they will go to court to determine who should get the down payment.

So in the end, you get your money back but there is no restitution, it is just part of the cost of trying to purchase a property, especially a foreclosure that is in short sale.

Take care,
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
So you are saying that even if the seller sign all documents stating the intention of the sale and that he was going to proceed that I am not entitled to any compensation from paying for an appraisal/inspection that I could have used toward another home. It is clear that his intent was not one where he planned to go through with the home sale but waited until the last possible moment to change his mind. Are you saying this doesn't matter even though he signed all bank docs, contracts of sale, and the intention to go through this process?
Expert:  KimberlyLaw replied 6 years ago.
What I am saying is that in reality it is very difficult or impossible to collect any damages from a seller who walks away. This is just the reality. If you want to collect for appraisal, inspection, etc, you can certainly ask. But they are not likely to agree.

If they refuse to pay those amounts, your only option is going to court. Court is time consuming and costly, and would not be worth it for such small amounts of money. The sellers know this, which is why in the real world, everyone knows the seller can walk away. This is part of the risk a buyer takes when trying to buy a home.
Expert:  KimberlyLaw replied 6 years ago.
Hello. If you have any follow up questions, please click "REPLY".

If not, please click "ACCEPT" to close out this question so that I get credit for my work with you.

Take care,