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I'm buying a house in Texas, and my seller went default

(cannot close and his fault)...
I'm buying a house in Texas, and my seller went default (cannot close and his fault) and now want to back out the deal, what are my options ? What are the items that I can sue for damages ? Thanks.
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
2/1/2016
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 103,584
Experience: Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information only for educational purposes only, and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. What someone in your situation can do is threaten to sue, or actually sue for breach of contract, and demand specific performance for the contract from the Court.

Generally speaking, the Court may force specific performance in such a contract. Legal/attorney fees are often added to judgment. However, punitive damages are not unless the seller can be shown to have been grossly negligent, fraudulent, or malicious. It is hard to say whether here he was, but you know the situation better than I, of course.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please rate when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
The Seller has goofed up his notary paper-work as he is residing in another country. He could not close in time, although he could have flew in to sign the paperwork.
Yesterday, I have submitted an addendum for seller to extend and ask for paying the loan lock rate fee. Tomorrow is the last day for loan day to extend and it involves a loan lock rate fee to extend the loan. Should I go ahead and pay now and wait for his reply ? He may just remain quiet and my loan would just go to waste or he could also state to reject my addendum. What attorney letter can I issue him a warning ? Thanks !

This is your decision. However note that the Plaintiff is expected to "mitigate damage," meaning that they would be expected to help reduce the damage if possible. If there is an extension fee for the lender, one may wish to pay it (and then add that on to the damages against the seller in suit).

I would use a REAL ESTATE law attorney, or a CIVIL LITIGATION attorney for this.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Thanks. I wish to know if I sue for damages, can I claim the loan application fees, and my mileage and time during the entire process ? There are other good houses opportunity that I have missed as well.

You are most welcome.

If you cannot get specific performance (meaning a court order for them to sell), you could indeed seek the difference/loss in other comperable houses that were lost opportunities - indeed.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Wow...that's what I heard, I heard I could claim damages on the missed opportunity, so there's such a thing ! Thanks ! Which one is more cheaper to file, generally speaking ? getting attorney to sue for such damages or getting attorney to file specific performance ? I suppose both methods would require to go to court. Thanks !

Actually, either would be the same action. One would sue for breach of contract, and ask the court for specific performance, and if this is not possible, then for difference in missed opportunity.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Can I just ask a local attorney to issue a warning letter to the seller that we will take legal action if the seller remain quiet ? Is this a typical way of handling such case before we apply through the court for specific performance ? I would supposed the the application of court specific performance would involve quite abit of money...Thanks.

Can I just ask a local attorney to issue a warning letter to the seller that we will take legal action if the seller remain quiet ?

Yes.

Is this a typical way of handling such case before we apply through the court for specific performance ?

Yes.

I would supposed the the application of court specific performance would involve quite abit of money...Thanks.

It can be a few thousand to sue, indeed.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Is it a norm to ask for the losing party to pay for the attorney and court fees in this case ?
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
sounds like the cheaper way to handle this is first to get local attorney to issue a warning letter to sue specific performance or damages and see what happens. Thanks !

Is it a norm to ask for the losing party to pay for the attorney and court fees in this case ?

YES

So sounds like the cheaper way to handle this is first to get local attorney to issue a warning letter to sue specific performance or damages and see what happens. Thanks !

EXACTLY. If this is handled by a letter and they agree to work something out, it would be much cheaper than litigating.

Gentle Reminder: Please, use the REPLY or SEND button to keep chatting, or rate positively and SUBMIT your rating when we are finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.

Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 103,584
Experience: Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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Ely and 87 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
I'm new at this...Can I just called the attorney office and tell them I need a letter to warn specific performance or I usually need to setup an appointment with attorney to go through my case first ? Thanks !

Most attorneys will want you to come in to talk to them, but some can do this only via the phone (the letter, at least).

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Are you able to provide me the letter (with additional fees of course), or you have referrals ?

I can provide a sample letter but for educational purposes only and if you send one, you'd have to draft it yourself, I am afraid.

I can also provide a referral service link.

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
By the way, if they need to sell the house again, the seller need me to be release from the contract first, correct ? that is release my earnest money. What happen if I refused to be released ?
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Can I put a lien on that house ?

No lien without a judgment.

They cannot sell if there is a contract with you. Or rather, should not.

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Do they have a case to sue me if I refuse to get out of contract ? Note that he is at fault for going default. Thanks !
They should not. You do not HAVE to release demand of performance.
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Can I change my realtor at this stage ? my realtor is incapable of handling this case, and if another realtor is willing, can he take over my case ? Thanks.
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
if my current realtor is willing to be replaced, we just write up a form to transfer the realtor ?
My apologies for the wait.
If the current realtor is agreeing to withdraw, then all one has to do is to draft/sign a document stating that they do so without claiming any interest/commission. They should have a document like this.
Then you are free to find another realtor.
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Cool. Thank you !
No problem; take care.
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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
If I hold the earnest money at the title company and the seller cannot sell the house till the dispute is resolved since seller is in default, how long can I keep holding it ? one year ? Is there a expiry date for this act ? Thanks.

Actually it would be the title company's decision when to release the money, not yours, in most cases.

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
What's the guideline for the title company to preempt and terminate the contract (even without getting both sides of signatures) and release the earnest money ? Thanks.

This is very complicated. See HERE.

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Customer reply replied 2 years ago
that means so long as the title company is holding on the earnest money, buyer still has a chance to sue for specific performance ? Wonder if there's a deadline past which, buyer cannot sue for that. Thanks.
Customer reply replied 2 years ago
Can I get an attorney letter to request the title company to hold on the earnest money for 6 months ? It just give more time to think about sueing for specific performance.

No. This is not how it works. If the contract falls apart, then the title company distributes the money to who it believes it should go to under contract. Any lawsuit later can in part ask for that money back as well if it is not given to the buyer by the title company.

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