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CALIFORNIA real estate transaction, per escrow instructions

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seller was to pay no...
CALIFORNIA real estate transaction, per escrow instructions seller was to pay no costs. I signed a demand from HOA requiring a fee for property transfer that was to be paid by buyer. Escrow did not charge buyer and now I am getting a bill for $775, escrow company, buyer and their mortgage people will not respond to me. If I pay the bill, can I sue them to recoup my expense?
Submitted: 1 year ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
9/6/2016
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Attorney replied 1 year ago
Damien Bosco
Damien Bosco, Attorney
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Hello. My name is***** am an attorney. I am here to help you with your question. I will review it. And then we can discuss it. Sound good?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
ok
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Attorney replied 1 year ago

Question: Did the escrow agent and buyer know about the cost?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
the demand was in my closing paperwork & I told them they would have a HOA fee - further back story - my long term renters of this house (they had a lease option and did not exercise the lease option per contract but I still worked with them to purchase) purchased the home for 200k under market value. So everyone knew I was doing this at NO cost to me, and it was clear that I was to pay no costs from the beginning. the tenants were divorcing, but wanted her daughter to purchase for her so that she could stay in home, the daughter and daughters boy friend work for one of those seedy mortgage companies in southern california - high fees no doc kind of places. they did all the paperwork and so we did not have realtors involved, I had to trust their escrow company - I even had a lawyer review before I signed..... but did not have him look at final escrow docs from closing.... that is where the HOA demand came in and we all signed it only it was not checked who would cover cost..... even though they all knew it would not be me
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Attorney replied 1 year ago

What do you mean it was not checked? Do you mean nothing is in writing that the buyer would cover the cost?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
see page 9
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
It is in writing - in the sales contract - buyer to pay ALL costs
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I have emails, and texts between me and them reiterating - it was common knowledge all along that I was to pay no costs
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Attorney replied 1 year ago

On page 9, the buyer did not sign; nor is the box checked. So, there would be evidence to the contrary. In other words, you could bring the lawsuit based on emails and other texts, but the defense will be showing the lack of signature and unchecked box.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
That is because they never got me signed copies of all of the docs. I have no actual copies of any of the signed docs. The only proof I know of that the escrow even closed is that my mortgage was paid off. I have not yet received the copy of the recorded document either
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Attorney replied 1 year ago

Okay. I understand. Presuming they signed the docs, the issue is the unchecked box verses the other evidence they would pay for it. So, you can make a demand, but as I mentioned above the defense would be the unchecked box. Because this would be a small claim, the judge or arbitrator would look at all the facts and come up with a determination. We can discuss more if you like.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Is this the only way for me to recoup the cost? I am assuming I HAVE to pay as the HOA letter in telling me I have 30 days, I assume in the state of california this is considered personal debt and does not stay with the property, so the HOA won't lien what is now their home, they are going to come after me for it? Also, I really think they did this intentionally - however I obviously have no way to prove it. How much can I write letter to - because I do not have email or phone information for - my old tenant who lives in the house and who ultimately my deal was made with - before it is considered harassment? same question for her daughter who actually owns the house, I know her place of business address, home address and email address, how much can I contact them trying to collect the debt before it would be construed as harassment?
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
is the escrow company required to provide me with signed copies of all documents from this transaction? Can i force them to give me the copies?
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Attorney replied 1 year ago

You can get copies of the signed documents and you are entitled to get them. If a buyer refuses to reimburse a seller for costs a buyer agreed to pay, other than a court proceeding, there may be a way to place a lien on the property. If you do not pay the HOA, then the HOA would have to bring a suit against you to get it.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
also is it possible to take someone to small claims in CA and not actually be present in court? I live in TX so unless i can schedule my hearing date and time for a time I will already be back in CA it would not make financial sense to fly back for a small claim - however I would do it for the principle if I knew it was failsafe and I would win the case
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
is this the correct path of action?
I should:
#1 ask for copies of all closing documents (signed copies).
#2 ask buyer to pay the fee
#3 pay the fee myself to HOA and try to recoup the cost by placing a lien on the house rather than small claims?
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Attorney replied 1 year ago

You would have to go to be a factual witness even if you had an attorney. An attorney could go for you, but you would not be there to give testimonial evidence. There is no "failsafe," in a small claims court (think Judge Judy). YES. YES. to your first two questions. With regard to your third question, that is up to you. Someone in your situation could attempt to place a lien on the property because the fee is tied to the property if the fee has not been paid and it is due and owing.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
Also, besides sending a formal letter demanding the documents? and sending a formal letter asking buyer and or mother to pay the fee..... how much email / letter writing can i do before it would be too much - by law
Customer reply replied 1 year ago
what legal steps do I have to take to place the lien - write a letter, have receipt of receiving the letter - wait a certain # of days... etc
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Attorney replied 1 year ago

A lawyer would only write one demand letter, possibly a follow up "final" demand letter. Otherwise, it could be considered harassment. Usually, a demand is for payment within 7-10 days. A lien is usually filed at the county clerk's office.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
ok thank you. should i state in the demand letter recourse i will pursue - i.e. filing a lien against the house? or only the demand for payment per our contract that seller pays no fees?
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Attorney replied 1 year ago

You are welcome. Usually demand letter state a general recourse: further legal action will be taken if payment is not made. Or something like that.

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
can i state that the recourse i will take will be to lien the home?
Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Attorney replied 1 year ago

In a demand letter you can state the specific legal action you would plan to take such as placing a lien. Most attorneys would also use language indicating they will take any legal action deemed necessary because it may be decided to file a complaint at a later date. Additionally, an attorney would also double check with the clerk or county office to make sure a lien could be recorded in such situation. Please remember to provide a rating on our detailed discussion, including the review of the document from 3 to 5 stars. Thank you.

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Real Estate Lawyer: Damien Bosco, Attorney replied 1 year ago

Hello. I have not heard back from you. If you need further help, please let me know. Otherwise, please provide a positive rating between 3 and 5 stars so I receive credit for helping you. Thank you.

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