Q: I signed a contract to buy a home from a bank selling a home through its repossession department. However, I assigned the contract to another buyer.

This buyer in turn assigned it further to a third buyer. The third buyer is preparing to close but the closing documents are in the name of the second buyer only. We need the document to be in the third buyer’s name only. The closing agent is telling me we have to get the forms signed by the selling bank, but the person that needs to prepare the documents is out of the office. Do we need to get this signed, or can someone else sign for the bank, like the banks real estate agent, or do we not need it at all?

A: You confused me a bit with the multiple assignments of your right to purchase the property you were buying. You, in effect, transferred your right to buy the property to another and that person transferred his right to another. If you did not coordinate these transfers, the seller would be clueless who is buying the property.

A closing agent should not prepare documents transferring the title to the third buyer unless the bank knows about it and gives the closing agent the authority to draft the documents giving title to the property to the third buyer. As such, you will need the bank to draft the document to the third buyer or have the bank authorize the closing agent to draft the document that way.

Keep in mind, that the bank and closing agent need to make sure that if they transfer the property to the third buyer, neither the first or second buyer are going to come back and sue the bank for the bank’s failure to transfer title to either of them.

There are certain legalities that must take place to insure that the paperwork is just right to make sure that title runs from the bank to the third buyer.

The advice the closing agent gave you is sound and you should proceed to try to get the bank to authorize the closing agent to transfer title to the third buyer. If the one person that can authorize that change in the documents is out of the bank, you may try to delay the closing until that person returns.

Published: Jul 26, 2006