Q: I live in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to have a lawyer review my contract to purchase before I signed it. The closing date for the property is in February.
Here’s the problem. The house has been listed in the Sheriff’s Sale three days after our closing. The mortgage company put up the house for sale after drafting the offer, but before the execution date (which was the date they accepted the offer).
Now they’ve accepted the offer, but the house is still listed in the Sheriff’s sale. My contract is with the owner of the house, but her acceptance was contingent on her mortgage company’s acceptance and I am pretty sure it will result in a short sale.
The bank I have been working with says they cannot close by the date listed in the contract because they require my W2 forms from this year, which I have yet to receive. This means I will default on the contract and the seller is not willing to extend the closing date due to the Sheriff Sale.
Is there any way I can back out of the contract now? If I can’t, will I lose my deposit and perhaps be taken to court for extra costs of having the house off of the market? Unfortunately I put faith in the real estate agent who I thought was objective (another mistake on my part).
I already had the home inspection and am past the 15 days I had to raise a claim. I was told that because they were a bank they would not work with me at all so even though we found issues with the home (knob and tube wiring, a sagging beam on the front porch) I did not pursue them.
This deal started six months ago, and has been difficult along the way, but this Sheriff Sale thing has just pushed me over the edge. Is there any legal way to get out and get my escrow back?
I know I messed up, but I was hoping you could offer your opinion. Thanks in advance.
A: You already know that I can’t help you in this situation, although I feel for what you’re going through.
Tomorrow morning, get on the phone and call a good real estate attorney who can help you save this deal, or at least help you get your deposit money back. Buying a foreclosure is tough enough — but having this Sheriff’s sale hanging over your head is overwhelming.
The best thing you can do now is surround yourself with really knowledgeable professionals who can hopefully help you save your deal. Gather together all of your paperwork and see what you can do.
Good luck — you’ll need it.
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