So Close Yet So Far
My last post showed some hope where after having my offer on the Magnolia house rejected, I then stumbled upon a great Victorian house on Juniper during an open house. I canceled my Magnolia offer and put in an offer for Juniper. I went a little low, but nothing too crazy and the seller countered. Since I wanted the place, I didn't play any games and met his counter-offer. We drew up the contract both of us signed and then I sent the contract to my attorney for review. She is a no-nonsense attorney in Northern Jersey who I worked with before and I trust the quality of her work.
She sends out a response with items from the contract she wants to clarify and that goes over like a fart in church with my realtor, the seller's realtor and the seller. Nothing in the letter was playing hardball, but I guess there's some cultural differences between NYC-area NJ and southern NJ. In Southern Jersey, apparently people don't buy houses with lawyers. I guess it's because it's more of a small-town vibe where a man's handshake is his word, but that's bullshit to me and I don't care if you are a genteel southern gentleman, you can still be trying to screw me over, so I'm using a lawyer.
I try to smooth things over with my realtor saying we can negoiate things, and the letter is to protect me, but she informs me that there's a 2nd offer from the open house. My initial offer is off and I need to resubmit a new offer and the seller will pick the winner by 5PM the next day (Friday).
For my second offer, I put in 10K over the list price. I'm trying to show I'm serious and also if there's some reservation about me using an attorney, the 10K should soften the blow and grease the wheels. I get the call that my offer won and I go into the weekend starting to pick out the wallpapers for the parlor.
The next week starts with the seller returning the signed contract and informing me he'll review my attorney's notes the next day. I get a call the next day from my realtor that the seller is freaking out and can't deal with my lawyer's letter. I ask what in the letter is an issue and she says "All of it". I then walk through the letter with my realtor and we pretty much agree that all the items in the letter are standard stuff - things like seller will provide a clean and clear title, if the home doesn't appraise for listing, buyer can cancel the deal, if survey shows property is on neighbors property, buyer can cancel the deal, disclosure about any buried oil tanks or open permits -- standard stuff to protect me. But I still want to make the deal happen so I volunteer to talk to my attorney to soften up the letter and trim down some of the terms.
A few hours pass, and before I get to talk to my lawyer, my realtor calls again saying the deal is off. He's pulling out unless I drop my attorney. He doesn't want to work with any buyer with a lawyer. No way am I doing that, but I ask for some time to revise the letter. I call my lawyer and she agrees to go through the letter and remove anything that may already be covered in the contract. Before she can start, another call from my reatlor that the deal is off. Since I won't drop my lawyer, no deal.
Strangely the next day I get a certified letter from a lawyer the seller hired saying the contract is void. I guess lawyers can't be used to enter into a transaction but can be used to cancel one.