When you try to play hard ball…

Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

The bank agreed to accept a letter from the home inspector that he had inspected the home and the roof and that there were no leaks. So I escaped having to obtain. Costly roof certification.

Meanwhile, the negotiations with the seller were totally breaking down. My realtor forwarded the email that I received from Liberty Mutual. So then she decided to gets some estimates. She waiting until the end of her response period. She only wanted to address the wiring and give me a partial credit and everything else would be as is.

That wasn’t good enough. The seller had breached the contract because I was unable to test a couple of the systems on the day of the inspections. Per the contract, she was required to have everything running. I wanted a certification. I also wanted clarification because the terms we were going back and forth over only addressed “physical defects” per the contract. There were other contractual terms that required her to make certain repairs with respect to termite damage and the certificate of occupancy. It appeared that she was trying to change the contract after the fact which is not allowed.

Finally it seemed that we hammered everything out. The other realtor drafted an extension agreement that stated in relevant part that we had to agree to the corrections to the wiring. The extension was not worded properly so my realtor re-wrote it incorporating part of the language from the other extension.

The seller and her realtor hit the roof. Then came accusations of me adding additional items to my request for repairs. (I didn’t and my realtor provided him photographic proof) and that I shouldn’t have any say in how the knob and tube wiring was to be addressed because I would find fault.

At this point, I was not happy. Early in my practice as an attorney I did real estate closings. I remember in one case that the seller said they were going to handle a problem, and then when the buyers did the final walk through, it turned out the sellers did a shoddy repair. This is wiring!!! Something that could set the whole house on fire. Someone could lose their life! This is no joking matter.

I think my realtor was beyond frustrated with the other agent. As we discussed what to do. i advised my realtor that when he was negotiating everything needed to remind the seller’s agent that if the repair was not done properly I could still sue them after the closing so it was in their best interest to obtain my blessing on the repair. This repair requires permits and inspections by the township. I didn’t want them hiring. Fly by night electrician to do the repair.

The seller decided to cancel the contract. The seller’s agent told my realtor that the seller had consulted with a retired judge from New York. First off, if that is actually true, then shame on this judge. If that judge was not licensed to practice law in NJ then he violated the ethics rules. Second, a judge should know better than to advise anyone to violate the terms of a contract.

My realtor took it worse than I did. I thought the seller was being a fool. She now had to amend the Seller’s Disclosure to list all of the findings from the home inspection, structural engineering inspection, and termite inspection. She was going to tank the asking price on her house. It would take longer to sell and the taxes weren’t being paid. All in all, she had a lot more to lose than I did. As annoying as it would be, I could find another house in short order.

Three hours later, the seller changed her mind and agreed to everything i requested. I didn’t sign the new extension. At that point, I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue. I waited and slept on it a few days. Based upon the extension agreement, it appeared that the seller consulted with a competent attorney. They made it very clear that she would address the knob and tube using the township inspection process and obtain all necessary permits to make sure it was done correctly.

I was pretty sure that I got whiplash. It made no sense. You’re going to try to strong arm someone into doing something, walk away from the table, and then come back and give them what they requested? I’ve met some contrary people in my day, but this takes the cake.

The only problem is that knob and tube has to be removed by a specialist. That electrician was booked until November 7, 2019. He was advising that it would only take 5 business days to rewire. I was forwarded a copy of the scope of work. He is cutting into walls and floors to remove all ungrounded wiring. He will run 40 new electrical cables.

The upside is that since all the knob and tube will be removed, I can have the house retrofitted with spray-in insulation. In case you weren’t aware, knob and tube has to run through air. If you put insulation near it, it can cause a fire.

So that’s the complete story on why the new closing for the Victorian is November 15, 2019. The sale of my house, went ahead on October 10th as scheduled.

2 thoughts on “When you try to play hard ball…

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