HUGE PROBLEM IN BUYING LAND NEED ADVICE!

12 Replies

I have very important question in regards to terminate an agreement of sale.  Heres the case...I had an AOS to buy 4 lots of land from a buyer who lives next door .......After having it signed , I decided to assign two of the 4 lots to someone else. as a result two new AOS were signed one for me for the two lots I wanted to build on and a new aos for lots I wanted to sell for quick profit.

But in a nutshell I want to terminate his agreement to buy. Here’s the short story, I signedan AOS with sellers to buy 4 lots xxx1 and xxx2 leithgow and aaa1 and aaa2 n 4th st 19123 (I replaced real address with xxx and aaa

I later decided that I want to build out all 4.

In his AOS he had a contingency yThe contingency was lot relocation of aaa1 and aaa 2 n 4th st (the lots in his aos).  They were not specific on  sqft size

All lots above are part of one large lot YYY n4th st. So we went to get it subdivided into 4 equal lots.

The survery district approved 4 , 1200 sqft lots but it did not pass zoning code for RSA-5 district .

1. Does this mean his contingency was not met?

A) he wants to file suit and lis penance 

B) since his contigency did not specify sqft of lot relocation does this mean there was no meeting of minds between seller and buyer and can void the contract?

2. Aside from meeting of minds, it not failing tom let his contingent  as result can the sellers rightfully terminate his agreement?

3. Does he have the right to make the sellers wait on a variance or do a larger subdivision? The sellers are acting in good faith here, there plan was to nt have lots larger than 1000 sqft built bc it would take away the natural light they get on their large home next-door , they agreed to try 1200 but that was not conforming to code.  Can the buyer force the sellers to wait on variance or do larger subdiviosn? 

4. Also aaa1 and aaa2 address's (that are in the buyers AOS) do not exist yet , they do not have their own OPA # or deeds, does this alone void the contract?

5. In his contingency there was no outlined sqft he desired, does this mean there was no meeting of the minds between him and Sellers and make this contract voidable?

6. If he decided to fight this and files lis pendence, can I still close on my AOS for lots xxx1 and xxx2 leithgow if I subdivide the one large lot yyy n 4th st  into just those and leave the 4tv st side alone and can I build on them (xxx1 and xxx2) while the fight for aaa1 and aaa2 taking place and has lis penance ?

7) if the buyer of aaa1 and aaa2 is in the wrong about having a case against the buyers to enforce the AOS, will his lis penance be slander of title

Overall what’s my best course of action to terminate the agreement? Wvag are my chances in court ? How long does a suit like this take to complete ? What are My options. From what I state above does it seem the sellers have the right and thus would have good chance to win if taken to court?

Can I file a lis pendence before he does on the 4 lots in question so that he cannot file one and I could then be the person who can removed it?

@Douglas Gratz

Sounds like you need a real estate attorney not forum advice. Especially if your buyer is ready to take it to court. Looks like you’re going to end up there either way now.

pretty tough following your train of thought ..  But generally speaking when making an offer on parcels to be created it subject to that happening.. if county/city code precludes it then in my mind deal is dead.. same if you never subdivide them for whatever reason..  this sounds like a very unlikly legal battle  expensive and not worth it.. plus probably cant tie up the property.. 

@Douglas Gratz Your explanation is bit hard to follow, but....

1) typically it is the Buyer who terminate due to a contingency, not the seller.

2) you filing an LP does not preclude the buyer from filing one.  By the way, an LP is not typically a stand alone document...it is “notice to the world” that an actual law suit has been filed, and filing of an LP without filing the law suit would be considered fraudulent.

Originally posted by @Douglas Gratz :

@Jay Hinrichs can you elaborate  a little, by what you mean "if county/city code precludes it then in my mind deal is dead"

It depends on All of the Exact language in your contract….which might be interpreted differently by you and the buyer….hence, enter the attorneys.  

Originally posted by @Wayne Brooks :
Originally posted by @Douglas Gratz:

@Jay Hinrichs can you elaborate  a little, by what you mean "if county/city code precludes it then in my mind deal is dead"

It depends on All of the Exact language in your contract….which might be interpreted differently by you and the buyer….hence, enter the attorneys.  

Wayne I could not really understand what he was trying to describe or ask.. so I just flung something out there.. I know when I do land deals and its subject to something being subdivided and sold to me.. If the property cannot be divided or does not get divided then it we dont have to close.. 

@Jay Hinrichs @Wayne Brooks  

Here it simply put, the current survey map shows one large parcel with one OPA # address 836 N. 6th st.  The buyer entered an agreement of sale with the sellers who own the above mentioned parcel.  In the agreement the buyer had a contingency that 836 N 6th st be able to have lot relocation aka subdivision that created 836-838 n 6th st. (from the original deed recorded June 3 1998)  all these address's at some point were separate according to the deed and all had their own OPA #s. but somewhere along the timeline all above mentioned addresses were consolidated into one OPA # which is 836 n 6th st.

So I have an AOS to buy 839-41 n Oriana street and the other buyer has AOS to buy 836-38 n 6th. There is also an addendum included that I myself must close on 839-41 n Oriana st in order for the other buyer to close on 836-38 n 6th

The sellers tried to subdivide but turned out the subdivision plan did not conform to zoning code and was considered not a legal parcel.  Does this give the seller the right to terminate the agreement to the buyer of 836-38 n 6th or does the buyer have a case where he can sue the sellers?)

Next question is, if I decide to back out and the sellers allow me to do so, does that void the other buyers contract due to the addendum?

Lastly The other question here is that since the subdivision has yet to take place, is the buyers contract with the seller to buy 836 and 838 n6th street null and void and not enforcable from the beginning since the parcels to be bought were yet to be legal parcels since no legal subdivision took place ? 

(CA has a law...https://www.gibsondunn.com/pur... if you read it where it states that an agreement like the mentioned above is void from the start and I am wondering is it the same here in Philadelphia PA)

Originally posted by @Douglas Gratz :

@Jay Hinrichs @Wayne Brooks  

Here it simply put, the current survey map shows one large parcel with one OPA # address 836 N. 6th st.  The buyer entered an agreement of sale with the sellers who own the above mentioned parcel.  In the agreement the buyer had a contingency that 836 N 6th st be able to have lot relocation aka subdivision that created 836-838 n 6th st. (from the original deed recorded June 3 1998)  all these address's at some point were separate according to the deed and all had their own OPA #s. but somewhere along the timeline all above mentioned addresses were consolidated into one OPA # which is 836 n 6th st.

So I have an AOS to buy 839-41 n Oriana street and the other buyer has AOS to buy 836-38 n 6th. There is also an addendum included that I myself must close on 839-41 n Oriana st in order for the other buyer to close on 836-38 n 6th

The sellers tried to subdivide but turned out the subdivision plan did not conform to zoning code and was considered not a legal parcel.  Does this give the seller the right to terminate the agreement to the buyer of 836-38 n 6th or does the buyer have a case where he can sue the sellers?)

Next question is, if I decide to back out and the sellers allow me to do so, does that void the other buyers contract due to the addendum?

Lastly The other question here is that since the subdivision has yet to take place, is the buyers contract with the seller to buy 836 and 838 n6th street null and void and not enforcable from the beginning since the parcels to be bought were yet to be legal parcels since no legal subdivision took place ? 

(CA has a law...https://www.gibsondunn.com/pur... if you read it where it states that an agreement like the mentioned above is void from the start and I am wondering is it the same here in Philadelphia PA)

 OK little easier to track this time.

but what you have is not a subdivision its what we call a lot confirmation..  IE in many areas you have historic platted lots  say 25x100 and you had one person buy say 4 lots.. well the assessor to make things easier on their office would combine the 4 lots into one for tax purposes ( common) at least out here on the left coast.  the underlying lots are lots of record..  So most jurisdictions have a method to confirm the underlying lots and create new tax numbers for the lots.. UNLESS the lots were formally combined and lot lines abandoned then they would need to be re subdivided. 

Now since most of this platting was done pre 1920s or so..  these are what is referred to as antiquated lots in California. And in CA laws in many counties have changed see  LA county that those lots created before 1920 must meet modern lot standards to be recognized again.

In Portland were I work its much easier and its one of the ways to really makes some good dough when the seller does not realize they are sitting on multiple lots that just need and over the counter lot confirmation to revive the existing lot and make it buildable.

but in your instance, it sounds like At the county / city level they are not recognizing the underlying lots.. there for the contract cannot be prosecuted and closed as written.

Don't step over a dollar to save a dime. You need legal advice, not opinion from those who don't have a dog in the hunt. Get the counsel of a competent real estate attorney...you'll be glad you did. 

@Jay Hinrichs I could really use some guidance on the construction process.  I am getting my zoning and building permits and Ido not know what the next steps are. I have a developer but Want to know the knowledge before hand, so  I know. what im looking for. IE breaking ground, pouring concrete foundation, water from city line install, gas line install , framing, what order do these come in?