Undercutted - Deal gone wrong

31 Replies

So, I was talking with this seller for about a month or so now - and we exchanged texts back and forth with each other negotiating a deal on his property that he just wanted to get rid of. It was a property that he had inherited, but he already had a home of his own and didn't have no use for the house that he had inherited. 

We finally came to an agreeable price, and was supposed to meet up last Wednesday, October 11th to sign a purchase agreement. When I had arrived at the property he wasn't there so I messaged him multiple times with no response. Something was fishy. I go back home, and get a text from him that says "Sorry, I am just going to sell to one of my neighbors." I proceeded to explain how he shouldn't accept a price we negotiated on just to turn around and sell to someone else. I was livid, but I kept my composure. 

My question I bring to you guys today is since there was NO Purchase Agreement in place yet, just a verbal agreement - Can I take legal action against him for going against his word to sell? Or am I just basically out of luck? I had to drive a good distance just to meet with the guy, and take time out of my day which I could have been spending looking for other deals. 

Chalk this up to lesson learned? Or would you all do something about this as well. 

Sorry--statue of frauds prevails. No signed agreement=no deal.

You'd have to show/put a price on what you plan to sue for, you have to get a judge to believe you, and then you'd have to be able to collect. So depending on what your time is worth and if you can actually do it then go for it. 

If it was me, move on to the next one.

SOL.

@Aaron Phillips

Please accept my sympathies on this, the first time in this business that a snake swallowed up your time and toil only to slither out of a verbal agreement on you.


I can promise you that it won't be the last time.

As far as legal options go, you have none worth pursuing.

If you should take it into your head that extra-legal options are the way to go...my advice is to wait six months and see how you feel about it then.

OP has no legal recourse

Originally posted by @Tom Gimer :
Originally posted by @John Thedford:

OP has no legal recourse

I agree that in this case it sounds like a lost cause. But read this...

https://www.nar.realtor/legal-case-summaries/text-...

 he'd still have to show/put a value on something to sue otherwise how else he going to show damages/loss?

Originally posted by @Matt K. :
Originally posted by @Tom Gimer:
Originally posted by @John Thedford:

OP has no legal recourse

I agree that in this case it sounds like a lost cause. But read this...

https://www.nar.realtor/legal-case-summaries/text-...

 he'd still have to show/put a value on something to sue otherwise how else he going to show damages/loss?

If he had a contract he would sue for specific performance. His "loss" would be the property itself. 

In the first case evidently there was a written or texted agreement  and the second case there was no written agreement. In the second case it was all verbal and that's why the statute of frauds was relevant. There was no written agreement between the two parties  in this thread so therefore  there is no way to enforce any  alleged agreement. That does not mean they could not Sue but I would be very surprised if they prevailed and I would suspect it would be a total loss to the plaintiff. That might have better luck in Vegas.

Originally posted by @John Thedford :

In the first case evidently there was a written or texted agreement  and the second case there was no written agreement. In the second case it was all verbal and that's why the statute of frauds was relevant. There was no written agreement between the two parties  in this thread so therefore  there is no way to enforce any  alleged agreement. That does not mean they could not Sue but I would be very surprised if they prevailed and I would suspect it would be a total loss to the plaintiff. That might have better luck in Vegas.

I posted that link to demonstrate that you may not need a signed purchase agreement (in the traditional sense) to enforce a contract for real property. The suggestion was that, had the texts been "signed" (by someone with authority to bind) they may have enforced the text message sequence as the written agreement.  

Anyway, I found it interesting. We don't know what the series of texts in the instant situation say.

Originally posted by @Tom Gimer :
Originally posted by @Matt K.:
Originally posted by @Tom Gimer:
Originally posted by @John Thedford:

OP has no legal recourse

I agree that in this case it sounds like a lost cause. But read this...

https://www.nar.realtor/legal-case-summaries/text-...

 he'd still have to show/put a value on something to sue otherwise how else he going to show damages/loss?

If he had a contract he would sue for specific performance. His "loss" would be the property itself. 

 That's a big if and it doesn't sound like he has that. I'd assume if he had a contract I'd assume he'd have fees/penalties clearly laid out that would make it easier to recover...

Originally posted by @Tom Gimer :
Originally posted by @John Thedford:

In the first case evidently there was a written or texted agreement  and the second case there was no written agreement. In the second case it was all verbal and that's why the statute of frauds was relevant. There was no written agreement between the two parties  in this thread so therefore  there is no way to enforce any  alleged agreement. That does not mean they could not Sue but I would be very surprised if they prevailed and I would suspect it would be a total loss to the plaintiff. That might have better luck in Vegas.

I posted that link to demonstrate that you may not need a signed purchase agreement (in the traditional sense) to enforce a contract for real property. The suggestion was that, had the texts been "signed" (by someone with authority to bind) they may have enforced the text message sequence as the written agreement.  

Anyway, I found it interesting. We don't know what the series of texts in the instant situation say.

 Yes interesting. Of course, you NEVER know what a judge will do. Some cases are slam dunk and the judge rules the other way. It might have been possible to appeal the ruling in case #1 and a different judge rule differently. Of course, statute of frauds regards written offers..and the judge ruled that text were written. In the OP's case, nothing signed....I doubt they would ever prevail...but nothing is stopping them from bringing suit. I prefer to stay out of courts as much as possible:) although I have been invited (and prevailed) it was still a PITA!

There may have been other reasons the seller decided to choose another buyer. We have no idea if the OP was asking for 160 days "inspection period", $1 earnest money, ...who knows:) 

I heard on a webinar that this situation happened to veteran investor and the answer was SOL. It happens in all businesses, you have to be upset for a moment or two and move on. 

My wish for you is that you make a good deal very soon and get it signed!!  (:-)  Good Fortune.

Unfortunately, people not following through is the norm in life, not the exception.  No emotion, no lawsuit, no problem...move on and persist.

Like a few have said before, I would move on. Your time and money are not worth the hassle of suing over something that is so ambiguous. Wish you the best of luck. 

Of course you can take legal action . But will you win is the question ?   You have to pay an attorney , provide him with evidence , serve the other guy papers , get depositions , get a court date , it will get changed , get another date , go to court . Now you have spent how many hours/days  win or lose ? Will it be worth it ?

I appreciate everyone's feedback on this post. I guess I came to BP a little upset over the whole ordeal, but after carefully reading everyone's responses it's not worth my time or money to pursue the guy in court. Chalk it up to lesson learned, and move on to the next deal.

Thank you all.

Verbal agreements in some states can be deemed legal but not enforceable in a court of law. The reason is a judge would have to determine who is telling all the truth or parts of it and who is lying. There would be no paper trail.

Just move on to the next deal. There is usually another deal for another day to pursue.

No legal advice given.  

@Aaron Phillips were you buying the house or wholesaling it? Was the seller selling it to you, or allowing you to sell it to your buyers list?

Originally posted by @Brian Pulaski :

@Aaron Phillips were you buying the house or wholesaling it? Was the seller selling it to you, or allowing you to sell it to your buyers list?

 It was a good enough deal where I personally was going to close on it, then I was going to sell to one of my cash buyers. 

Rule of thumb, do not conduct business via text messages and think it is a solid deal. 

How many before that did you sit down face to face, and/or have solid phone calls with? 

In a real estate transaction: a verbal agreement is only worth the paper that it's printed on!

It's sad to hear that my dear friend but in every negotiation and transaction, an agreement such as contract signed is very much needed. Somehow, it's a lesson for you as well for us.

@Aaron Phillips that's unfortunate. Your time will be better spent finding your next deal. Think of the time spent not as wasted, but as a learning opportunity for how you can tackle similar situations in the future differently. Happy Hunting!

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