Sunday, November 05, 2006

Can somebody explain this to me?

In another recent home purchase, I was again representing the buyer. It was another sale where the stated closing date wasn't going to work because the seller couldn't deliver the property on time. We were trying to negotiate an extension, but we couldn't reach an agreement. The day after the closing date, I told the mortgage company to go ahead and fund the sale by putting the money into escrow, hoping to force the seller to accept our extension terms. My client agreed to cover all the mortgage company's transactional costs if the sale didn't go through. The mortgage company refused to fund because the closing date had passed. It claimed it had been sued by a seller for funding a sale after the closing date but would give no other details.

Somebody help me out here. What damages was the seller suing the mortgage company for? I can't come up with any. I can't even come up with a cause of action. I think the mortgage company's story was bollocks. And I know one mortgage company I shan't let my clients anywhere near from now on.

Extensions on a home purchase

Just for a change, let's talk about some legal issues.

I had a client recently who was buying a house. He and the seller had signed a purchase and sale agreement that set a closing date. It became apparent that the seller was not going to complete inspections and obtain an occupancy permit by the closing date. The seller proposed an extension for the closing but proposed it so late that the deadline for accepting it had passed by the time my client received it. My client called the seller about this, and the seller said that since the deadline had passed, the whole deal was off.

Let's walk through some basic, contract points so that you can avoid sounding like that magnitude of idiot. Simply and simplistically put, if a buyer offers to buy a house and the seller accepts, there is a contract. That's what signing a purchase and sale contract signifies. If one of the parties wants to change that contract, he is proposing an amendment. If the other party doesn't accept the proposal, the contract continues unamended. It doesn't simply go away.

Lessons to learn:

1. If you enter into a contract, expect to have to perform it on time.
2. If you can't perform the contract on time, expect to have to pay.
3. If you think you can make a contract go away by proposing an amendment, expect people to laugh at you while they make you pay.

If you're gonna be in business...

I was recently taken to task for displaying an anti-LDS bias. Sorry, no such bias. My criticism has been that the LDS Church has a business side that, with respect to the mall redevelopment, has not been very businesslike. Although it was obvious that something drastic had to be done about the two malls, and it was also obvious that the LDS Church was going to do something drastic because it was evicting all the tenants, they wouldn't even provide a rough draft of what they had in mind. All this did was create FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) for merchants and customers alike, driving them to other locations, which runs exactly counter to the LDS Church's stated goal of revitalizing the Temple Square area. In other words, they weren't making a good business move.

Further, I stand by my position that the management choice leaves a great deal to be desired. Ann Taylor is no more an improvement over Bliss, and Applebee's is no more an improvement over Caffe Molise or Vienna Bistro, than Waldenbooks is an improvement over Sam Weller's, but for Taubman the chains are dogma. Turning downtown into a multi-storied version of Sandy is not a good business move, either.

My opinions have nothing to do with religious doctrine, folks. It's just business.