Q. We’re buying a short sale. There have been differing points of view from the selling and buying agents, greatly impacting our contingency timeframe. If anyone can offer insight, that would be great.
The California Association of Realtors Short Sale addendum form leaves some ambiguity in regards to “acceptance” of a short sale approval is conveyed. The short sale addendum simply states the approval letter needs to be delivered to the buyer. However, the listing agent sending you a copy is not confirmation of acceptance of the short sale terms by the seller unless it is signed by the seller. Different banks issue different letters. Some require a specific signature agreeing to the terms by the sellers and acknowledgement from the buyer. Some don’t have a signature and simply state the terms of the short sale acceptance.
Unless your agent specified in your contract or the short sale addendum that the delivery required seller’s signature, it would not need to be signed by the seller to meet the standard wording in the short sale addendum. An attorney might argue why would the seller deliver the letter if they weren’t in agreement but many times it is the listing agent passing on the approval letter to get the timeline going.
In your case, because the seller was obtaining counsel from their attorney, it appears they did not accept it until the 8th. The bottom line, unless the stipulation of seller signature upon short sale approval was included in the contract/addendum you may have a hard time enforcing the 8th.
Ultimately, all want to close the deal. If you can convince the agent and seller that a longer contingency will not impact the actual closing (what most are worried about because of the approval date expiration) then you may very well be able to get to an agreement.
Obviously, contract interpretation, legal liability are always best interpreted by a real estate attorney. Good luck, I hope it works out to your satisfaction.
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