Who's responsible, seller or buyer's Attorney.... - Posted by JohnBoy

Posted by Jason-DTX on October 30, 1998 at 19:09:07:

First of all, I wasn’t trying to imply that it was your fault, in my first sentence I agreed that it was the attorney’s fault.
Even though you are right it would be hard to get the attorney to pay your extra expense for the prepaid interest. If he didn’t agree to do so by your asking, then the only thing you could do is try and sue him. That would probably end up costing you more than it would be worth. The attroney can defend himself and drag out the process.
I guess if I was in that situation I would probably go ahead and close next week so that the sellers don’t lose their new house. Since they are aren’t getting any money I doubt they would split the cost with you, even though their attorney screwed it up. However they might if you ask. Otherwise I would say that you will have to consider it a cost of doing business and just move on. I doubt its worth scrapping the deal. I would think there is enough room in the deal for you still to come out allright. I know you hate giving up part of your profit but sometimes its better to move on rather than to throw away more good money trying to make the attorney pay for his mistake.
I usually use title companies and have only closed with an attorney once. If you have the choice I would use a title company. If the seller wanted his attorney involved then he can have him review the papers before closing and show up if he wants to. This way you can pick the title company and use the same one over and over. That could help keep the same thing from happening in the future.
I know how you feel, I’ve had closings get screwed up before and its no fun. Even if you do everything that you can there are too many other people involved. I used to get mad and upset but now I consider it normal. Nothing ever goes perfectly but we just have to make the best of it. I hope everything works out on your deal.

Who’s responsible, seller or buyer’s Attorney… - Posted by JohnBoy

Posted by JohnBoy on October 30, 1998 at 10:49:36:

Who’s attorney is responsible for setting up and handling the closing, the Seller’s or the Buyer’s attorney??

I was set to close today on a house. We’ve informed the sellers attorney that we (Buyer & Seller) wanted to close ON THE 30th over 2 weeks ago. The hold up was waiting on the seller’s attorney to pull title and get it over to the bank so they could finish processing the loan which he was to start on when I dropped the purchase contract off at his office on Oct. 3rd. Everything was coming down to the last minute waiting on title which the bank finally got the first of the week.

The bank is sending the paper work to the Seller’s attorney’s office for the closing. It is all arriving Fed-X this morning. I talked to my attorney last night and asked if it would be just him and the sellers attorney handling the closing or if someone from the title company would be there also. He said it would be just him and the sellers attorney handling everything. (Cool)

Now I get a call this morning from my attorney’s office saying they won’t be able to close this morning because the sellers attorney doesn’t have all the paper work from my bank. WRONG! Its on the way and will be there by 10:30 am at the lastest plus the bank faxed him the infor this morning also.

So I call the sellers attorney to inform him that the paper work from the bank is on its way and will be there by 10:30 am. If he needs to close later today thats fine but we can still close today. THEN he says that I don’t understand! He is not set up to handle the closing through the bank himself and needs someone from the title company to be there to handle this. He said HE represents the seller in this and isn’t the one that would handle this! DUH! Thats right, YOU represent the sellers! The Sellers attorney is the one that takes care of setting up the closing! So if you can’t handle this without someone from the title company then WHY did you not have arrangements made with the title company to be there at the closing??? He furnished the title commitment, he represents the sellers, so who was supposed to set up the closing arrangements, Mr. Magoo???

It seems to me that the SELLERS ATTORNEY screwed up here and was trying to pull a fast one by shifting the blame on my bank by not having all the paper work there in time.

So who is the one responsible to set up the closing? My attorney OR the sellers attorney? The closing was to take place at the sellers attorney’s office!

Now the sellers attorney says we won’t be able to close until next week because he has to have someone from the title company there. He’s not set up to do this and even if he agreed to do this, he doesn’t have the proper paper work there to do it.

Next week is no be deal except for the fact this will increase my closing costs by about $1100 - $1200. The bank will have to re-draw the docs (which they may charge an additional fee for) and I will have to pay a months pre-paid interest if I close after the first.

Since it seems to be the sellers attorney that SCREWED this up, I figure there’s two ways to handle this at this point.

  1. Pass the additional cost onto the sellers if we close after the 1st. Or,

  2. Delay the closing until the end of Nov.

Am I correct on this or not???

What would you do?



Re: Who’s responsible, seller or buyer’s - Posted by Jody

Posted by Jody on November 02, 1998 at 21:51:41:

whether I’m buying or selling, I try to control the closing, that way you can make sure everything comes together like it’s supposed to.

Re: Who’s responsible, - Posted by R. Porter

Posted by R. Porter on October 30, 1998 at 20:52:13:

Where I’m from(Ohio), it is the buyers responsibility to order the title exam and set the closing date. The sellers only responsibility is to show up at closing and sign the deed to convey title to the new buyer. I buy lots of houses, and if I waited around for the seller or the sellers attorney to do something, I’d be broke. If you want the deal to close, it is YOUR responsibility to push it through to closing.

Re: Who’s responsible, - Posted by Jim(MA)

Posted by Jim(MA) on October 30, 1998 at 18:42:16:


This story makes me glad that I,m in MA. My vote goes on the seller’s attorney. Fortunately here the closing is controlled solely by the lender’s attorney and the availablility for the parties to be present at closing at least on residential deals. Commercial deal I’m doing now is shared between the lender’s attorney , my attorney and the seller’s attorney but eachs role has been carefully spelt out. I’ll let you know how this one works out.

Take matters in your own hands - Posted by Jason-DTX

Posted by Jason-DTX on October 30, 1998 at 12:42:36:

I agree that the seller’s attorney dropped the ball, however I have also learned from experience that I have to be the one to make sure nobody drops the ball. No one cares more about my deal closing than me.

Since there are so many people involved in the closing of real estate I have found that things usually pop up at the last minute and postpone a closing. When I buy the sellers are usually clueless and when I sell the buyers are usually clueless. I have to walk them through the closing. I also have to constantly keep in touch with the title company or attorney’s to make sure everything is still going along on time. The attorney 's are in no hurry to close your deal, so you need to bug them every day to make sure they are on top of it. Then they will hurry up and close the deal so that you will leave them alone. Also by keeping in touch daily you will know as soon as a problem arises and then you can make sure that is being taken care of immediately.
Its a shame we have to baby sit the professionals to close our deals but it seems to be the only way to get them closed fast and correctly, esspecially when they are people that we can’t chose to work with. (i.e. your seller’s attorney) Wait until you sell and have to work with a buyer’s lender, then you really have a baby sitting job if you want to close on time! Hopefully your next closing will go smoother.

Re: Who’s responsible, - Posted by Karen McCall

Posted by Karen McCall on October 30, 1998 at 11:04:17:

Responsibility differs from state to state, but it seems to me that the seller’s attorney is the one at fault in this situation.

Re: Take matters in your own hands - Posted by JohnBoy

Posted by JohnBoy on October 30, 1998 at 15:55:49:

I thought I was on top of this. We scheduled the closing to be at the sellers attorney’s office. The sellers attorney set the time for 11am this morning. My loan broker and I had to stay on top of the bank to get this funded by today. I asked the attorney if anyone from the title company had to be at the closing? They said NO! My attorney and the sellers attorney could handle the closing without the title company. The bank funding my loan sends their package to the attorney’s office where the attorney’s handle closings without using a title company.

The sellers attorney had talked with the bank yesterday about this closing. The loan processor called the title company here and asked about the closing. They knew nothing about any closing we had. They did however find my file where the sellers attorney ordered the title commitment through them. But the title company was never contacted by the sellers attorney to set up a closing date and time. I did not call the title company because I was my understanding that the sellers attorney was set up to handle their own title commitments thereby not needing a title company involved.

If the sellers attorney had ordered the title commitment from a title company, then why would he assume we would be closing at HIS office today at 11am, the time HE set?? When the loan processor talked to the title company this morning, they told her that they DO NOT go to attorney’s offices to do closings. ALL of their closings are done at the title company! So WHY would this IDIOT schedule a closing at HIS office and go over everthing with the bank and have them send the package to HIS office if he wasn’t set up to do this?? Since the sellers attorney ordered title commitment from a title company and knowing that someone from that office would have to be involved with the closing and that they don’t come to you, but rather you MUST go to their office to close, then what would the point of scheduling a closing at his office be for??

When I was told that the attorney could handle the closing without a title company involved (meaning their law office is set up to insure title), why would I need to call a title company to insure everything was set to go with them? There wasn’t supposed to be an outside title company involved with this.

He knew for over 2 weeks that we needed to close today. The bank was waiting on him to provide the title commitment. Everything else was done and ready to go. The bank got the title commitment this week and they stayed last night to finish the package so we could close this morning. The package was sent over night at 5pm last night to arrive by 10:30am this morning. The sellers attorney calls my attorney this morning before the package arrived and said we couldn’t close today BECAUSE THE BANK DIDN’T DELIVER THE PACKAGE! He was trying to pass this off as the banks fault that we couldn’t close today.

When I found out about this this morning I called the sellers attorney and told him the package would be there by 10:30am. We can close today! THEN he say’s we still can’t close because HE is not set up to handle this without someone from the title company being there. Hmmmm?? WHAT TITLE COMPANY??? YOUR suppose to handle this. You just talked to the bank last night about this! IF you needed the title company, then WHY didn’t you set this up with them 2 weeks ago?? Why would you schedule the closing at YOUR office when the title company YOU used to issue title commitment from say they DO NOT go to attorney’s offices to close?? THEN he says he represents the seller! Not the buyer! YEAH? AND?? So why didn’t you contact the title company to set up the closing with them if you couldn’t handle it without them???

I guess he thought we were all coming by his office this morning just to meet each other and see what we all look like or something. LOL.

So my question here is, should I pay for the additional closing costs of the pre-paid interest this is going to cost if we close next week now?? OR should this attorney be held accountable for HIS negligence??

Not only has the sellers attorney screwed up with me on this but he’s screwing the sellers on this too. The sellers MUST close on this deal by the 10th or they loose the house they’re trying to buy, which they are renting until they close on this one. If they can’t close by the 10th on their new house they have to get out. The seller of that house will not extend them anymore time. I could pass this additional cost onto the sellers if they still want to get this closed by the 10th but I’m not sure if they could pay the extra cost involved. They won’t be getting a dime from the closing of this house. They owe MORE than what I’m paying for it. They have a second mortgage on it that the lender has agreed to discount the difference they owe on the payoff. So they are at a negative on this.

I could drag this thing for another month according to the terms of my contract but I was trying to be Mr. Nice Guy and get this closed by the end of the month so the sellers could buy the house they’re now living in. I did everything I could on my end to get this deal closed by today. Since its their attorney who screwed up here then he should be held accountable for his negligence, not me.

So how would you handle this situation at this point if it were you?


Re: Who’s responsible, - Posted by laure

Posted by laure on October 31, 1998 at 03:51:43:

I had the same thing happen to me this summer, but this went on for over a month before we closed. Finally, I called the bank, both attorneys, the title company, and the buyer. set and checked the times with everyone… and said NO MORE !!! I also chastised both attorneys, which only made me feel better, still didn’t get closed until I did it ! I was so livid over it all. Aren’t these supposed to be professionals??

Re: Take matters in your own hands - Posted by Rick Vesole

Posted by Rick Vesole on October 30, 1998 at 23:33:11:

The seller’s attorney has no liability to you. He represents the seller, not you, and consequently has no duty to you whatsoever. Also, you are not really paying any extra - if you prepay the next month’s interest at closing - guess what - you don’t have another payment due until January 1, 1999, instead of December 1, 1998. No lost money - you just pay your interest now instead of on December 1.

Also, just because the attorney orders the title commitment doesn’t mean that he schedules the closing. Normally that is the buyer’s or the lender’s responsibility. You don’t even have to close at the same title company where the title commitment was ordered from. If the Seller’s atty set the closing, that was an error on his part - but again he had no responsibility to you.

Your choice is to either close next week and be nice to the seller or to close towards the end of November. If closing later puts the seller up against the wall, you have some leverage to extract a concession out of him - but you won’t be able to say that you are still being a nice guy. It’s your call.

Learn from this - next time ask the bank where they normally close and you set up the closing date and place - not the Seller or his attorney.

Re: Take matters in your own hands - Posted by Rob FL

Posted by Rob FL on October 30, 1998 at 20:20:45:

You mentioned that you have an attorney representing you. Are you paying your attorney $$$$? Why isn’t your attorney kicking the snot out of the seller’s attorney? Does your attorney have any recommendations? If it were me I would try to get my attorney to make the seller pay most if not all of your extra costs.