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Settlement time wasn't amended, now purchaser is going to be late

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by Investor Man, 24th Jun, 2015.

  1. Investor Man

    Investor Man Member

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    Hi Everyone!

    I have sold my apartment in NSW about two weeks ago. The settlement period was supposed to be 3 weeks (asked by the purchaser) and I have agreed. However, when I have asked what the settlement date is going to be, my conveyancer told me that the agent didn't amend the contract and so it's 'officially' still 6 weeks, but the purchaser is trying to get it to happen early. In any case, she advised me that because of the agent's fault, I won't be eligible for the interest penalty etc until we hit 6 weeks. It was supposed to be a few days after the 3 weeks so I didn't create dramas about it, however today I asked again and the agent said that the purchaser still doesn't have papers from the bank he needs so it's going to take longer. I am pretty upset as it means I will have to pay another few weeks of my mortgage when it's clearly not my fault.
    My questions are.. Is this really the agent's fault? or the conveyancer's?
    Can I demand the agent to compensate me in some way?

    Cheers
    InvestorMan
     
  2. Propertunity

    Propertunity Exclusive Real Estate Buyers Agent Business Member

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    When you signed the front page of the contract as seller, the settlement date must have clearly showed 42 days (the standard 6 weeks). This was the time to be amending the contract - which you could have done by striking out 42 and adding 21 and then initialing the change.

    Most banks can't handle a 3 week settlement (as you are now discovering). 28 days seems to be about the minimum in NSW.

    In any event, there would still be the ability for the purchaser to be issued with a 14 day notice to complete so add 14 days to whatever you signed up to.
     
    Terry_w likes this.
  3. Investor Man

    Investor Man Member

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    Thank you for your quick reply :)
    Doesn't it something that the agent should have made? I obviously know nothing much about the process, I am paying them and they are the ones who sent me the scan of the original contract for me to sign and didn't change it.
     
  4. Propertunity

    Propertunity Exclusive Real Estate Buyers Agent Business Member

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    In that case (in every case, the legal people would say) you should have had your solicitor or conveyancer check what you were signing, to make sure it was what you wanted.
     
  5. Investor Man

    Investor Man Member

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    So is it the solicitors fault? I obviously discussed those terms with her. She is blaming the agent.
     
  6. Propertunity

    Propertunity Exclusive Real Estate Buyers Agent Business Member

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    On the face of it, from what you've said here - if you told your soli what you wanted, and she did not make the necessary changes, I'd say it was her fault yes. (as much as I like blaming the selling agent, I think he's off the hook).
     
  7. Investor Man

    Investor Man Member

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    Thank you. :oops: If worst comes to worst and I do end up loosing money due to this, and the solicitor and agent both playing the 'it's the other sides fault' game... where do I go to? Is there an ombudsman for those kind of things?
     
  8. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    Won't your solicitor likely say that you didn't ask her to change the settlement timing?
     
  9. Investor Man

    Investor Man Member

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    Mate I don't know who's fault it is, but it's definitely not my fault. They are the ones I pay to make sure everything is correct, they both knew the new terms.
     
  10. wylie

    wylie Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm not saying it is your fault, but simply suggesting your solicitor may not wish to acknowledge that he/she stuffed up, if he/she did indeed stuff up. Unless you have instructions that you gave in writing, it is your word against his/hers that you ever asked for a shorter settlement.
     
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  11. shorty

    shorty Well-Known Member

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    When you say "agent", do you mean real estate, or buyer's?
     
  12. Cadbury99

    Cadbury99 Well-Known Member

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    While certainly annoying I think your best bet is to put it behind you. The cost of trying to get any compensation from whoever the guilty party is will most likely outweigh any compensation you could get plus it's only likely to make a stressful thing even more stressful.
     
    Last edited: 25th Jun, 2015
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  13. Paul@PFI

    Paul@PFI Tax Accounting + SMSF Business Member

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    The delay just defers settlement. If it was such a critical factor you should have completed the contract correctly as should the buyer. Neither of you did. As tax issues are based upon the contract date it wont affect a thing.
     
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  14. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Do you have the buyer's offer in writing & your acceptance of the 3 weeks? Was this written offer/acceptance conveyed to the agent, your solicitor and the vendor's solicitor?

    Is there a reason for 3 weeks (offer was too good to refuse? You needed the money asap?)
     
  15. Poe

    Poe New Member

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    As being in a similar situation (solicitor made mistake and put in 3 months as settlement date in the buyers copy of sale contract), the solicitor from my understanding is the one who should have made sure all the timings and documents were in sync.
    We have moved to another law firm now (3 weeks from settlement date, previous lawyer thought we were going to report him to the relevant commission when we asked for all correspondence and told us they were not going to represent us anymore).
    So, in your case, more than half the job is done. If your solicitor has messed up, and you go to another solicitor, the total amount you need to pay comes to approximately the same amount if you had continued with your original lawyer.
     
  16. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    NSW contract? Agents can only fill in items inside the box on the front page. Anything else is only allowed to be amended by yourself or the lawyer/conveyancer.

    If you signed a contract with 42 days on it then it is your fault. You should never sign a contract without reading it. If your solicitor said it was something else when it wasn't then it would be their fault for not checking. You could also blame the agent for not changing it, but it is not really their job - ultimately you are to blame with the lawyer taking some of the blame for not checking.
     
  17. Meisterin

    Meisterin Member

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    Poe, you potentially have an invalid contract because the terms of the two contracts are different at the time of exchange.( different settlement dates)


    Recently my friend reluctantly agreed to early settlement date after contracts were exchanged. Soli put in the term xx days, subject to bank being ready or 42 days instead of just putting the earlier date. This way she could avoid penalty interest if the bank wasn't ready. May be the buyers conveyancer/solicitor did not agree to amend the contract but told your solicitor that their client will settle early if possible.

    And without any written authority your agent couldn't change the settlement date.
     
  18. sanj

    sanj Well-Known Member

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    Completely agree. Settlement date would have been clearly stated and OP signed it. Seems a cop out to try and blame everyone else
     
    Terry_w likes this.