A buyer didn’t go through with the sale of my property in Philadelphia, and is in breach of contract.
The buyer didn’t respond to his own agent to close for the property, and he later didn’t respond to release the security deposit to me.
It’s been over a year since the deal fell through, and months since I initiated mediation with the Greater Phila Association of Realtors - of which he also didn’t respond.
I am in the process of taking the buyer to small claims court, but the court says I MUST have the name and the address of the buyer/defendant, and the court can’t help me get the address. It says I can’t use the agent’s office “c/o” in care of.
The buyer’s agent has his info and says it’s confidential, but I must have it for court. See the catch 22.
Which court/motion/action can I go through to force the agent to divulge the buyer’s address? I’ve called so many numbers in Philadelphia, and no one seems to have the answer. I’m trying to avoid paying $150 an hour or higher for a real estate attorney, as I’m unemployed.
Did the buyer submit a copy of the check he used for his earnest money deposit with the purchase offer? If so, your agent should have a copy of the check and hopefully an address for the buyer.
Pull out the purchase offer. Look at the signature page for the buyer’s address and SSN. If there, you should be able to use one of the online internet locator services to get an address. Information report should cost less than $25.
I forgot to mention:
The deposit doesn’t show his address and I’ve tried the online searches to no avail.
I’ve gone over every agreement and the addendum sent to me. His name didn’t show any variations and his address never appeared.
I’m hoping someone who has been in the same extreme situation can provide his/her solution.
Try using a “skip tracer”. It may cost a few bucks but they will find him. Do any of the documents have his SSN? Usually if the there is a W9 form associated with the escrow there is a W9 with SSN and additional info. This is usually helpful in locating an individual.
That’s a W9 form, not a W2. Banks want a W9 to open a new escrow account but its likely the agent deposited the buyers money into an existing company escrow account.
Although the horse is already out of the barn, it should be a lesson learned: always get ID information on your buyers/sellers/tenants and always control the escrow. I usually don’t deal through RE agents so when I open an escrow account at the bank for a buying/selling/rental deposit transaction I make sure I am the one with signature access to the account.
What doe the contract state about the escrow monies? Maybe you should take the agent to small claims court to recover the escrow and ask for discovery to get the documents with the name and address of the buyer, assuming the claim against the agent fails.
But, as I mentioned previously, a skip tracer would most likely be quicker and not cost TOO much.
Something else I just thought about. You are the seller. I am assuming the agent is an agent YOU hired to sell the house. If that is true, it is my understanding the agent has a fiduciary responsibility to YOU, not to the buyer. Something seems fishy here.
The escrow money hasn’t been turned over to me because the buyer didn’t respond to sign the release form.
The buyer and I have different agents, even though the agents belong to the same real estate firm.
I must thank you all for your help. Your suggestions have been on key.
Good news!!! I located someone who gave me the address of the buyer, assuming he’s still at that address. I can’t say who the person is, to protect him/her. Now, it’s up to the small claims court to serve the papers to the buyer.
Depending upon your local practices, it may be up to the sheriff’s office to serve notice. You may get a summons from the court, then you may need to deliver that summons to the local sheriff and pay a process service fee.
Check with the clerk of court for the specific procedures in your area.