Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Q: We really love the home you sold us.

However, we were a bit shocked when a neighbor came over and announced that our dogs were driving them crazy.  Apparently, the dogs run through the neighbor’s garden, and I guess they have pooped in their yard a few times. But one of the reasons we moved out here to the country was so that our dogs wouldn’t be locked in a kennel all day or only allowed out into a tiny exercise yard.  We want them to have freedom to roam and play and now it looks like we have to fence the property.  Can we ask the neighbor to help pay for the fence?

A: Not really.  What they are asking seems reasonable to me.  Part of the responsibility of a pet owner is to keep their animals safe and also out of other people’s property.  I have two dogs myself and they are full of energy and playfulness.  But their freedom is limited by the rights of others.  We provide a fenced yard for them as well as taking them out for excursions to parks or trails whenever possible.
One of the other issues is simply the safety of your pets.  Dogs can get carried away and chase squirrels or other wildlife right out into the street. I have known some very sad folks who came home to a dead or dying cat or dog because they wanted them to roam free and their pet was hit by a car. We owe them a safe environment. 

Data from around the country has shown that the most common complaint from citizens is about barking or loose dogs.  They can ruin other people’s property, leave their poop everywhere and harm wildlife and other people’s pets.  Knowing that, we all have to make it our business to take care of our own pets and be sure they don’t become a nuisance. After you build a fence for your dogs, invite the neighbor to come over and get better acquainted with you and your pets.  Build a friendship instead of a feud.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Q: I can’t believe what just happened to us in regard to the house we were buying.

There was some kind of paperwork we were supposed to deal with and we were just so busy packing and getting ready to move that we didn’t get it back to our Realtor for a few days. He called and told us the deal was off! We lost the house! Someone else was in second place or something and got to buy it instead of us. Is that legal?

I’ve looked over the paperwork you brought in and can tell you that your failure to deal with the document sent to you was the reason you lost the house. Your financing contingency (Form 22A) allows the seller, after 30 days, to terminate the transaction by giving you a three day notice to waive the financing or lose the house. You got the notice, had three days to respond, and then because you didn’t respond, you lost the house.
Sellers will usually not do this unless they had a firm back up offer that was for a significantly higher price. That could be what happened here. Especially in our current market, with bidding wars, multiple offers, cash offers, etc., you have to be vigilant about responding to notices, signing addenda, and generally performing in strict accordance with your contract. Your lender will also have some strict deadlines to meet, as well as the escrow company.
One of the frustrations for those of us in the real estate business is having buyers or sellers fail to take deadlines and timetables seriously. This is a legal contract. If you don’t follow the rules of that contract you can lose the opportunity to buy or sell. You can even lose your earnest money. A common error on the part of a buyer is not responding to the inspection contingency during the required timeline. That results in waiving the inspection. Therefore the seller is under no obligation to make repairs and the buyer can no longer get out of the sale based on the inspection.