Saturday, August 30, 2008

Call the Police! Buyer Moves In Before Closing!

Yesterday was one of the most bizarre days in my real estate career. My assistant got a call from a condominium association trying to verify ownership of one of my Destin Florida foreclosure listings. The bank-owned condo was under deposit, and scheduled to close at the end of September. The condo association said they had been told the buyer had already moved in and was claiming to be the owner. "No way!" I thought. "This cannot be true!" So, I hopped into my car, my heart racing, with two of my assistants, in case it was true and there was a confrontation. We got to the unit, right down the street from my office, opened the lockbox and found the key was missing. We drove back to the office, got a back-up key, and returned. Wow! Was this the right unit? It was newly and completely furnished. Sofa, chairs, coffee table, lamps, tv's, beds, night-tables, end-tables, dining room set, bar stools, patio furniture, dishes, towels, new refrigerator and oven. New ceiling lights. New window blinds installed. The cable had been hooked up and the television worked. I couldn't believe it!

What if the buyer returned while I was there? Who should I call first? The police, the locksmith, the bank, or the buyer's agent? I immediately called the locksmith and the police. The deputy arrived first. He shook his head in dismay. I had the file from the office. The buyer was from California. There was a car with California tags parked in front of the unit. The deputy checked, and bingo-- it was the buyer's car. I had the buyer's telephone number. The police called him. He claimed he felt it was convenient to move his things in, as he had gone back to California, and wouldn't return until January. "What do you want to do?" the deputy asked me. "Did you want to press charges?" I told him I would try to reach the bank, but it was late in the day, right before Labor Day weekend.

Meanwhile, I called the buyer's agent. He claimed he had left the key with the buyer and his inspector, and had to leave early, with instructions to the buyer to re-insert the key in the lockbox. He said he had no knowledge of what the buyer had done. I reached the bank, a huge foreclosure processor. The rep was in shock. After I told him what happened, he put me on hold for about five minutes. When he picked back up, he said unequivocally, the contract had been revoked due to the buyer's action, I was to press charges, and they were going to start the eviction process. I re-called the police, made my statement, and finally left the office around 7:30 p.m. Who knows what tales will unfold next week?

P.S. The funny thing is, I wrote about this same buyer a few weeks ago in Foreclosures: Multiple Offers - Deceipt & Subterfuge.

It's Wendy!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, CRP, CRS, GRI, ABR Rulnick Realty, Inc.
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Copyright © 2008 By Wendy Rulnick. All Rights Reserved. *Call the Police! Buyer Moves In Before Closing!* Contact Wendy Rulnick regarding Destin Florida real estate and vicinity.

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