Author Topic: house hunting woes and religious nuts  (Read 1260 times)

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Offline jynnan tonnix

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house hunting woes and religious nuts
« on: August 21, 2012, 08:36:09 AM »
So, I have been house hunting in Connecticut for the past year, since we are heading off in November for my husband's final tour in the Navy (he's been in 35 years!). It's been hard finding our "forever" home, but a few weeks ago we did buy a house which might not have been perfect, but had a lot of the features we wanted, and a nice, big, clear piece of land, which was basically the most important thing on our list. Two days later, the realtor calls to let us know that the sellers had discovered that not only could they not afford to sell us the house for the amount we signed the contract for but, indeed, could not even afford to sell it for the price it was originally listed for. This was confirmed through lawyers & banks, and we let them out of the contract.

The week after that, my husband flew up there to look at some of the other houses on my "short list", including one which I had not actually seen, because it was out of our price-range, which had taken another steep drop in the meantime. It was one of those cases that make you feel almost as though there is a big guy upstairs watching out for you, because it made the previous disappointment look like a great stroke of luck, since this house was almost exactly what we had been looking for. So after a bit more negotiating, we went under contract on this one.

Three days later, the owner calls us at home to talk, and it's obvious she wants out of the contract. She gives us the whole litany of her troubles...she's 65 years old with chronic Lyme disease and a back injury. Her husband just left her, and their plans of retirement to Florida had pretty much fallen through, since it was his family they were going to be close to. She has an 8 year old adopted girl from China, who needs to be registered in school , and now she doesn't know where she needs to be...She's also a Messianic Jew who is an ordained minister, and never makes a move without speaking to the Lord.

She prayed all weekend, and,according to the agent, had been more receptive to the idea of renting a place for herself and selling this one, but she called again this morning telling me she felt as though she was going to have a nervous breakdown because she simply didn't know what she needed to do, and she's trying to work things out with her husband but he doesn't have any idea what he wants to do, so she's completely up in the air and just feels as though she needs to stay put where she is.

Well, I played my own emotional card back at her, letting her know how long we have been looking, and how this house seemed as though it was meant to be for us, and how I'd sobbed all weekend upon finding out that she was looking to back out of the deal the other day...threw in the 35 years of military service and everything. I wish I'd remembered to also mention how we needed the extra space (it's a big house for just the 2 of us) because it's entirely possible that my elderly parents might have to live with us at some point, but I forgot that bit in the midst of all her babbling.

The crowning part, for me, was how she was going to go pray about it some more because the Lord has a plan for her. He brought them to Connecticut 23 years ago, and everything that has happened (including, apparently, her illness, their losing their church a few years ago, her husband's leaving her, etc) is part of his plan, and she needs to get an answer from him and find out what he wants her to do next"....

So here we sit, with a signed contract and checks sent out to cover the home and septic inspections which have had to be rescheduled to who knows when, and no idea what we should do next.

I really don't want to lose two houses in a row because of owners who have not figured out what they are doing, and particularly don't want to lose THIS house!

Offline Nick

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2012, 08:43:19 AM »
I've got an idea.  Get a bright white card and paper and write the person's name on it and sign it The Lord.  Tell her she needs to move on, rent a place, and give the home to a nice deserving couple (like yourselves). 

Oh, and don't forget to give 10% at church and while you are at it give that nice couple who want your house a 10% discount. ;D
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline HAL

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2012, 09:08:23 AM »
Does she know you are an atheist? If not, then just tell a white lie and say you prayed and the LORD told you that the house was meant for you.

Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2012, 09:15:03 AM »
Does she know you are an atheist? If not, then just tell a white lie and say you prayed and the LORD told you that the house was meant for you.

She doesn't know...she did say "I don't know whether you are a believer or not" when she was giving me all her background, but I stayed mum. I did sort of imply that there was something karmic in the timing of her house, which I had loved all along, dropping into our price range just as we were rallying after losing the other one. She can interpret that as she sees fit.

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2012, 09:26:47 AM »
I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

A contract is a contract.  If it was completed and signed, then it's a done deal.  The fact that they didn't think things thru thoroughly enough before signing, or that other circumstances came up after they signed, is their problem, not yours.  She is legally and ethically obligated to go thru with the sale, and you have no legal or ethical obligation to release her from her own obligations.  Were I in this situation, I would have no further direct contact with this person and would communicate with her only thru my attorney, going on the assumption that legal action may be on the horizon.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline Traveler

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2012, 09:27:50 AM »
Have you talked to the realtor about your rights, what with a contract and all? I know you want to be nice ... I would too. But what a pain in the ass. I'm so sorry about all the hassle. I've found in househunting that eventually something works out, and it is usually a good thing, and the hassle eventually fades into the background. But its one of the most annoying processes in the world when you're in the middle of it!!!

Hugs.

ETA: posted while pianodwarf was posting. What he said. :)
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Offline hickdive

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2012, 09:53:05 AM »
IANAL but it seems to me that if someone can just back out of a 'contract' then it wasn't much of a contract in the first place.

Here, if someone makes an offer on a property and it is accepted then the person is committed to buy the property as much as the seller is to selling it. If either party fails to complete their part of the bargain then they'll be liable for the other party's costs. It's a great disincentive to the the shenanigans the OP is going through.
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2012, 10:08:23 AM »
IANAL but it seems to me that if someone can just back out of a 'contract' then it wasn't much of a contract in the first place.

IANAL either, but what I do know about contract law is that, while there are certain things that will release a party from a contract, simply changing your mind isn't one of them.

I'm also an automotive enthusiast.  Way back when the Corvette ZR-1 was making its first appearance, I read about a situation in one of my car magazines where a guy went to a dealership wanting to buy a ZR-1 upon delivery (they hadn't been released yet).  The dealer offered a fairly usual price and financing arrangement for a Vette, and they both signed.  Later, the dealer found out that the ZR-1 was routinely fetching far higher prices than what they contracted for because demand for the car was extremely high, and he tried to back out so that he would be able to sell the car for a higher markup to someone else.  A contract is a contract, said the buyer -- see you in court.  (I never heard the outcome of the case, unfortunately.)

Quote
Here, if someone makes an offer on a property and it is accepted then the person is committed to buy the property as much as the seller is to selling it. If either party fails to complete their part of the bargain then they'll be liable for the other party's costs. It's a great disincentive to the the shenanigans the OP is going through.

Exactly.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2012, 11:52:16 AM »
We did go through a lot of the same questions when the previous sellers wanted out of the contract, but at least in their case there was a legitimate reason, even if it was that they were too stupid to figure out how much money they owed on their house before putting it on the market. Our lawyer told us that fighting that one would have been a lost cause in that even though we were within our rights to insist on going through with the contract, it's a very long, difficult and expensive process to force someone out of their primary residence when they own it and have not been delinquent in paying the mortgage, etc.

In this case, it's not a matter of the seller losing money. She in fact appears to own the house free & clear. as she has recently taken out a reverse mortgage. She simply feels that she was railroaded into making the sale (which doesn't even make sense, as the house has been on the market for some 3 years, and has come down to almost half of the original asking price). We do intend to pursue the sale, and she has, in fact, agreed once more to go ahead with it since this morning, but that's the second time in the past 3 days that she has flip-flopped on the matter and neither agent trusts her not to do it again. As of the moment, our agent is drafting an extensionhich would include a significant monetary penalty if she backs out yet again, and advised us not to take any calls from her. But we don't have caller id, so the best we can do is hang up on her if she calls back.

Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2012, 01:35:55 PM »
Out of curiosity, went to the sellers' website, which she had directed me to so I could "see what kind of people we are"

Here's a short(ish) quote referring to her struggle with Lyme disease  &)

Quote
In April of 2003, Susan was attacked physically and became very ill. She was at the brink of death many times, and went to over 40 doctors. No one knew what was happening to her; she eventually wound up in a wheel chair. So like the woman with the issue of blood in the New Testament, who had spent all her money on doctors, so the same happened to Susan, and her faith was strongly tested. The only words Susan heard from the Lord during this time was “Satan is trying to sift you like wheat, but I am praying for you that your faith fail not.” When she heard these words in her heart from The Lord, she also saw a vision of The Lord, Jesus/Yeshua sitting on His Throne, wearing a beautiful long red robe with braids of gold on His shoulders, and He was leaning forward looking down into the earth praying and interceding for His people, just as the bible says. So just as Jesus/Yeshua said to the woman in the bible, as she reached out to touch the hem of His garment “Woman, your faith has made you whole”, so too Susan’s faith had to reach out in a greater and stronger way.

As Susan sat in a wheel chair, unable to do very much, dreams and visions of her former dancing as a professional performer and her dance ministry for The Lord went through her mind. The dream of dancing for The Lord again became a prayer. Praying out of the book of Psalms, “God turns my mourning into dancing”, Susan began to stand and believe again to dance. Miraculously this prayer became a reality, and in dedication to God’s healing power, her first dance performance was out of Song of Songs, “Dance With Me”, where she portrays the bride of Messiah dancing with the bridegroom Yeshua. The story of Susan Nikirk’s healing is a miracle, and it has happened little by little, as she continued to stand on God’s Word, especially Isaiah 40:31


http://www.nikirkvoice.org/

Hopfully the house is not infested with these vibes! lol


Offline Traveler

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2012, 02:00:12 PM »
...Hopfully the house is not infested with these vibes! lol

Well, we could smudge the house with sage to clear the negative energy. Maybe the one woo would cancel out the other.  ;D Besides, sage smells kinda nice.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2012, 02:58:27 PM »
Buying a home is so stressful without the nuts.   So sorry you are facing all of this.

Now, let me see if I understand this.  She is 65 and has an 8 year old adopted daughter?

Now I'm an "older" adoptive mom myself, and I'm very rah rah about parenting later in life.  But that is really unusually old to be an adoptive parent. 

AND in 2003 she was near death and in a wheel chair?  And if I'm counting properly on my fingers here, this was the year before the kid was born?  But she (and various government bureaucracies) thought that this was a good time for her to become a parent? 

I clicked on your link and found the website and the adoption story.  She found a "Christian adoption agency?"  I am not surprised.  There is only one US adoption agency that I know of that would allow someone at that age, with such serious health problems, to be approved for an international adoption.  And they are indeed a "Christian" agency.  And they play dirty. 

This is someone who really knows how to work and manipulate systems. 

Yuck.  The whole story is yuck.

Glad you are writing in a penalty for changing her mind again.  I wish you luck.  Keep us updated. 

Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2012, 02:58:56 PM »
The part of that quote that puzzled me was 
Quote
The only words Susan heard from the Lord during this time was “Satan is trying to sift you like wheat, but I am praying for you that your faith fail not.”


So God is praying to himself to not have her faith fail her in this vision?

Offline Nick

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2012, 02:59:07 PM »
I guess God hates Lyme disease also.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline jetson

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2012, 08:04:56 PM »
Lyme disease!  Didn't that originate in CT?  I'd be nervous!

Offline Nick

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2012, 08:24:04 PM »
That would be the sh*ts to get Lyme disease and West Nile at the same time and have no health insurance.

I saw where 2 more died in Texas from West Nile (26 total now).  You can't even go outside now.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2012, 08:52:44 PM »
Soooo....It had seemed that all was progressing...she had agreed to go down and look for some places in Florida, and apparently hadn't found anything, but still went ahead with the appraisal, the home inspections (our cost), etc..but the other day, we got notice that she wanted to stay in the house until the end of the year. Which would cause a lot of turmoil as far a scheduling, etc, on our end, and we were not ready to put up with being jerked around like that without a fight, and expected her to show due diligence in living up to the contract.

And we get a call from our lawyer, after he talked to hers today, saying she has no intention of showing due diligence, and doesn't care whether she is in breach of contract, but she has every intention of staying in the house until the end of the year...and while we might even be willing to bite the bullet on that if it meant getting the house, there is no guarantee that she has any plans on vacating after that point, and fighting her on it would likely be a 3-5 year, megabucks battle.

So, likely we will have to look for a THIRD house in the past 2 monts.

The most aggravating thing about this, to me, is that she is such a holy roller (see link to her & soon-to-be-ex-husband's ministry upthread)...Apparently she doesn't make a move without consulting god. Her realtor even went so far as to pray with her, for an extended period of time, as to whether to accept our offer on the house. Then she took a couple of weekends off to pray about it before agreeing to move ahead with the sale each time. And now, one would assume, god told her, "oh, never mind...I don't think you should move out of there after all".  Or something. I'm about ready to throttle someone.

Offline Quesi

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2012, 09:16:16 PM »
I'm so sorry to hear this bad news. 

Do you think that if G-d sent her an email, she might change her mind?

BTW - what is the end of the year?  The calendar year, or the school year? 

Offline Chronos

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2012, 09:20:28 PM »
In this economy, it strikes me as stupid that anybody backs out of a home sale, but it seems to be happening more in this real estate market than the same one 5 years ago.


If she accepted your bid and you gave a deposit, she should owe you back for any expenses you incurred as you attempted to hold up your end of the bargain.


John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Nick

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2012, 11:00:28 PM »
I would not want the house if that God spirit was haunting it.  You are better off looking for a normal place. ;)
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2012, 11:12:31 PM »
The calendar year, Quesi...She is determined to be in there until the end of December, but we have no clue as to whether she will change her mind at that point and tell us that now she wants to stay indefinitely. And we have sold our house here in the meantime, and close on it Oct 12, so we will need to be out of it and living in hotels for a while. We can stay with my parents in CT for a little while after my husband starts his next tour up there, but it's a fairly long commute, and we also have two cats & a dog to worry about, so finding our own place will definitely not be something we want to waste time on.

We're planning on trying to get back the expenses incurred in this...at least the $5000 earnest money should not be a problem, but mortgage fees, home inspections, etc, have all been adding up, to say nothing of the non-refundable flights already booked to be up there for the closing...But those are the sort of amounts that would probably be better battled in small claims court where legal fees won't eat it all up anyway.

Oh, and, Nick...don't think that hadn't occurred to me...I think it's the one thing keeping me feeling as though there could be a bright side to all this :)
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 11:14:57 PM by jynnan tonnix »

Offline Chronos

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2012, 04:11:29 AM »
If you settle on the house on Oct 12, just put her exit date in the contract and if she doesn't leave at the end of the year (or whatever date you agree to), then evict her. Also, make sure she pays you a nice deposit for her stay as a tenant and that she obtains renters insurance with at least $500K liability. *edit* Also make sure that you get insurance for renting to a tenant, rather than standard homeowners insurance -- you would convert back to homeowners insurance once you are occupying the house.

I'm not even looking to buy a house but I would be totally pissed off if somebody puts their house on the market, accepts an offer and then starts thinking that they don't really want to move. She should have thought about that before putting her house on the market.

« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 04:44:11 AM by Chronos »
John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2012, 04:35:48 AM »
I can't even come close to offering any legal advice, because all I know is UK law.  Here, we get to the exchange of contracts which will specify a date for taking possession - once you're at that stage, you pretty much CAN'T pull out (on either side).  If you choose to stick around, you will be sitting in someone else's house and can be (fairly!) simply chucked out.

I don't know how far along you are with contracts there - has she signed anything legally binding yet?  What does the contract currently say - are there dates in it?

In some circumstances, I'd say to go for it hard - but my worry here would be that if she is well known in the area through the ministry, when you DO win you will move into an area that has been subjected to several months of how shabbily this poor Christian lady has been treated by the new owners, which would take a while to come back from even if you didn't turn out to be godless heathens.

I wish you all the best.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2012, 07:00:03 AM »
Yes, the contracts are all signed, and the closing date is supposed to be Oct 19, but her lawyer basically says that she is not going to close; she is staying in the house, she doesn't care that she's in breach of contract and go ahead and sue her...because evicting someone from their own house is a good three year process which will cost megabucks on both sides, and she's basically gambling that we don't have that kind of time or money to go after her for it. Which is true.

So, basically we are looking at some sort of last ditch effort at trying to work out whether or not she will be willing to move after the first of the year, because it would probably take us close to that long to find and close on another place anyway, and we are not seeing any other houses we like nearly as much, but are not willing to be jerked around any more with her constant flip-flopping on whether she can move or not. She sort of claims that she just needs the extra time to find a new place for herself & her daughter, but I just don't trust her not to dig her heels in when the new date for her to clear out of there rolls around. And the lawyer she has isn't even a real-estate guy...he seems to be more of a litigation lawyer who is all about posturing and blackmail, and, of course, is not giving any hint of where the bottom line for her might be.

Our lawyer says he's never seen a case like this before, and we have had two sellers in the past couple of months sign contracts to sell, then back out. The first one we let go because they had just been dumb enough not to have realized how much money they had to make on their house not to be in a short-sale situation, and it turned out that they couldn't afford to sell it for the price we had agreed on. But this woman is just being obstinate.

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2012, 07:28:38 AM »
If you settle on the house on Oct 12, just put her exit date in the contract and if she doesn't leave at the end of the year (or whatever date you agree to), then evict her. Also, make sure she pays you a nice deposit for her stay as a tenant and that she obtains renters insurance with at least $500K liability. *edit* Also make sure that you get insurance for renting to a tenant, rather than standard homeowners insurance -- you would convert back to homeowners insurance once you are occupying the house.

I am not a lawyer, but this is basically the same thing I was thinking.  If all the contracts are signed and dated and everything is set, then once the agreed-upon date has arrived, she will legally be living in your house, in which case you can either treat her as a tenant or as a trespasser/squatter.  Personally, I'd go with criminal charges.  It would probably be less expensive in the long run and would also likely be a more frightening prospect for her (and thus more likely to get her to comply).  I'd simply go to the police, show them all the legal documentation, and explain to them that you are now the owner of the house and that the person who used to own it is simply refusing to move out of it after having sold it to you of her own free will.  That's simply not kosher, no matter how you slice it.

Of course, talk to your lawyer about all of this before you take any action.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #25 on: September 20, 2012, 07:46:03 AM »
because evicting someone from their own house is a good three year process .....

.....once the agreed-upon date has arrived, she will legally be living in your house.....

This is the bit that - being neither a lawyer nor a US citizen - I get confused over.  What happens on the date in the contract?  Specifically, what happens to the money?  There's this escrow thing I've heard of....how does that work?

Where I'm confused is that jynnan is saying that - after the date in the legal contract - the system still regards it as the old lady's house.  I can't understand that - surely that can't be right?  Otherwise anyone could say "yeah, I'll sell you my house", take the money, and then just sit tight for several years.  I think THAT is the point you need specific legal advice on - at what point is the house YOURS....and what would happen if - for example - once it WAS yours you simply hammered down the front door, chucked all her stuff on the pavement, and moved your stuff in?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #26 on: September 20, 2012, 07:57:17 AM »
Where I'm confused is that jynnan is saying that - after the date in the legal contract - the system still regards it as the old lady's house.  I can't understand that - surely that can't be right?  Otherwise anyone could say "yeah, I'll sell you my house", take the money, and then just sit tight for several years.

I wouldn't think so, no.  I mean, if I'm selling a used car, you say you'll buy it, and I agree to sell it to you and take your money, I can't tell you that I'll give it to you when I feel like giving it to you and keep driving it for another year.  I have to turn it over at the time of sale -- or, in this case, at the agreed-upon time of transfer.

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I think THAT is the point you need specific legal advice on - at what point is the house YOURS....

Right, I'm not a lawyer, either -- and I again second the notion that legal advice is needed -- but from what I do know, in my layperson's grasp of the law, it doesn't appear to me that there is any legal justification by which the current owner can continue to claim ownership after October 19th.  JT has said that all the forms are signed, everything is all set, and the current owner (and her lawyer) have freely acknowledged that she will be in breach of contract if she continues to remain in the house after that date; i.e., they both know that she has no legal leg to stand on, but she's going to do it anyway.

Which makes me wonder, by the way... if she's in breach of contract and her lawyer is aware of it, acknowledges it, and is going to continue to assist her in violating the terms of the contract she signed, would the bar be interested in hearing about this lawyer's behavior?  Sounds like a possible ethical violation to me.  Couldn't hurt to call the bar and ask.  (Again, after checking with your own lawyer, of course.)
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline Hatter23

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #27 on: September 20, 2012, 02:05:44 PM »
Which makes me wonder, by the way... if she's in breach of contract and her lawyer is aware of it, acknowledges it, and is going to continue to assist her in violating the terms of the contract she signed, would the bar be interested in hearing about this lawyer's behavior?  Sounds like a possible ethical violation to me.  Couldn't hurt to call the bar and ask.  (Again, after checking with your own lawyer, of course.)

Yeah but person to person contract law is set aside for all sort of emotional crap and any good lawyer knows it.

An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

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Re: house hunting woes and religious nuts
« Reply #28 on: September 20, 2012, 02:17:21 PM »
Yeah but person to person contract law is set aside for all sort of emotional crap and any good lawyer knows it.

Yes, that's true, I didn't think of that.  Ah, well.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn