I have a client interested in buying a house for cash that he can rent out (he’s a smart guy and the numbers do work for him). A transaction is put together on Monday and the sellers’ demand is to close by next week, per an agreement with his lender to avoid foreclosure and accept less funds than due.
Stating that I cannot advise my client on the real likelihood of closing quickly without at least seeing the sellers’ documentation, the seller’s attorney and listing agent promised me I’d see the docs by Wednesday.
So yesterday I get scans of the docs and find that the Certificate of Occupancy (CO), squished down to barely a quarter-page, seems to be for 76 Main Street, when my client is buying 78 Main Street (I enlarged the document 400x on my copy machine). Lots of questions immediately came to my mind: A) Did the Town originally make a mistake, which will take some time and effort to correct? B) Is there really no CO for this house, which will take a whole lot of time and effort and expense to obtain? C) Who knew there was no CO or that it contained an error—the present sellers, or their sellers in 2006? D) Did the present sellers get taken, and never realized the mistake, or are they part of a chain of sellers who have tried to perpetuate a fraud? E) Who shrunk the original document down to such a miniscule size that the number is barely discernable?
I sent the enlarged version to the seller’s attorney and agent, asking for a correction or an explanation, and four hours later the deal was declared “dead”. Funny, isn’t it?