Yesterday I started to recount some of the components of a closing that qualified it as one of my all-time worst. Today I’ll share a little more.
The sellers were not present at the closing. After all, they weren’t getting a nickel out of the deal, so why bother to attend, even if the whole transaction was for their benefit? However, they were not represented by counsel, which, upon reflection, should not have come as a shock to me. Even though the original contract was sent out under the letterhead of an attorney, I never once received an answer to a call, fax, or email directed to her. A paralegal, J, always intercepted (and about halfway through the deal, she started using a new phone number and switched email from the firm’s account to J@gmail.com).
The sellers had conferred upon J and the real estate agent, M, a general Power of Attorney—not limited to the transaction, but usable anytime, anyplace! Did they know they had granted such power? I can speculate here this evidenced a lack of understanding on the sellers’ part as to what they were signing, a deficiency of counseling explaining the document put before them, or a shortage of concern on sellers’ part as to who does what in their names.
So J and M, both without adequate training or licensing, but with total power to be standing in for sellers, were trying to make the closing numbers acceptable to the sellers’ mortgage holders and avoid the designated 48 hour window of approval on changes (promising “more money,” as I related yesterday, was not persuasive). They decided to erase the actual figures from a federally required closing document (already signed by both the buyer and the lender’s counsel), and write in new numbers!Protestations were scorned outright. There would be no consequences to altering a federal document, or disclosing false information to a bank, brayed both J & M. What could anyone do to them?