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Fear of Commitment

A seller needs a buyer to confirm that her mortgage commitment is solid, so that he may advance two months’ rent plus an equal amount in security for an apartment. But a buyer, knowing how reluctant lenders are to close nowadays, and mindful of all the things that might go wrong, refuses to do anything more than state “It’s as firm as can be nowadays.”

The contract requires a provision of a “firm” (non-conditional) commitment, but the penalty for refusing to do so is to either deem the buyer in default and wrangle over the downpayment (not in anyone’s best interests) or refund the downpayment and declare that the deal has died because the buyer hasn’t fulfilled her contractual obligations on time (not in the seller’s best interests). 

If I force my client’s position, the deal might die. And if I don’t, it still might. One way, my client loses the money from the sale of the house. The other, he loses upward of $7,000. Talk about being between the proverbial rock and a hard place. 


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