What Do You Do When the Buyer or Seller Doesn’t Show at Closing?

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Casa Santuraio ext frontYears ago, I sold my home on Park Lane after living there for more than ten years. We agreed on a sales price and yes, like most home sellers, it was less than what I wanted, less than what I thought my home was worth. But I agreed to the sales price and the terms and signed the contract.

Then, one night as I wandered my home, taking inventory of all I had to pack up — some closets could not even be opened because they were jammed with toys, Legos, Hoovercrafts, Fuze Ball tables, dolls, games, you name it, — I called my agent and said the most chilling words an agent can hear:

“Can you get me out of this contract?”

I was what you might call the client from hell. The man had spent THREE YEARS marketing my home, was about to net a commission after pouring thousands of dollars of his own funds into the marketing and so many Open houses I lost count.

Then I ask him to get me out of an executed contract.

Well, that has SORT OF of happened in Austin. Only in this case, the seller just didn’t show at closing.

Recall the auction of the 9700 square foot Tarrytown estate on five acres, Casa Santuario? According to the Austin Business Journal, the seller did not show up for the closing on March 12.

Concierge Auctions founder and co-director Laura Brady told Austin Business Journal staff writer Jan Buchholz that “we’re all very surprised that she did not honor her agreement.”

Brady also said that in all her years of owning and operating Concierge, selling luxury real estate across the globe, nothing like this has ever happened.

So Concierge did what I guess they had to do to protect their company: they filed a lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court on March 13. According to the ABJ story , Concierge claims the owner of the home, Kimberly Granger, broke the contract she signed with the winning bidder at the auction to sell her home at 2600 Kenmore Court for the high bid amount of $7.5 million. The home had been listed for as much as $15 million, and had been on the market for a long time.

“On March 12, 2014, Granger intentionally, willfully, and knowingly refused to close the sale. Because the failure to close was due to intentional actions of Granger and her agents, pursuant to the (Auction Marketing Agreement), Concierge is entitled to be compensated by Granger for it’s services in connection with the auction in an amount not less than $645,000.”

Concierge is also asking for the court to award “punitive damages in an amount no less than $1 million.”

Concierge says they did their part: the five week marketing campaign for the home generated 8,200 website visits from 49 states and 75 foreign countries, 176 open house visits and 84 showings of the property. The buyer, who was not identified, is from Austin.

Here is the full statement from Concierge Auctions:

Concierge Auctions vs. Casa Santuario Owner Kimberly Granger


Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for Forbes.com, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature CandysDirt.com, and SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

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