Payments scare home buyers into canceling deal

DEAR BOB: Can a home builder force us to buy the home? Wehave reached our boiling points with our builder. The mortgage monthly paymentsare too high and we decided not to purchase the home –Chandra K.

DEAR CHANDRA: Of course, you can’t be “forced” tobuy a house you don’t want.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

However, if you signed a valid purchase contract that wasaccepted by the home builder, you can be held liable to the builder formonetary damages due to your unjustified breach-of-contract damages.

Surely, before you signed a purchase contract with thebuilder you knew what your monthly mortgage payments would be.

If you got “cold feet” while waiting for your newhome to be completed and changed your mind about completing the purchase, youcan be held liable to the builder for damages due to your cancellation of thepurchase contract. Before defaulting, I suggest you consult a local real estateattorney to discuss your choices.

HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR DEED WAS RECORDED

DEAR BOB: How do I know if my deed was recorded? Doesn’tthat get taken care of after signing the closing papers? I bought mycondominium on Sept. 28, 2005. But I haven’t received any proof that I own it.Shouldn’t I have received the deed or something in the mail showing my deed wasrecorded? –Gay N.

DEAR GAY: The exact procedures vary by locality. In moststates, the local recorder of deeds now makes a digital record of the deed asit is recorded. Then the original is usually mailed to the owner or to themortgage lender whose name and address appears on the deed.

My experience has been this can take several weeks or evenmonths, depending on how busy the recorder of deeds is. But you should havereceived proof of the recording long ago.

If you ordered an owner’s title insurance policy at the timeof purchase, as you should have, then you’d have received that title policy,which shows you now own the condominium. In addition, you should have a copy ofthe closing settlement papers.

I suggest you contact the firm that handled your titletransfer. Maybe it is holding the deed from the recorder’s office.

However, in “title theory” states, the mortgagelender often holds the deed until the mortgage or deed of trust obligation ispaid in full. But it won’t hurt to follow up now to learn where your deed islocated and to be sure was properly recorded.

DO CO-JOINED DRIVEWAYS LOWER A HOME’S VALUE?

DEAR BOB: I have lived in my house 27 years and never thoughta co-joined driveway was detrimental, but this all came to an end when a newowner moved in next door. He immediately converted his garage to a live-in unitand rented it out. Then he installed a swimming pool. Now he invites 25 guestsat a time when the weather is good. They fill his driveway to capacity andspill out into the street. He rents out other bedrooms. Now the house has nogarage. There are always four or more cars parked in our co-joined driveway. Isthis detrimental to my home’s value? –Colin W.

DEAR COLIN: I am not sure what you mean by “co-joineddriveways.” If you own half of the shared driveway, and the neighbor ownsthe other half, with the lot boundary line down the middle, what would stop youfrom erecting a chain link fence down the middle of the wide driveway?

Of course, before doing that be sure to check your title tobe certain you and the neighbor don’t have mutual easements to use each other’shalf of the driveway.

Have you had a polite conversation with the new neighbor todiscuss your concerns? Maybe he is not aware of the problems he is creating foryou. In the conversation, don’t threaten but just point out the problems allthe cars parked in the driveway are causing.

Before you take any action, such as contacting the city aboutthe conversion of the garage to a residential unit without a building permit,or erecting a fence down the middle of the shared driveway along the lotboundary, please consult a local real estate attorney to determine your legalrights.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “When It’s Smartto Prepay or Refinance Your Mortgage,” is now available for $5 from RobertBruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736or instant Internet delivery at www.BobBruss.com.Questions for this column are welcome at either address.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center
).

Copyright 2006 Inman News

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