Disappearing Buyer

Could use some advice. What do you do in the case of the missing buyer. This transaction has been under contract for two months and everything proceeded just fine until about one week before closing. The buyer just disappeared. He is not returning the phone calls of his attorney, his mortgage company or his Realtor.  Needless to say my clients have already packed and quit their jobs in anticpation of the move to another state, have already moved half their items. What do you do in the case of the missing buyer?

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Comment balloon 7 commentsBobbie Smith • January 03 2007 06:04PM


I've never had anyone that disappeared while under contract like this.  Has the attorney contacted him to let him know that he could be sued for specific performance?  It's possible, if the closing date hasn't been reached yet, that he is just all packed and away from his phone, and hopefully will pop up soon!
Posted by Chris Tesch, College Station, Texas Real Estate (RE/MAX Bryan-College Station) over 12 years ago

Get the advice from your broker asap.  I had one disappear on me and I was the buyers side.  She was a relo and simply disappeared.  I only had her cell ohone and she shut it off.  Sadly, my broker had not informed me the EM, which was a wire, never hit the account, and I didn't check to make sure it had arrived. Stupid!

I ended up having to pay the $5k in EM to the sellers!!!

And certainly, make sure you keep the sellers informed of your efforts.  Don't let yourself get blamed for the problem.

Good luck.

Posted by Keith Jeppson - Salt Lake City Real Estate (Everest Realty Group) over 12 years ago
I like Keith's suggestion about approaching your broker and especially keeping the sellers informed.  At this point I would used certified mail for all correspondence and would start by sending a letter to every known address for the missing buyer.  Also, keep very detailed notes concerning all developments and phone conversations.  Protect yourself by assuming this case will result in litigation and act accordingly. I've had similar problems on the sellers side.  Once or twice I had a seller die and had at least one seller disappear.  Specific performance is always an option, but is sometime a practical impossibility due to cost considerations and other factors.  Good luck on this one, it's a tough situation. 
Posted by Ed Rybczynski, Your Source for Local Real Estate (Integrity Real Estate) over 12 years ago
Thanks everyone. Appreciate the support. Will let you know how it works out.
Posted by Bobbie Smith, 570-242-1891 over 12 years ago
When the contract expires I bet they reappear when title needs a signature for EMD release!
Posted by Renée Donohue~Home Photography, Western Michigan Real Estate Photographer (Savvy Home Pix) over 12 years ago

Funny, Renee, you are probably right on the money with that comment.  All of the sudden, it will be "What, you couldn't reach us?  We were here the whole time?  There must be a problem with your phone.  We were wondering why you didn't try to call us, etc. etc. etc." 

I have done enough collection work to know when I am being avoided.  You need to proceed formally at this point and in accordance with the express terms contained in the contract.  If there is a deposit, take formal steps to seek to have it forfeited.

Posted by Stefan Scholl, Northern Michigan Real Estate (Buyer's Broker of Northern Michigan, LLC) over 12 years ago
Document the times/dates of your phone calls in your file or in your database.  We ended up in court for a similiar situation and our written record played an important part for one of the parties.
Posted by Linda Davis (RE/MAX Home Team) over 12 years ago