Caution! A loopy party at closing could be trouble later

Flickr photo by TCDC Media

A friend of mine mentioned a couple of weeks ago that a shareholder has an accepted offer for a larger unit in his building.

The obese elderly seller was then in the hospital, in all likelihood terminally ill.  Until her most recent hospitalization, she required home care and, when alone, made inappropriate requests of my friend, who lives down the hall.

His account reminded me of a situation years ago, when I had a listing in Washington, D.C.  The seller also was a women, and she was about as close to bonkers as anyone else who ought to be institutionalized or at least heavily medicated.

Had I tuned into her psyche sooner, I wouldn’t have taken the listing.

Although I was able to get her to dispose of the items cluttering her apartment only at literally the last minute, I had failed to reduce the endlessly frequent and long telephone calls that had consumed inordinate amounts of  my time, energy and patience until the moment the transaction was closed.  Given the condition of her poor excuse of an apartment, it was a miracle that anyone had wanted to buy it.

She was a study in conflict.

When it came time for the settlement, I was unable to attend–for a reason I cannot now recall.  Was it that she insisted that I be absent?  I just don’t remember, perhaps conveniently.

So, my sales manager at the time filled in for me, with her and the attorneys recognizing how dangerous it would be to close with someone so unstable.  Should the sale be challenged later on the basis of her her questionable competency, the ramifications would be costly and draining.

What they did was question her closely of her knowledge that she actually was going to sell her property so as to mitigate any backsliding and, of course, lawsuits later.

In the case of my friend’s neighbor, who reportedly has no will, I wonder whether the same sort of caution also isn’t indicated.

I easily can imagine the woman’s heirs contesting the sale at some point, causing the buyer undue amounts of grief and needlessly large sums of money paid to the buyer’s attorney.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site

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