Saturday, March 8, 2014

You Can't Make This Shit Up - Chapter House Sellling

Puerto Rico is almost like the Thunderdome...easy to go in to but you may not make it out! As we started to try to prepare for the day the house would sell we ran into all the ridiculous scenarios that are typical for here - the ones you can not foresee because of their ludicrousness.

Within 3 weeks of listing the house we had our first "buyer." I kind of suspected he didn't know how the loan thing worked/doesn't work so I suggested they were already having problems and that it wasn't going to work out. I explained EVERYTHING. "No, no" they say - "there is no problem with the bank."  We get earnest money and a contract and they change jobs at the beginning, don't tell us, appraiser never comes, bank never calls and the contract runs out. Then they expect the money back (despite them breaking a contract in 3 places - the contract THEY had made). In that time buyer two wants the house so we try to make a contract that will kick into place when the first one expires (so WE don't break it). People reconsider after seeing tax ramifications when they try to liquidate retirement accounts. Buyer three visits a bunch, spends time in and near the house and purchases it!

Before the paperwork can be done...after over thinking all the possible problems...there turns out to be one SO bizarre you'd never see it coming in a million years. When we purchased the house 2 years ago we paid off the previous owner's loan at Scotia Bank and paid them the rest of the price. This is the process...the bank has up to 120 days to process the NOTE even though they have already cleared the debt so things can be sold. At that time they give the note back to the ORIGINAL owner (not the new one) who is supposed to go pay for stamps (in this case $1,600) and THEN THEY give the NOTE to the new owner. There are several problems with this scenario. 1) why would the old owner do this? they now have no interest in the property 2) what if they die or in our case they go to Panama-address- unknown? 3) you HAVE TO HAVE this ORIGINAL (we had a copy and the lawyer had a copy) to resell the house. Our title search said we owned the house, no liens, no debts...but we couldn't sell it without this piece of paper. So we have a buyer but now, if the original piece of paper can't be found we will have to go to court (3 months) to get a new one issued. Bye-bye buyer. Thankfully, in true PR style, the bank (in San Juan 2 1/2 nasty-drive hours away) happens to have never done anything with this paper so off we go to collect it two years later. This is the exact reason everything is vacant...nothing can be sold without bizarre relative agreements (inheritance laws) and THAT PAPER. So yes, if you can find a house where the owners HAVE this paper and it is in the registry then yes you can buy something here....but getting out? Lots of obstacles. (to be continued)

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