Question:

Dear Rabbonim,

I agreed to sell a house at a certain price by negotiation mostly on WhatsApp. The buyer who is also Jewish told me that he wanted to send round a structural engineer and a mortgage valuer as he was applying for bridging finance to buy my house. He also wrote that the sale would be subject to his lawyer approving the contract. Further I wrote to him on WhatsApp asking for confirmation that he accepted certain conditions that I wanted putting into the contract. He did not give me such confirmation. I also asked his lawyer for such confirmation but it was not received by me. Before the buyer sent round a structural engineer, and before he sent round a mortgage valuer, and before a contract was even sent out by my lawyer to his lawyer, since my lawyer was on holiday for two weeks at the time in question, I withdrew from the sale. The buyer then claimed that on the basis of my agreeing to sell to him on WhatsApp, that he sold his house at a lower price in the previous two weeks and signed a contract for the sale of same without telling me and now he had nowhere to live. He blamed me. Although he had previously led me to believe that he needed to sell his house, that he was applying for bridging finance, and that he needed to send round a structural engineer and mortgage valuer, none of this was now necessary for him following the sale of his house, since he no longer needed bridging finance.

It seems to me that since in my mind it was possible that the buyer could withdraw if he received a bad structural engineer’s report or a bad mortgage valuation or a bad mortgage offer or if his lawyer didn’t approve the contract, that I could also withdraw. Is that correct?

Could my withdrawal from the sale bring on me a mishapara?

Thanks for your time in dealing with my question.

All the best,

Answer:

Before answering a question of this type bear in mind that it is only based on you versoin of the story, so it can’t be viewed as a real answer.

What you are describing would not bring a mishepara because no money was given, etc. However what may be more applicable is if it is “mechusar amana” (being untrustworthy), and even that would not apply here. This is since (according to what you are describing) he did not fully agree to buy the house from you, because his mortgage appraiser or structural engineer might say that it is only worth half the price that you are asking and he would then certainly back out of the sale.

Sources:

Choshen MIshpat 204-2,6,7, Pischei Choshen (Kinyanim) 1-2 ftnt. 4.

Tags: honesty sale

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