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$165K with $5K toward closing. Told no for $2K more offered on the zillow site. Legal?

contract was made without knowledge of zillow site saying they'd give us $2K for closing or a card.  When I asked for the extra $2K, I was told it would be included in the $5K already for closing.  I asked what if I only pay $160K for house and ask for the $2K promised by zillow.  No response.  Can they get away with this?  Is it legal?
  • February 23 2012 - Catonsville
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Answers (4)

Hi Annefox,

Although it is hard to decipher your question, I think Randolph got it right.

That being said, compare it to a car purchase. You roll into the dealership, cut a deal, and drive off in your new car. When get home, you find an ad in your newspaper offering a $500 dollar rebate, however, you negotiated $1000 in rebate....would you feel they owed you an additional 500?
You did great getting 3000 more in closing costs than offered, congratulations!
  • February 23 2012
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Without knowing all the details of the transaction it is hard to say if an action is legal or not legal.  Maybe this will help.

Sounds like you made an offer without seeing the listing ad on Zillow.  Apparently the Zillow ad stated the buyer would get a $2,000.00 credit towards closing.   Without seeing the ad you made an offer and negotiated a closing cost amount of $5,000.00.  Sometime after your initial offer you saw the Zillow ad and decided that you should ask for the $2,000.00 listed in the ad; and you wanted it added to the $5,000.00 both sides had already agreed to.  The additional $2,000.00 would bring the total closing cost credit to you to a grand total of $7,000.00.

Assuming I have the basics right, I see a few concerns.

If you needed $7,000.00 in closing help you should have asked for it in your initial offer.

Keep in mind the $2,000.00 you saw was most likely coming from the seller and not from Zillow.  If you saw something saying Zillow would give you the $2,000.00 them you should contact Zillow but I doubt you saw such an ad.

Assuming the ad referenced the seller paying $2,000.00 in closing I would say you did well to get $5,000.00.  The selling side delivered above and beyond what was advertising even if you did not see the ad before making your offer.  Sometimes it pays not to see ads, you may have asked for a mere $2,000.00 if you had seen it.

If you want to try to hold the seller to the amount specified in the Zillow ad then maybe the closing amount should be reduce from $5,000.00 to $2,000.00 so the seller can live up to their ad.   Just another way to look at it.

If you have already agreed to the terms in writing and all parties have signed verifying their agreement I would venture to say that it sounds like the seller has acted in good faith and has done nothing wrong.

Good luck, hope that helps.

  • February 23 2012
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Your question or comment is very confusing to say the least. Zillow has nothing to do with any contract so I am confused by even mentioning it. Do you have a real contract or an offer, they are very different. It sounds like you are still negotiating which makes me think you just have an offer and not a firm, binding, agreed on contract. Everything is legal until a court says it isn't.
  • February 23 2012
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You "made" a contract, so the agreement is in place and you can't change it without both parties agreeing.

Zillow doesn't "promise" anything, it is merely a website and not a party to a transaction.
  • February 23 2012
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