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How to back out of a contract. The home has open permits

I put a contract on a house that has open permits, my realtor told me that he knows a title company that will give me a clean title by the time of the closing. This ready sounds illegal, of course all this information was given to me after I signed the contract. I made a phone call to the county permits office for which they said nothing has been done to the permits and they still remain open. I feel defrauded and I want to back out of this contract how can I go about doing that and not lose 3,000 I've already given as a down payment. Please help.
  • August 21 2013 - Miami
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Answers (5)

You need to contact an attorney who specializes in real estate. No amount of advice will help you when you are already involved in something that sounds sketchy at best. It will be money well spent and an atty may be able to help you get your money back if this wasn't disclosed properly.
  • August 21 2013
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Just because someone obtained a building permit does not mean they actually have to do a construction project.

What were the permits for?  Required correction work?  A building addition?  Plumbing, heating, electrical, roofing?  Was the work actually done and the inspections just weren't completed?  Was the work started and never finished?

You need more details from the building department before knowing where the property stands.  Most permits expire in about 1 year if the work is not done, requiring a new permit to present codes if one wants to do that project.
  • August 21 2013
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It does sound a bit shady.
If you like and still want the property why not just move forward and have the owner finish the work if that is what is needed and then have the town come out to inspect and close the permit. If the work is not up to current code then the seller will need to repair it or you can back out.    
Find out just what is open like Pasedenan suggested. is it for plumbing, electrical, structural?? 
 Hopefully in your offer/contract you have a inspection clause. If something is wrong then you can legally back out and are entitled to your deposit. Be careful some contracts have monetary limits so you cannot back out unless the cost to repair is over "X".
  Another approach is to renegotiate. If you back out the seller will still need to close those permits.  Some lenders will not write a mortgage on a property with open permits.
  If you still have trouble backing with your agent not letting you back out then do contact a RE attorney.  Good luck
  • August 21 2013
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Most cased there are contingencies in the Contract. Home inspection and Buyer investigations. If you find something you don't like you can cancel the deal and get your deposit back. Conigencies usually have a timeline associated with it. Here in Northern California Default contingency is 17 days. I usually shorten it.

This should protect you.
  • August 21 2013
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In light of this discovery I would ask for an addendum to the purchase agreement or an addendum to the inspection if within inspection contingency and ask that all permitted work be completed within a reasonable amount of time and that all permitted work be inspected by the proper inspector and stamped completed prior to closing. It would be a reasonable request allowing for reasonable resolve.
  • August 21 2013
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