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Real Estate: Texas/One to four residential contract binding to seller?


We signed & the seller signed a contract to purchase a home May 1, 2013.  We got inspections, etc. put earnest money down, option period expired & we want to go forward with purchase.  The seller is a widow & will receive half of proceeds.  Her husband died without a will & his kids will get half of the proceeds.  His kids are now saying they want more for the house & are trying to increase the price on the house.   Attorneys for both the widow & kids have looked at the contract & had to call in an appraiser to make the final decision.  Appraiser said the house was worth about $15,000 more.   My question:  Do we have a valid enforceable contract at the lower price?  Thank you.

You have a binding contract to purchase 1/2 of the property at that price.  The other 1/2 owner has not agreed to your price nor have they signed a contract.  The only possibility is that the widow may have the right to sell the property for the children but I doubt that provision is in the will - but it could be if they are only entitled to 1/2 the proceeds instead of 1/2 ownership in the property.  There is a big difference there.

You need someone to review the will conveying the interest.  The title company that is closing the deal will be able to tell you whether she has a right to contract to sell the home without the children. It is a sticky deal but I would ask the attorney:

1. Who has vested title in the ownership of the property?  (Or, who has to sign to sell the property)
2. Why only 1/2 the sellers agreed to sell and not the other half and why didn't the widow disclose that she was only 1/2 owner.
3. I would call the realtor board in Austin and see about someone down there looking into this situation so you do not lose your earnest money and the "benefit of the bargain" that the widow signed.

You have a valid contract with the widow for 1/2 but she should have told you she didn't have complete authority to sell...BIG disclosure problem there.  You may have to increase 1/2 the offer to get it from the kids if they will not sell at that agreed upon price.

I would get help on this one and make some threats to get it to go through.

Cliff Williams

Real Estate: Texas

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Cliff Williams


Questions related to ownership and transfer of title in real property within the State of Texas. I can answer general questions related to real property in other states but I will be specific with anyone asking a Texas real property question.


Texas Title Attorney

Bachelor of Business Management and a Law Degree from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in Fort Worth. Member of the Tarrant County Bar, Dallas County Bar, and Texas State Bar.

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