A TRUE STORY – From the dream to the nightmare – Part 2

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Last week we began to tell you a story about a French couple looking for a house in Portugal and, suddenly, because of a missing document, the bank is not closing the loan and they entered into a spiral of problems and ….

How do they get there?

Sylvie and Laurent contacted several Real Estate agencies, looking for their dream house but after a while they decided to stay with one agent in particular as he didn’t save efforts to show them alternatives during the 2 years they were preparing the move to Portugal.

This persistence convinced the couple that the agent will follow their wishes and interests and there would be no need to have support from anyone else.

He was so nice,thoughtful and available, to the point whenever they travel to Portugal to see housing options, they even had dinner and spend leisure time together. A real friend.

True, by the end of summer, they find the ideal place to live with the children: in the city center, traditional architecture, fully refurbished, a beautiful outside yard and – great news – within their budget. Their friend, the Real Estate agent, found their dream home.

With an obvious reinforced trust, the agent assured them they don’t need to worry with paperwork for he would take care of everything to close the deal for them: documents, contracts, deed and all necessary bureaucracy.

Remembering it as they unfold the story to us, Sylvie and Laurent both shiver with shock and anger!

In the fall of last year, they got the mentioned call from the bank, referring the missing document.

Not understanding why (after all, everything was being taken care of by their friend  agent), they question the agent. Irritated, he replied, that the bank is wrong, no document is needed and that he will sort out the issue just in time of the deed date.

But the bank keeps on demanding the document as a condition to complete the deed and the agent is now silent.

They were living in a touristic apartment with the children, waiting to move for the new home and, on the planned day of the deed, their belongings are arriving from France, to be delivered to? the new house.

Time goes by and the deed is still suspended. They decide to require the help of a lawyer and the nightmare really begins: the bank was correct. There was a difference in area that was not permitted by law.

They made an amendment to the contract to allow them to move in until the problem could be sorted out.

The problem was that during the refurbishment the seller added some square meters to the initial house area. This was supposed to be approved by the municipality but was not even submitted, therefore making it an illegal area addition. With the added conclusion that even if the permit were requested, the city hall never would approve it as it was against the municipality plan for that neighborhood.  The dream house was not sellable as it was.

The only way out would be to terminate the contract and receiving the down payment in double, in accordance with Portuguese law. But they had a new surprise, as the promissory contract only considered the return of the down payment, not the penalty.

Facing the inflexibility of the seller, they started a legal battle against the seller and the agent, still running.

After the winter, the couple moved to a rented flat because their “dream house” had serious humidity problems, mold and water flowing from a newly built wall.

Creepy? Off course.

What mistakes can we identify in this true story?

  • The seller makes illegal improvements
  • The Real Estate agent didn’t verify the legal conditions of the property
  • The promissory contract, made by the agent, reduced the rights of the buyer granted by Portuguese law, which was not told to the foreign buyer.

What is the best thing in this story? The fact that the couple needed a loan to buy the house and the bank did do their job. If not …

But there is an original sin here. Which allowed everything that could go wrong, actually went wrong:

The buyer couple believed that they were the Real Estate “client” and that the latter would look after his interests. Nothing could be more untrue. The agent “put them in his heart”, spent 2 years searching and made them believe in the impossible.

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