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They’re Way Out Of Lien

, , , , , , | Right | April 4, 2023

My father works as a notary and has had a lot of clients who were naïve or ignorant or clearly overestimated their own intelligence, but there’s one tale that stuck with me.

There was a woman trying to sell a house to a small family. The woman had already acted pretty badly by trying to negotiate a price split with the family in order to pay for my father’s services, which is poor form, but things came to a head when she presented the contract for revision to my father. It did not mention at any point that the house she was selling was a mortgage’s collateral, something that by law has to be mentioned. Thinking it was a mistake, my father looked at the woman.

Father: “Mrs. [Woman], I regrettably have to inform you that the current contract does not specify that the real estate piece you are trying to sell is currently mortgaged.”

Client: “Yes, I am aware. I would like to present this to Mr. and Mrs. [Family] regardless.”

Father: “I am sorry, but by law, you are required to signal in the contract any defects, either hidden or plainly visible, as well as mortgages or liens involved that the house may have.”

Client: *Whispering and scooting her chair closer* “I know. But would this sir be willing to let it slide for 500€?”

My father burst into laughter, only to get stone-faced-serious as soon as he noticed that the woman both had a 500€ note in her hand and was looking at him with bemusement.

Father: “Absolutely not. I am not going to throw away years of sacrifices and a job like this for 500€. Get out of this studio, now.”

The woman did so, storming out in silence.

For anyone unaware, 500€ is equivalent to half the price of a fairly good house-selling deed writing, and notaries do that kind of thing essentially every day. On top of that, to become a notary, you have to go through a very difficult law exam that takes years to study for, and you can be permanently removed from the position for infractions that would otherwise be minor.

Even though it wasn’t a requirement, my dad wasted no time in warning the family that the house was mortgaged and that the seller was being dishonest. He didn’t hear from either party after, but I like to imagine that woman is to this day still unsuccessfully trying to bribe notaries to look away for what they make in barely an afternoon’s work.

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