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Loss of $4.68M down payment

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Posted: 7 pm ET

It's always a risk putting a down payment on a new property, especially when things don't go as expected. A buyer in New York City found that out in a big way when she lost her suit against Mark Hotel Sponsor and forfeited the $4.68 million down payment, after claiming her new residence was "uninhabitable."

Photo by Dick Johnson NYC

Roberta Campbell, the ex-wife of Intuit CEO William Campbell, was in the process of purchasing the luxury residence on the 14th floor of the Mark Hotel in 2009 for $18.75 million. The judge ruled this week that her list of complaints about the property, including unfinished floors, lack of heat and hot water, and missing closet rods, were not enough to make the property uninhabitable and ruled in favor of the Mark Hotel.

Of the 42 units available as residences in the building, Campbell's was the third most expensive. According to Court News, the judge thought Campbell made a wise decision to abandon the purchase, even though she lost her down payment. "Had she closed in the spring of 2009, even today Campbell would be one of the only owner/residents atop the Mark Hotel," Judge William H. Pauley III wrote in his decision.

Residences were advertised as including a range of high-end amenities, including John Lobb shoe care service. John Lobb men's shoes are priced well north of $1,500 a pair. Additional services included mail-sorting by hotel staff and a concierge.

Campbell pulled out of the deal during a pre-purchase inspection. Given that in 2009 the housing market was still foundering, you could wonder if she was experiencing some buyer's remorse. She has since moved to the west side of Central Park into a new luxury apartment. The Mark Hotel residence remains unsold.

Have you tried to pull out of a real estate deal and recoup your down payment and if so, were you successful?

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