Weighing expectations of REA with outcome

kellienoelleFebruary 5, 2013

I am asking this because I know that there are many REA out there who provide advice, so I would like to know if I am just expecting too much from my REA (husband and wife team).

We have a contract on a home, the process went pretty easy,reached an agreement with the seller without too much negotiation. The contract stated inspection within 2 weeks and get back to the seller with the list of things that we would like addressed. We had our inspection last week (on Thursday). That evening we got our report from our inspector and sent it to the REA. I said I would review it with my husband, and asked them to do the same and then call to discuss. When I didn't hear from then by Sunday night, I sent a preliminary list of what we were thinking of items we wanted address. Got an email back the next day saying they had some things in mind...but didn't say what they were and never had any follow up. I didn't hear from them by this evening so I called today and left a message that I was getting nervous that we weren't discussing it. I got an email back that they were "out of pocket" tonight and I needed to rethink my list because the sellers had a back up offer ....at full price (so about 10K more than ours) with a better closing date, followed by the recommendation to cut our list in half. So no guidance, no discussion. The two weeks expires tomorrow.

So, do I blindly trust what they are saying (I don't) and go forward with no discussion? Is it customary for the REA to discuss this with the client? Should I insist upon it? I'll be honest, I don't really trust them so don't know if I should believe the information about another offer but am not sure if I want to gamble on it either. If I am being unreasonable, please talk me off the ledge!

(for what it is worth, our list of things we would like addressed had 8 items on it, none that I could see would be costly or time consuming)

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Not only did we discuss the inspection issues that came up, we did it immediately after the inspection, which she attended. She also made calls right away for some further testing/evaluation by other trades, so we could get them done ASAP.

You REA team is pretty lame and unprofessional. Take matters into your own hands. Present your list to the sellers and see how they respond. If they refuse to make any repairs and tell you to take it or leave it, then it is your decision to accept the deal or not.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:09AM
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How do you recommend bypassing the REA in this situation? I would expect that the sellers are waiting to hear from us on this and would like to know where we stand. But we haven't had the opportunity to do so. Mostly because our REA hasn't been available to discuss it with us

One of the REA was at at the inspections, we left it that we would discuss it after we all had time to review the document from the inspector. But that just didn't happen.

We did have further testing done, that we insisted upon which were to be done with the last inspection. The were actually just done today.

Where should we go from here? I would love to cut out the middle man but is that commonly done?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 12:24AM
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My view is that I hired a REA to work for me ... I'm the boss. Don't let them intimidate you.

Write up what you would like the sellers to do to move the sale along. Send an email to your REA team telling them that they need to contact you by x time to present the inspection findings to the sellers. If you don't hear by Y time, you will be contacting the listing agent directly to move things along.

We've cut out plenty of middle men! We've sold once and bought twice with just one agent and our own lawyer. The first house we bought, the agents weren't really helping the deal move along. In the end we negotiated directly with the sellers and the agents cut some of their commission to make the deal happen. Our agent was happy to close the deal, but the listing agent had a fit!! The deal went through.

Does the team work for a broker? You can contact the broker and explain what is going on and why you aren't happy with their company.

Don't put up with mediocre service, demand the service you are paying for. It isn't illegal to talk to sellers! You just need normal/rational sellers and buyers ... if you both fit that description then direct contact can work well.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 3:53AM
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Do you have a buyers representation agreement with these realtors? If not they are working for the sellers even if the seller also has a realtor.

Does the seller have a realtor?

If you don't get a response from this team you could contact the sellers realtor with what you want done. If you also do it in an email and copy all realtors involved then at least you haven't fully gone behind their backs.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:34AM
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Very lazy sounding REA team. I was always present at every single inspection, for every seller and buyer. I met with the buyer or seller as soon as we had the inspection report to discuss. It was a fairly quick process usually.

Call the broker at the office and tell them you need this addressed now, your deadline is up.

Just to let you know though, in your contract there is probably a clause which says something like sellers will pay up to xxxx dollars for deficiencies/repairs noted by inspection report, if over that amount the sellers can declare the contract null and void.

So, look carefully at your contract and see what the dollar amount is, then consider what repairs are needed and decide what you want to do. Many times, sellers will go over the amount or give an adjustment at closing. If there is a back up offer though, or the sellers are at/near their bottom line, then the sellers may not be willing to negotiate more than what the contract calls for.

It really depends on what the repairs are. If the inspection report mentioned cosmetic things that are not really too important, then let that go in favor of a main mechanical issue, like bare wires in basement or a non functioning furnace or AC unit. Prioritize the repairs in order of safety and function.

I hope we hear a great update from you soon!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:49AM
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I am extremely annoyed. It also turns out that they have not sent a copy of the contract to my lender despite me asking them 3 times now since Sunday. I have it electronically, but don't have the ability to forward based on the system that they are using.

We do have a buyers representation agreement with them. And the seller has a REA as well.

I just looked over the contract and it says nothing about a number for repairs. Just the clause that says if I conduct inspections but don't notify the buyers of what I would like resolved prior to the termination of the agreed upon timeframe, I have waived my right to renegotiate based on contract provisions. That timeframe will be tomorrow. I work full time in a job where I have difficulty discussing these types of things during the working day, so the reason why I was trying to address them either after hours or on weekends (and today I happen to work shifted hours so don't get off until 8:00).

Here is the list I sent to them, is anything here unreasonable?
1. Door in office - fix lock/ make sure door is operable. (deadbolt wouldn't open so don't know if this is just a key laying around somewhere we couldn't find or if it actually is broken)
2. Replace roof flashing
3. Replace deteriorated gutters on garage
4. Repair wood rot on garage
5. Ensure that master ceiling fan is operable (again - maybe just a remote that we couldn't find)
6. Secure bannister in upstairs hall (doesn't seem safe when you are to be moving in furniture)
7. Secure fence on north side of driveway (this is probably just cosmetic and could be left off of list)
8. Repair eroding hole in driveway. ]

We actually had fewer items we were asking to be addressed on a 90 year old house we are buying than we agreed to address on a 20 year old house we are selling.

Regarding there being a back up offer, I don't know if I believe them.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:15AM
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You have an executed contract to buy this house;
take a pro-active approach to protect your position.

If your agent is "out of pocket", call his/her broker & tell the broker that you need help.

Whatever you do, don't let your termination option expire unless you're prepared to close without any concessions from the seller.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:47AM
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What the hell does "out of pocket" mean? Even when I am on vacation, I spend an hour or two addressing contract - to - close work.
You have every right to submit your repair request. Now, not only are you dealing with the fact that the sellers have less incentive to do them because of the other offer, but now the deadline is so close that all the sellers have to do is wait for a few hours with no response.
Also, it could be that if your REA had submitted the request when you wanted, perhaps the other offer might not have ben on the table yet, and they would have responded positively. If you find out that this is the case, I would not think it unresonable to ask the REA to pay for the repairs after closing.
Whatever happens, just move forward... those repairs are small in the scope of things.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 11:15AM
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This is exactly what I am pissed off about. I sent her an email (when I didn't get a response from the one I sent last night) saying that if I didn't hear from her by 3:00 today I would contact the sellers agent directly. She responded and said we would discuss it tonight. I am sending an email based on my thoughts and some of yours (that I think my husband thinks is too harsh) outlining all of the things that I am unhappy about. If you care to read I'll include it below...their response should be fun. They are also now calling my husband because "they have something to tell him about the seller", which also pisses me off because most communication has gone through me, my husband is "milder"

If this house doesn't work out, all I know is that I am finding a different REA, contract be damned.

The email...."Let me explain why we are unhappy with your responsiveness (it is not only because you were unavailable last night).

1. The inspection was at 3:00, we were told 2:00 and (husband) took off work to arrive at 2:00. Then he sat around for an hour waiting for the real inspection time. We have full time jobs and anything done during the working day requires us to arrange to take time off. In addition the seller (who has a one year old) was likely also told the wrong time for the inspection as well so came home when they expected it to be completed only to find us still there. We knew this, so decided to reschedule AB May, therefore delaying the process.

2. I can't be sure that the wrong time wasn't also conveyed to AB May thus delaying the sewer inspection for an additional several days.

3. (REA) said he would call us on Friday once he had a chance to review the inspection report. (husband) forwarded to him on Friday, so far we have not had any specific feedback on any of the items in there. I didn't press because I knew you were busy with your things too, but finally emailed on Sunday night when I never heard anything. You said you had ideas....I have yet to hear a single one other than that we are asking for too much. Sorry, that isn't super helpful or specific.

4. If all the inspections had been done last week as was originally scheduled, we discussed on Friday as we originally were told was going to happen, we could have had our list back to them early in the weekend and started discussions then. We had the original negotiations done within a couple of hours, so perhaps this would have gone the same. The seller certainly seemed motivated. Maybe then they wouldn't have a back up offer on the table. Yesterday was the first I had heard of it so don't know when it was made.

5. You asked about my lender and said you needed it ASAP. I sent you the information Sunday. Today is Wednesday and she still doesn't have it. Yes, I understand you are sending today. No, I don't understand why you didn't send earlier with one of my several requests.

Sorry to be so blunt, but just wanted to convey our frustration. I certainly don't think our expectations are unreasonable.

I understand that (REA) left (husband) a voicemail to discuss some things. Please convey via email for us to review."

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 2:10PM
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Here is her response and I am even more livid now

"Turns out the fact that the ab may guy went to 7409 summit street in Lenexa that day may have been a blessing in disguise. We do not want to send our inspection notice until right on the deadline. This is a strategy. (The deadline is actually Saturday. I always tell people it's earlier so it doesn't get missed. I mark it the same on my own calendar )

(Sellers REA)is on our case to get it in. Why? So they can say no to whatever we ask and walk from the contract. I just discussed all if this with my broker. I have two plans to discuss with you. "

My response
"I am unsure why you would have a "strategy" that was not conveyed to us, as your client. Personally I would have chosen to handle things differently and am very unhappy that all of this wasn't explained to us. It seems as if you may like to conduct business differently than we do. I am going to have to insist that you be 100% up front with us regarding all deadlines and anything else associated with this transaction."

And now I have to wonder if I wouldn't be better off just starting over with a different Real Estate Agent. Frankly, how can I trust her when she just indicated that she lied to us? Any advice?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 3:45PM
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Broker. You need to speak with the Broker.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 4:40PM
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Just because a seller refuses to do any repairs, does not give them the recourse to terminate the contract. WTH is your REA talking about. If you want to continue with the contract even though no repairs will be made, the decision is yours, not theirs. (At least every state that I am aware of)
Her strategy to not present the repair list until the very last minute, IMO, works against you. Now, not only are you negotiating with their desires, you are also fighting the clock.
If I were you, I would tell them what you want to happen, and let her know that you are not interested in her strategies, unless I am missing something here.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 4:43PM
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I am not suggesting that you are not correct in your frustration, but I do need to ask one question. Do you have a copy of the contract? That should indicate all time frames for deadlines. I know as a Realtor I conveyed these deadlines to clients. I also know that before I was ever a Realtor my H and I made sure we read any real estate contract and knew of all deadlines on our own. We didn't depend upon any one for this information as ultimately it was our contract. Please review your contract to confirm the agent's information.

Having said that, your agent should have explained "the strategy" to you.

I also don't know what the contract is in your state. In my state the seller may not cancel the contract because the buyer asks for inspection repairs. The seller may say "no" to repairs. At that point the buyer may cancel the contract, but the seller may not. This is a fairly recent (last 4-5 years) development. Your contract will indicate what can happen if you ask for repairs.

BTW-I am no longer a Realtor as I choose to return to a previous career when my need for a flexible schedule was less.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 4:49PM
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And then things got ugly(er) and ended with her sending me the name of her broker so I will call him tomorrow. As far as I am concerned, I am done with them. They are probably equally as happy to be done with us. I am sure they consider us "unreasonable" (although from a REA perspective I would have thought that having qualified buyers who have sold their house and know what they want would be ideal clients)

I did discuss the entire situation with my sellers agent (which by the way we have had absolutely no problems with in any of the negotiations) and got some advice. Here is the deal, we can submit our "list" and they have 5 days to respond. If they choose not to respond, then the contract expires after the 5 days and they are able to accept the other offer. Although within that 5 days (so if we don't hear anything for a few days and decide that we absolutely have to have the house), we do have the right to resubmit stating that we do accept the house as is. As long as it is within that window, they have to honor it. She suggested that I request a copy of the other offer, and if they refuse ask to have that refusal signed by the seller (not just their REA). She said it is not unheard of for realtors to fabricate back up offers to put pressure on somebody (whether ours, the sellers). I had already responded back to our REA that I will not be intimidated into accepting the house as is so. This REA told me that if she was my buyers agent would be exactly what she would have advised us to say.

Ugh, what a mess. And there are NO houses to buy here now so I guess back to the drawing board with a POD and extended stay housing in our future.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:22PM
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I would be feeling the way you are at this point too. I hope things will work out anyways in the end.

I do think if I were a seller I would balk at some of the items on your list such as the visible items that you didn't need an inspection to see. Ie I would have expected that to be taken into account when making an offer. If You are unfortunate in having to go through this again you might want to consider that.

Edited to fix iPad auto "in-corrects"

This post was edited by lyfia on Wed, Feb 6, 13 at 22:16

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:56PM
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Are you sure that's the way the contract specifies the negotiations over the inspection to work? That sounds unlike anything I've ever encountered...they can just not respond to a request and that cancels the contract????

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Weedy - That is what my REA representing the sale of my house says. She has been doing this for quite a while and I have had nothing but smooth sailing in the sale of my house so I trust her judgement. Our deal is done, i's are dotted, t's are crossed, but I was asking her because I respect her and wanted advice. This is what she said.

I wish that I could cut and past the terms of the contract, but here is what is probably the most important comment "if no agreement resolving the Unacceptable Conditions is reached as provided above, prior to the expiration of the renegotiation period, then after the expiration of the renegotiation period, either party may cancel this contract by written notice to the other."

lyfia - we were certainly willing to let some of those things go. The deal is, we haven't even had the opportunity to discuss or submit what we wanted yet so the sellers haven't had a chance to balk at it. We had been asking for guidance all along, and in the absence of any, this is the preliminary list we came with. Then the sh*t hit the fan with all the other stuff and now it just seems irrelevant.

And it turns out that I have two more days to decide on these things anyway than I originally thought since my REA decided to treat me like a 5 year old who can't manage my own deadlines. I'm certainly open to suggestions.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:22PM
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Why don't you use your selling agent as your buyers agent in a future buy? Is (s)he exclusively a selling agent?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 12:05AM
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Um, I don't think the wording means what your realtor thinks it may mean.

I am not a realtor, of course, nor do I have the full contract in hand, but ......

I think the part you have quoted should be interpreted this way: If you had sent a notice to the seller saying in essence fix all these items at your expense, OR I will exercise my right to cancel with no penalty, then the seller could terminate the contract (with no specifc-performance risk or penalty) by refusing either in writing or tacitly by inaction and no communication. But if instead you asked for these items to be fixed or for a price concession based on them, and the seller won't agree, won't negotiate, or won't even respond to your communication during the renegotiation period, then THEY STILL MUST SELL YOU THE HOUSE AT THE AGREED-UPON PRICE if you choose to go ahead on those terms. It would make no practical sense for the seller to have a tool to unilaterally void a signed contract by inaction. Real Estate law, and custom, is about getting the deal done and balancing the obligations of the contracting parties fairly.

From your list, none of those issues seems like deal breakers, and mostly are plainly visible so ought to have been included in your offer considerations. If you like the house, I'd ask for some allowance, but be prepared to just go ahead with the sale anyway. Unless you have said vis a vis the repairs that it's fix it, or we walk, then a refusal to fix, reply or even negotiate still leaves you in control of the deal. Tough luck for the sellers, but really I think this may be angst ginned up by the REA agents, not the sellers. Who really knows?

Since the nature, and context, (I.e. was it "fix-it or we walk" or was it "these issues have surfaced and we would like your review and consideration of them as potential price allowances or work done before closing at your expense") of your communication to the seller about the repairs found on inspection are critical I would demand a copy of whatever was sent to the sellers, or if nothing was in writing, then communicate with them yourself, or even through your attorney. Cut your buyers' agent out of the loop, if necessary, she sounds like she has very unprofessional notions of how to make a deal work. Maybe she fancies herself to be some kind of wheeler-dealer.

But, your buyers' rep is still being awful. I would consider firing her in mid-deal for what she has done so far, even if you go ahead with this house. I don't know how much compensation might be fair, but you may need to have a Come to Jesus chat with her. Your emails to her are clear, appropriately forceful and on point. Don't let her triangulate between you and your DH. Though he may be mild-mannered, he needs to join you in clearily stating she must deal with you, as well as with him. If she can't hack this relatively straightforward single-family house with a ready and able buyer deal she needs to get a different job.

Hope things get sorted out, soon.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:14AM
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I think liriodendron is correct, but you could easily call the states RE Commission and they could explain it to you in a few minutes.
SO, in your first post, you said the last day to submit the repair request was yesterday, the 6th. Then your agent says that the "real" date is today, the 7th. Then the listing agent says you can just submit the list pretty much anytime and then the sellers have 5 days to respond.
I understand your agent is not helping you, but why do you seem to not understand when this date is? It should be spelled out in the contract pretty clearly.
It sounds like you are going to terminate the contract if the seller refuses to do any repairs... why would you do that over such minor items, especially since most of them were visible during the showings?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:56AM
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The "real" date is Saturday, Feb 9th. I was originally told it was the Feb 7th. Those are the only two dates I mentioned. Yes, I should have gone and looked at the contract and counted out the days myself on a calendar but I didn't since I would have no reason to expect that my REA would not provide me with the right date, I have since done this and am perfectly clear on the date. I also didn't know if there was a time attached (such as close of business) but now understand it to be midnight.

I haven't said that I am going to terminate the contract (well the contract on the house, I am going to try to get out of my contract with my REA if this falls through), only that I won't be intimidated into not asking for some things. The concern is in that by doing so, I was told that the seller could get out of the contract. I still have absolutely no idea where the sellers head is throughout this process because absolutely nothing has been submitted to them. I just don't want to base my actions on a panic created by a REA that I don't trust. As I said earlier, the initial negotiation was extremely reasonable so until this all came up I had fully expected that this negotiation would proceed smoothly too.

I will call to ask the RE commission, this was how it was explained to me by MY seller's agent who has absolutely no stake in this. I haven't heard this from my buyer's agent because I haven't yet talked to her. When I call the broker today I will get clarification. Again, note that I mentioned above that there is apparently another form (the name of which I can't remember), that I can re-submit within that five day window if I have not gotten a response from them that essentially says that I will take the house as is. As I was told, it does NOT need to be signed the buyer and the seller. I will hope to get clarification today. I also know that the laws are different state to state, so perhaps this is specific to MO. Again, I have no background in RE so have to rely on people who hopefully are familiar with these laws.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:30AM
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I calle the RE Commission and they were unable to help regarding if the seller could void the contract after the end of the 5 day renogotiation period by not responding. I read him the clause and he said that they are purposefully written in a vague manner so it can be argued either way. His recommendation was to consult an attorney if I wanted to discuss, but of course that will cost me. So that was of little value.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 12:41PM
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That's awful that the RE Commission couldn't offer more than that and almost seems to support vague language in a contract!!! I feel so bad for you - you started this process in such a positive manner and it looked as if the ducks were all lining up for you. It's a great house and I hope there's a way to make this deal go through in a manner that doesn't leave you feeling negative about it - that's not a nice way to move into a house. And if this doesn't work out, just trust that there is another situation out there for you that you don't even know of yet.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:22PM
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The Commission can't offer anything that might be construed to be legal advice.

Have you been in touch with the broker yet?

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 3:36PM
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Kellie, not to take away from your OP, but I live close by and will be listing my house very soon. Your story is too scary! Without disclosing names, could you at least write the initials of your REA, to help another JOCO lady avoid her at all costs???

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:49PM
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The broker... I called twice left a messages, then followed with an email. Apparently he is unable to talk to me until tomorrow morning when it may be too late. I see patients all day tomorrow and can't take a break for a personal phone call to discuss this fiasco. Without going into detail because I am just so sick about this, more mistakes have been made and I just need to figure out how to terminate the contract with this entire agency. I can't trust them to process any sort of paperwork for me properly and I don't have the time nor the experience to double check. Can I just terminate the contract on the house (so at least the sellers can accept their other offer and move on) and then work on terminating the contract with the agency. If I can't discuss with the broker, how do I do this?

kitykat - GS

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:10PM
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You cannot just decide to terminate a contract. Your agent will NOT want to help you do this because they want their money.

Your best plan is to give the big list of inspection changes to the seller's realtor before the deadline. If the seller does not agree to fix every one of these issues, then they will counter back to you. at this point you can terminate the contract because the two parties cannot agree on the inspection list. However, if the seller agrees to fix every one of them, then you cannot decide to cancel the contract.

However, IF the seller really has another offer that they want to take, you can ask if they will terminate the contract and if they choose, then you both can agree. But it's up to the seller. However, I have a feeling your agents will try to sue you for the commission because you changed your mind.

Your best bet is to play hard ball with the inspection list and hope they refuse to fix all or some of the items.

I feel if you tell your agent your plan of trying to get out of the contract with a big inspection list, then your agent will tell the seller who might decide to agree to your entire list because they know you are trying to nix the entire deal.

IMO, you might need an attorney IF you cannot get out of this due to the inspection list. I really think your realtor would sue you for their commission. And there is a strong possibility the contract you signed agrees to mediation instead of real court with an attorney representing you. Most real estate contracts CYA for the realtors.

MAKE SURE YOUR INSPECTION LIST IS RECEIVED BY SELLER REALTOR BY DEADLINE. I dont trust your realtor to do it. They might say oops, we missed the deadline. especially if they know that you want out of the contract

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 6:30PM
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The inspection was exactly how I was going to address the contract on the house. I am going to add in replacing the AC unit to my existing list(because it does need to be replaced). Obviously they aren't going to do that. So that should take care of that. Should I send it to the seller's agent in addition to my own? I would feel horrible for the sellers for doing this, so knowing they have another offer kind of eases that a bit. They will come out even better

I am more concerned about terminating the contract with the REA. If worse comes to worse, I will move in to a rental and wait for the terms to expire, but obviously that is not ideal.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 7:24PM
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I think it is best that your agents take the inspection list to the sellers realtor. However, how do you get proof they did this. or have your broker do it. see what kind of proof they show, in writing, that it was received on time by the seller's realtor.

if it gets too close to the deadline, can you somehow get the list to the sellers realtor just to meet the deadline. just to make sure they have it if your broker cannot ensure you that it was received by the seller's realtor?

Gosh, a real estate attorney or good realtor would be real good for direction on this matter on how you should CYA on making sure the inspection list is received by seller on time. Hopefully NC real estate guy can give input. He is very good in all real estate aspects.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 7:32PM
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Thanks Sweet Tea... But w/o the contract in front of me I can not really say what the best way to terminate the Offer To Purchase. OP, are you certain that you ant to terminate the Offer to Purchase? Maybe you are just fed up with the agent and are taking it out on the entire deal.
First, I am sorry the RE Commission was useless. Second, I would go through with the deal if you really want to, but do it not represented. Let the listing agent and your soon to be ex agent fight over the buyer's agent commission. Keep records of all your correspondence, and lack of it, betwen you and your agent, and their Broker in Charge. It still amazes me that they have not spoke to you to explain what the heck is going on! Document that you were forced to speak to the listing agent in order to find out how the inspection negotiations are supposed to be handled! IMO, your agents have abandoned you. Call the BIC tomorrow morning and tell them that you are firing them from this transaction and then let them do the talking. Tell them that you are moving forward unrepresented because his agents abandoned you. (use this word... it is a legal term)
Before you speak with the BIC, read your Buyers Agency Agreement that you signed to hire them. (I am assuming they did make you sign one?)
Even if you are contractually bound to use them for the rest of the transaction, if you threaten to file a grievance with the RE Commission, there is a 99% chance that they will agree to terminate the relationship. Most agents nowadays are poor and broke. The last thing they want to do is waste thier time and energy and money defending why they abandoned you.
Good luck. Please keep us updated... it helps us all learn.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:31PM
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To get out of your buyer's agent contract, take it to a RE attorney along with your documentation of all the things that have gone bad, and have them draw up a letter of termination of some sort. I would think you have reasons for "breech of contract."

And, they probably are ready to let you go too. So a quick letter from an attorney for a few hundred bucks, though it sucks for you, would probably be good for your health. ;)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 8:51PM
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Well, my husband doesn't want to give up quite so easy on this house. I talked to my sellers REA agent (for the sale of my house....not the listing agent) again and she said at this point there is very little else they can screw up/lie to us about once you get past the inspection and resolution process. If this goes through, it is then more in the hands of the bank/title company. And my husband has also promised to monitor the process because I just don't have the time during the working day and frankly don't have the knowledge (neither does he, but that is an entire other point). We don't have time to do this unrepresented. So, what we are going to do is just send the resolution and inspection agreement directly to the listing agent and our agent and see what happens from there. Of course what is likely going to happen is that they won't respond or renegotiate, we'll have to take the house as is if we want it, and the REA will make commission for botching up what should have been an extremely simple transaction (which really makes me sick), but then it will be said and done.

By the way - call number 4 and pleading this time to the broker. Shameful.

I won't call them out specifically on the internet, but I will say that they are part of Reece and Nichols, so not some fly by night operation.

I will keep you posted, hopefully this will all be behind us at some point.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:19PM
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Oh, and kitykat, I really like (love!) the REA who sold our current house. She has been the one talking us through this whole thing (so who I am referring to when I say my seller's agent throughout this saga) even though the sale of our home is complete and she has nothing to do with the purchase of our new house. She is not a friend, but is doing it to help us out as a courtesy (and I think she feels very sorry for us). In case you didn't see earlier info, she actually sold our current house through her contacts without us having to list it. So we had a whopping 2 showings to one family which resulted in a full price offer. It has been an absolutely smooth process (certainly provides a contrast to what we are going through on the other side). Why I didn't use her as a buyers agent is beyond me. I guess I wanted somebody who knew our new area better, but turned out I should have focused on somebody who knew real estate better. I would recommend her without reservations, she is a JOCO lady (lives in my subdivision actually), so if you want her info I would be happy to email it to you.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:51PM
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I've never heard of having a contract with a buyers' agent that would require termination! I mean, it's fairly typical to have a contract that says if the agent shows you a house and you purchase it within X weeks/months, the agent gets commission, but it sounds like your contract is more like "If you buy ANY home in the next X weeks/months, this agent gets a commission." That strikes me as insane!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:06PM
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I would think that the agreement says that a commission is only owed to the buyer's agent if the buyer ends up purchasing a property that was shown to them by the agent... not just any house.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 5:41AM
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About buyers' agent contracts. i was a FSBO and a potential buyer had already signed a buyers' agent agreement with a realtor. These buyers found our FSBO on their own and came to veiw the home 2-3 times without their agent.

they were ready to make an offer. Their agent told them he fully expected the 3% commission, per the agreement they signed. He would not budge and never stepped foot in the home. We, the sellers, agreed to pay 1.5%. The buyers didn't want to pay the other 1.5%. They never put a formal offer in due to this realtor's commission.

We sold to someone else.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 7:22AM
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@sweet_tea - I've never heard of a buyer's agent contract like that, but as a buyer, I would never sign it! If one of my buyers finds a FSBO they want to buy, they can do it all by themselves, even if I found the FSBO for them, but if they want my help with a showing and contract and inspections and all that, then I expect to get paid for my work.

I feed obliged to mention that here in FL, the RE Commission is the state licensing organization, so their concerns are more along state law and licensing issues, not contractual issues. (Unfortunately there is no law for a licensed professional being incompetent.) The standard contracts are disseminated by the Florida Association of Realtors (branch of NAR) and through our MLS and local Board. If you have a contract question, that's where I would look for help - they have lawyers to assist agents and they might answer an easy question from a client. You can file a grievance with the Realtor organization as well, and they apply to ethics and other standards that are more stringent than licensing law.
Also, the buyer's contract is with the Broker, not the Agent, so taking it up with the Broker is the first step if you are not happy with his/her Agent. S/he can take care of it and might even assign you a different Agent working for him/her since it's not working out with the current one. If they have breached their contract with you (which it sounds like they have) a good Broker will try to talk you out of it, but they should be willing to break it and sign a release.

The problem is that your Agent's name and Broker are (probably) on the contract, so I don't know how that pans out if you switch to another Broker at this point so that the commission that is outlined in the contract goes to the correct brokerage. There might be some sort of release that the ex-Broker would need to sign so that the Title Company knows who to release the commission to. (Commission goes to the Broker, who in turn pays his/her Agent.)

I know you don't have time to carefully read your particular contract, but generally, it works like this:
You made your offer based on what you could see during your showing(s). Stuff like the locked door and hole in the driveway that YOU observed were supposedly taken into account when you made your offer. The inspection period is to uncover NEW problems that an INSPECTOR finds crawling around and turning everything on and off (probably stuff like the flashing, and maybe the wood rot, but probably not the gutters, assuming that you could see during your showing that they would need replacement).
The problems MUST be noted in the inspection report. If the A/C wasn't mentioned anywhere then you don't have any documentation to say that it's broken and needs to be replaced. (My MIL's buyers just tried to pull this stunt with the septic system, but when they were told to send the copy of the septic inspection to her lawyer - she didn't even have one and she knew the septic passed inspection - they dismissed the request.)
For legitimate items, you can ask the sellers to either fix or ask for a concession on the price. There is much debate to which is better - when it is something major and structural like the roof, then I'd rather take a small concession and get it done right than trust the seller to pay for a quality roofer to get it done, and some fixes just can't be completed before the contract closing. Honestly, the flashing comes under that category for me - flashing is just such a huge problem and it seems like everyone I know with roof leaks is due to poorly installed flashing - there are entire blog posts on Active Rain about flashing - I'd just rather get it done myself by the very best flashing contractor in the country!
If the sellers say "no", then it is up to you whether or not to terminate the contract due to unsatisfactory inspection, assuming that your contract has an inspection clause allowing you to do so. (It sounds like your contract might be slightly different, in that your request might be an amendment to the contract, which then obligates you more than what I'm describing - but it's weird to me because I think both sides should have to sign to amend the contract.)
Otherwise an amendment will be signed by both sides agreeing to whatever concession is made. In my neck of the woods, the REAs go back and forth via email (with repair estimates attached) until an agreement is reached and then one of us drafts the agreed upon amendment. Otherwise you end up with a sheet of paper with a dozen scratch-outs and mods and your title company will not be happy trying to decipher the final outcome.

Sorry this is so long, but you keep mentioning how little you understand this and I hope this helps some.

Good luck in your decision. As mentioned, the bottom line is whether or not you want this house. The inspection items seem pretty minor to me - sure you'd like to have them fixed and have a "perfect house", but unless buying this house is a huge financial stretch for you, I imagine that you'll be able to swing getting these fixes done in the next few months or year. You might also consider getting a warranty to cover the A/C if it's working now but you have reason to believe it will fail soon - but that's a whole other thread.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:03AM
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The Buyer's Representation agreement here is a "mirror image" of the listing agreement;
just as the listing is an "exclusive right to sell", the buyer rep is an "exclusive right to buy".

From the Texas Association of Realtors document:

paragraph 2

Client grants to Broker the exclusive right to act s Client's real estate agent for the purpose of acquiring property in the market area.

paragraph 6

Client's Obligations
Client will: (a) work exclusively through Broker in acquiring property in the market area and negotiate the acquisition of property in the market area only through Broker; (b) inform other brokers, salespersons, sellers, and landlords with whom Client may have contact that Broker exclusively represents Client for the purpost of acquiring property in the market area and refer all such persons to Broker; and (c) comply with other provisions of this agreement.

paragraph 11 C

Earned and payable: A person is not obligated to pay Broker a commission until such time as Broker's commission is earned and payable. Broker's commission is earned when: (1) Client enters into a contract to buy or lease property in the market area; or (2) Client breaches this agreement. Broker's commission is payable, either during the term of this agreement or after it ends, upon the earlier of: (1 the closing of the transaction to acquire the property; (2) Client's breach of a contract to buy or lease a property in the market area; or (3) Client's breach of this agreement. If Client acquires more than one property under the agreement, Broker's commissions for each property acquired are earned as each property is acquired and are payable at the closing of each acquisition.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:26AM
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kelli, yes please send me the name of the REA you favor.

azjean1952@yahoo.com. This is an address I use for non-personal stuff. thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 12:43PM
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I just have to pipe up here and say the thing that appalls me most is that neither your agent nor his broker will pick up the phone and talk to you. Agent just emails and says "I'm out of pocket" and thus unavailable to actually hold a conversation. Really???? And the broker's too busy today to call you back? They don't belong in a service business.

I hope you get this resolved. My vote is to send the list to the seller's agent and work it directly that way.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 1:17PM
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c9pilot - I appreciate the comprehensive response, and that is exactly the type of information that I was looking for. it's funny, my REA kept encouraging me to put in offers on houses I questioned saying that I could address all my concerns in inspection. So good to know about not expecting anything you can see to be fixed and adjusting the offer price accordingly. I do not understand this process so am looking for every opportunity be educated since I wasn't getting it from my REA. I have read the contracts, but my head just doesn't wrap around the legalese talk I suppose. I am not so sure that it isn't customary (as you mentioned) for the REA's to discuss the inspection results via email and then submit an agreed upon response. Problem here was that it appears that my REA were a bit inept and the listing agent was hoping to get his clients the higher priced back up offer that was on the table (can you blame him)

Sylviatexas - you are right, that is pretty much the buyer's agreement we signed. And that is what we worry about, even though I feel that they were in breach of contract by being dishonest.

so update - the listing agent sent us a cancellation notice to the contract today at about 5:45 (by the way, we submitted a realistic list, so no AC replacement, etc, my husband still wanted a chance to make the deal work). Our agent emailed us that the cancellation was effective at midnight unless we take the house as is (not sure that is true, we have been told by other sources we still have the 5 days per the terms of the original contract). We just signed it and sent it back, so we are done. We discussed with two different realtors who said that it isn't very difficult to get out of a buyer's agreement contract. I hope they are right. Based on their recommendation, I sent an email to the REA and their broker (who, by the way, I never heard back from after 3 phone calls and an email) asking to terminate the contract and asking for a response confirming this.

And just to clarify in mild defense of my incompetent REA, other than that day when she was "out of pocket" and the weekend before when they didn't contact us about the inspections, she was perfectly willing to discuss with me on the phone and asked if I would call her (she never called me, just asked in email). However, once I got the email admitting that she lied about the date the inspection resolution was due, I preferred to do all communicating via email so I would have documentation. Her broker, on the other hand, has been completely unresponsive after 1 direct email, being copied on multiple emails, and 3 phone calls.

And a little secret about this particular house that i didn't previously offer so as not to muddy the waters of the situation...I never loved it. My husband loved the yard and the garage and the fact that the inspection report was good on a 90 year old house. I was trying to like it based on all of that and peace in the marriage. We haven't really been seeing eye to eye on this whole house hunting thing and this house was a pretty big compromise to me. So, with that being said, and the situation regarding the contract, I just have had a bad feeling in my stomach about the whole thing. Some from the situation, and some from just my ambivalence about the house, so I feel OK about how things turned out. I just hope we can get out of this buyers agreement because I think there is too much bad blood now to be repaired.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:08PM
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To heck with your buyer's agreement. Send the agents and the BIC an email stating that you want a termination of representation form, NOW, or you are filing a grevience. 99% chance they will grant your wish.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:40PM
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Send them a letter of termination of services for cause, put some stuff in storage, rent a smaller place, and go take a couple of vacation weekends to recoup and start again.

And I think with that last confession, for that second weekend jaunt, you need to make time to try to communicate with each other on what the important features in a home are for each of you. Make separate lists, and then get together and make a joint list with the common items. Then find out what the differences are and rank both the common and difference lists by the importance to you as individuals. You may think you know all of that, and if you've been married a while, you probably DO know a great deal of it, but it really helps to see things in writing and by ranking for the differences. You may find that the large garage that your husband wants is more of a 2 in importance than the 10 that you thought, while he may find that a fully renovated kitchen that you don't have to do anything to it is the 10 rather than the two because you'd like to do a project to put your personal stamp on the house.

So, this is a blessing in disguise. It gives you a chance to breathe. And to reassess the process.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 8:10AM
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kellienoelle - you are a good poker player!! I thought you loved the house - go figure. So your hunt continues and hopefully you and your husband can find a house that appeals to both of you. Just my opinion, and you didn't ask, but it's far too big of a purchase both financially and emotionally for both parties not to be happy. Remind your husband, "If mamma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." LOL!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 8:14AM
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The brokers response to our cancellation notice, so sounds as if they aren't going to let us out of this easily. And FYI, that midnight tonight thing was not in any documentation other than an email from our REA, so I have no idea why we are being told that the seller can arbitrarily come up with a time to cancel.

- I am in receipt of your letter requesting release of the Buyer Agency Agreement, I will talk with [REA] and get back to you on that. I find it unfortunate that so much effort was expended on your part that you didn't get the house you wanted ( As I understand it the time period on the contract is 12:00 tonight and the seller was pushing the time period due to a higher offer) I will get back to you on the release after I talk to the [REA]

I am trying to come up with a response, but will say something along the lines of this.... "I feel that we were misrepresented and have documentation that we were lied to. All attempts to rectify the situation by contacting you as the broker were unsuccessful. Based on the management of this contract, we feel that we can't be comfortable with any future business dealings. If you forward a termination of representation form now, we will not file a grievance."


    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 8:59AM
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Oh, and just another interesting thing to note....the broker read the cancellation email at around 8'ish, he responded at 11:57, when the contract was set to terminate at midnight. Maybe I am just reading into things way to much in my paranoia about the situation and trying to figure out if what I am being told is accurate, or maybe it was deliberate.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 9:43AM
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We'll all keep our fingers crossed for you.
I'm sorry that you have to work with agents that are into secretive tactics - so not my style at all, and obviously not yours, either.
Your response sounds reasonable to me. I thought I'd be shocked that after all of this, that your Broker/REA would balk at releasing your buyers' contract, but clearly they operate in a different manner. It's one thing if they think you're just trying to gyp them out of a commission, but it should be obvious to them that you and them are not working well together. Communication is a two-way street. (I'm going through this with a website designer, but thank goodness they "fired" us as clients last week.)

Keep your chin up!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 10:33AM
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Seriously, I wouldn't want to deal with me further after all the bad blood between us.

I didn't mention that I wasn't in love with the house because I didn't feel it was relevant to how the contract was being handled. After all, I made the offer and was willing to purchase. Not my realtor's fault and shouldn't be a consideration in a business dealing. But all of the comments about ..."if you love the house"....made me smile. And, no, I didn't try to find a reason to get out of it because I wasn't in love with it. Maybe (but doubtful) if it was absolutely perfect to me we would have taken "as is" but, like I mentioned earlier, I wasn't responding well with feeling like I was being intimidated and how the negotiations were being handled.

And the plot thickens, again I didn't want to muddy the waters of your responses with this....but we looked at a house last night that we both like very much...well, I love because it is a Tudor which I wanted all along, and my husband says he does as well despite the fact that he has been very anti-Tudors throughout this process (one of our biggest areas of disagreement as that is the predominant style in our choice location). I am confident that it WILL sell this weekend. We very much would like to put an offer on it with our sellers agent who we like very much and agreed last night that she would represent us. However, we need to get out of this darn contract first. So the clock ticks.....

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 11:54AM
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Well, I still haven't heard from the Broker. I don't know what a reasonable timeframe is to expect a response.

And that house I mentioned above already has an offer on it, so that was a fleeting thought.

And here we sit watching another weekend pass before we need to move out of our house. Yeah homelessness.

Edited - left a VM for the president of Reece and Nichols, so let's see what happens with that.

This post was edited by kellienoelle on Sat, Feb 9, 13 at 17:58

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 4:51PM
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OP wrote:
"Well, I still haven't heard from the Broker. I don't know what a reasonable timeframe is to expect a response."

I'd say within an hour of the very first contact from you!
Why don't you walk into the office and demand to see the BIC and get it over with one way or the other. They know they are out of a commission, so I don;t understand why they would not cut ties with you.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 9:27PM
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Finally after about 12 hours I heard back from him.

I'll quote...

"I find it unfortunate this worked out the way it did. I have talked to the (REA) and it is agreed we should release you from the Buyer Agency Agreement. I understand (REA) paid for your A.B. May sewer inspection, as soon as he receives reimbursement for that cost, we will unconditionally release you from the contract. Thank you in advance."

So, I would drop a check off at their office tomorrow if I thought that somebody would be there because that sounds as if the last item to terminate. And I am wondering about putting in the offer for the one I mentioned a couple of posts ago since I think if we did it tomorrow we would still be in the running. Do you think I need 100% confirmation to proceed?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 10:53PM
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You have it in writing. Write and date your check today, with an email dated today that you'll have a check in hand first thing Monday AM.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 11:34PM
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You still need to proceed cautiously here with any other offers. While you have been told they will release you from the Buyer's Agent contract, until you receive something signed and in writing formally releasing you from the contract and indicating they have received payment for the inspection cost, you are still under contract with them. It's very likely that there is some form available that should be signed.

While I know my former Broker wouldn't go after a commission in this instance, they could try, on a technicality, if you make an offer on the other house. They would likely lose that case, but it could happen. Wait until you have a formal release of contract document that also indicates the inspection cost has been paid.

As an example of why: I can email you today that I'm going to pay you $300,000 for your house and will sign the offer tomorrow. Tomorrow I can change my mind. I can offer you $250,000, or I can just decide not to sign anything.

Emails can be tricky in courts. In some instances courts recognize email signatures. In others, no. It's always best to get the signatures. Another example: when I worked as a Realtor my clients could email me indicating a price reduction. I could implement the reduction in the MLS immediately based upon the email, but I had to have a signed amendment to the listing contract in hand within a couple of days.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 8:04AM
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Can you make a verbal offer on the other house? Ie let them know an offer is coming in a few days and the terms of it. Maybe if they are interested they will ask the other offers for more time.

If at all possible and if you don't want to drag this out further I would suggest setting up a time with the Broker to get the signed paper work and turn over the check. This way there is no question of when it is going to happen. Otherwise the agent could drag it out for a while saying they haven't received the check yet. Considering your experience with them I wouldn't chance anything that could delay things further.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 8:37AM
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REAs work 7 days a week. Do the check transfer and release signing today. In the meantime, let your new agent tell the other house's listing agent you will be submitting an offer as soon as the release is signed.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 10:12AM
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The other house sold. The listing agent called me last night at around 5:30ish letting me know an offer was coming if we still wanted to move. Of course, I couldn't because I didn't hear back from the broker until a few hours later. I was hoping maybe the homeowners were sleeping on it and we would be in the running. Our new REA contacted the listing agent bright and early at 8 am and it was already done. This house went on the market on Friday morning and already sold. This is the market I am dealing with. Even more mad now at the broker.

But we are putting in a back up offer, so will now be "those people" on the other side.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:05AM
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With that kind of market your original agent certainly seemed like they were doing an even worse job to me. I'm glad you're going to get a release done.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 7:36PM
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I know it is a done deal now, but I would have advised you to get that offer to the other side ASAP, no matter what! The chances of the past brokerage not terminatiing the buyer agency agreement is much, much smaller than the chances of you not getting your offer in time on this new house. As was the case. Sorry to hear this.
Here is a tip... make the new offer your "highest and best" offer possible. Don't trip over pennies when trying to put together a few hundred thousand dollar deal. At least not under these circumstances. Make your offer as sweet as possible (short due diligence time, highest price possible, quick closing date, no seller paid closing costs, high as possible down payment, maybe even state that you will not be asking for repairs, ((check your local customs on your due diligence period))etc...), and include a personal letter from you to the sellers, stating why you are the better buyers and how you will make the closing happen.
You see, if your offer is just so - so, and the current offer is better than yours, the only forces that may try to tear the deal apart are going to be coming from the current buyers (financing,repairs...). If your offer is looked upon as better to the sellers, then the sellers are ALSO going to try to get the deal to fall apart. Which makes it a lot more of a chance that the deal may sour, and allow you to take over. believe me, sellers can sour a deal if they really want to. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 8:44PM
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Thank you for the advice ncrealestateguy. We hear you, but are still proceeding cautiously with the buyers agent contract not finalized. Since we are just going to be a backup offer, I think (hope) a day or two aren't going to matter. Our offer is over asking, unfortunately we can't play with our closing date since that is based around our own (March 29), we were planning on 25% down, we are pre-approved....we should be good buyers so I am more than disappointed at how difficult this has turned out to be. The house is 85 years old and I already see some things that definitely warrant inspection to my eye, so I can't promise the no repairs thing. I believe that their offer was at full price. They held an open house today and we went and talked to the agent again and let him know we were going to be waiting in the wings for their deal to fall apart. And I know first hand how a better offer can sour a deal.

Saw another house we liked today (we just went to open houses so as not to go out with another agent while we are technically still under contract)but a bit more than we wanted to spend. We were considering a lower offer (370 on 395), I guess all they can do is say no, we don't want to be insulting though. This is more based on our own budget then the house, so I don't know how to feel about that, don't want to just waste their time. In our favor is that the owners have already moved.

Maybe some new houses will open up. On a positive side, my BIL has a condo that is empty that he has offered up to us to stay in if we can't find a house in time. So we are no longer homeless....it takes off some pressure.

And I appreciate having this outlet to vent/place to get advice more than you will ever know! Thanks to all!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:03PM
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Update - got this yesterday...

" Please accept this as confirmation of receipt of the reimbursement check for the inspection. The Buyer Agency Agreement is cancelled and you are free to do as you choose with no further obligation to Reece and Nichols. [REA] will no longer be your designated agents. Good luck to you on your home search."

So, I figured free to move on. Put an offer on the too expensive house yesterday, but still haven't heard back as far as a counter. Hopefully it will come at some point so I can at least submit the back up offer on the house I mentioned earlier.

I am still disappointed that they were so unresponsive and feel that the delay most definitely cost me the opportunity to bid on the Tudor that I saw on Friday. The broker never returned a single phone call I left (I think about four). On Mon, the President of the company responded to my phone call I had left on Saturday, unfortunately I was busy at work, so could not talk at the time, plus I knew that I had already lost the house I wanted. I was told to send an email recapping my interaction. But I just don't know if I want to put the time and effort into playing the blame game,

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 11:44PM
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There was no way this agency was going to come after you for a commission. You should have not let them control you to the point that it cost you to lose the second home too.
Good luck on the new offer.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 6:19AM
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That was a risk I just wasn't willing to take. I was technically still locked into contract with people who I didn't trust. Things probably would have worked out fine, but what if they didn't. Prior to being a REA, she was (is) a lawyer.

The offer that we just submitted countered with pretty much asking price, which we can't afford. Guess they are young, have tons of family money, and don't need to sell. So that is out.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:13AM
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Sorry...hoping that another one comes along for you soon.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 3:06PM
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