So, you lost out here. The money spent on the inspection is gone as well. What you should do is talk with a few brokers and pick one you can stand to be around. They will actually help you find suitable diggs, help with the process and will advocate in your best interest. Move forward to the next thing. Good luck.
This is New York so no it is not common to give a good faith deposit with an offer, and you should demand your money back if you don't have it already.
The home inspection is done prior to signing a contract, it helps you determine whether or not you should move forward with the offer to purchase.
I want to correct you, the agent was/is representing the seller. Agents in Queens seldom practice buyer representation. If the agent was also representing your interest, you would have been treated better, that is, the agent would not have made you spend money on a home inspection knowing full well the activities on the house which the agent has almost total control over.
So yes the seller can back out of an accepted offer because there was no legally binding contract, just like you can change your mind if you don't like the findings from a home inspection. You can attempt to get your money back from the inspection but it's unlikely unfortunately.
You can contact a lawyer and the NY Dept of State regarding dual agency and what you where led to believe. The broker and agent may or may not be liable. Did you have a "signed" accepted offer? If not then the seller never "accepted" your offer as a matter of law.
In the future you should work with a Buyer Agent. You will pay approximately the same commission and have some legally required to work in your best interest. The expenses that you paid could be considered the price to pay for what NOT to do in a real estate transaction.
My personal opinion- always do an inspection 1st. If all is well, go ahead and sign contracts and put your down payment. It is a major investment- don't go into it blind. Paying for an attorney before you do an inspection doesn't make any sense. Let me know how you do. Terry 718-614-3167 cell TKorahais@elliman.com
I assume you're looking in Queens. I would be happy to represent you if I worked Queens. But I don't. But if you would like a recommendation, some of my associates live and work there so would be glad to refer. You can reach me at email@example.com or cell 310-951-8993
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I am so sorry you are not having a pleasant experience in your home buying process. First and foremost, the taking of earnest money deposit when writing an offer with a realtor has been gone for years WITHIN THE STATE OF NEW YORK. Do you have an Agent of your own, or is there only one Agent involved, (the listing agent)? If you do not have written and fully executed "Exclusive Right to Represent" with a Real Estate Agent, the Agent does not work for you, but the Seller. That is how it works in New York State. This concept is confusing to most consumers, but is reality. If you want full representation, you need to have that agreement executed with an Agent of your liking/choice.
In regards to the seller backing out after a home inspection and accepting another offer, I would suggest that you contact your real estate attorney to see if you can get the home inspection fee paid, however, it is not a guarantee.
Legally, the listing Agent has to present all offers up to closing, and if there is another offer that comes in that the owner prefers, they have the right to take that offer, but your situation is unique, being that you were first in line and had an accepted offer, and your Agent should have been informed that there was another offer that came in.
Again, I am not an attorney and cannot give you legal advice, but I would strongly recommend that you seek the advice of competent real estate counsel, in an effort to get your inspection fee returned to you.
Good Luck To You, and Your Real Estate Ventures!
I hope this answered your question! If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me by the ways below.
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First Question: Yes, it is common to submit an earnest money deposit check with an offer. If the contract is never executed/signed by all parties then you should get your check back - the seller cannot keep it.
Second Question: Home Inspection should be done after you have a legally binding contract - once all parties have signed the contract. Why would you pay for an inspection when you don't even have a contract and aren't even sure if you're going to purchase the property?
Third Question: A real estate contract has to be signed by all parties to be legally binding - it cannot be verbal. So, if all parties did not sign the contract, it's not an accepted offer and therefore there is nothing for the seller to back out of since there is no legally binding contract. As for what remedy you can get for the expensed you paid, there may be none - you may want to consult an Attorney.
Fourth Question: It doesn't sound like you had an accepted offer - it doesn't sound like all parties signed the contract. If all parties did sign the contract, you need to read the contract to see what is 'allowed' for cancelling contract.
Last Question: You should contact the Real Estate Board of New York.
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Ask your Realtor to inquire if the accepted offer was from the listing agent's buyer.
I am sorry that you had to go through this. I will bet a better house is waiting for you and this turns out to be the best thing that could have ever happened to you.
My last question is : is my agent's conduct ethical? How and who can I file complains to?
Thank you very much. I feel so upset about losing the inspection money.