Home Buying in Southern Oaks>Question Details

Rachel, Home Buyer in California

Can you change agents while your offer is beingconsidered?

Asked by Rachel, California Thu Jul 17, 2008

We made an offer over a month ago, on a short sale. Now it's finally active and offers are being considered, meanwhile a couple of mistakes and confusing information came from our agent causing us to distrust him in the middle of all this. Can I change agents even though the one I no longer trust was the one who made the offer?

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Sophie’s answer
Pat Starnes is correct; the confusing & conflicting information is usually being passed on to the buyer's agent from the listing agent who has very poor communication with the bank. Most financial institutions are so backlogged with paperwork due to the extreme numbers of foreclosures and short sales that it is nearly impossible to even get anyone on the phone and in many cases the files are sent to two or three different departments within the bank or mortgage company before it lands on the desk of someone who can actually help you and move forward to get the transaction closed. As a buyer all you can do is be patient and wait and keep your fingers crossed because even when you think your offer has been accepted and you've been waiting for weeks if the bank receives another "better" offer they can (if they want to) bump you out and accept the other offer; and since they are already losing so much money they should have a right to do that. If you are feeling uncomfortable with your agent I would encourage you to express your concerns to your agent and/or your agent's office manager or broker; setup a meeting with everyone if necessary. It is my experience that when something like this happens it is usually due to miscommunication which can be resolved once you sit down together and discuss your concerns. Please keep in mind the difficulties of completing a short sale; most of the agents in my office will not touch them with a ten foot pole! I have seen a very few close without any major obstacles. Good luck to you, I hope you get this worked out and you eventually close escrow on this property.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 17, 2008
Why did you choose this agent in the first place? If agent was recommended or your research showed him/her a good fit, what actually changed? Short sale/foreclosures are difficult, frustrating, dramatic processes. Is your agent experienced in this? Maybe you need more education to understand whether your experience so far is "normal" for short sale or not. Be straightforward with your agent about your concerns.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 17, 2008
As Pat says, it's likely that the confusing information arose from the process (and from the lender, as conveyed through the listing agent), not from any errors or incompetence on the part of your agent.

Best thing to do would be to have a good discussion with your agent to try to clear the air. Find out the real cause of the "mistakes and confusing information." If it really was your agent, then you could consider looking for another one; it's your choice. But if it was the situation and process overall, recognize that these things occur and that your agent likely is doing the best job possible for you.

Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 17, 2008
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA

Most agents will tell you know. The truth of the matter is you have the right to change agents up until the executing of the contract. One the contract is fully executed, then and only then you cannot change the agent. Even if the agent is your exclusive agent, this agreement is non-binding. If you feel as if the agent that is representing you is not looking after your best interests and is only concerned about the commission, then look into other agents who will give you the time and attention that you need.

Be realistic though. If the agent is really providing the service that you need and you found out that a friend of the family is a real estate agent, then the moral thing would be to stick with the agent that put in his fair share of hard work. Many of us work solely on commission.

If in fact, the agent has been manipulative and cannot be trusted, this is one of the most expensive purchases you will encounter in your life and I would work with someone who will disclose all the material facts. This is what makes a good agent and once found, this question would never arise.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 17, 2008
Hi Rachel:

When you signed the purchase contract, the party that's really helping you is the Brokerage rather than the agent. If you don't trust your agent, you might want to talk to the agent first and see if anything can be done; if not, then you should talk to the Broker. The broker might talk to the agent or assign a different agent to work with you. If not, you will also need the broker's permission to change to another brokerage.

If you ended up working with another broker on the same house, the problem is there is a procurement clause in CA contract, the first agent who represented you will be entitled to the commission; so it could be difficult for the new agent you plan to use to make commission from the deal. You will need to explain the situation to him/her before hand so they know what they are geting themselve into. .

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 17, 2008
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Novato, CA
Short sales can be very long and frustrating, i am in such a transaction right now.My buyer mad an offer in June and only 3 day ago did we hear from the bank.We still don't know if the offer has been accepted.
When working with shortsales you have to be prepared to wait and be very patient.Mistrusting your agent is most likely coming from poor communication.Talk to him and tell him your concerns,trying to change agents at this point will complicate the transaction even more.Good luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 8, 2008
Thank you for your answers, helped a lot.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 18, 2008
Yes you can. It is very important you choose an agent that is knowledgable and that you can trust. You should explain the situation to your new agent, bring him/her up to speed. You should also send a letter to your old agent's broker explaining to him/her why you are firing the agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 17, 2008
Short sales are extrremly confusing I have been a listing/buyers agent, there is always drama. It can change daily not from the agents banks statements. Sorry to hear you are having problems, however you won't be able to change agents
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 17, 2008
I do understand how you feel, Rachel, but it is very likely that the "confusing" information originated with either the bank or the listing agent of the property, and your agent was simply conveying what he was told. I've written elsewhere on Trulia about short sales and how difficult and time-consuming they can be. The buyer's agent has little control and is usually forced to wait it out, as you said, for over a month or more before the bank takes action.

Either communicate to your agent how you feel or speak with his broker about being reassigned to another agent in the brokerage. Perhaps some agreement can be worked out.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 17, 2008
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