Unless the sale involves a foreclosure there is very high risk when using a dual agent.
I am surprised how little people understand the contracts that they sign. People, you have got to read your contracts! AND, if you don't understand something get your agent to explain it thoroughly!!
You usually have contingency periods in which you can back out of the purchase within that time frame. When did you sign the agreement and open escrow? How long after opening escrow did you want to cancel?
Contact a Real Estate Attorney and make a complaint to the Department of Real Estate. If there is nothing signed by you at all, they should not have cashed your check and if they did, the funds must be put into an Escrow Account and held until the actual deal was accepted and escrow was opened...then the funds would be transferred to escrow.
Never give your broker a cash or cashiers checks...that needs to be paid directly to escrow. Something sounds a miss.
If you are still unsure, read the first ten words of my answer.
After this gets cleared up, never forget that everyone involved in the house buying transaction works for the seller, including your buyer agent and it doesn't matter what they tell or promise you. This very types of questions show how badly the real estate industry is stacked against buyers.
Get a lawyer. Now. Right now.
I'm sorry you are having this problem, please check your contracts to see what your obligations and rights are. There are some circumstances where you will lose your good faith deposit so perhaps that is what is happening here?
It sounds like you do not have your own "Buyer Agent' to assist you, so in this case I would recommend you contact an attorney who's specialty is Real Estate Law.
If you canceled the escrow within your first 17 day inspection period, you probably owe the seller nothing., If you canceled after the 17 days, you will owe the seller something.
The details are in your contract...so read them over and get a lawyer if necessary.
I suggest speaking with the manager at your broker's company to resolve this. If your broker is the actual broker of the company, then go to your local association of Realtors or do a consultation with a real estate attorney.
I'm really sorry this happened to you.
What we do know is you have become a victim of an organization that is predatory in nature.
Each agent responding, including myself, take such events personally. This IS the face of real estate that we all wish would go away. But, they are allowed to exist in the effort of creating consumer choice. When there is a broad spectrum of choice, it becomes more confusing to know what one is choosing.
It is very likely the brokerage with whom you are working is using contracts they have developed. Their name and logo will likely appear on the header. Such contracts often deviate from the provision of the 'standard' state issued contracts available through the state websites. These are the contract most of us use to assure the consumer there is no transgression embedded in that wall of words. Although we all repeat, "You must read the contract" I have yet to witness ANYONE read all nine pages of a purchase contract. To be honest. many agents have not read every line of all nine pages.
With out seeing what yo signed, and you did sign something when you submitted the escrow and signed more when you submitted the purchase offer, your options are not known.
Give Caroline a call ASAP and see what your options are.
Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL
Next ii'd call your state attorney generals office here's a direct linkto their website page specifically about real estate issues: http://oag.ca.gov/consumers/general/real_estate_agencies_agents
Lastly I'd call your broker back and tell her that you've already called the State Real Estate commission and the attorney general's office and filed a formal complaint against her and her firm and that you're coming in to her office to get your full $40,000 check and that it had better be ready when you get there.
I'm truly sorry you're having the issues you are. Most Realtors don't behave this way and if you've signed no agreements or offers, then there's no reason I can imagine that you'd be responsible for any charges or fees. (Even if you had signed a buyer broker agreement and a formal offer i still can't think of any reason you'd be charged a 1% cancellation fee, with decades of experience as a full time Broker I've never heard of such a thing.
You need to find yourself a good experienced Buyer Broker and I've attached a link below on how to do this.
I wish you the best of luck and a happy Thanksgiving. I wouldn't worry about this, you'l get all your money back. I do hope you'll follow through with a formal complaint as agents who act like this and agencies that permit such behavior should not be allowed to operate.
The Ca. Purchase agreement does not call for a 1% cancellation. I do not know what you have signed so far.
Unfortunately it sounds like you are being taken advantage of so I would seek legal advice and talk to the Ca. Association of Realtors.
P.S. No standard contract forms have a automatic cancellation fee and there is no law that says you have to pay one. But that doesn't mean this agent didn't sneak one into the small print.
If you have trouble understanding the terms of the contract, you should contact an attorney. You can also ask the broker to point out to you where in the contract the cancellation fee is stipulated.
Best of luck!
Chad Gray PA, Realtor
Luxury Living Fort Lauderdale
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate
100% of clients rated our service as "EXCELLENT"!