Home Buying in 27587>Question Details

Dana, Home Buyer in Raleigh, NC

My husband and I just put an offer on a house and it was accepted. But now the realtor/friend that we signed

Asked by Dana, Raleigh, NC Mon Apr 6, 2009

a buyer's agreement with is not holding up to their end of the bargain. They are a new part-time realtor who has never sold a home before and we wouldn't have signed an agreement with them if they weren't a friend. Originally they stated that if we signed with them. They would give us $5000 towards our closing costs. We don't have anything is writing and now they are only offering to give us $2500, what can we do?

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Unless it's written into the buyer's agency agreement as an additional provision, there's really nothing to prove who said what (depending on the company... ours wouldn't allow a buyer rebate because of the level of service provided, most likely...but some firms may have different opinions on that...$5K does sound like a rather hefty sum, though). Without knowing the name of the firm/company or what their business model is, I can't really say if it's OK that the closing costs were offered if you signed w/ them... basically, anything that's agreed upon has to be in writing at the time of the offer (on the buyer's agency agreement), otherwise there's not a legal basis to contest it. Just make any closing costs show up on the settlement statement at closing, regardless of who is providing them...otherwise, it's a RESPA violation. Sometimes newer agents have relatively large commission splits with their companies, transaction fees, E&O insurance, company profit margins, etc. taken out before they get their side of the commission...so it may be that they aren't financially able to contribute what they said they would...or the broker in charge may not have OK'ed it. If it's going to affect your ability to close the transaction, you'll have to let all sides know... if not, then having some money towards closing costs is better than having no closing cost assistance at all... good luck in your new home! It does get tricky sometimes when mixing friendship and business, but most Realtors go an extra mile for friends for that reason...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 6, 2009
Yikes! As a Realtor I sure hate these stories because it doesn't cast us in the best light. I also hate when agent problems get in the way of a transaction...afterall, isn't the agent supposed to make this whole process easier! Now I haven't heard each side, but I am very sorry you're having a problem like this. As another agent suggested, it might be a good idea to get the broker/manager involved. It sounds like regardless of the commission rebate dispute, you're in need of a little more experience than you're getting. Buyer agreement are great, but if you don't buy the house at all, the agent and the broker don't make a dime -- so there's a little leverage for you.

However here is some very important and sound advice that i hope you'll heed. Do not let this 2500.00 stand in the way of you getting the home you want. If necessary, resolve this after the closing but don't do anything that would endanger your position of getting the home or closing the sale. And don't let your emotions on this one subject overshadow your duties as a buyer to focus on all the other elements of the transaction.

Also...mental note for next time. Everything in writing. Everything! A good agent will be happy to or would have offered that paper without your request (i do!)

Having said that....if you don't get the response your looking for -- and you are 100% certain that you were indeed offered 5,000 -- tell the agent you do not plan to close (bluff) --- a new agent will be scared to death and want to make something rather than nada! (I can see this will be controversial with Realtor here....but it's true) Use your inspection contingency deadline as the time to do it. Or some other key moment.

It will be great if you can be friends with the agent and get along...but if not...then it's all business baby.

Good Luck and congratulations on your new home.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 6, 2009
I’m reminded of an old saying; “With friends like that who needs enemies.” Yes, everyone else here is focused on the real estate aspect of it, and saying the resolution lays in an real estate attorney or brokers manager but given nothing was put in writing, it will be her word against yours. She has a brokerage and probably full access to real estate attorney’s behind her, when all you have is a friend’s word. I’m guessing since she refused your urging broker approval, this is something that her broker would never approve of. So, I would just tell her that you don’t want to jeopardize her job or position with this particular brokerage, but that you feel led to inform her manager or local board of realtors that she’s making arrangements she’s not qualified to make. Let her know, that you really don’t want to do that; but, that you’re very hurt because you feel she betrayed your trust, (as a friend) and took advantage of you. Explain that if her friendship with you matters to her, she would be willing to reach a compromise, even after closing. Perhaps you could suggest that she share her commission with you, to equal the amount she has reneged on. Or, at the very least assist in helping you get some appliances, since that is what you had planned on using the $5,000 on. Good luck & I hope everything works out.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 7, 2009
It all depends on whether you want the firendship to be in place above all else, or you want the $5000 you were promised no matter what. If the former, speak with your friend and ask once more for the $5000. If they fail to do so chalk it up to experience, and next time avoid using firends in business transactions unless they are very experienced. "New" agent and friend is a rough combination to get past.

If you want the $5000 more than the friendship, advise the agent once more that you need them to meet their promise of $5000 or you'll need to talk to the broker. If this wasn't a friend and you couldn't get a satisfactory reply from the agent or the broker I'd suggest you speak to the local board of realtors for help/clarification.

I just wanted you to see you still have some options, but since you've already indicated you can close I think you've decided to take the high road and protect the friendship. If so I believe you'll receive blessings in return and you'll be able to sleep peacefully. Much more value in that than a few dollars. Good luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 7, 2009
Dana - Without anything in writing, you'll likely not get anywhere, and you maybe better off taking the $2500 and letting it go. You can speak with an attorney, but remember the cost of involving an attorney is likely going to be greater then anything you'll be able to recoup. I would recommend you request a sit down with the broker in charge and explain your concerns, and get their explanation.

The agent should have detailed to you how much commission your agent's brokerage (commission goes to brokerage, not the agent) is receiving from the transaction and you know the sales price, so you can figure the commission that is going to the agent's brokerage. As a new agent, I would guess that worse case scenario is a 50/50 split of commission.

Also remember that your lender may not allow that much of a rebate back to you. Check with your lender and see if that is why the rebate was cut.

Web Reference: http://www.tri4sale.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 6, 2009
Nothing if you dont have anything in writing ... try to resolve issue where it is a win win for all parties, they may have forgotten about their brokers fees and etc. realized not net as much off sale vs. w/o broker involved. All agents must pay their broker then receive their commissions.

~ National Featured Realtor and Consultant, Lecturer regarding Credit Repair, Mortgage Loan Officer
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 6, 2009
You have several options. One, contact the Broker/Owner of the agency your friend works for and advise them of this situation. Two, contact the local Board of Realtors and file a grievance against the agent. Three, contact the legal department at the North Carolina Association of Realtors and ask them what you shoud do.
Hope this helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 7, 2009
Wendy, you hit the nail on the head. She offered a buyer's rebate and we don't have anything in writing because she stated that it would all be worked out in the addendum with the attorney when we went to closing. We are very frustrated, because we even asked her to obtain approval from her broker in writing prior to us signing the contract, but she stated that she had spoken to her broker and did not need to do so. We are still going to be able to close the deal but it's frustrating because we thought we were going to be able to use the rebate to buy new appliances : ( Would contacting a real estate attorney help us in this situation?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 6, 2009
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