I don't have good news for you...
Rebates are not in-and-of themselves illegal but if it was not approved by the lender's underwriter at the time your loan was approved and then listed on the HUD-I Settlement Statement, any money passed back to the buyer at or after closing is loan fraud. It is fraud because all of the condition of the transaction must be approved as fitting within the boundaries of the loan program and all monies trading hands must be on the HUD.
In online world, reputation is everything. You should consider posting a negative review on both the realtor and the realty house in http://www.yelp.com or similar services.
Also please inform us who is the realtor so we may avoid her. With this in mind, you could also purchase a domain name such as http://www.'realtor's name'.com and include your experience. This way whenever some performs a search on this person, this domain is sure to come up.
While it sounds strange, both the seller agent and your agent could both be telling the truth. The seller agent's broker may have paid 3% to the buyer agent's broker, but it's quite likely the buyer agent (if she's new) only did receive about 1% to her.
New agents typically pay about half of the commission to the broker-as in 50%. That would leave her with 1.5%. If she credited you some money in escrow, or if she paid taxes upon receiving that money, she may only have gotten a net of 1%.
I pay my broker 30%, and of course, agents like me have to pay their own taxes and that's usually about another 25%. So $36K the agent gets on paper may only be $16K net to the agent.
You'd actually be getting paid MORE MONEY than the agent if she agreed to give you $10K in that scenario. That hardly seems fair either.
If she is a new agent she may not even have realized how some of this worked, including RESPA and credits for closing costs to buyers. However, there are ways to resolve this issue with the agent.
If you have no luck contacting her, do contact the broker. If the broker is a franchise, you can contact the franchise management. You can also contact the local Santa Clara Count Assoc. of REALTORS(R) or Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS(R), or California Association of REALTORS(R).
Best of luck resolving this.
Here's the web link: http://www.bre.ca.gov/Consumers/
I would also suggest you learn something form this experience namely you get what you pay for: There's only one reason in the world Realtors offer to share their income with their clients: they honestly have nothing else to offer. They lack experience, can't make it on their own and in your case lack ethics. Professional experienced agents never offer to share their commissions and the reason is simple they don't have to. What other professions do you know that offer to share their income with you. Would you hire a doctor who offered you a rebate if you allowed them to perform surgery on you. How about a discount lawyer to defend you in court.
Consumers need to wise up and realize that you almost always get exactly what you pay for and Buyers rarely if ever pay the real estate commission, this is a seller expense.
More than likely, the agent has only been in the business for a short time and probably is flat broke. Thankfully alot of agents like that have not lasted as long, but soon many of those pretenders will be completely out of real estate sales. However, to error is human and to forgive is to be devine.
what i would do, is call the agent, and be very calm and relaxed and sympathetic. No one likes being in that situation ever and where the problem really lies is the breakdown in communication not the money. Becasue if the agent would have explained the situation they were in and worked out a plan to get you the money or at least a plan then more than likely you would have gotten something rather than northing.
Attempt to re-establish some common ground and demand a payment as a sign of good faith.. if you do get a payment you know have evidence of a referral to be paid to you... if they flake again,.. you can always to write a complaint to their local board of realtors..
If the $10K more you spent made it unaffordable...then you probably spent $50K over your comfort zone...
More than likely if you approah this agent and not attack him, they will cough it up.
Sorry to hear about this. I was in more or less similar situation few years back. My realtor was reluctant to sign any paper for the money back. I made sure that she signed all legal paper work including stating that this money back will be as part of the escrow closing, before all contigencies were removed.
It is best way to take money back in escrow - comes as a realtor credit. It has less implications and little to no chance of cheating to buyer/seller.
Is she/he independent agent or working for a firm? You may contact firm and she will be forced to respond.
Yes, everything in real estate should be in writting to be enforceable. But with that said, the Broker has a duty to oversee his agents and this needs to brought to the Broker's attention. The Broker is the one who actually receives the commission and it is then disbursed to the Agent.
We are held to a code of ethics and most of us take it very seriously!
Contacting the broker, real estate board are all good options. You may want to add a negative review to some agent review sites out there too. All in all, without a contract, it'll be tough, but reputation is everything, especially in our business.
There's also a consumer mediation complaint department at Santa Clara County affiliated with the District Attorney. They help protect consumer's rights and give you options. That might be a good direction to go too.
Ping me and I can give you their contact information.
Anyway. I may be wrong here, but I didn't think that a buyers agent could give money back. However, I am not an attorney, but you might want to check with a real estate attorney. Although you could be headed up an uphill battle since you have nothing in writing other than the e-mail that says your agent only took 1%. I always think it is better to have too much in writing than not enough.
Talking to your agents broker would surely be the first step I would take. After that you might even file a complaint with the local real estate board and maybe even the state. Then they will have to look into it. However, I am not sure how far you will get with nothing in writing. I am so sorry.
I hope this information helps! Best Wishes!
Contact the broker of the office and explain the situation. The broker will know what was paid to the brokerage firm (all chks go to the broker first, and the broker pays the agent).
Best of luck
Also, unless your agent was an owner broker, she has to pay a portion of that commission to her broker (ranging 10-50% of the comission she gets) So, it could be that she thought she would be able to give you 1.5% back, but her broker didn't agree with it, obviously she's not going to give you her own 1.5% since that's all she got.
Who knows really, you should try to talk to her, and contact her broker and explain your situation.