Home Buying in Ogden>Question Details

Peeryapts, Home Buyer in Studio City, CA

Real Estate Broker put name of previous owner on purchase contract instead of seller's name... Recourse?

Asked by Peeryapts, Studio City, CA Thu Oct 20, 2011

In buying a building, the dual agency realtor put the name of a previous owner on the purchase contract instead of the seller's name. Assuming that I was buying the property from this previous owner who was also the property management company, and who was present at the physical inspection, I allowed them to answer questions about some potentially defective (polybutylene) water pipes. The previous owner / management company stated that the pipes were not defective polybutylene. It turned out that the pipes WERE defective, causing thousands in damages and repairs. I have no recourse against them for this false statement because they were not actually the seller. Do I have recourse against the realtor for providing the wrong name on the purchase contract which led me to believe that I was buying the property from somebody else? (The previous owner / Management Co. whose name is on the purchase docs, had owned the building before the seller did)

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Mack McCoy’s answer
I think you're asking the wrong question, and you absolutely need a lawyer to sort this out.

The issue isn't the name typed in at the top, it's the signatures at the bottom and how the parties behave that matters. Recourse will be for a judge to decide.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
I'd say it's time to get your own attorney. Yes, it's best to have your own agent representation when purchasing, this is an example of why.

Now, it's time to get your own legal representation. I hope it all works out in your favor. Clearly something wasn't right and needs to be corrected. Having legal representation would be your best option at this point.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
More proof of the absurdity in the real estate industry. How is dual agency even legal? This is like a divorcing couple asking the same lawyer to represent them, or a lobbyist for a trade organization who also just happens to work on a government panel regulating that industry. Oops, sorry, that second absurdity actually exists.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 20, 2011
I'd recommend you speak to a Real Estate Attorney for advise on what you can do. You could at least talk to them about any recourse. Here are two listed below:


1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 20, 2011
I found this property on-line and agreed to let the listing brokerage (Marcus & Millichap) represent me as the buyer also. (mistake).
Although the purchase contract had the wrong name on it across the board, the title/escrow company docs did have the correct name of the seller on them.
The seller who signed the listing agreement and purchase contract was the actual seller, but the documents he signed had the name of another LLC on them, not the name of his LLC.
One would assume that the listing agent obtained the name of the selling entity from the seller at the time of the listing.
In 2010, The listing agent provided me with the results of a Merlin search showing the correct name of the selling entity. If he had the ability to perform this search in 2010, one would expect he also had the same ability to do so in 2005 when I bought the building.
In researching the tax records in 2010, the name that appeared on the assessor's records at the time of the listing was also the correct name of the seller.
Clearly, the listing agent had ample resources from which to obtain the name of the seller, yet he obviously failed to employ them.
When I brought these finding to the attention of the chief legal officer of the brokerage, he demanded to know how I had been damaged by their errors.
Once I laid out my damages to him, he stopped responding to me all together.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
You will first want to check to see whose name teh dee dis when it was conveyed to you? You will need to see whose name was on the tax card as the owner when you purchased, did it gove the old owner or the current owner at that time? Where did your agent get the sellers name? if they were a dual agent, who signed the listing agreement? they should have known who their own client was??? in most cases if there was damage from the incorrect names, it would be under errors and omisissions insurance.

As for the pipes... Did you have your own inspection? You should have. If you did teh inspector may also be on teh hook, if you did not, your liability then goes up as you should have as any due diligince by any buyer.

you may want to meet with an attorney who can guide you and see if you have a case. good luck in working things out
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 21, 2011
Examine the closing documents prepared by the escrow company. Do they indicate the correct seller or match the purchase & sale contract? If there was a discrepancy between the two, it should have been brought to your attention.
Who you may have an action against is a legal question. As an agent, I rely on the MLS to supply me the seller’s name and address, although in Residential I also check county records to see if there is a spouse or additional names.
Has there been any legal claims against the defective pipe manufactures and if there was, is there any way to join that claim?
The question becomes who you can sue, do they have anything to recover and will you spend more than you recover? Of course a lawsuit also takes your focus away from pursuing other business and is stressful. Talk to an attorney and consider what makes the most sense.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 20, 2011
Yes, I bought the property in 2005. I didn't discover the broker's errors until 2010 when I attempted to sue the selling entity that was listed on the purchase contract for non-disclosure.

Short back story:

Entity (A) owned and managed the building from 1987 - 2004;

Entity (A) sold the building to Entity (B) in 2004 but continued to manage it;

I bought the building in 2005 from who I thought was Entity (A) (according to the purchase contract) and contracted with Entity (A) to continue managing it for me;

Employees of Entity (A) were on hand at the physical inspection, and answered my questions about the building's condition and defects found by the inspector, including my questions about whether the pipes were defective. Entity (A) stated that the pipes were not defective. (they lied)

Because Entity (A) was listed as the seller on the purchase contract, I believed the seller to be Entity (A) and had no reason to think otherwise because only employees from Entity (A) were present at the physical inspection, they answered my questions about the condition of the building, and Entity (A) was currently managing the property at the time.

I fired Entity (A) as the property manager and maintainer in 2010 and tried to sue them for non-disclosure of the defective pipes, which is when I discovered that the broker had listed the seller as (Entity (A) when the seller was in fact, Entity (B).

You can see a more detailed account at: http://bit.ly/o0ko9v
Web Reference: http://bit.ly/o0ko9v
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 20, 2011
Did you buy the place? If your contract was not with the legal seller, you may not own it. Your question is out of the expertise of an agent. You'll likely need to talk to an attorney.
Was the agent an actual "dual agent" or did they represent the sellers only? I sell my own listings, but never claim dual agency. The risks are too great to risk my license over.
Did you rely solely on the report from the "seller" or did you have an inspection done? A Competent inspector would identify the type of pipes.
Sit down with an attorney and provide all the paperwork involved with your purchase and see what they have to say. At a minimum you may have action against the agent’s errors & omissions insurance.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 20, 2011
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