Home Buying in 90008>Question Details

LA Buyer, Home Owner in 90008

Should we cut our losses and walk away from escrow and a bad agent?

Asked by LA Buyer, 90008 Thu Mar 1, 2012

Our agent has fought us from day one. He refused to go to bat for us when the escrow costs came in with individual padding for each service and the actual escrow service fees were substantially higher than normal (according to our lending broker). I asked that he contact escrow to negotiate lower fees, but he refused. Then he didnt show up to the inspection and we had to cover for him with the listing agent who wondered where he was. Now, its been 10 days since the offer acceptance and we haven't received any disclosures or reports from the seller. Our agent said they haven't done it bc they are waiting to see what the price will be for the repairs and then they will send over all the paperwork together. However, they can't do that for another 4 days. Since the seller insisted that the inspection contingency be only 10 days, doesn't that mean we won't have time to review the reports/disclosures since the contingency period will be over when we get it

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Lance King’s answer
LA Buyer,

Your post is an excellent example why choosing an agent/broker just because they are family or friend is a bad idea. And more importantly, you shouldn't allow yourself to be guilted into doing it either. WAY too much money on the line.

And you are the one putting the money down, you are entitled to ask questions. Certainly your agent isn't going to write you a check if you have to sell at a loss down the line or pay for a ton of repairs, right?

If you want the house, work toward closing it as best as possible. If you're not willing to ruffle a relative's feathers, work with him as best you can. If you are, go to his broker. Family should look out for you more, not less....

If you don't end up with this property I would have a long chat with your agent and resolve your issues before moving forward on anything else.

Best Regards,

Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
DRE# 01384425
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 2, 2012
Hey there,

Sorry to hear about your situation & your bad experience. Hopefully this will help somewhat - check your contract to be sure, but you probably do not have to worry about being out of time on the inspection contingency period before you receive the disclosures from the seller. According to paragraph 14.B.(2) of the C.A.R. Residential Purchase Agreement, if the seller fails to deliver any disclosure or report to the buyer which they are responsible to deliver as part of the contingency, then regardless of when the seller delivers them, you would still have 5 additional days (or whatever time period was written into your particular contract) on the contingency time period. The language reads: "..if any report, disclosure or information for which seller is responsible is not delivered within the time specified in 14A, then buyer has 5 (or__) days after delivery of any such items, or the time specified in 14B(1), whichever is later, to deliver to seller a removal of the applicable contingency or cancellation of this agreement." If you want to push it, you also have the right to deliver a notice to perform to the seller to get you the disclosures under paragraph 14A of the contract. I would give the seller a bit more time, as no matter how long they take you should still have 5 additional days to review everything. Hope this is helpful - good luck with your situation & hope you are able to work through it to a successful closing.

John Barry, Realtor
DRE #01856079
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
Cell: 323-810-7976
Email: john.barry@coldwellbanker.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RealtorJB
Twitter: @RealtorJB
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
Unfortunately, nowdays everyone has either a friend or family member who is a real estate agent.....it does not mean you must use them.
I understand your feelings, it would feel really bad not to use a family member while doing such important investment.
But people say "never mix family and business."
Now, you are under stress......but also listing agent is + seller is + escrow + inspectors and all professionals involved in this transaction.

I'm really sorry to see your frustration, I hope, you managed to find a solution and successfully close.

i'm very thankful to you for sharing this experience. It can be really important for someone in the same situation.
Web Reference: http://www.innaivchenko.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 5, 2012
Dear LA Buyer,

It is not a good thing that you are feeling such distrust for your Agent at this stage of the purchase process. This is the tone I hear throughout all of your remarks here. Buying a property is not a fast transaction and can take months to complete.

Personally, I would find it very stressful to be in a battle of the wills for that length of time. It's possible you have a personality clash with this person, or it could be worse.

If I were you, I would go shopping for a Realtor that I have a good rapport with and who has the same business philosophy as I do, and start again with another property as well. I would also ask for references from other happy clients a good Agent should have this too.

Hopefully, the second time around will be a happy one for you!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 3, 2012
First it may be your mortgage guy is not aware that purchase escrow does cost much more than a refinance, how much is the escrow charge? Typically the escrow pad is $300. You have 3 days after any disclosure to walk from the deal. Yes it sounds like your agent is lame, he should be there for the inspection.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 2, 2012
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 2, 2012
Agents who are relatives are often relaxed - and take advantage of the relationship - either deliberately or inadvertently - you know when you think you got a sure thing, the tendency is to relax - often to the detriment of the relative or friend. If you want the house, then I suggest you sit down with your agent and let him know how frustrated you are, that you need answers and you are counting on his expertise to guide you through the process and educate you.
As for showing up at an inspection - it's the prudent thing to do, but not really necessary- the main thing is that YOU show up and talk with the inspector. If there are items to fix, you can ask the agent to call the inspector.
Getting disclosures out on time - often the list agent doesn't even have the seller sing them til the escrow is opened. The timeline doesn't start until 5 days from when you get them. Take a deep breath - the buying process can be tedious and stressful - but it doesn't have to be. It's up to you.
If you like the house, want the house, then roll with the process - jump through the hurdles- demand the service you deserve from your relative agent - and don hesitate to let him know you that if he feel he cannot handle the job - then you'd like to have his broker or manager step in to assist. If he's new in the business he may be nervous and not able to fully assist. Take the high road - and get the house you want. Good luck and God Bless you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
2 mins office talk with this guy's broker would have done the trick. I hope this is not someone I have to deal with in the field since I am not that far from 90008. Give us an update when you get this over with.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
Contact the agent's broker immediately and let them know what is happening. It's your choice who you want to work with, but it'll be too much of a hassle to completely ditch your agent.

As John stated, you are still given additional time to make decisions and proceed. Also, notify escrow and the listing agent as to what's happening so they can be on the same page. At this point, nobody is going to want the transaction to fall apart, so expect support from everyone.

Best of luck...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
You are right that by not giving you the necessary disclosures promptly, the agent compromised your ability to make proper decisions on whether to proceed with the transaction.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
I would try and contact his managing broker directly to resolve these issues.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
Sounds like your agent may have a vested interest in the escrow fees or some other aspect of this transaction that exists beyond your relationship with him. Call the Escrow directly and ask them to cut their prices or choose another Escrow company.

Then call your agent and let them know you are thinking of withdrawing from the transaction due to his apparent bad faith.

I can guarantee the agent will get back on the ball.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 11, 2013
A bad Real estate and Escrow agent is a recipe for disaster. I wish you the best..
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 28, 2013
Dear LA Buyer,

I suppose Realtors are like any professional person. Sometimes you click with them, and other times you don't. I always make it a point, to meet with my clients before we begin working together. One of the purposes for this meeting is to get to know one another, and allow the buyers to make the decision if I am the right agent for them.
This individual sounds distracted, and possibly too busy with other things to give your purchase the attention it needs. I don't care ther the "10 day contingency" change either. The inspections can be done in that amount of time but it adds un necessary pressure to an already high pressure situation. Also it is not enough time if you want, asbestos,lead and other additional inspections.
The bottom line is that you need to work with someone you really trust on this, and if you cannot trust this person you might want to consider changing agents and starting with a new property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 27, 2012
Thank you for your kind words. I've since sent an apology email to our agent/in-law for causing strife between himself and my husband. I just explained our need to be educated on the process and too much is riding on this to go on blind faith in his judgement. Not sure if that mended our family issues, but we immediately received more informative communication regarding the sellers' actions and intentions as well as answers to our questions regarding upcoming milestones. I'm just relieved that they agreed to do all of the termite damage repair without signing a WPA when we submitted the offer. That was a big worry hanging over my head from the beginning. Our excitement about the new property has returned and we are looking to get the appraisal done this week. Here's hoping we are walking into equity!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 5, 2012
Hi LA Buyer

Regret to hear of your issues.

Clearly, there are reasons why one does not work with Family.
As far as inspections contingencies go you are protected by your right to receive
inspections and Disclosures in time, per your California Assoc. Of Realtors contract.

You can always change the Title Company, it's the Seller or the Buyer who can choose the
Title company, so you can always change the Title company, if it is not working out for you.
Why do you not go with your Lenders Title Company if he recommends one?

I am quite sure it will work out.

Good luck.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 3, 2012
Thank you for your reply. I was totally prepared for the long journey of escrow and had no problem with that. However, our agreement set COE at 3-22-12,and has a 100/day penalty for every day past the tenth day after COE. This term in the agreement hangs over our head. That's why I wanted a contingency extension when the seller didn't give us the reports on time. I was concerned it would affect our ability in the long run to close on time and cause us to be penalized.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 3, 2012
Contact his broker as soon as possible.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 2, 2012
Thank you for your advice. You are absolutely right that we should work towards a successful close. He has 10 years of experience which is why we were so surprised when he fought us on submitting a WPA and left out a significant amount of repairs on the RR that were clearly listed in our home inspection report. So much was missing that I had to write the repairs request list myself and forward it to him to send to the sellers. Little things like this add up and destroy a buyer's ability to calmly trust their agent to take care of the deal for them. I realize that our constant questions and nitpicking of the contingencies can be difficult to handle. I want nothing more than to exhale and move towards a successful close. I just don't feel I can given what appears to be a cavalier attitude towards our transaction. Its good to know that we have a protection in the agreement through 14 B (3) for this disclosure issue. At the very least, we are getting a serious education in home buying.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 2, 2012
Unfortunately, the agent is a relative and so there is major reluctance to report them to the broker or governing body. He mentioned the 5 days, but didn't explain where in the agreement he was getting this. Given the previous lack of advocacy and the refusal to submit a WPA with the offer and only sending us one to sign after the offer was accepted, we lost faith in his competence and did not trust what he was saying.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
The counter offer allowed the seller to choose the escrow company, the title company, and the termite inspection company.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
I concur with contacting the Broker of record first in order to attempt to resolve your valid concerns. The contract has time frames that if not adhered to can have serious legal consequences. They are drafted by legal counsel and relied upon by courts in order to determine both parties’ duties and obligations.

With respect to negotiating the escrow fees, out of curiosity, who recommended the escrow company?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
What's your objective, LA Buyer?

If you want to the deal to go through, then you have obstacles to overcome that are relatively insignificant in the big picture.

If you have a point to make - the agent has been so horrible that they cost me the transaction - well, you can go down that road too, but you may likely lose your earnest money and the transaction.

I'm not eager to defend bad agents, and I would not negotiate with the escrow company on the fees, either. Wouldn't do it, any more than I'd expect a furniture store to renegotiate shipping fees.

With this story line, I would call the agent's broker, and tell them that I need them to review the contract and ensure that my position is protected. Ultimately, it is the broker who is responsible for you in this transaction, not the agent. Although, any half-way decent agent would take that responsibility on themselves!

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
Yes agreed, Contact the Agency Broker and resolve this matter at once, also you will want to file ethics charges with the local Realtor Association if you are in fact dealing with a Realtor or Realtor Associate. Any further problems or delays and I would say contact a Real Estate Attorney and handle this with harsh action.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
That's what I thought. Thank you both for your prompt replies.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 1, 2012
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