Home Buying in Iselin>Question Details

dk_nguyen_1, Home Buyer in Iselin, NJ

unethical real estate agent

Asked by dk_nguyen_1, Iselin, NJ Mon May 20, 2013

we are about to close escrow on an investment home. to have a better chance at buying the home, we agree to utilize the seller's agent to represent us. two things happen with this agent that we're seeking out for advice. (1) sellers signed an addendum warranty monthly rent until current tenants move out (30 days between escrow closed and lease expired) and cover any damage tenants may incur during the move. However, 2 weeks before escrow close, the agent sent us another addendum to cancel the first addendum. (2) Upon review of inspection report, we request sellers to help pay for some of the unexpected repairs. After the sellers refused to do so, the agent agrees to pay $1000.00 for repair cost. However, 1 week before escrow closed, agent now only agree to pay $400.00. At the same time, threats us that he will send recent received offers to sellers if we don't close escrow ASAP. please let us know what we can do to watch out for our best interest and who we can go to at this point

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Answers

13
Thank you for your advice and the link to local association of Realtors. Cheers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 21, 2013
dk_nguyen,

There is another way you might be able to deal with the agent. If the agent put it in writing that they were going to pay $1,000 repair cost and than changed their mind, you might be able to file an arbitration grievance against that Realtor. This is only if the agent is a Realtor which means they are a member of the National Association of Realtors. You can reach the local association of Realtors at http://www.ocar.org/

Don
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 21, 2013
Hi dk_nguyen,

As you have revealed that you are in California, and I am a New Jersey Real Estate Agent, I am not allowed to offer you any advice that would be specific to California real estate.
As you mentioned in your last comment you have to weigh the cost of an attorney versus how much you are giving up in credits.
How much do you love the home? In the big picture will it make that much of a difference. It also depends on how much your personal time is worth.

Hope this helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 21, 2013
You made the intial mistake of thinking that using the seller's agent was a benefit. As you have seen, it can be a detriment. I am an advocate of buyer representation--so much so that I am an exclusive buyers agent only. I think some of these actions would be objectionable to the broker in charge of that office and I would contact that person about your situation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 21, 2013
Well, for all of us in NJ who thought that's where you were - nevermind!

We use attorneys routinely here..............apparently in CA, where you are, you don't!

You are asking for a legal opinion, and really, no Realtor can or should give that, whether they are from NJ or CA.

Best wishes...........
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 21, 2013
With appreciation, I thank each of you for your valuable advice. The property is in south Orange County, California. My first time using Q/A forum so I didn't pay attention to the location. Sorry for the confusion.

As of this morning, I agree to sign the new addendum to transfer security deposit to me and release the sellers from his lease with current tenants if the agent agrees to have an addendum paying for the repair fee of $1000.00 which he previously agreed to. But the agent is not doing so. What it boils down to, I believe, is the agent is trying to get away with the repair fee.
I do have emails from him stating that he will pay for the repair. These emails were carbon copy to escrow as well but escrow advised me that they can’t state it in the HUD because the agent is no longer agree to the $1000.00 but $400.00 instead.

Yes, I agree that I need any attorney but I’m uncertain if I would come out ahead because the attorney fee could exceed $1000.00

I would appreciate it if you can let me know if I have any legal ground on this.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 21, 2013
Hi...


Where is you real estate attorney?.....If you do not have one get one pronto....You should have signed a duel agency agreement with the sellers agent if they are representing both parties. They owe absolute honest representation to both the seller and buyer...Duel agency can work with a good agent, but like in any other line of work there is the good, the bad and the ugly.

I am Sorry you are having trouble......Attorney, Attorney, .....

Good luck, smiles

Diane
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 21, 2013
sorry no idea why this repeated itself 3 times!
Flag Tue May 21, 2013
it's dual agency!
Flag Tue May 21, 2013
it's dual agency!
Flag Tue May 21, 2013
it's dual agency!
Flag Tue May 21, 2013
dont you have an attorney representing you? isnt the seller being represented too? The attorneys should be handling it. Another reason to get a buyer's agent representation!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 21, 2013
In addition to an attorney you could/should also report the agents actions to DOBI (NJ dept pf banking and insurance) real estate commission. If as you report the agent is with holding offers from his clients this is a major breach of his fiduciary duty to seller. This action will not help you get the property but it may remove one questionable agent from the profession. One party alone can not cancel nor adjust the terms of contract. If you accepted an addendum they sent you this may be binding. Again, you really need an attorney. If the property is tenant occupied there may be security deposits held for damages. The tenants may have rights that impact yours. I hope you have copy of leases etc. We are all assuming you have no attorney, is this the case? I suggest all your communications be in writing in order to document all. (and avoid confusion as to what is said)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 21, 2013
As others have said, if you don't have an attorney, get one. Second, do you have signed contracts for the home purchase? If so, what do the contracts say? Were the items found in the inspection part of the contract and who was going to fix them? If the agent agreed to pay $1,000 of the repair cost, did they tell you this in an email where you have written documentation with a date on the email?

There are a lot of questions. Make sure you have an attorney who is representing you.

Don Mituzas
Licensed Associate Broker
Douglas Elliman Real Estate
New York's #1 Real Estate Broker
http://www.donmituzas.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 21, 2013
Are you using an attorney to close the transaction? You should be, and if you are you should contact them immediately. You should have all of these items in writing. An addendum is always in writing. No one can cancel an addendum arbitrarily, it takes the consent of both parties. Same goes for the repair costs, you should have something in writing. If you already have an attorney, talk to them. IF not, get one!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 21, 2013
First if you don't have an attorney you probably should get one. Secondly, if you are in NJ as your title says home buyer in Iselin, the agent should have provided you with a consumer information statement explaining that they would be a disclosed dual agent and should have gotten you to sign a consent form attesting to that. If the agent is a member of a Board of Realtors, you can get in touch with the Board and file an Ethics complaint against them.
I hope this helps you out. Good luck with your closing.
Sincerely,
Bill Farragher EXIT Blue Water Realty
Cell 201-892-5640 Off 732-696-8090
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 20, 2013
Glad you mentioned filing an Ethics complaint. This is something that should unfortunately be done far more often.
Flag Tue May 21, 2013
Glad you mentioned filing an Ethics complaint. This is something that should unfortunately be done far more often.
Flag Tue May 21, 2013
Glad you mentioned filing an Ethics complaint. This is something that should unfortunately be done far more often.
Flag Tue May 21, 2013
Glad you mentioned filing an Ethics complaint. This is something that should unfortunately be done far more often.
Flag Tue May 21, 2013
Well, I have to ask - aren't you working with a real estate attorney?
In my area we use attorneys for our closings., so all you'd have to do is ask your attorney.

It doesn't sound like you have one.

My second question to you is....didn't you get ANY of these agreements (regarding the monthly rent and the agent's $1000 repair credit) in WRITING?
The agent and the sellers can't just "cancel" written agreements.......please don't say all of this was verbal!

Just what kind of contract are you working with?

In addition - just so you know - legally the agent MUST send any written offers to the sellers.........the sellers may or may not be in a position to accept another offer, but they still have to be made aware of the existence of other offers.

Not sure what kind of agent you're working with, but something isn't right here (based on what you shared)........if he or she has a Broker - I'd sit down right away, and have a conversation with him or her.

Your other option is to call an attorney so that you have some representation.
I am afraid to ask who is holding your earnest money.........
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 20, 2013
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