Home Ownership in Austin>Question Details

John Ritenour, Renter in Austin, TX

Selling Agent blatantly lied on MLS listing, not discovered till after closing and move-in. Now he is refusing to fix.

Asked by John Ritenour, Austin, TX Fri Mar 14, 2014

We were looking to buy a home and saw a listing stating: "Everything New! Al stainless steel appliances. Including refrigerator!"

We just closed on that home, moved in and upon moving in, it was determined that the "new" refrigerator isn't new, was broken prior to installation, and is so old that the manufacturer doesn't even make parts for that model any more.

The listing agent reluctantly offered to fix, claimed he wouldn't help, but would only pay $500 towards the repair. I took him up on the offer and his immediate reply was to say he would only offer $250 now.

I'd like to resolve this out of court but am tired of being jerked around. The TREC says I have a claim. Should I pursue both the seller and selling realtor or just the realtor?

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Answers

3
Seek the assistance of a real estate attorney, they can best advise you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 15, 2014
You could file a complaint with the local real estate board and have the professional standards committee determine if this complaint should proceed any farther - you could take your complaint to small claims court and seek a judgment and the cost is minimal and you do not need to have a attorney you can represent yourself - before you do any of these look at your disclosure statement and see of the seller said if the refrigerator was working in the first place - and did the agent offer you a home warranty - if he did not he may of not used due diligence in completing your contract - if he did offer and you a home warranty and you declined then the agent would not be at fault
Flag Sat Mar 15, 2014
Filing a complaint with the state's licensing board will not really do anything to help you and probably all the agent will get is a slap on the wrist. Work with your agent and see what they recommend as a course of action.

As to a lawsuit, no doubt the cost of this course could easily be more than the cost of the refrigerator. Plus, if your purchase agreement had an inspection clause, it is possible that you could not hold the listing agent liable. If you inspected the home (either yourself or hired a home inspector) and then waived this contingency to complete the purchase, you in effect said that you have personally inspected all visible aspects of the home and approve of their quality and condition.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 14, 2014
And if the agent just had a 5 year fully probated suspension levied against him 2 months ago for a felony offense?
Flag Fri Mar 14, 2014
John,
Start with the agent who represented you. They may have some ways to "encourage" this agent to live up to the standards of Honesty & Integrity that are the minimum for all licensed agents. If they are Realtors, you may have an ethics charge which could also hurt them, if they aren't more helpful.
As to who is at fault, I can't know. As an agent I often rely on what I'm told about things like appliances. If my seller says, "that fridge is new" I probably won't challenge them unless something overtly makes that a questionable claim. For some people, a 10 year old fridge is "new" because the old was lasted 25 years. This isn't an excuse, but an explanation of how some people interpret things.
If your agent isn't helpful, speak to the listing agent's managing broker. They are responsible for everything done by their agents. This alone may solve this quickly, but you also have the other options. Best of luck and let us know how this turns out.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 14, 2014
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