Home Selling in Philadelphia>Question Details

Manny, Home Owner in 19111

What happens when buyer's agent forget to put seller's assistance in contract?

Asked by Manny, 19111 Tue Nov 8, 2011

I'm selling my house. Three days ago, I received an offer. My agent and I reviewed the offer very carefully. We thought it was a pretty good offer. So, I accepted the offer. Today, I received a phone call from my agent to let me know that the buyer's agent forgot to include 3% seller's assitance in the contract. Both my agent and I are very upset about this situation. What happens when buyer's agent forgets to put seller's assistance in the contract? Any suggestions?

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You can reject the offer if they want to revise it. If you try to hold them to their original offer they can get out of the deal if they have inspection contingencies or ask for the seller assist or the sellers assist and work to be performed after inspections and if you don't agree, they would be able to terminate without default. If you have had your house on the market for a while and don't have any other prospects, you might want to consider negotiating something in the middle as many sellers would be thrilled to have an offer today
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Hi Manny,

Everyone has provided good answers below. Basically, by law, you have an executed contract with no seller's assistance. However, I would suggest you renegotiate the deal and work it out. Come to a compromise.

Your other alternative is to try to hold buyer to contract terms. If buyer can't afford, or refuses to close without your seller's assist, then you don't make settlement. The Buyer's earnest deposit will sit in escrow until either 1.) The Buyer agrees to release it to Seller. or 2.) You file suit for non-performance on the contract and get a court order to release the deposit to you. That will take time and legal expenses. Also, you can't sell to someone else until you settle the escrow situation.

All in all, in this market, I would suggest you have your Realtor re-negotiate and close the deal. Good luck with settlement.

All the best,
Larry Lichtman
REALTOR, Property Manager
Your Real Estate Resource for Life
Cell/Text: (267) 254-7994
Web Reference: http://www.DJCRE.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 9, 2011

If you and the buyer are of goodwill, you will work it out. perhaps there are other terms that can be renegotiated that may help your side, in exchange for essentially reducing your net 3%.

The FACT is, you have a binding contract if all parties have signed. BUT...

Another FACT is, if the buyer NEEDS the money to close, you may not have an agreement that can settle if the buyer just does not have the cash. In such case, the buyer will exit the agreement based on the mortgage contingency.

Any dispute of this nature has the very real potential to reach the courts, an outcome which i dislike and often favors nobody, even you who on the naked facts above seem totally in the right, totally the agrieved party.

I would try to reach an agreement with the other agent whose apparent error began it all, if the deal seems worth preserving, and you want to sell. your next offer could be weeks or months, which has a cost to itself. The question to me would be to place the cost of the problem on the cause of the problem.

Best regards

John Leonard
Long & Foster Real Estate
Web Reference: http://nicepahomes.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 9, 2011

Good for you. I hope tht you are getting some kind of consideration in return from the other side, but even if not... You might have lost 3% or more by waiting for the next offer. I think you were human and aslo wise.

I wish you smooth sailing through the rest of your transaction. You deserve that much !

JOhn Leonard
Long & Foster
Web Reference: http://nicepahomes.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 11, 2011
John's answer is excellent. Technically you don't HAVE to give him the assistance as it is not in the contract. But if he cannot close now because he cannot get the money, they you lose anyway.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 9, 2011
I agree with several agents below Manny, as Buyers will find ways out of a transaction if they are Salty about things. It is very difficult to have a smooth transaction if one side feels they were taken advantage. We all make mistakes and sometimes things get missed. Ultimately in this economy and market any ready willing and most importantly an Able buyer is something to be taken seriously. Most often your first offer will be your best. And the longer the home remains on the market, the less to the asking price is usually sold. As already stated, buyers will terminate your contract under inspections and or Mortgage conditions for that buyer. Many buyers need financial assistance in order to purchase Real Estate today. They may have good income, decent credit, but the Capital is difficult for most people to accumulate.

Best of Luck to you,

Rob Hughes: Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.
(Associate Broker) (AB065650)
(Hughes Associates) (Realtor since 1987)

Office: 610-225-7400 x7438

Cell# 484-410-9765 (Preferred)


1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
If both parties have agreed in writing you have a binding contract.

When the buyer came back asking for 3% sellers's assistance that changed things. Usually when a buyer requests assistance it's because they need it. If they're asking to renegotiate the offer you can too. You can ask for a higher sales price to cover some or all of the difference. I would consider how long my home has been on the market, have there been a lot of showings, have I received any other written offers, do I feel comfortable with this change?

If the buyer is purchasing the home FHA, who's paying if the appraiser says there are required repairs? You may agree to change the offer now but the buyer may come back asking for you to pay for required repairs. Make sure you have all of your I's dotted and T's crossed so the buyer understands this won't happen again if you decide to go forward.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011

If the contract is signed by all parties it is a binding document. There are however upcoming twists in the road.

The contract contains the "map" for the transaction. It specifies all the obligations of each party.

The buyer can walk and forgo the deposit.

However, if the buyer is conducting a home inspection be aware that they can choose not to accept the property based upon your refusal to make a correction they request based upon an issue that comes to light in the home inspection. They have the right to do this and then thier deposit should be returned.

The real question is what is your goal? Is this deal worth considering meeting this buyer half way? What position does that put you in?

You may wish to discuss your options with a reputable real estate attorney.

Good Luck!

Ana Barlow, Coldwell Banker Preferred, Philadelphia

1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
They are legally bound the way they signed it, but can easily get out of the deal at inspection or because they do not have the funds to close without the assist. So what you need to do is renegotiate the price higher to allow for the assist, but keep in mind the property must appraise for the total purchase amount, including the assist. (All this should be obvious to your agent.) Bottom line is: at this moment you and the buyer are 3% apart on the purchase price. You need to go back to the table and work it out. Good agents should be able to get this done.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
Well the one thing that the buyers can do if they elected the home inspection is ask for many repairs or compensation for the repairs they ask for. They can also walk after the inspection with no request or questions asked. Also if their mortgage approval states that they qualify for an X amount with X percent sellers assist they can possibly walk also because they can not meet the mortgage commitment. The buyers agent messed up but if either of them are worth their grain of salt it should be worked out.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
You can decline the offer if you're not open to giving sellers assist. Although most FHA buyers need it and sometime ask for 6%. It still may be worth your while to accept the offer. Not many, ready, willing and able buyers. What did your agent suggest?
Web Reference: http://askbelindanow.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 8, 2011
you don't have to agree to the changes, but please consult your agent and an atty if needed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 15, 2011
You either can say no, since this was not part of Agreement of Sale that was presented to you, and assuming you signed it the way it was written, or you can negotiate it, or accept the fact it was due to a human error. I would discuss this with your Realtor to get the best solution for you.

Hope this helps

Lori Damsker(Multi Million Dollar Producer)
Remax Access
Cell 215-850-4524

P.S. You also can speak to Real Estate Attorney as well
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 14, 2011
Congratulations! What happened was unfortunate, but in today's market you never know when you'll get a second chance to sell your home. It sounds like you received a lot of good answers to think about and in my opinion made the correct decision.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 10, 2011
Very Happy you and your wife Manny are saving the transaction:-) As you stated Housing all over the country is in a Slump and may be for 7 more years. Always best to work with qualified buyers any chance you can. I wish more sellers followed your positive approach! You can't force a buyer into purchasing a home they don't want in today's market. They will find one way or another out of the transaction.

Congratulations and Happy Closing!
Rob Hughes: Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.
(Associate Broker) (AB065650)
(Hughes Associates) (Realtor since 1987)

Office: 610-225-7400 x7438

Cell# 484-410-9765 (Preferred)


0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 10, 2011
Good job Manny. Yes BA screwed up but you are right. Qualified buyers are not easy to come by. Good job keeping it together. BEst of luck to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 10, 2011

Thank you very much for your comments/suggestions! My wife and I agreed to give the 3% seller's assistance to the buyers. I know the buyer's agent screwed up on this, but it's hard to find QUALIFIED buyers. The fact is that the housing market is in a slump right now. Home prices continue to fall so hard that they've either hit bottom or will do so soon. Therefore, I think it would be real dumb on my part to let these buyers go... Thanks! :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 10, 2011
If the buyer cannot complete the transction without the seller assist, which may well be the case, then the correction will need to be made to advance the cause. Unfortunate error, but my suggestion is to take a step back and negotiate best you can. The 3% seller assist of course reduces your net by that amount, so do your best to negotiate a deal you can live with.

Hope it all works out!
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service, Unsurpassed Results
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 10, 2011
Good advice Mack. Nobody can FORCE anyone to close or to perform to the letter of the contract.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 10, 2011
The contract is in an executory state, it is only at closing that the contract is fully executed.

So, what happens? Well, Manny, the reality is that the contract does not represent the agreement between the buyer and the seller. Hopefully, today you called the buyer's agent and had them correct this.

The idea of a contract isn't to tie people into things they don't want to do, it's to provide written evidence of an agreement so that it can be adjudicated in case of dispute. The reason all real estate transactions have to be in writing is that real property requires real documentation of agreements, not testimony from parties who may "forget" what they've agreed to.

Also - the longer you wait, the more likely it is that a neutral, third-party observer, such as a judge or an arbitrator, would consider that perhaps the contract DID reflect the agreement of the parties, and that one or the other was trying to squirrel out of the deal.

So, tell the other agent, if that doesn't work, tell their broker, and if that doesn't work - by Friday at the latest - call an attorney.

All the best,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 9, 2011
Too bad, so sad for the buyer. You have nothing to worry about. The one who really needs to be worried is the buyer's agent. They screwed up BIG time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 9, 2011
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