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Home Buyer P…, Home Buyer in Piscataway, NJ

Negotiations with bank on Foreclosure

Asked by Home Buyer Piscataway, Piscataway, NJ Sun Feb 1, 2009

I put in a bid on forclosure couple of days ago. List 199. I was told there were multiple offers and asked to put in my best offer. I received a form titles Fannie Mae mulitple offers nofication. My agent called and said verbally and in writing that they would be accepting best and LAST offer. My agent called a day later and told me I won the bid and to read my Email. In the e-mail was a counter offer for 24000 over the bid I had placed with 30 days to close. The listing broker told my broker, there were septic issues with the property but what they were were not disclosed to me. This has all taken place with about 4 days and since Friday I have not heard from my agent. She didn't ask me for a counter she only sent an email saying she would request a 45 day closing as opposed to the 90 days I had requested in my initial offer. I'm not sure how to proced at this point. I wish I had a different agent as I do not feel she is working in my best interest.

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Hey there, homebuyer: Sorry to chime in late. One, there is no contract that I am aware of in this situation. A counter offer should mean that your offer is NULL and VOID and that you are now in the driver's seat and can accept or reject the bank’s offer as you please. If they don't have a date by which you must respond, it's up to you and unless they withdraw the counter, they should be in the position where they can accept no other offer.

NJ does not have a mandatory homeowner's disclosure law, that's true, but failing to disclose known latent (hidden) defects would be a cause for claims of fraud, I believe (but I'm not an attorney) both civil and criminal. So the bank is on shaky ground if they failed to disclose previously known conditions, such as the septic problem.

Additionally, the septic problem can become VERY expensive. I would STRONGLY recommend that you go no further with this deal until you have a firm quote from a reputable contractor for the cost of whatever fix is needed. The septic system is HIGHLY controlled by the state and there is NO getting an inexpensive (let's say CHEEP) fix. It has to be done right and to the state code.

So, there you are. Unlike Gina, I will say that your agent does not seem to be dealing with a full deck. It has not been explained as to whether this is because of lack of knowledge on the agent's part but in any case, the ultimate relationship for you is not with the agent but with her agency and her broker of record. So the advice that you have been previously given, that is to call the managing broker, (there well may be other brokers in the office) is a good piece of advice.

An agent should be competent in handling the client's needs and should respond by obeying any legal order that you may give, including one to clarify the situation so you understand exactly what has transpired and where the situation stands.

Finally, at this point, you are dealing with a great deal of money and very indistinct definitions. It is always a good thing to have Legal counsel, because a realtor, unless licensed to practice law, cannot act as an attorney and, in my opinion, you have reached the point where having one would be a wise investment.

Best of Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 2, 2009

This is clearly not going in the direction you would like it to go. Our recommendation is to take charge of the situation and control what you are able to control.

First, your agent should be an extension of your position and needs he/she doesn't have to agree with your position but should be able to help you "process" what is on the table.

The bank clearly did not accept your offer.....they are offering you a counter. It may be that your offer was the highest of those offer they had but are fishing to see if you are willing to go higher..this is your decision. In situations like these, if the buyer is still interested in the home, a little (and I mean little) movement is better than none. It should give them the signal that you want the home but cannot go any higher.

Septic issues can be costly. Be sure you have an appreciation for what the price range will be for correcting this problem.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 2, 2009
I hear you Gina. Lets see what happens with this fiasco today. Should be interesting to say the least. I guess she feels that I want the house so badly that I'll ignore the numbers. Who knows. I responded with a counter and let her know that I felt she was not working in my best interest. I'm ready to walk away though the stress is really getting to me. I'm no savy investor just a person who's dreamed all her life of a home of her own.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 2, 2009
Home Buyer,

I just recently read a post on a blog that say agents should watch what they write and how they word it....

There is such a different way of saying something and talks like this are better done on the phone or in person NOT via email. I would say more but for the fear of a slander lawsuit...I will remain silent.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 1, 2009
This is the response I just received in my email " hope you had a nice weekend, and I thought you had this under control. You almost got the house, the bank countered to you only" $ 194,500 and closing Feb. 27". I could be done if all of the ducks were in a row. Had everything under control, your mortgage. Your inspection all done, your condo with a contract and be ready to move in" This agent is working for ME?. Oh it's only 24000 more do you want the house or don't you?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 1, 2009
I think Gina's first answer is the best. Speak to your agent's broker and express your concerns. Foreclosures are difficult and if this is the first for the listing agent or your agent, that might explain the confusion.

But get your questions answered before you proceed. Start with your agent's broker, then go to the sellers side.

Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Atlantic Shore
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 1, 2009
Home Buyer,

Once again I see your frustration but you said..."My agent called a day later and told me I won the bid and to read my Email" and then you said..."This time they are not given an amount, they are letting the buyers give their offers and they will take the highest bidder." Which is the most recent information? Obviously your offer was not accepted if they countered. It can be where they countered only your offer but it really wasn't accepted then or do you have to give your final and best?

As far as your agent knowing the listing broker..that honestly comes with the business. From time to time agents from two different brokers work on previous deals together, perhaps worked for the same broker at one time, belong to the same realtor board, etc....Her knowing the broker doesn't have much bearing unless you think she is not working in your best interests as your agent. I know initially you were concerned about lies, etc. She may tell you one thing and then the next because once again she can just be repeating what the listing agent is telling her. Only the listing agent is communicating with the bank so what the bank is actually saying and doing is getting to your agent secondhand. As far as the counter being fair, depending on what your offer was and what the counter is and what the house is actually worth (and its only worth what a buyer will pay for it)...the counter offer may or not be fair. I will provide my clients with all the knowledge so that they make an educated decision. Whether it means they buy the house or don't buy it...I will tell them too so unless the counter is really not fair then she may be trying to guide you as well.

Good luck.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 1, 2009
No Lynn, she is not out of town. I last spoke to her on Friday. She advised me under no circumstances to contact the listing broker. She said she would speak to him on Saturday about closing date and my counter offering although she seemed to think their offer was fair, which we debated because of the septic situation. I also learned that she knew the listing broker pretty well, something she had not disclosed previously. Gina I want the house. My bid was low enough to take into account a substantial amount for septic repair if needed. I just need some answers that my agent is not giving me. A friend has suggested getting another agent, but I think we are too far along in the process for that. I am really concerned that she tells me one thing, then tells me something else. I have all the emails. She told me the bank would NOT be counter offering and would accept highest offer.
"This time they are not given an amount, they are letting the buyers give their offers and they will take the highest bidder." This was what she sent me. I dont know what the heck is going on. Is it me or is she the most incompetent on record?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 1, 2009
Is your agent out of town over looked an email. I would contact your buyers agent broker discuss particulars regarding your agent and offer. Bank does not have seller disclosure, however if counter offer is $24K over your offer up to you either counter or cut loss move onto another search.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 1, 2009
Home Buyer,

It's Gina again, remember me from your other questions? With that being said, I'm unclear as to why you agent would only be interested in the responding to the closing date and not the counter offer? I know that you have been leary from the start on this one and the other day I had told you and am still reiterating that if you do not want to not. At this point you are still not under any obligation to. I would call your agent immediately and/or the manager or broker. If they are countering, you have not yet won anything.

Good luck.

Gina Chirico, Sales Associate
Prudential NJ Properties
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 1, 2009
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