My listing agent sent me an email that she has an interested buyer, but they want to have a contingency to get a variance for a home based business.

Asked by Mstymetravel, Indiana Thu Feb 25, 2010

I sent my agent the response that I will not accept offers with contingencies. She replies, "thank you, I'll let my client know. She then emails me back and says she can't believe I won't even consider her buyer and that she thinks it is not in my best interest to throw this buyer out. I respond again, I'm not going to place my home in sale pending mode and I want no part in asking my neighbors to give a buyer a variance for a home based business. I tell her I do not want to be talked into an offer and if I refuse, I do not want to be hassled. Now I'm concerned my agent is not going to work for me since I turned down her buyer. Any suggestions?

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Pat & Steve…, Agent, Westlake, OH
Sat Feb 27, 2010
My answer is much like Don's first answer. You really need to have a face-to-face conversation with your Seller's Agent. First of all you have stated no contingencies. Case closed for you, but not acknowledged by your Seller's Agent. Also, your Seller's Agent contacted you as a Buyer's Agent for a potential Buyer of your home, acting as a Dual Agent between the 2 sides. Her first answer was a balanced answer. The second was not balanced. In Ohio, we must have Buyers & Sellers both agree in writing for us to act as Dual Agents, acting as both a Buyer's Agent & Seller's Agent for the same Property. I don't what the rules & regulations are in Indiana. That should be one of the talking points you have with your Seller's Agent in your face-to-face meeting.
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5k Mo Lto Bu…, Home Buyer, Los Angeles County, CA
Sat Feb 27, 2010
You are all missing the point as agents typically do. If you have a buyer that specifically has a requirement to get a variance for a home based business, you should check with the HOA and the local zoning jurisdiction to see what the rules are about foot traffic to the home, deliveries, and other details that are specific to the business (i.e. are they making some type of chemical goods or any other issues that would affect the community and the existing residences?). These are the types of issues that need to be addressed to solve the problem.

Both Agents should be helpful in solving this for the BUYER and SELLER's best interest. That's what you are here to do - help close sales. You can get 90% of the issue resolved with the variance in a day or two, and unless you have multiple offers on the home, you should assist in facilitating this to close the sale.

The Buyer Agent has a legitimate argument - put the ego at the door, help close the sale, make money and move the inventory. That's the game plan.
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Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Thu Feb 25, 2010
Dear Mytymetravel,
If you have a listing contract with your agent, they will work with you until the contract expires.You have every right to dis-allow contingencies without feeling as if you are doing something "unbelieveable" or "wrong". It's an unfortunate situation and hopefully you can clear the air with your agent. If you can't I would recommend you speak to the Broker in charge at her office.
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Blaine Richa…, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Thu Feb 25, 2010

I think the fact that your agent is e-mailing you such a comment instead of speaking with you over the phone or in person is saying much about your agent. You are well within your rights to object to such a offer with that kind of contingency. But if the offer was a good offer, Your agent should have helped you make a counter offer without the contingency. This way the buyer will know that you are receptive to the potential offer, but not willing to hold up the sale by unreasanable requests. I would also suggest that you might think about being open to small concessions or a contingency clauses on a cases by case basis.. This only means that you will consider what the prospective buyer might want from you. In some cases, the concession may be something very simple or not that important to you. So I would discuss and at least listen to any buyers requests. depending on what it is, It might make a difference in getting your home sold quickly.

Asking for you to wait for something that could never happen, such as a variance for a home based business is rediculous. Depending on where you live, that variance could hold up your sale for a very long time. Time costs money. Stand firm with your decision in this case but , Do indeed have a meeting with your agent to discuss your concerns There might be a communication problem. Make it clear to your agent, you will not accept any contingency that will hold you captive to the buyer. If your agent doesn't want to do that for you, there are many other agents around who will be glad to get your business.

Best wishes - Blaine Richards - Keller Williams - Hollywood Hills 310-598-8634
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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Thu Feb 25, 2010
Have a face-to-face talk with your agent. E-mail is great, but a lot gets lost in the communication. And a lot can get misinterpreted, too.

From your description, you're entirely within your rights. Further, your decision makes sense. Some would have accepted the offer, but others--for the reasons you list--wouldn't. Again, you're entirely within your rights.

It's odd that first you received a reasonable response ("thank you, I'll let my client know."). And then you received another one saying "she can't believe I won't even consider her buyer." Any idea what happened to prompt that second response?

At the very least, I'd have though your agent might suggest you counter, removing the contingency. That way, if the potential buyer was willing to gamble, and thought there'd be a good chance she could get the variance, she still could accept your counter. The buyer might or might not have gone for it, but you never know unless you try.

So, have a face-to-face discussion with your agent. See how that goes. At that point, you'll have a much better idea of how to proceed.

Hope that helps.
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