NH agent and contract issue - agent advised buyer but buyer was not client (now huge hidden issue revealed)

Asked by Sheila Nelson, Barre, VT Wed Jul 2, 2008

I never signed the dual agency form because I thought if this property fell through that I would hire a buyer broker and go look at other houses. So when it came time to make an offer, I emailed the broker with my basic offer info (sales price, close date, inspection days, etc). I did not say what inspections I wanted as I thought I'd check them off myself. He sent me the pre-filled P&S and it had boxes already checked off for inspections. SEWER was not checked off & I emailed him about it & asked to add it. He said, no, this house doesn't have a sewer it is public This made little sense to me but I left it unchecked. Well I located the previous homeowner and the sewer backs up every few months due to bad angle in pipe. Disclosures were blank as it was bank owned. I suspect this broker knew something was up with it. My questions: What should I do? Who should I contact?

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Sue-Ann Fecteau’s answer
Sue-Ann Fect…, Agent, Meredith, NH
Wed Jul 23, 2008
Recheck your Agency Disclosure Form. It explains about Sellers, Buyers, and Non Agents as well as Customer and Clinets. All the differences. Your REALTOR should always explain dual agency to you as well. If the agent does not represent you as a Buyers agent they still should be disclosing all information. It is very important that you always read through as well, what you are signing.
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;, , Riverhead, NY
Sat Jul 12, 2008
The fact that the agent wasn't representing you does not relieve them of the responsibility to offer disclosure. I would contact a lawyer first; next, move along to all of the associated entities (local real estate board, broker of record, department of state, etc). A bank owned property doesn't permit fraud, even if it's "as is"- any knowledge of the issues by a party to the transaction with an intentional non-disclosure should be decided in your favor, but only a real estate lawyer can advise you of legal aspects.
Web Reference:  http://optionsrealty.com
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Steven K-Bro…, , Brattleboro, VT
Sat Jul 12, 2008
I am sorry to hear about your bad experience. You can contact the Monadnock Board of Realtors to file an ethics complaint, or the New Hampshire Real Estate Commission to file a complaint for license violation. Before filing an ethics complaint, get a copy of the Realtor's Code of Ethics, so that you can cite the exact Standard which was violated. Before filing with the Commission, look up the NH RE Commission website and read the regulations which apply to licensees. A complaint will likely be dismissed unless the Commission can connect the licensee's behavior with a specific violation of a rule. If they acted legally, within their license, a complaint will get nowhere if it is just that you are unhappy. But if there was a fraudulent misrepresentation, for example (perhaps telling you that a sewer inspection has no meaning if it is a public sewer, since that turned out to be false).

I am wondering why someone who was aware of the advantages of having a buyer's agent would first work with someone representing the other party, and defer hiring a buyer's broker in case it doesn't work out? By the time you realize that it has not worked out... well, you know!

Good luck.

Steven K-Brooks, Licensed Real Estate Broker in VT & NH
Practicing EXCLUSIVE Buyer Brokerage (Buyer's Only) since 1996
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