The agent knows the details of the contract.
As Ron stated, there are at least two optons but the involved agent will know if there are more AND the rest of the story.
Does the Buyer have an Inspection Contingency, that has not expired?
Then the Buyer basically has two options;
Walk away and lose the Deposit, or,
Buy the tree.
Michael Foster http://www.thearboristsurrey.ca
Helen Lund | http://www.woodlandtreeandlandscape.com/nj-tree-services.html
Your friend should get multiple companies to evaluate the situation and offer estimates. $5,000 to $6,000 seems quite excessive.
The extent to which the seller is responsible should be clearly outlined in their purchase agreement and their agent should be all over this, taking measures to preserve the transaction.
When parties reach a stalemate and refuse to accept compromise, it's often difficult to identify a solution....
I was part of a transaction years ago that sounds very similar to this one. Since you didn't state where your friend is in terms of contingencies, it's hard to really give specific advise. However, the buyer in my transaction got three (3) quotes to remove the tree and submitted an addendum, requesting that both the buyer and seller split the cost of the tree removal. The Seller agreed to split the cost as the buyer was highly qualified and the seller didn't want to risk putting the property back on the market over a tree. It turned out to be a win-win for both parties. "You have not because you ask not."
I hope this helps!
Bridgette "Kyria" Chase
Exit Bennett Realty
301.974.7110 | mobile
Your friend should have had a contractual right to inspect the house for a period of time after ratification. If the concern about the tree was raised at that time, the buyer could have asked the Seller to address it. However, it is unlikely the Seller would have done anything about it as you are buying the house not the tree.
Why are you sending a "tree expert" on her behalf? And what kind of tree costs $5k - $6k to remove? Sounds to me like you need (1) a new tree expert and (2) a real estate attorney.
Now, if you're outside the protections of a contingency, there isn't much you can do, unless losing your deposit is better than buying the house with the tree problem.
I would also like to say that a tree costing $5-6,000 to remove is stunning - you should probably get an estimate from a few less popular, yet qualified, companies.