We are in escrow to buy a house and it closes on April 30th.. We are purchasing a bank owned house, with

Asked by Monica Lewis, San Clemente, CA Thu Apr 17, 2008

owners still living in it. We just found out the owner changed the mls without permission from the selling realtor, stating the sub zero $10,000 refrigerator, plantation shutters and window coverings totaling $30,000 were not included. This is unethical... Who could we report this too? What rights do we have without us having to back out of escrow? We really love the house, And also, at close of escrow would we be able to state in closing documents we want the owners out the day we sign documents? We have no trust now.

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Jacqueline W…, Agent, Irvine, CA
Sat May 24, 2008
Curious to know how this turned out....can you give us an update?
1 vote
Sandra Carli…, Agent, Newport Beach, CA
Fri Apr 18, 2008
Hi Monica,

It sounds more like a Short Sale than Bank Owned. It also sounds like maybe the agent is doing both ends of this deal? If that's the case, I would probably give a real estate attorney a call. I included a link to the California Department of Real Estate page on how to file a complaint in the web reference. You will find a lot of information on that site.

All of those items would have been written in if you had been my client. There are too many horror stories of items walking off at the last minute. My hunch is that they are probably not written in, hence the change to the MLS sheet. If you have a copy of the MLS sheet from when you first submitted your offer, I would make sure not to lose it, you may need it for your attorney or your complaint to prove the change was made.

The occupancy of the owner's (who are now tenants if the property is bank owned) should have been part of the initial purchase agreement. If it wasn't, I would talk to an attorney about it because even if the "owners" agree to be out when you sign closing documents, if they aren't ethical , why would you rely on them to keep their word about a move out date? If you need to evict them, it's better to be ready so you can start enjoying your new home as soon as possible.

Also, sellers, unless they are agents and have inputed the listing into the MLS themselves, do not have access to make those changes. They can certainly request those changes be made of their agent, but most people don't change things after the fact.

Let me know if you need a referral for a real estate attorney.

0 votes
Amanda Wheel…, , Irvine, CA
Thu Apr 17, 2008
As a real estate attorney, I would not advise a client to purchase a property with occupants in it without a written agreement as to the move-out date. This should have been specified in the purchase agreement, so you should check on that.

You will potentially have a major problem if the occupants are the previous owners and have not found another place to live (and cannot afford to do so). The landlord-tenant laws in California heavily favor the tenant and you will have to go to court and pursue an unlawful detainer action against the occupants if they do not agree to leave. This process can take months, can be very expensive (as you continue to make the mortgage payments in the interim), and there is no short cut. Moreover, the occupants have little incentive to keep the property in good condition during the eviction process.

I do not mean to scare you, just to warn you that you need to proceed with caution in this area. I really hope it all works out for you in the end!

~Amanda Wheeland
O.C. Real Estate Advisor & Lawyer
0 votes
Tara Steinke, Agent, San Diego, CA
Thu Apr 17, 2008
Dear Monica,

This is quite the predicament.... You need to review your purchase contract and consult your agent. This is exactly why it is so important for buyers to have agents that represent them exclusively and do a competent job in doing so. If it is not clearly stated in the contract that the drapes are conveyed and stay with the property you don't have much ground to stand on there. However, if the sub zero refrigerator is built-in then you could argue that it is a fixture (attached to the structure) and must stay. Have your agent contact the California Association of Realtors Legal Hotline. They will return inquiries within a matter of days and can give direction on these types of matters..... and it is free to agents that are REALTORS (members of the association).

CAR Legal Hotline: 213.739.8282 or email: legal_hotline@car.org

I wish you the best of luck in resolving this matter.
0 votes
Mr.P, , Arizona
Thu Apr 17, 2008
Monica it reads more like a short sale that requires bank approval, than a actual bank owned home.
As Joe wrote what does the purchase contract read? Is this home Owner/Agent?
Do you have a Realtor representing yourself?
Can you contact the escrow officer?

I don`t mean to ask more questions than answers, however I need the correct facts.
0 votes
Laarni G. Om…, , Orange County, CA
Thu Apr 17, 2008
Hi Monica,

Are you sure this is BANK OWNED? I would say 99.9% of the time, the bank evicts the "previous owner and will not even put the property on the market if it is still occupied. Please check with you agent and make sure especially there is a a little confusion on your part what is IS in your "AS-IS" sale. And how can the owner change the MLS without the agent knowing it, if this agent is a member of SOCALMLS you can only edit your record through the SafeMLS code which changes everytime you log out. Something smells from San Clemente to my area her in North OC and it does not smell like Roses!

Good Luck,
0 votes
Joe Homs, Agent, Laguna Hills, CA
Thu Apr 17, 2008

It's best that you consult with YOUR agent for these answers. If you are buying without an agent then you should have mentioned these items in the purchase agreement so that there was no confusion. In most cases these items are "Attached" to the residence and therefore a part of the sale, but I always write them into my contracts. The "Owner" or Bank should be working through a Real Estate Agent and he would be the one to change the MLS. You can contact their Broker or make a formal complaint with the Board of Realtors. But, again, if you have an agent contact them. If you need any further advise and are NOT represented by an agent, give me a call.

Joe Homs
Realty Partners
Web Reference:  http://www.joehoms.com
0 votes
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