Home Buying in Las Vegas>Question Details

Gaiagirl8, Home Buyer in Bethesda, MD

What do you do when your agent refuses to send your counter-offer to a seller's agent?

Asked by Gaiagirl8, Bethesda, MD Sat Jan 7, 2012

Verbally accepted a sellers counter-offer and had a preliminary inspection done within the almost week before the actual contract arrived. The inspection went terribly with repairs totaling over half the value of the property. I haven't signed the counter or sent earnest money yet.

I want to counter for only a little lower, but my agent refuses to send it and says that the seller's counter offer is part of my original offer and I have to accept or walk away. The seller's counter-offer changed the price and several other parts of the contract.

Please advise!

Help the community by answering this question:


Talk to your Agents Broker immediately. Many Agents, and Brokers as well, forget their job is to represent their client. To present all offers presented. It is your deal, not the Agents. If they will not present, find the Broker and he or she will for you.

Jeffrey Sklar
Property Manager
2012 Vice Chair GLVAR Property Management Committee
Southern Nevada Property Management
8871 West Flamingo Road Suite 202
Las Vegas, NV 89147
Phone 702-522-6764
Fax 888-203-2779
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 30, 2012
Hi Gaiagil8

I would recommend that you follow the advice of my fellow agent
from Realty One Suzie Marquardt.

If I can be be of any assistance please contact me @ (702)281-
2225 or email:jimbalsano@cox.net

Jimmy Balsano
Realty One Group
Fax 1-866-371-8421

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 9, 2012
After reading your follow up below, this situation is sounding more convoluted by the minute.

You wrote:
"my agent had the seller date the contract as of when the verbal offer was made"
"The seller is a buyer's agent and the seller has a different agent. "
"Part of the contract is not as described or what I agreed to in my email confirmation"

1. Do you have a buyer's agent who is representing you (and no one else in the transaction)?

2. Verbal offers, verbal agreements, and email confirmations have no place in real estate contracts. Why are the terms not being addressed timely and properly in the form of written and signed contract, counter, & addenda?

3. You & your agent should probably review the timelines in the contract for due diligence, and other requirements. They typically begin upon acceptance, regardless of the date on the contract. Signatures should be dated on the actual date of signature, no exceptions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 8, 2012
Have another discussion with your agent. If your agent is not following your wishes, then talk to their broker. Refusing to communicate your offer, or the change to your offer is unacceptable.

But there is something you should consider: you want to change the terms of the offer you made (not really a counter, but that's besides the point). If you send notice to change the offer amount, the seller may simply cancel your deal and move on to the next buyer. You should not assume that this will be a back and forth type of negotiation. If you are changing your offer at this point, you should be prepared to walk away if you don't get what you're asking for. You may not get the chance to back peddle if the seller isn't going for your new price.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 8, 2012
I am confused as to why you would get an inspection before you had a completed offer in writing with all counters signed and agreed in writing. No verbal back & forth. This transaction sounds like a train wreck. I have found that when a deal starts out with troubles it only gets worse as you move ahead. If this is a property you think you must have you might want to get the broker involved with the agent present. Legal advise is always good to establish where you stand. Good Luck I hope you reach a resolution.
Thank You
Suzie Marquardt
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 8, 2012
From what you've written, it appears you do NOT have a fully executed contract. To be valid it must be written, accepted and delivered. As stated below your best recourse may be to contact your agent's broker and ask them to get involved and get it straightened out for you.

Best Of Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 8, 2012
Since you are buying in Vegas I can tell you with complete confidence that your due diligence (inspections/HOA doc review etc...) does NOT begin prior to having an executed written contract. Your agent has misguided you or you have misunderstood (doesn't sound like it though). I have only seen such practice once when dealing with a bank owned property in a multiple counter situation and the seller's multiple counter offer stated that buyer's due diligence would begin prior to receiving back seller's signed addendums. However, the buyers already had access and read the "written" counter and the winning offer received "written" email confirmation of acceptance and terms.

As you can see what I'm getting at here, It's all about "written" contracts/counter offers/addendums/confirmations etc... I highly suggest contacting your agent's broker and have him/her get involved directly.

Best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 8, 2012
Hello Gaiagirl: As it stands right now, since you do not have a fully-executed contract, this means that there is no signed agreement between you and the seller yet unless the contract has been signed already by the seller and you don't have a copy in your possession.

Unfortunately, you should have not done anything, the home inspection for instance, without the signed agreement.

The changes on the terms and conditions by the seller on your initial verbal agreement constitutes a counter offer. Therefore, your initial offer is considered invalid and no contract exists because of the seller's counter offer.

I am not a lawyer either and please consult a legal expert for further advice if you need it. Moreover, open a communication with your agent. He/she owes you fiduciary duties if you have a representation agreement.

Good Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 8, 2012
To answer some of the specifics about the situation: I got the inspection done prior to accepting the offer because my agent had the seller date the contract as of when the verbal offer was made. Since the deal was becoming very late, aka the sellers were not getting the contract back so I could get financing etc, I did the home inspection about the time it should have been done so that when the contract came I would not be late.

Part of the contract is not as described or what I agreed to in my email confirmation for the offer so technically the deal has changed again.

Also, this is not a bank owned home or a special case like a short sale. It is the usual, normal home purchase with an inspection contingency. The seller is a buyer's agent and the seller has a different agent.

I was asking because I had to fight with this agent over the phone about contracts and a "counter-off" being a new contract. I'm no lawyer, but I am a CPA.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 8, 2012
If I am misunderstanding then I apologize in advance but why would you conduct and pay for an inspection prior to having the purchase terms in writing and executed by yourself and the seller? Even if the contract is verbally binding, it's your word against the seller, proving your case in court would be next to impossible if you were ever put in that situation.

It's your agent's fiduciary duty to represent your best interests. If you don't feel you are being being represented, take it to the next step and contact his/her broker directly. Finally, since you have no earnest money at stake, either walk away from the house and/or find another agent to represent you. Even if you have a buyers broker agreement, the fact that the agent refuses to represent your best interests by negotiate on your behalf should make the contract void.

Also, there is no such thing as "the seller's counter offer" is part of the "original" offer, that is why it is called a counter offer. After it is executed by both parties, the terms and conditions will supersede the original offer and become an addition to the original contract.

Best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 8, 2012
Gaia, none of us can see the documents covering this sale, and local laws to vary (in Florida, a verbal contract can theoretically be binding, although I find it hard to believe they're often enforced in court). If the written counter offer was not EXACTLY what you verbally accepted, I would consider the negotiations still underway, and you should be able to counter however you wanted. Did your contract include an inspection contingency? Usually that will allow for further negotiation as well. I note that you haven't sent earnest money, which may work in your favor. You absolutely need a buyer's agent to be working this deal to your best interest, and I hope you have one. If you don't, and you have to walk away from this sale, I hope that you get one for your next offer!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 8, 2012
There is so much we don't know about your situation.
Since you paid for an inspection before the contract was signed it is very likely you are trying to purchase a bank owned or some other property not conforming to a traditional sale. Paying 300 to 500 for an inspection for a traditional sale indicates there are a few wheels loose on the wagon. I highly doubt your agent suggested an inspection prior to contract on a traditional sale.

Not long ago I represented a buyer who submitted a low ball offer (this is NEVER a bad thing) and the seller responded as expected, they lowered their price to same proportion the low ball was off target. The buyer then submits and even lower offer. As you can see, there will be no "meeting of the minds" in the situation. At what point should I have refused to have this buyer waste my time? No, these buyers over the course of two years never purchased a home are are still not property owners in Pinellas county.
Web Reference: http://www.MyDunedin.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 8, 2012
You tell your agent he has an hour to transmit your offer to the sellers agent or their fired and that you will be filing a complaint with the Nevada State Real Estate Commission shortly thereafter.

Honestly I'd probably fire them regardless. Verbal means absolutely nothing, it's referred to as idle conversation. In real estate only what's written and signed means anything, and as your agent doesn't know or understand this, it's a good indicator you're working with the wrong agent.

If you've signed on with them as a Buyer Broker don't worry about owing more than one commission, fire them and go sign on with a more experienced buyer broker, the moment you do you're fine.

A couple of things you may want to consider, Don't ever waste your money doing inspections on a property until you have a signed agreement. You do inspections after a contract is in place. During your diligence period (inspections, title examination, possibly survey, check on insurance etc) you may discover things which change your opinion of value, which is what happened after your inspections of this property. You then have the right to try to work out something with the Seller or terminate your contract, and walk away. You may want to remind your agent and the Sellers agent that now that the inspection has been done the deficiencies are public knowledge and must be disclosed by law.

I'm assuming the listing agent ad your agent aren't one and the same, but if they are this was your first mistake. Never allow the listing agent to represent you the buyer, this is clearly a conflict of interest regardless of whether it's legal in the state your buying or regardless of whatever nonsense the agent tells you abut being a neutral mediator.

To find a good Buyer Broker you might want to read the link I've attached below.

Good Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 8, 2012
talk with the agent's broker. Counter offers can be countered. that's what we call negotiation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 8, 2012
Hi Gaiagirl.

The statute of fraud is a provision that for a contract to be enforceable, it has to be in writing. Please check with a legal expert.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 8, 2012
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