have signed offer to purchase. Two day before P&S sellers agent unreachable,now sellers have backed out of sale, claim we are now off contract.

Asked by Jay, Abington, MA Thu Dec 23, 2010

Legal? BUyers agent tried repeatly to reach sellers agent and now suddenly sellers have changed their mind and not sell the house. Is this legal? Is this ethical behavior from sellers agent?

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John Sacktig, Agent, New Jersey, NJ
Tue Dec 28, 2010

Why would you think that the agent is acting unethical and illegal because the seller backed out? It sounds as though some un-informed person is feeding you some incorrect information so you can try and sue the Realtor along with the seller for money. Please explain the thought process as to how the sellers agent acted unethical? I don't get that.

I am sure you are upset, but situations change for many people in the world. It may stink that the sellers backed out and you may be able to go after the sellers in court for damages. But, I have had many agents not get back to me.. for various reason. maybe the Realtor was trying to keep the deal together, maybe his/her kid was sick, maybe he/she went away for a few days before christmas.. who knows? Is it unethical and illegal? No.

"The Broker in legally responsible for accountability of funds and he cannot meet that if he does not respond to you." You are grasping at straws here.. trying to make something out of nothing.. AND the funds can not be released anyway until all parties have signed off. We all know that.

P.S. At the time odf the P&S execution date it would not be the responsibilty of the sellers agents to contact and coordinate the closing.. that is up the attorneys, title people and so on... The buyers agent can contact as many people as he/she likes.. but all of this would hinge on the seller and his decision. I have had this happen before where buyers have backed out.. and guess what, as the buyers agent I was the last person to know.. got it from an attorney by fax.. the people were embarrassed... did not wat to tell me.. so who is at fault there?
2 votes
Chris Head, Agent, Norwell, MA
Fri Dec 24, 2010

Your question of whether this is ethical behavior from the Seller's agent raises some interesting points. If the list agent is a Realtor, they could be in violation of the Realtor Code of Ethics. The Code is specific where it states that "Realtors protect and promote their clients’ interests while treating all parties honestly." The code also is specific about their duties to other Realtors. However, the list agent must also follow their client's lawful instruction. If your agent and the Seller's agent are both Realtors, there should be communication between them and explanation for you.

Tom had great advice regarding the legal issues. If you want to investigate this further your agent can refer you to a real estate attorney. Because the Offer to Purchase is a binding contract you probably have a case, but the legal expense may not be worth it. If you find the property comes back on the market, it may be that the Seller received a better offer or had sellers remorse over the negotiated price. The threat of legal action could flush out their reason for backing out and would prevent them from selling to another party. And the threat of a Code of Ethics violation to Seller's agent if they are a Realtor may also get you some answers.

I think you'll find plenty of new inventory to check out after the holidays!
1 vote
Amy Mullen, Agent, Shrewsbury, MA
Fri Dec 24, 2010

Dan used a very good example of how this might happen. I am sure it would be nice to know what happened but it might not be a battle that you want to take on.

You should get your initial deposit that went with your offer back though.

1 vote
Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Fri Dec 24, 2010
Situations change. I had a client get a major pay cut just as we had an offer to purchase his house. With the new salary he couldn't afford the home they had planned to purchase, so we rejected the offer and removed the home from the market.
If the contract was followed by you and broken by the seller, you would likely have to take them to court to force them to perform. If you think this is an option you want to consider, ask your agent to go over the terms with you to make sure you were in complete compliance. That way when you have your initial consultation with the attorney you can get to the heart of the matter.
You may find your time and energy are better spent finding another home you'll be happy with.
1 vote
Jrashamuse1, Home Buyer, Abington, MA
Tue Sep 13, 2016
I have signed offer to purchase with the state agent and we signed the offer , but the sate agent one week later called that the owner has accepted better offer than what we are offering and state agent wanted to use my offer as back up offer and I don't want that. can I pull out of the contract because of this
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Fri Dec 24, 2010
Since you are asking a legal question, for the most accurate answer regarding legalities, do consult with an attorney who specializes in real estate, have all related documentation reviewed and see exactly what options you may have...since none of us are directly involved in the transaction, it's impossible to give you accurate answers.
0 votes
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Fri Dec 24, 2010
The key is if they signed and accepted your offfer. If they did sign your offer, they are obligated to abide by the contracts terms. If it was just an offer and was not accepted by signing, the seller can refuse any offer or take the home off the market. The listing agent should be honest with your buyer broker....
0 votes
Mike Travers, Agent, Bridgewater, MA
Fri Dec 24, 2010
Well, as you have probably been told, the signed offer is legally binding on all parties. I would suggest that you start by calling the agents manager ASAP to gather more info but would not lose more than 48 hours doing that. The agent's Broker of record cannot ignore you if he or his agent received your deposit check. The Broker in legally responsible for accountability of funds and he cannot meet that if he does not respond to you. Your deposit cannot simply be returned to you without both parties signing a release without the Broker putting himself in jeopardy. Lastly, you should always seek the advice of an attorney who practices real estate law as his/her main area of law. You might want to ask about specific performance, and Lis Pendings.

Again, bottom line, talk to a true real estate attorney.
P.S. As a Broker, it is my professional opinion that there is no good reason, short of a very serious illness or accident, that the agent you have been working with has not kept in touch knowing that the P&S execution date has arrived. At the very least, another agent/manager should be covering.
0 votes
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