When does a written agreement to look for a house to buy expire when there is no expiration date on the agreement?

Asked by Mario Reyes, Castro Valley, CA Wed Aug 21, 2013

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JR Thrasher, Agent, San Diego, CA
Wed Aug 21, 2013
I think Steve is right. I've also been told that a date could almost be considered an element of a contract.

J.R. Thrasher
http://www.SanDiegoRealEstateVeterans.com
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1 vote
Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Wed Aug 21, 2013
Below you replied to Sandy with stating:

"Yes, it is a buyer's agreement and we would like to know if the agreement is still binding despite the lapse of about a year."

Aside from the contract possibly being Voidable/Unenforceable and therefore "freeing you", the document you signed may come into play as well as there are three Buyer-REALTOR® Agreements:

1) Buyer-REALTOR® Agreement -- Non-Exclusive/Not for Compensation (Form BRNN)
2) Buyer-REALTOR® Agreement -- Non-Exclusive Right to Represent (Form BRNE), and
3) Buyer-REALTOR® Agreement -- Exclusive Right to Represent (Form BRE).

What document did you sign?

Quite frankly, why not just contact the Agent via email and let them know you want to cancel the contract and request an email back stating their agreement to cancel?
0 votes
John Juarez, Agent, Fremont, CA
Wed Aug 21, 2013
If you want a legal opinion ask a legal professional.
0 votes
Mario Reyes, Agent, Castro Valley, CA
Wed Aug 21, 2013
Is there no express provision in the Real Estate Law or Rules/Regulations of the Dept. of Real Estate covering the Buyer's agreement?

While I agree with the posters' comments that the written agreement is Voidable or Unenforceable, a clear provision of the law or rules on the matter will be the most convincing and best answer.

Thank you and I appreciate you Carl for your input based on your experience.
0 votes
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Wed Aug 21, 2013
Based on personal experience, any real estate contract without an expiration date is unenforceable. For a listing or buyer/broker agreement, the stat date and end date must be entered. Purchase agreements have a start date and an expiration date automatically inserted for all key components of the transaction with the option of you changing those dates as fits the specific transaction. Regardless of motive or happenstance, no start and/or no finish date ... no contract.
0 votes
John Juarez, Agent, Fremont, CA
Wed Aug 21, 2013
I believe that your contract without an end date is unenforceable. Just my opinion and not a legal opinion.

Perhaps the lack of the required date was an oversight on the part the person who prepared the contract. Perhaps it was done on purpose in the mistaken belief the you would be bound to this agent in perpetuity.
0 votes
Mario Reyes, Agent, Castro Valley, CA
Wed Aug 21, 2013
Thank you Steve and J.R. for your replies.

I believe, that for the sale of real estate, the listing agreement to sell is required to have a termination date hence, by corollary in the buyer's agreement the same requirement of a termination date applies.

To say that there is no termination date is necessary is illogical.

I think Steve is right that it is voidable because of lack of mutual consent i.e. that the agent can hold or prevent the buyer from seeking other agents.

I wonder why agents should draft this kind of agreement without termination date?
Is this the practice for buyer's agents not to put a termination date?

Thanks!
0 votes
Hi Mary, I always place an expiration date with an automatic 60-day extension if I and Client mutually continue to work together after the initial due date.
Flag Wed Aug 21, 2013
Terri Vellios, Agent, Campbell, CA
Wed Aug 21, 2013
A contract needs to have a start and end date. Check again. Who ever wrote the contract for you should go over the contract with you.
0 votes
Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Wed Aug 21, 2013
Hi Maryoreyes,

Typically, in order to be enforceable a contract must involve the following elements:

1) A "Meeting of the Minds" (Mutual Consent)
2) Offer and Acceptance
3) Mutual Consideration (The mutual exchange of something of value)
4) Performance or Delivery
5) Good Faith (It is implicit within all contracts that the parties are acting in good faith.)
6) No Violation of Public Policy

In my personal opinion, without an end or expiration date, one might argue there has not been a "Meeting of the Minds" and possibly voidable.

You should seek the advice of a lawyer for a definitive legal answer.

-Steve
0 votes
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Wed Aug 21, 2013
That's a tricky question - I assume you are referring to an agreement with a buyer's agent? With no expiration date, this could be argued a number of ways.

Why are you asking? Do you want to cancel it? You can always speak to your agent's broker...

Let me know more details so I can answer with more substance.

Take care.
0 votes
Yes, it is a buyer's agreement and we would like to know if the agreement is still binding despite the lapse of about a year. Thanks for your reply Cindy.
Flag Wed Aug 21, 2013
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