Who’s at fault if clients/agent don't adhere to contract provisions

By
Real Estate Agent with Alain Pinel BRE 01367196

Who’s at fault? Seller or Listing Agent

Listing agent claims to have over 25 years of experience…yet, she is embroiled in a tedious, contentious and continuous process because there appears to be a serious failure to communicate. Something is terribly out-of-synch,

Request for Repairs

Sellers agreed to a list of repairs based on specific items on the home inspection. When they were finished, listing agent informs buyer agent who then proceeds to get re-inspections done. Lo and behold, the re-inspection finds one item that was not done. Listing agent said the electrician told the sellers that it wasn’t necessary to encase the exposed wiring because they were low-voltage. So they didn't.

Two things wrong here:

  1. It’s not the seller’s call to not complete an action item specified in the agreement.  If they agreed to get something done, it should be done. If they wanted to do a walk-around, they should have asked the buyer if that would be acceptable.
  2. The sellers and the listing agent claimed that everything was done. The re-inspection discovered that isn’t true.

 

Did they lie? In a word: YESWorse, the listing agent argues with the inspector!

 

 

What stays with the property

After the sellers moved out, it was discovered that they took the washer and dryer that were stipulated in the contract should stay with the property.

Listing agent exacerbated the situation by saying that 

“A mistake was made, they should have taken the refrigerator. It's not even 2 years old, and still has about 3 years of warranty left, cost about $3800 or more, it can be transferred. They can come back and remove the refrigerator and replace the washer and dryer. “

 

Nah-uh…..the refrigerator, stove, washer and dryer ALL stay. It isn’t a matter of either/or.

The listing agent said she’ll locate replacement appliances, same model, same age (approximately 2-3 years old)

 

Nah-uh….how do we guarantee the appliances are in good condition especially since she’s not getting new ones? We advised her to find the same model, brand new, prorate the value based on a 10-year depreciation.

What does she do next? Claim that the appliances are 5-6 years old, and not 2-3 years like she initially said.

 

Who’s at fault? Seller or Listing Agent

 

Should the listing agent have provided better guidance? Had the sellers adhered to the provisions of the agreement, no one had to go through this waste of time and effort. 

 

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Rainmaker
592,740
Than Maynard
Coldwell Banker Heart of Oklahoma - Purcell, OK
Broker - Licensed to List & Sell - 405-990-8862

Simple: The Sellers return the W/D or buy new ones. No pro rating, no nothing.

The wiring issue: On repair list agreed to by seller. Contractor should shut up and do the work. Contractor needs to come back and correct at no charge (ha!), because he stuck his foot into a legally binding agreement.

May 08, 2014 05:41 AM #16
Rainmaker
60,400
Stacey Williams
Alpharetta, GA
Experienced Metro Atlanta Real Estate Agent

Pacita, This is the kind of stuff that make what should be a simple transaction a pain in the posterior.  It just sounds like the blind leading the blind!

May 08, 2014 05:44 AM #17
Rainmaker
331,098
Bruce Swedal
Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate

In the end the Judge tells us who is in the right or wrong. Have your lawyer call the other agent and see how fast things get returned??

May 08, 2014 06:22 AM #18
Rainmaker
241,327
Bette Gottwald
UNITED REAL ESTATE | Central PA - Mechanicsburg, PA
"Bet"on Central PA Real Estate!

Seller and/or listing agent should be providing, or writing out a check, for a washer and dryer IMO.  What happened with the re-inspection of the exposed wiring, the inspector should have known, or commented.

May 08, 2014 07:09 AM #19
Rainer
482,047
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Sad story, Pacita. Seems like the sellers weren't happy and the agent enables them. It's good that the buyer's brother is an unamused attorney. That should get things corrected with a little expense to the buyers.

So much simpler to just do the right thing - what is agreed to...
Thanks for sharing & good luck!
Bruce

 

May 08, 2014 07:09 AM #20
Rainmaker
844,199
Barbara Altieri
Kinard Realty Group - RealtyQuest Team, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Pacita -- Who's at fault?  Go by the contract... nothing more... nothing less. If w/d were in there, they stay. If removed, they pay. I can't believe how some try to circumvent the issue when they are clearly wrong.

May 08, 2014 12:13 PM #21
Rainmaker
815,802
Chris Griffith
Downing-Frye Realty, Bonita Springs, FL - Bonita Springs, FL
Bonita Springs Listing Agent

Well, I guess it's not just in my market.  I don't know where/how/why/when they fail at the communication and adhering to a contract but they do.  It's like being a kindergarten teacher sometimes.

May 08, 2014 12:14 PM #22
Rainmaker
1,317,601
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

We may not have all the facts, however, ultimately the seller has to adhere to the terms of the contract.  It appears they need to do whatever was specified therein.

May 08, 2014 12:14 PM #23
Rainmaker
710,643
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Meg --- somehow because of prior experience with the agent and her sellers, we just knew we had to have a re-inspection. And yes that was another expense, but as it turned out, we absolutely needed to check the work.

Carla --- we may end up in small claims court.  Just hate the amount of time we are still spending on this. Wish the agent and her sellers fulfilled their contractual obligations.

Than --- the way this is going, we may just demand that the sellers return the washer and the dryer. The sad part is, both appliances were on pedestals which we took to be part of the set. The listing agent said those aren't included since the contract specified washer and dryer, no mention of the pedestals. But had they left the appliances, they would be on those pedestals. Petty, petty, petty!

Stacey --- yes, all these going back and forth are a royal pain in the behind

Bruce --- we may exert those attorney muscles, soon.

 

May 08, 2014 01:40 PM #24
Rainmaker
710,643
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Barbara --- The buyer is going by the contract. The sellers aren't. And their agent isn't helping either.

Chris --- yes, like kindergarten. And one would think, the way the agent boasts about her many years in the business, that she should know better!

Joan --- the bottom line is...it's in the contract! If one doesn't follow the rules/provisions, then that person is in breach.

 

 

May 08, 2014 01:43 PM #25
Rainmaker
2,790,720
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
People, read directions... You will benefit greatly, friends! Love and light, Laura
May 08, 2014 02:04 PM #26
Ambassador
4,069,079
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Gad, this agent sounds like a nightmare from the word GO. Trying to cover up incompetence instead of doing the job and advising her clients appropriately. Sounds like small claims court is the way to go, unless you can resolve it through mediation/arbitration

May 08, 2014 02:28 PM #27
Ambassador
4,301,228
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Pacita, strange ways some sellers behave! (And stranger even that listing agents support them!) Have been in similar situation and my buyers just could do nothing nor did I

May 08, 2014 02:31 PM #28
Rainer
52,166
John Jonas
ReplaceMyself - Virtual Assistants - Highland, UT
John Jonas

I think the easiest way to resolve this is by just looking at the contract. That's why you have a contract signed... This is a great story for sellers, buyers and agents there to learn a few things when it comes to honoring an agreement.

May 08, 2014 07:14 PM #29
Rainmaker
1,384,027
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Pacita, I agree with Bruce (#18). The judge's decision will be the deciding factor.

May 08, 2014 11:17 PM #30
Rainmaker
705,151
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

To me Pacita, the answer is clear. The contract. That's why we have written contracts and each part of the entire contract and the addenda process becomes executed as the parties agree to the terms and conditions. When those terms and conditions broken, both the agent AND the seller or buyer are responsible.

May 08, 2014 11:18 PM #31
Rainmaker
2,484,492
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

A deal is only as good as the people behind it...Spending time getting to know each other is time well spent...good post

May 08, 2014 11:54 PM #32
Rainmaker
724,401
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Pacita-This sounds like one of the extreme real estate cases to bad this was all on the same transaction. Is it over yet?

May 09, 2014 04:38 AM #33
Rainmaker
2,190,192
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

This is bizarre. It sounds like the listing agent has other more pressing duties apart from selling real estate, and maybe she moonlights as an exotic dancer at night so she's way too tired in the day to deal with clients and thinks if she ignores or twists stuff around, nobody will notice?

May 09, 2014 10:38 AM #34
Rainmaker
195,279
Antonio & Alexia Cardenas
Alameda County - San Leandro, CA. - San Leandro, CA
"The Realtors In Motion"

Should we go back and start getting a deposit? we used to do that before hummmm 25+ years ago...

Antonio

Jul 01, 2014 01:59 PM #35
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