Profile picture for user40824258

Are there any legal loose ends that we should be concerned about?

We submitted an offer on a short sale in early October.  Our realtor initially said the offer had been forwarded to the seller's attorney, and later said we were likely not going to get a response to this offer.  Additionally, the section titled "TIME FOR ACCEPTANCE OF OFFER AND COUNTER-OFFERS; EFFECTIVE DATE, the offer said (a) If not signed by Buyer and Seller, and an executed copy delivered to all parties on or before 10/6/2013, this offer shall be deemed withdrawn and the Deposit, if any, shall be returned to Buyer. As such, we have since considered the offer withdrawn, and no earnest money had ever been deposited in relation to this. The realtor working with us in relation to this offer had since shown the short sale house to his/her family member. For various reasons, we felt the first realtor was not a good fit for us. No agreement was signed with the realtor for service, or the realty service he/she was assigned to us through—via our lender.  We told the realtor that we were putting our search on hold for a while; and in speaking with our lender, we were encouraged to find another realtor. We notified the realty service, who in turn informed the realtor that we would not be continuing on with him/her. We now have a new realtor. We recently learned that, although the seller had never signed our original offer to purchase on the short sale, the seller's attorney is using our offer and another unsigned, slightly higher offer received after it (possibly from our former realtor for a family member), to attempt to negotiate a release of deficiency from the bank for the seller. As it is in a subdivision we would like to live in, can we simply make a new offer on the property, through our current realtor--since our original offer is legally deemed withdrawn, per the language within it (noted above)?  It appears to me that there is no legal reason that doing so would be inappropriate.  Am I missing something?

  • November 07 2013 - Tampa
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Answers (10)

Profile picture for AlmaKee
Just curious why you would let a lender advise you which Realtor to work with? 
Typically a buyer will select a Realtor to work with.

I would be sure to shop around for a lender, too.  Credit Unions are very competitive and generally have lower garbage "lender related" fees. Aim Loan out of San Diego has always had the lowest rates and lender related fees from any I've seen in my over 12 years of experience.  An Ivy League Professor from the Wharton School of Business also has a very extensive website on how to shop for a mortgage, check out MtgProfessor dot com.

On this property, if the Seller already has a higher offer than yours, the likelihood of your ever actually getting to buy this property at the price you're willing to pay may be slim.  Keep looking up until the day you get a written contract on this Short Sale with an approval letter from all lienholders (1st mortgage, 2nd mortgage, HOA etc).

Good luck and remember to shop around for your mortgage because even with a rebate incentive you may still be paying well above the market rate and fees based on your individual credit and assets.





 
  • December 05 2013
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I'd like to be at the arbitration hearing for procuring cause, as the REA explains that "the OP's offer was keeping my relatives from being able to buy the house, and now the OP offered with another agent, because they found out I was trying to help my relative buy the house, too, and I want the commission from that deal since my relatives didn't get to buy the house, and reap me a commission. All of this was caused because the Seller basically ignored me, and all my clients, until it was convenient for them to respond, and then used my two clients offers, against both of my clients, in negotiations".

Talk about a cluster.

I think the procuring cause argument fails. I couldn't, in good conscience, bring a procuring cause complaint in this situation.

It's arms length client's Dog eat relative client's Dog, out there, these days.
  • November 09 2013
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OMG...please

1.  "sisters" are wrong...
2.  Ron Brown is correct
3.  Real Estate Law for the purpose of this inquiry is the same for ALL states...
4.  "Procuring Cause" is NOT the law...It is a realtor thing, that has nothing to do with legal.
5.  There is NO purchase agreement...nada.
6.  NO there is  NO procuring cause for the neighborhood, just this particular house.

Best advice is to move on...

Eve
  • November 09 2013
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Thanks for the great detail. It does sound like your first offer was not signed, but is being used by the seller's attorney. It also sounds like you used a a Realtor "service"? If your interest is in the same house with a different Realtor moving forward, well, there remains the issue of procuring cause. I suggest contacting an attorney versed in real estate matters for this aspect, including the request to the first Realtor just to make sure your second offer contains your only interest in the property. I also would be forthright in communicating all of the above to your current Realtor. They need to be aware of potential procuring cause issues on this particular house. If it is a matter of buying in the subdivision, not this particular house, there is less of an issue for procuring cause. 

It sounds like the seller's attorney is not trying to enforce the purchase agreement, but is trying to use the offers on the house to improve the seller's position with the bank, either for the upcoming "contract" for purchase, or for the after effects of a sale...(disposition of the amounts short of paying the mortgage off. ). Hopefully this is well received, feel free to give it a thumbs up if it has helped you.
  • November 08 2013
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Florida laws are different than California, when you have a situation that requires legal advice as you are finding out from the answers been getting, its best practice to find Real Estate attorney who will answer your concerns, yes it will cost you some money, however you have a road map to follow without unknown consequence that might show up in the future. As Realtors we advise on real estate matters, and not legal matters, although your question is about real estate, the unknown of your situation is what makes it legal. If this post was helpful please click the thumbs-up below.

  • November 08 2013
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Profile picture for Gabilan Properties
Sisters, I respectfully disagree with your advice. You cannot "fire away" an agents right to a procuring cause suit. Although I am not a Florida broker, I have had the experience of finding this out the hard way.

Giving an answer as you did without fully knowing all the circumstances could cause an unknowing person to rely on misinformation and possibly great monetary harm!
  • November 08 2013
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"We notified the realty service, who in turn informed the realtor that we would not be continuing on with him/her."

If you fired the 1st Realtor then nothing should come back and bite you or the second Realtor.  Buying a short sale or foreclosure can be a long and tedious process.  If you have a time frame where you would like to move - don't count on it happening in 2-3 months.  I've heard of short sales taking over a year.  If you have time to wait then fine go for it.
  • November 08 2013
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Since no one signed the contract, you have no contract....you just made an offer that the date expired on.

Could you submit an offer through another agent, sure...that is not against the law. 

The problem may come in if the first agent claims "procuring cause" and tries to take the commission away from your new agent, through a realtor arbitration hearing.  There is no guarantee how that would turn out.
it would depend on what the first agent did, how the 2nd agent got involved and how good or lousy the hearing panel is.
 

The whole thing sounds like a can of worms and greedy banks are asking for more than list price on short sales, so many short sales are not really bargains.

My advice is to find another house.
When a buyer loses a house, there is always a better one around the corner.

Eve






  • November 07 2013
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Profile picture for CCarron
If you did not sign a buyer agency agreement with the prior agent, you have no obligation to make your new offer through him or her. If the property is in the multiple listings, and an offer of compensation has been made to buyer agents through the multiple listings, there is a question whether your new agent will qualify for that compensation as the "procuring cause" in view of the fact that you've already picked the property and the new agent apparently has done nothing to make the transaction occur.  Just writing up an offer may not be enough to be the "procuring cause."  (This is a complicated issue -- I'm on the arbitration committee of my local real estate association that resolves such disputes between brokers.) The reason this could be important to you is that if you sign a buyer agency agreement with the new agent agreeing to pay a commission if the agent doesn't get a commission from the seller through the multiple listings, it's possible the new agent will be found not to be the "procuring cause" and you will have to pay his/her commission.  So be sure you understand what you sign. If this post was helpful please click the thumbs-up below.
  • November 07 2013
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Profile picture for Gabilan Properties
Yes you are! Your original agent will have a procuring cause suit if you close escrow on the property.
  • November 07 2013
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