Profile picture for FaithMarie

I NEVER signed a buyer/agent agreement. How long can my agent claim procuring cause?

I NEVER signed a buyer/agent agreement. How long can my agent claim procuring cause if I am the Buyer?
I have an offer on a short-sale house and form 22ss #2 clearly states if the bank has not responded within 60 days then contract is terminated and earnest money to be returned to buyer.
The 60 days has expired and we have not signed an extension.
I want a new agent because my current agent and her two brokers are HORRIBLE to deal with and very unprofessional. She stopped working for me once the contract was signed. She refuses to show me any other homes, even when our contract allows us to terminate anytime before bank approval, she sent the listing agent an extension form 22ss and form 34 to get the sellers to sign, without discussing this with us first or getting our approval.
The agent and her brokers won't resolve anything to make this purchase happy for us. They just keep threatening, "Procuring cause."
They will claim "procuring cause" if I get a new agent to represent us (we are the BUYERS).
If I NEVER signed a buyer/agent agreement then how long can they claim procuring cause?
  • April 10 2011 - Everett
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Answers (12)

Profile picture for FaithMarie
Great news everyone! I have spoken to several attorneys this week and here is what I received, FYI you are free to get out and no procuring cause.  Nobody owns buyers and from what you have told me of these people even more so.  Good luck

Thank you all for your wonderful support and advice! I learned a lot.
  • April 13 2011
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Is the house worth the effort of dealing with these brokers? Or, is it worth searching for another home in order to work with someone that is a better fit and represents your interests? I find it surprising that they wouldn't show you your options. Short sales don't always turn out to be the deal they originally seemed to be...and they often take so long that something better (and often for a better price) comes on the market...especially in a market like Everett that is still in decline. 
  • April 11 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Good advice NW, but this poster said that their agent's broker was backing the agent and 100% unwilling to do anything. Seems to me a good broker would have stepped in by now to offer their own services on this deal or at least try to offer the services of another agent in the office.

Things happen but hitting the client over the head with procuring cause and not returning phone calls rarely solves the situation. Do you think that another agent would actually step in the middle of this and try to work it out for this client? Most agents I know wouldn't as long as there was a contract on the table.
  • April 11 2011
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Profile picture for nwhome.us
I've actually been on the receiving end of this situation.  That is to say a client came to me complaining about their agent in the same light that you are describing.  The agent was threatening them.
We sat together with my managing broker and discussed the situation. The managing broker was willing to represent my client in the event that the old agent thought that they had procuring cause; at no cost to the client.
Find a good agent who is supported by a good company and talk about it.
  • April 11 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
"Buying a short sale is difficult and your agent is actually looking out for your best interest by not showing you additional properties."

How do you figure? People cancel offers on short sales all the time if they find another house that they prefer. The agent in this case is not listening to their client. What this client owes this agent who is refusing to explain the situation, work with them, return phone calls is NOTHING. Professional behavior inspires loyalty while threats and ignored phone calls should be met with termination of the relationship or a formal complaint.

A good agent would not behave this way. If the agent is truly not responsive, this client should seek information on terminating the contract and get better representation. This client is not a hostage and this agent owes them better communication at the very least. If the agent won't offer that, this client is wise to explore her legal rights now and see if she can prove the legal conditions for terminating any claim to a commission.
  • April 11 2011
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Each state has different laws in the buyer agency arena, you may want to see what your state laws are in this matter. Buying a short sale is difficult and your agent is actually looking out for your best interest by not showing you additional properties. You have a signed contract to purchase a house. As it's a short sale, you should have been anticipating a 4 to 6 months wait if not longer for the bank approval. It's not usual for a client to waste a realtor's time by looking for additional houses while a contract is still pending. It's a rare short sale where the extension isn't required. Your agent should rightly assume that you put in an offer on a house you wish to buy. Therefore, putting in for an extension should be a given and not require notification. Your agent didn't stop working for you, but it your tone suggests that you stopped helping her do her job. Part of that job is the frustrating wait for an answer from a bank that's not in any hurry to lose more money. If you don't have time for the wait, cancel the sale and look for homes that are not distressed financially. Just make sure you aren't liable for the commission. That realtor found you a house that you liked enough to place an offer and get it accepted. She deserves to get paid for that time and effort. The time limit for procuring cause on a short sale may be a long one!.

If you can prove that the realtor is ignoring your calls and/or emails,  plus you have maintained a professional, cordial discourse, you can report them to the better business bureau. Keep track of all written correspondance and times of calls. You will need proof that they aren't working in your best interest. A buyer agreement may not be necessary in your state. If it's required, they may have no procuring cause without a contract. Short sales are tricky!!! Please be patient with your realtor! Listen, Listen, Listen!!! Then ask for legal advice is warrented.

  • April 11 2011
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Profile picture for minotau
Odds are that they have absolutely no understanding of what "procuring cause" may or may not entail.  Typical.  You just need to focus on a different area - you're currently focused on "Continuity and Breaks in Continuity" rather than "Conduct of the Broker". 

If you want to put these folks in their place then I'd suggest asking them if they're familiar with the passage quoted below from the National Association of Realtor's Legal Affairs article on "Procuring Cause Factors".  From your description of their behavior there's probably several other areas that you could quote, and although this is a NAR document it is based on legal precedent, on established case law. 

The bottom line is that sitting on your arse crying "procuring cause" really doesn't cut it.

"A broker may cause a buyer to seek the services of another broker either through estrangement or abandonment.  Levy Wolf Real Estate Brokerage, Inc. v. Lizza Industries, Inc., 500 N.Y.S.2d 37 (1986).   In Levy Wolf, one broker did little more than bring the subject property to the attention of the prospective buyer and unsuccessfully try to set up a meeting between the parties.  Id. at 38.  He then in essence abandoned his efforts.  Id.  The prospect thus sought out the services of a second broker, who did background research and made inquiries and proposals that ultimately resulted in a sale.  Id.  The second broker was the procuring cause.  Id."
  • April 11 2011
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Here is a link for you to report them, its a federal site   http://www.consumerfinance.gov/the-bureau/

good luck.
  • April 11 2011
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I would send them a letter of termination along with the page in your offer that states that your tie to them has expired since the offer was not extended following the 60 days. Give the reasons in writing that you will be using another broker/agent.

If you signed nothing and your timeline is expired, you probably don't even need a written release from them, but you could demand one just to cover your bases. If the agent/broker gets nasty, save all emails and phone calls and file a complaint with their local Board here.
  • April 11 2011
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I don't know about your state, but in NC, we can't write an offer UNLESS we have a written Agency Agreement.

Has this come up as an issue?  How can they represent you in the transaction if there is no written agreement?

Procuring cause can only go so far. They are holding that phrase over your head as if it is the end-all-be-all.  Should you eventually sign a BA agreement with another Broker, and you NEVER had one with this Broker, I might assume it will be very difficult for them to pursue or prove anything.

Of course, I would get compent legal advice in that matter.  Nonetheless, call your local Real Estate Commission. Ours provide free legal advice to consumers in matters of complaints.
  • April 11 2011
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Thanks for your question Faithmarie.  If you have nothing in writing, you have no obligation to them.  I would contact the local Realtor board and go over the situation or select another Realtor telling them of the situation and if they want to represent you they will have to help clear this up.

Good luck, hope this helps.
  • April 11 2011
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Profile picture for blue screen exile
In most cases, if they didn't show you the house nor write the offer, then the procuring clause is irrelevant.

If the agent did show you a house you are still interested in writing an offer on, you probably need to get a letter from the agent and broker releasing you as a "client".
  • April 10 2011
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