Profile picture for nenenita

Listing agent mis represented some information on MLS

We have recently put in an offer that was accepted on a house.  Everyone thought is was a wood burning fireplace, even listing agent.  I was on MLS as wood burning with gas starter.  Today, she changed the MLS to say gas logs only.  She said we should have questioned it sooner.  Is there anything we can do?

Nita
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November 16 2010 - North Little Rock
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Profile picture for Pasadenan
In most cases, there are sufficient contingencies to back out of the contract without losing ones' earnest money.  But if the inspection was already complete and the inspection contingency removed, it may be more difficult, as likely the home inspector hired would have noted the chimney and fireplace were not adequate for burning wood.

If your offer was made with the full understanding of both parties that it was a wood burning fireplace, and you found that it was not, then your offer is not valid, and regardless of why the agent made the error, you can have the contract voided and receive your earnest money back.  On the other hand, if escrow already closed, it is a bit late to undo your purchase or to renegotiate terms.

The agent caries errors and omission insurance, and you can go above them to their broker, or file a complaint with the local board, or file a complaint with the state if the agent made an error and is completely unwilling to do anything to resolve it.  It is not in an agent's interest to force a person to buy what they had no intention of buying.  Nor is it in an agent's interest to have a dispute regarding whose earnest money it was when the agent clearly made an error in the advertisement, even if the source of the error was a simple misunderstanding, or even just a typing error.

But that is the problem with most agents; they don't know the building codes, and they make assumptions without even asking.

I wouldn't bother to try to prove fraud in court or even to the local association panel; it is a waste of time and too expensive.  And the paper trail to prove it was intentional fraud is very difficult to document.  Just assume it was a careless error on the Agent's part and let the agent resolve it.

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November 16 2010
I do not know Pasadenan, but I would like to compliment this responder. An excellent and thorough response which resonates throughout the country, whatever Board, etc. Thanks for this. Margaret Rose
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December 15 2010
I hope that you've been able to have your situation clarified by the listing agent who I assume is also representing you for the purchase of the home since certain things were changed in the mls. 

Depending on the type of fireplace it is, it may be possible to request that the seller remove the gas logs so it can be converted into a traditional wood burning fireplace. Some fireplaces can not be converted if they are gas logs only (no flue or damper mechanism) or a ventless insert of gas logs only.

Best of luck!
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December 15 2010
The MLS imput has to be checked by you and your inspector when you do your inspection, MLS info is sometimes not accurate and the only thing you can do is to pull out of the contract or request your agent * buyer agent an explanation. You can ask the seller to replace it having your agent sent a notice to correct before the inspection deadline specifying your request but remember is up to the seller to accept or decline, if so, you can fight for your earnest money only and turn a new leaf..
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November 16 2010
If you would like to cancel the contract you need to talk to your agent to find out if that's possible. It depends on your State laws and where you are at in the closing process.
I think, the listing agent is not liable for the information in the MLSas long as the agent did not provide wrong information intentionally. There is a lot of information that an agent needs to input into the MLS database and agents are human and make mistakes. In Arizona the buyer is advised to check the information that is important for the decision to purchase a home.
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November 16 2010
Profile picture for Pasadenan
By the way, I prefer a gas log as cleaning up the soot from burned wood is a big mess.  Many gas logs look very natural.  And in many parts of the country the natural gas is quite cost effective.  Not to mention, when you turn it off, it is off.  No waiting for the rest to burn.  No having to put the fire out.  No having to remove the ash, soot, and other remains.  No worries about a burning ember escaping from the chimney and catching something on fire and burning something down.  No worries about improper ventilation or breathing smoke.
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November 16 2010
Neither of these answers are entirely true.  The prospective buyer has a deposit on this offer.  It is going to depend on what stage the process is in and a determination of whether this is a material misrepresentation or merely an administrative oversight.  I would agree that in the final analysis that if what the buyer is stating is exactly true, then it would be in the best interest of everyone to void the offer with the understanding that their deposit would be returned.  It needs to be fully understood in those terms otherwise we could have a buyer backing out with the threat of losing their deposit.  That should not happen but I have been in the business long enough to know that not all agents and brokers work from the same rules.  There is also a difference between an agent making and administrative error and a misrepresentation by the seller on their disclosure statement to affect a sale.
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November 16 2010
Profile picture for wetdawgs
If you are finding things such as this that turn you away from the house, then you can simple remove your offer.
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November 16 2010
just because you have an accepted offer dosnt mean you have to buy the house.  If you havent signed contracts yet you can just tell them you changed your mind and dont want the house anymore.
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November 16 2010
 
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