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What is a buyer's agent responsibilities between offer acceptance and closing?

My fiance and I closed on a house in Philadelphia PA recently but are concerned over what took place between when the offer was accepted and the closing itself - specifically around the requested repairs after our home inspection.   The house which we purchased was a complete rehab and we requested a handful of repairs (as recommended by a home inspector) to be submitted to the seller (as per the inspection contingency in the contract).  

To our understanding our buyer's agent submitted the repairs to the listing agent, and the listing agent had the seller make the repairs.  Our agent confirmed that the repairs were done and we would be able to move forward with closing.  During the final walk-thru we saw that the result of the "repairs," some of which were done poorly others were not done at all.  We submitted a request to correct the repairs for our buyer's agent to pass onto the seller.  

However, at closing the seller and seller's agent refused to conduct any further repairs and informed us that the repairs were done as a "courtesy."  As our agent had NOT submitted the original repairs as a contract amendment - rather the repairs were submitted as an email.  Additionally our agent also did NOT submit an amendment to extend the repair contingency.  Finally, as icing on the cake our agent had NOT forwarded the repair corrections as an amendment after our walk-thru to the seller at all.  Unfortunately because of these missing amendmants we were contractually bound to close on the property and did so, but are not particularly satisfied with our buyer's agent.  What (if any) options exist to deal with our buyer's agent/agency who is now unresponsive?
  • October 19 2009 - Fairmount-Spring Garden
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Answers (7)

Peetahvw,

It was a poorly written contract - your agent should have done a better job at protecting your best interests - or at least at writing the terms of the contract more clearly.

However, having said that,

1) You purchased a complete rehab - your own words

2) I am certain the complete rehab was reflected in price you paid for that property - did you purchase it "as is"?

3) As long as the systems were "in normal working order" the seller met his obligations

4) Unless the specific repairs you requested were written into the contract - which the seller could have accepted or refused - legally the repairs were "curtesy" of the seller

5) Truly, it is impossible to give a correct repy without knowing the details of the transaction and the terms of the contract.

You may contact the selling broker to voice your objections and a real estate attorney to review the contract. Although, you would have been better off if you contacted the real estate attorney to review the contract before you purchased the rehab.

  • October 21 2009
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And this is why real estate agents carry E and O or errors and omissions insurance. 


Chances are you might have signed an arbitration agreement between you and the agent which would prevent you from suing the agent (expensive anyways). 


If you can't get satisfaction from the agent or broker, file for arbitration to claim some measure of damages.
  • October 20 2009
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In this case you were clearly mis-represented. Your agent has a fiduciary responsible to you as a client. The fact that he did not do as you asked in terms of a formal request for repairs et al. Tells me that he was in breach. I would recommend speaking to his broker first and ask that the company pay for the repairs to be done correctly. If this gets you no response than you should contact your local board of Realtors and lodge a formal complaint. You may also want to consult an attorney. Sometimes a well written letter from an attorney will get the attention of the broker.
Good Luck
  • October 20 2009
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I would recommend calling the broker, as the agent is likely a sub-agent.

As a buyer, you had some knowledge the repairs weren't guaranteed. If you didn't see an amendment signed by the sellers, that should have been a big glaring red flag. PA has pretty low licensing requirements, so finding an agent who is meticulous on paperwork should be a very high priority (since it is one of the easiest places to botch things up).


Regardless of the outcome, please take forward the lesson that in any real property sales - if it isn't in writing, it doesn't legally exist. (A personal opinion, not a legal opinion. Please contact a lawyer for one of those)

  • October 20 2009
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Buyers Agent responsibilities:

Handle all items in a diligent fashion.


Looks as if your Agent did not fully follow through by being at your best interest throughout the transaction.

Many Realtors, once the buyer finds a house, feel that their job is done, and they will then let the closing company, and then lender finish the rest.

My typical responsibilty to my buyers is to make sure all the repairs that they request are to be completed.

one thing you cannot control is the quality of work done by the workman of the sellers choice. I usually try to provide estimates of my own, by workmen i trust when providing the repair request to the listing broker.

another item of concern is if they were items that were not in "normal working order" and they got them back to "normal working order" or not. They parts, or quality of work might not be to your expectations, but if the items fixed are now in NWO, there isnt much you can do.

It sounds like your Realtor kinda dropped the ball. Sorry bout that!
  • October 19 2009
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Save all email correspondence and write down a timeline of exact to the best of your memory when things happened or were requested. This was your agents fault if they failed to protect you with a contractual amendment to the contract and they should be held accountable. Read your purchase contract to see what options you have for legal recourse and call your local board of realtors to file a complaint. Your agent may be in this one here or this one here. There is also general information about how to make a complaint and what to include here

I am sorry that your agent failed to protect your best interests, but making a complaint may get you some money back and protect clients in the future form their unprofessional behavior. Hope the links help.
  • October 19 2009
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I'm sorry to hear about your experience. As you already know, the buyer's agent has a fiduciary duty to represent your best interests. Each state varies in it's contract law but it sounds like you understand the process based on your contract. Your agent was responsible to submit the repair requests and verify (usually via receipt or reinspection) that the repairs were completed.

At this point you have the option to file a complaint with your local Realtor association for a code of ethics violation and file a complaint with the department of real estate. It sounds like the agent did not do this on purpose, however they did not use reasonable skill and care to ensure these items were either completed or negotiated before closing.

  • October 19 2009
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