Ask CandysDirt.com: Is My Realtor Acting in My Best Interest?

The sellers haven’t completed the agreed-upon repairs in a timely fashion, but are in a hurry to close. What should a buyer do?

A desperate reader, whose lease is up and apartment is already rented, could be left homeless if she doesn’t close on her home, but if she does go ahead and close, the repairs that the seller promised to do won’t be completed. Her Realtor said he’s willing to include the cost of repairs in the contract so that they can close, but the buyer wants to make sure that they’re protected, should the seller be reluctant to complete the repairs despite the contract. What should she do?

Read on for the details:

I’m about to the end of my rope as far as my patience is concerned with my home purchase.

The problems started when we had our initial property inspection and a leak was found under a bathroom that had recently been renovated along with bad grounds in nearly half the house, rotten sub floor, a roof that needed replacement, a leaky water heater causing the rotted floor, etc. We, as first time homebuyers in Texas, requested all repairs suggested by the inspector and the sellers agreed and signed a repair amendment.

The entirety of this transaction my husband and I have been pressured to close very quickly and the day of our first walkthrough we found that many items had not been touched at all and original problems remained, resulting in a delay of closing. Now, after the sellers and our agent have had over a week to remedy the situation, we are told again everything is complete and yet again, no it isn’t. Now my closing is scheduled tomorrow morning and I know that some of these items will not be done when I sign, so I am very apprehensive at this point and need some reassurance that the repairs will be completed even if I sign.

So I, under the advice of a trusted friend, called my agent and asked that he type up amendment to the contract that if repairs are not done in a satisfactory way, timeframe, or of we run into issues due to improper repairs down the line they are liable for the cost of repairs, legal fees, and insurance. Now, my agent says ‘Well, I think they will agree to sign a contract amendment but I doubt they will agree to pay legal fees.’ This is leaving me feeling like my agent is not acting in my best interest. What should I do to protect myself in this situation?

What would you advise?

6 Comment

  • All parties should sign an escrow agreement holding the seller’s proceeds (or the amount needed to repair the issues) in escrow until the repairs are completed. If they aren’t repaired in a timely manner, take the amount held in escrow and get it fixed and pay directly from the account. You can move forward with closing and sellers tend to move a little faster when their money is sitting in an escrow account.

  • Run and don’t look back. With all of that water coming in have any mold tests been performed?

  • I wouldn’t close!

  • Your agent is practicing law without a license. You should seek legal advice if you are pursuing protection not in the standard contracts authorized by the Texas real estate commission.

    An attorney can provide legal advice and write an addendum that should be enforceable. Your agent writing terms and conditions subject him to fines and possible loss of license should they come to the attention of the Texas real estate commission.

    Your agent may believe they’re acting in your best interest but in reality it is the exact opposite. Do not close until you are satisfied that the repairs have been completed. You’re buying the home as-is. After you close you have no rights to repairs under the standard contracts. I advise you to seek legal advice, your agent is not an attorney, don’t close until you are satisfied.

    • I would not escrow funds to cover these repairs after closing. Sounds like you don’t know the extent of the damage. How much would you escrow? As the contractor pulls back the layers and sees more to repair the bill can climb. Your current contract should give you the right to inspect after the work is done. You might have a concern with the seller being your contractor. Your attorney can write provisions giving you a right of inspection during the process. Someone acting on your behalf needs to make sure the repairs are completely and correctly done. With the extent of damage you have described, it might be in your best interest to find another house.

  • I would get estimates for the work to be done and have the seller provide a credit to the buyer at closing for the unfinished repairs. This can be done by an amendment to the contract. Best part is that you can select your own contractors and if not satisfied with the work, at least have some control over them and remedies under contract law. And yes, I am an attorney.