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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I have a beautiful home and property, much nicer than the majority

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I have a beautiful home and property, much nicer than the majority of homes in my neighborhood. Most of the other the homes in my neighborbood are speck, mine is custom with a view and extensive woodwork throughout. I need to sell so I used an agent I used to sell my previous home and I trusted her. She told me the house should list at $550,000. I thought it was low and debated it with her. She insisted it was correct and convinced me to go with that price. I had a full price, non contingent offer the first day. I again I felt it was too low, she said it was a good price and we needed to go with it. The following day after signing we debated it again as i was upset after seeing other homes near me but not nearly as nice as mine, sold for more. Tonight I researched sold homes and mine should have listed for at least $25,000 more, mine at $154/sq ft and other homes going up to $170sq/ft. (Same sq/ft range) A distress home went for $156/sq ft. I'm livid. The inspection is tomorrow morning. I DO NOT want to sell my home now, especially at that low of a price. What can I do? I signed the contract at her convincing the price was appropriate.

Your recourse may be to sue your agent for malpractice. The agent has a duty to obtain the highest and best price for the property. It is extremely rare that an agent would not start with a price that is above market, because the agent's commission is tied to the sales price. There are only two rationales that I can think of for setting a below market price: (1) failure to correctly perform a comparable market survey (CMS); (2) conspiracy with the buyer to obtain the property at a lower than market price.

If #1, then you have a claim for malpractice. If #2, that would be a fraud, and a criminal one at that (false pretenses). You could refuse to sell (rescind the contract), regardless of whether #1 or #2 is the reason for the low price -- because for #1, you made a material mistake going to the basis of the contract, and the buyer knew or reasonably should have known of your mistake. For #2, the contract would be void as illegal.

Ultimately, if the buyer decides to force arbitration or litigation, you could find yourself in a pretty expensive legal battle -- which is why I say you may be able to sue your agent for malpractice, and force the agent to pay the difference between what you received and what you should have received from the sale.

You may want to tell your agent that you are going to refuse to transfer title and sue for malpractice unless the buyer either agrees to a higher price or to cancel the contract -- or, the agent can agree to reduce the sales commission to make up for the lost revenue (assuming that's sufficient to make up the difference).

It's certainly an ugly mess, but you do have several possible legal recourses. Hopefully, you can settle the matter without heading to court.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What do I do about tomorrow when they are coming for a home inspection? I am told they are bringing two people to perform various inspections, a general inspection and a sewer inspection, both at 8:00 am. They will certainly be expensive and if I try to get out of the contract I will be held responsible for the cost of the inspections.


Yes, it's a mess, with someone I trusted to do the right thing. I doubt she is in a conspiracy. I am so upset since this is my family home. I've put so much into it and I am loosing so much as it is.

You need to talk to your agent, before these people arrive -- because if you can't work out something (in writing), then you'll have to decide whether or not to tell the inspectors that they cannot enter the property.

So, you need to get your agent on the phone -- right now, and explain just exactly how unhappy you are, and that she had better come up with a solution, or there's going to be trouble in river city (or Bend, or 23rd, or Sunset Blvd in Portland, or Cannon Beach, or wherever the heck you're located).

Hope this helps.
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