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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 39038
Experience:  Attorney and Real Estate broker -- Retired (mostly)
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We were potential buyers for a condo in beaver creek Colorado.

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We were potential buyers for a condo in beaver creek Colorado. The transaction real estate agent represented the seller and represented us. There was another potential buyer and we all went back and forth several times. Finally, yesterday the seller agreed he would negotiate just with us. He accepted the bid and contingencies and sent a list of final terms he wanted us to accept. These final conditions consisted solely of furniture and art work he wanted to keep. The agent came over and took us up to the property again so we could see the furniture that would be going. Prior to even going, several hours prior, my husband had already told him we agreed to everything. I had also told him earlier in the week that I did not want to go into the property again unless I knew we had it. He told us the seller was going to rewrite the contract and we would have it shortly to sign. He said go have a nice dinner and to take our iPad so we could sign electronically. He said he was going to call the other broker and let him know the seller was just negotiating with us. We went to dinner and then we got a call that the other buyer was upping the offer. This morning we found out it was only a verbal offer and they brought over a signed offer this morning. Earlier in the week I wanted to make a verbal offer and was told I couldn't. My husband was out of touch and he wouldn't be able to sign for a few hours. They would not present my offer until we both signed. BotXXXXX XXXXXne they did not even ask us if we want to increase our offer and they told us it was a very small increase, and the other buyer got the property. Does this sound unethical. We have a long email trail. Is there a potential suit.

The agent, if acting in a dual agency, committed malpractice. Rule #1 of real estate is that all contracts must be in writing. By telling you to go off to dinner and then negotiating with the other buyer, the agent breached his/her fiduciary duty to you, and you would be entitled to damages, based upon any lost profits in the transaction -- at least the difference between the offer you made and the one which was accepted. You may also have punitive damages, to discourage future bad conduct by the agent.

In some cases, you may even be entitled to specific performance against the seller, i.e., an order forcing the sale to be made to you, rather than the other buyer. The issue comes down to what you can actually prove occurred. This could be quite difficult, but I don't want to prejudice your thinking.

You will need to contact a local civil litigation attorney and run all of the facts by him/her. If your emails, etc. demonstrate that there was an agreement, or that the agent was manipulating you in order to get a higher offer from the other buyer, then you may be able to force the sale in your favor.

For a competent lawyer referral, see this link.

Hope this helps.
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