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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 38910
Experience:  Attorney and Real Estate broker -- Retired (mostly)
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My ex wife and I are in escrow on the sale of our house of

Customer Question

My ex wife and I are in escrow on the sale of our house of 18 + years. We have invested in many upgrades on the property. The current buyer of our 40+ year old property is (unfortunately) a local banking officer, and we did not find out his girlfriend was his real estate agent until his second offer. (The first offer was accepted, but buyers backed out due to desired construction costs.) There have been some contingencies and issues that have lowered the price from the initial offering, and the buyer eventually removed all contingencies. Approx. 6 days before close, I notice the hot tub spa leaking, and notified all parties, have provided documented support of my proactive approach to remedy, but are in a position where the buyer continues to require us to spend more money and more importantly time, than what is required to record and close (which was supposed to be 5 days ago). As the selling consumer, I feel that both the buyer and his representing agent have abused their positions. More over, because the agent's broker, and my broker did not insist on a different representative, I feel our position (and sellers rights) have been manipulated and abuse in this process. please advise.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.


I am a member of the State Bar of California, the Bar of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, and a member of the California Association of Realtors. Please permit me to assist.

1. There is no conflict of interest or unlawful representation concerning the buyer and his agent, because the agent's fiduciary duties run to the buyer, not to you.

2. The typical California Association of Realtors purchase agreement (RPA) does not require that you repair any defects in the property which occur during the course of the escrow. The buyer has the option to cancel the transaction, as do you, as the seller, unless you can come to terms on the final sales price and any repairs that you may agree upon.

3. Real estate agents are highly disposed to try to hold the transaction together, and in my experience they will say anything in order to do so, since their commission is dependent upon a successful close of escrow. You must not permit yourself to be manipulated. If you cannot get your price for the property, then cancel the deal and find another buyer. It's really just that simple. If the buyer wants their earnest money returned, you can demand mediation/arbitration, or simply refuse, and let the escrow agency file an interpleader action in Superior Court to determine who gets what from the buyer's money.

4. Alternatively, you can simply lower the price until the buyer accepts -- but, by doing so, your leverage is lost, so I find this to be a suboptimal negotiating technique.

5. The bot***** *****ne is that you have to play hardball. If the buyer wants the property, then they will accept it, even if the spa is leaking. And, if not, then they won't, and you'll have to find another buyer.

I realize it's difficult to "divorce" yourself from a property that you have owned for many years, but this is a business deal, and there's no room to be annoyed by anything except the money. Decide how much you're willing to accept for the property, make your demand, and if the buyer refuses to come to the table, then cancel the deal and move on.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

Thanks again for using Justanswer!

Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I see that you have reviewed my answer, but that you have not provided a rating. Do you need any further clarification concerning my answer, or is everything satisfactory?

If you need further clarification, concerning this matter, please feel free to ask. If not, I would greatly appreciate a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

Thanks again for using Justanswer!

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