Q: Our home is currently under contract with a 60-day close of escrow. However, the buyers and their agent are “performing” late on each and every deadline. Our listing agent said she has seen this before and not to worry. The problem is we have to make plans and meet deadlines regarding our next home and cannot do so with any confidence.
My husband wants the buyer’s agent replaced, or, the sales manager of the buyer’s realty firm brought in to close out our sale, and on time. Short of replacing the buyer’s agent, what options do sellers have in our situation?
A: Real estate attorneys remind us that when a listing agent lets a deadline come and go unchallenged, it make enforcing subsequent deadlines extremely problematic. Those same attorneys remind us that every agent statement, action, or lack thereof in your case, is as if the seller herself or himself voiced those words or carried out transactional moves be they positive or negative.
All the more reason agents need to attend every seminar they hear about where a real estate attorney will be speaking. If your listing agent knew better she would have put the buyer’s agent on notice that they have a deadline approaching. She would have also provided the buyer’s agent any and all seller or property documents necessary for the buyer to move forward ~ before the deadline. The listing agent should be in contact with the buyer’s agent on a regular basis. Conversely, revisiting a transaction in progress, on a whim, is how agents realize they’ve lost track of deadlines in the first place.
The most successful way to deal with this issue is another real estate attorney tip: Issue a written statement that you understand the deadline was not met, and the sellers have not, and do not intend to, waive the time is of the essence clause in the contract. Follow-up with the same message verbally. This will put the buyer and their representative on notice and often back on track with the belated deadline in question as well as more important deadlines to come.
Should that fail, more forceful approaches include having the listing agent issue addenda requesting the buyer to perform on a specific item. Remember, contacting the managing broker and/or sales manager of the buyer’s agent should be your last tactic. By last, that means promptly within 24-48 hours after you have earnestly tried options, which should be politely spelled out to the agent’s “boss.” Only then will one feel the enthusiasm of the “supervising” broker or manager of the buyer’s agent to resolve the issue at hand quickly and quietly.
Do you have any questions for the real estate Q&A Market Wise column in the SJMN? If so, please email them to: Pat@SiliconValleyBroker.com