How do I motivate my realtor to close quickly?

22 Replies

Thanks for you feedback BP!

I am brand new to realty and just had an offer accepted on my first cash purchase ($25,000 I know its not much) of a single family house. This house is a reverse mortgage / HUD / Foreclosure (it is still not clear exactly what it is, but I am purchasing it as an investor directly from the bank).

There seems to be something slowing this transaction down. I am not sure if it is the realtor (who is a dual agent) or the seller, but it is taking much longer than I expected. 

The original close date was set for May 29, but as the contract stated that the close would happen 30 days from when the seller signed, the new date has been set to June 11th. You can see the timeline below and my question afterwards.

Contract / Paperwork Timeline 

- April 29th - Submitted original documentation

- May 4th - Received request from seller for revisions (submitted the corrections on the same day)

- May 11th - Received the seller signed addendum (submitted paperwork for the inspection for Friday, May 15th)

I never got a response from the realtor to say that he has received documentation or emails and he has not confirmed the inspection date or even let me know that he has received my request. 

- Considering the money involved, is it normal not to hear from your realtor and for things to take so long?

- Is there anything I can do get the realtor to quickly respond and say he has received documents? 

*Is there any way that I can get this transaction closed as soon as possible (once the inspection is complete)? 

- Do you have any other advice or insight?

Thanks for any help or advice.

@Katherine Du Plessis

I always find it better to get face to face and talk with people. I feel like people are less likely to pull you around if you are looking at them in the eye. And if they do pull you around I would find a new agent.

Hope this helps 


@Katherine Du Plessis

Welcome to BP! 

This is the exact reason it's good to have someone working for you as a buyer's agent. For lack of a better description, the buyer's (your) agent would be waiting to be paid and therefore hurrying everything up to make it to closing (at least a good one would be). 

Without more info, my best guess would be that the agent doesn't want to get all the utilities turned on for your inspection, and is blowing you off. It's not typical to inspect $25,000 purchases in my market. So when someone wants to inspect the property, even though it's within their right to do so, it's A LOT of hassle for the agent to get the home up and running. Most agents expect that investors will know that for $25K you're not getting a perfect home and therefore an inspection is futile. 

My best guess would be to tell the agent you'd like to help them get the utilities on. Ask them what you can do or who you can call to make it happen. 

I'm not defending the agent, rather making an assumption of how this agent is handling it (poorly).

The closing timeline is in the seller's hands, not the realtor.  They've got to verify title, etc.  the agent should be responsive though, even though it's such a small deal.

Thanks George, I agree with you that face to face interactions are better. The problem is that I am in Alaska at the moment and I am purchasing the house in Wisconsin. Can you change agents midway through a transaction? Or am I stuck?

Thanks Mark, I learned a big lesson with having a dual agent (I will try to avoid this in future). Doesn't the dual agent also want to get paid asap? And because one of the contingencies was that we have an inspection (I just want to know what to expect if I get into this property), can they avoid an inspection or would this be a breach of contract? I will see what I can do to get the utilities on. The agent said it wouldn't be a problem,  but I don't know if the inspector is going to be able to get into the house.

Thanks for the information Wayne.

We have a local inspector who is an appraiser as well and was able to get a super key we use him as much as possible because the agent doesn't have to be present. He also offers investor inspections which don't come with the detailed report on every little thing wrong just the big items structural, mechanicals and roof. This is normally around $100 as opposed to the 350-450 for a full inspection. This is not advertised I just asked. Saves him time in generating reports and taking photos of every little thing.

@Katherine Du Plessis

You'd think the agent wants to get paid quickly, but perhaps they have many deals going on and this one is slipping through the gaps. From your timeline, it just seems as though it came time for the inspection and they went AWOL so perhaps getting the utilities on is a burden. 

This post has been removed.

@John Powell , I have been doing this a long time, and I have never heard of an investor's inspection. I am going to ask about this the next time I need one. What a great idea! Did I just miss this or is this a new thing? Thanks for sharing.

@Mindy Jensen I was asking the inspector for a full inspection on a 2500sq foot house that had no sinks, light fixtures, hot water heaters, multiple holes in the walls ect. I met with the inspector and told him what my plan was and that I did not need him to document the little stuff like missing fixtures on holes in the walls as i was going to renovate all of it i just wanted him to hit the big ticket items the 3 HVAC units, roof, structure and electrical system. he said he could do that for $100 I was sold. 

Update: So it turns out that the utilities were not turned on and the realtor did not even show up for the inspection, but as our inspector is also a contractor in the area, he was able to conduct the inspection. For $80 (because the water was not turned on) he was able to tell us that overall the property was very good. He said we might need to replace the plumbing but that would not cost so much as there is very little plumbing. As this is our first property we figured it would be good to at least have a bit of reassurance (or advice against) purchasing this property.

After I spoke with the contractor, I called the realtor and told him that I was the type of person to stand up for myself and that I was not interested in playing games any longer. I told him that I needed him to get back to me promptly, and that I would like to close as soon as possible. He said he would make it happen, and I hope this is true, but if he doesn't come through on his recent commitment, I am going to call his agency and see if I cannot get a different realtor on the case. I feel like I have the right to drop him immediately for not coming through on the inspection when I completed all of the paperwork to have the utilities turned on with reasonable notice as described in the "Utilities Activation Form". If he could not meet the expectation, he should have behaved professionally and at least communicated that he would be unable to make the commitment. The fact that he did neither is unacceptable.

- Has anyone ever attempted to switch agents mid-transaction? Do you have any reasons that I should not attempt to do this? 

- Does anyone know if I can get out of an offer if the realtor does not come through on an inspection that was requested as a contingency of the purchase agreement? If I new more about my legal rights, I might have considered walking away from this deal all together. 

@Mark Gallagher Thanks for your advice. Sorry for this somewhat messy message (I am still learning this site) Please see my comments above and let me know if you have any advice.

@Katherine Du Plessis

I'm not sure what you mean by your agent didn't show up for the inspection. I don't attend inspections. The main reason is because I feel 99% of the issues a home inspector brings up are meaningless. To the buyer, 99% of the items a home inspector brings up might be very sensitive and important. It would be like a car salesman standing there with you when your mechanic looks at a car the salesman is selling. It's best for you to formulate your own opinions without the 3rd party, whose paycheck hinges on a "good" home inspection, standing over shoulders.

If you're having an inspection, and you can't be there, you'll simply have to review the report.

Bottom line, if man built it, man can fix it. You're probably buying the property at a discount because of the condition it is in.

@Mark Gallagher

 You make some very good points, thanks for the feedback.

In the contract, I believe it says that the realtor needs to be present for the inspection (my legal-ease needs a bit of work I must admit). In any case, he said that he would be there and he said that the utilities would be turned on (dewinterized) but he did not come through on his promises. If he had explained to me that he did not need to be there (I explicitly asked him he was going to be there) or that it was not possible to get the utilities turned on or that he could not make the appointment, it might have helped a little. I suppose communication / advice would gone a long way to make this situation better. 

I have told the realtor that if we can not get the closing paperwork or an agreement with the seller that we will close by the original close date of May 29th (they changed the close date after they took two weeks to sign the purchase addendum) by this Thursday that I am going to speak to a lawyer about my options for either speeding up this process or getting out of this property. I need this property for a renter in June. Do you think I am being to firm here? From the start, I made the mistake of not knowing my rights. I should have had it written into the contract that things happen by a certain date or no deal. I am definitely being held subject to deadlines, but personally I would feel better if I knew more about the rules. Are there any good books out there to teach us about the relationship between buyers, sellers and realtors and their roles and obligations to make transactions run smoothly?

- Do you have any advice about switching realtors mid-transaction? 

- Do you know if I can get out of an offer if the realtor does not come through on an inspection that was requested as a contingency of the purchase agreement? 

I appreciate the responses because they are teaching me about the process and the norms.

Trying to screw your realtor is not a good idea if you intend to continue to do business in your local market. Good luck.

@Katherine Du Plessis A couple of clarifications.  The closing was never "set" at May 29th, that's what you asked for.  The closing date was "set" at June 11, by the contract, 30 days from seller execution.  Can you cancel due to your realtor not being at the inspection, no.  The agent is not a party to the contract, it's between you and the seller.  Getting utilities turned on, and plumbing dewinterized can be problematic (sometimes dewinterization is not allowed), but again this should haven been communicated.

A lot of your questions are state specific.  I'm licensed in Wisconsin and can give you general answers.  In the Wisconsin state approved forms, it isn't written in the language the a real estate person is required to be present at an inspection.  As a matter of fact, some brokerages don't allow their associates to attend for legal reasons.  You may not be able to get out of the contract due to inspection as there is usually a time limit built into the contract.

As to changing real estate agents, you could possibly switch to another agent in the same brokerage without much disruption.  Your contract is with the broker, not the agent.  Wisconsin allows two agents within the same brokerage to represent two separate parties and it isn't called dual agency.

Sorry, there isn't one book out there that will teach you about your rights. Every state has their own rules and it can be very frustrating. ( even for resl estate agents).  Best advice is to either find an agent you can trust, or get your own license.

Good luck and keep us updated on your progress.

I would be concerned about where my $25,000 was.

@Katherine Du Plessis

Thats gotta be frustrating.  When someone else is the long pole in the tent, and their priorities don't line up with yours.

The blame doesn't all lie on the realtor, but I know that a GREAT realtor will make things happen.  They will be like a bulldog and pursue your interests and facilitate you.  If the seller is dragging ***, then they'll put a fire under them and at a minimum, they'll keep you up to date.  Sounds like your realtor either 1) doesn't understand your needs, or 2) is disinterested in this property.  It also may be reflective of his skill or experience.  But if we're being completely honest, with the very limited commission on a 25,000 sale... can you really blame him?  He likely has much bigger sales that he puts above this one, which sucks for you, but hey, c'est-la-vie.

As far as inspections go, I've never had a realtor be present.  They always receive the report and the D-L from the inspector.  I typically will show up at the end of it so the inspector can walk me through it, but not always.

If you're committed to getting out, you probably won't have a problem if you are trying hard.  Your contract probably says that you are entitled to ask the seller to make repairs after the inspection.  If you want out, just ask the seller to concede to every last repair listed, and if they refuse, then back out.  I know the Florida standard contract has the phrasing "at the buyer's sole discretion" when it comes to repairs.  And if they do turn over a perfect house... then maybe you put this whole thing behind you and focus on a getting a great property for the price you asked for.  

@Christopher Morin

 More than 99% of offers here in Fl use the "as is" contract.  You can cancel during your inspection period, for no reason whatsoever, but once the inspection period is over, you're locked in.  We don't know when her inspection period expires.

@Wayne Brooksvery true, I suppose I assumed she's still be in that period given that the inspection was on Friday, but the length of period would be spelled out in the wording of the contract.

@Christopher Morin ,

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I to am a licensed agent in the state of WI. Joan was right earlier, you should be able to request a new agent from with in the same brokerage to handle your side of the transaction. The contract (boiler plate language) does not state your agent has to be present at inspection, and it is true that most brokerages don't allow for us to be there. We just tend to be a liability more then an asset. 

You should get an agent to work with if you are going to continue to invest later. Its their duty to inform you on the aspects of the transaction from start to finish. Our job is to protect and inform clients first and foremost. In the area I primarily practice in, short sales and foreclosures can take a long time to process so it might not be the agents fault at all. But again this is something you should be informed of before hand by your agent. I hope this helps.

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