Buyer ghosted, recourse for breach of contract?

9 Replies

Curious what you would do in this situation: North Carolina property. Buyer made offer with 5k earnest money in contract but never paid it. Wanted to see property again, and ghosted multiple times after being told he would have to pay EMD first. Double agency. Agent not helpful. Do I have any recourse? Fools errand to sue for breach of contract? I'm not at all happy with the agent...do I have cause to fire her in this case? Under realtor contract for another 4 months. Thanks for your input!

Without payment you have nothing. Move along. There has to be a real exchange of value in order to have a valid contract, and since the funds were never paid you really don't have anything worthwhile to stand on. There should have been a deadline for when the earnest money needed to be delivered. 

Yes it would be a fools errand to sue for breach of contract. Get the property back on the market and get it sold. Why would it be the agents fault here? Seems like it was pretty clear early on the buyer was flaky since they didnt get the EMD deposited.

There is no cause in your post for firing this agent, unless there's more to the story. What help were you hoping to get from her?  Buyer flaked, it happens, put the property back on the market. And don't ever sue someone unless you absolutely have to. Anyone who would suggest such a thing has never been part of a lawsuit, they aren't fun from either side. 

Ok thanks. Guess I've been lucky up to this point, the issue just never came up before. Thanks all for your input...seems pretty unanimous.

Originally posted by @Vishakha Penney :

Ok thanks. Guess I've been lucky up to this point, the issue just never came up before. Thanks all for your input...seems pretty unanimous.

 Doing mortgages, I do not work with sellers directly.

But some advice I have heard from those that do, that makes a lot of sense to me, is to leave the listing active (continue doing showings, do NOT mark it as pending, etc) until EMD is actually in. That way you don't lose any DOM/marketing/exposure until you've validated that the seller is not flaky, they've at least crossed one important hurdle, done one tangible actual thing.

If the buyer or buyer's agent comes back with "hey, no fair, why isn't it showing as 'pending,' you accepted my offer, what gives?!" etc, you have an obvious comeback: "Why isn't the EMD in? I'll happily go 'double check' and 'correct that oversight,' once the EMD is in." At the very least, it gives you that leverage to tell them to do their business (they might also call it 'correcting an oversight,' great, so be it, everyone saves face) or get off the potty (they want something from you, you want something from them, to move the process along), and at the most it more quickly/efficiently filters out the time wasters (without you losing market exposure). You might ruffle some buyer's agent's feathers, sure, but only the buyer's agents with low-intent, low pull-through, low seriousness, clients (& birds of a feathers flock together, so if Realtor John's client #A has a problem getting EMD in, so will [probably] Realtor John's clients #B, #C, and #D), so no major loss there.

Question I have for the Realtors... why isn't that the STANDARD advice? Why is that an obscure thing you have to find on the interwebz? 

There is a NC form that demands the buyer present EMD within 24 hours or the contract is cancelled. If your agent is not responsive - talk to their Broker-in-Charge and ask for another agent or to be released from their contract for their non-response. I am a BIC and I know the challenges of dual agency. Cancel the listing and move on.

"Agent not helpful" If the Agent overall is not being helpful, tell them you'd like to be released because their lack of attention to a time sensitive situation.

With the Buyer situation, if they didn't tie you up for too long where you've experienced a loss of some kind, just move on. But be sure, if under contract, there is either an expiration date in the contract or you have a mutual release signed with the Buyer and with your Agent.

Then think about investing in Cleveland OH area and call me about setting you up with some potential deals. lol

Good luck to you!

Originally posted by @Vishakha Penney :

Curious what you would do in this situation: North Carolina property. Buyer made offer with 5k earnest money in contract but never paid it. Wanted to see property again, and ghosted multiple times after being told he would have to pay EMD first. Double agency. Agent not helpful. Do I have any recourse? Fools errand to sue for breach of contract? I'm not at all happy with the agent...do I have cause to fire her in this case? Under realtor contract for another 4 months. Thanks for your input!

 Just move on. Nothing you can do in a cost effective way. It's part of the business, it happens. 

Live and learn. Earnest money should have been deposited with escrow immediately. Don't give it another thought. We have to have thick skins as investors. Don't bother with trying to get blood out of a turnip. Not good for the blood pressure or stress level. I would fire the agent immediately. I don't think anyone can hold you to a contract with that kind of ineptitude and carelessness exhibited.