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Old 27.08.2009, 23:02
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Legal advice needed - Dispute with property agent

We signed contract with a guy in RE/MAX last December to sell our apartment. Actually this guy left RE/MAX at end of January and started his own company. He did not inform us about his job change. We noticed our ad disappeared in Homegate and RE/MAX webpage in Feb and called him to ask why. He promised us to set up everything quick, so our apartment showed again in Homegate in March. However, since then he hardly brought any interested person to visit our flat (on average once a month). In June he said there is a buyer and asked for much lower price.
Since we are moving abroad soon, we agreed the price and signed contract. The buyer signed as well and paid 20,000CHF to this agent’s account as deposit. Just before we went to Notary to finalize the contract. The buyer terminated the contract.

Unfortunately since we thought the deal is done, we had committed ourselves a property abroad. So it is really a mess for us.

We decided to terminate the contact with this agent because we know that he will not help us to sell the apartment (as a approval for 7 months, no result).

We ask compensation from the deposit of the potential buyer since he is the one who break the contract. It seems the potential buyer is a friend of the property agent. So the property agent told us that there is no compensate for us, in addition, the agent asked us to pay a bill of 8000CHF for his work.

It is a nightmare for us because we have wasted 7 month with this guy, in trouble with our contract abroad and have to pay him 8000CHF.

Does anybody has some law background and can help us we can get some compensation from the potential buyer and if we should pay agent for anything.

Thanks!
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Old 27.08.2009, 23:16
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Re: Legal advice needed - Dispute with property agent

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We signed contract with a guy in RE/MAX last December to sell our apartment. Actually this guy left RE/MAX at end of January and started his own company. He did not inform us about his job change. We noticed our ad disappeared in Homegate and RE/MAX webpage in Feb and called him to ask why. He promised us to set up everything quick, so our apartment showed again in Homegate in March. However, since then he hardly brought any interested person to visit our flat (on average once a month). In June he said there is a buyer and asked for much lower price.
Since we are moving abroad soon, we agreed the price and signed contract. The buyer signed as well and paid 20,000CHF to this agent’s account as deposit. Just before we went to Notary to finalize the contract. The buyer terminated the contract.

Unfortunately since we thought the deal is done, we had committed ourselves a property abroad. So it is really a mess for us.

We decided to terminate the contact with this agent because we know that he will not help us to sell the apartment (as a approval for 7 months, no result).

We ask compensation from the deposit of the potential buyer since he is the one who break the contract. It seems the potential buyer is a friend of the property agent. So the property agent told us that there is no compensate for us, in addition, the agent asked us to pay a bill of 8000CHF for his work.

It is a nightmare for us because we have wasted 7 month with this guy, in trouble with our contract abroad and have to pay him 8000CHF.

Does anybody has some law background and can help us we can get some compensation from the potential buyer and if we should pay agent for anything.

Thanks!
Sounds like the guy is really trying to take you to the cleaners. Not a legal expert but I would get any keys he has off him and tell him to go an do one.

Why not put an add in the for sale section here with the details of your apartment.

You never know!
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Old 28.08.2009, 08:16
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Re: Legal advice needed - Dispute with property agent

what does it say on the contract that was committed-to when the deposit was paid?
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Old 28.08.2009, 08:33
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Re: Legal advice needed - Dispute with property agent

My first question is: did you sign up with the guy personally or with REMAX? I guess this an important point....

Secondly, unless the contract regarding the deposit has been made using a notary then the deposit is not enforceable and the prospective buyer can sue for its return. In most cases, like this one it would appear, it is just not enforced.

On what basis is the agent asking for CHF 8'000 though? What were the agency conditions? Is it success-based only or are you required to pay some costs?

And one last thing, it would help if you told us which REMAX agency it was. This would at least give others on the forum a heads up to be wary when dealing with them.

One, very last thing, added as an afterhought: If you are members of the Hauseigentümerverband (owners association), they give free legal advice. membership is only about CHF 50. I know you are leaving, but it may be worth signing up just to get the advice.
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Old 28.08.2009, 08:40
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Re: Legal advice needed - Dispute with property agent

The buyers broke the contract therefore they loose 20,000 CHF.. why are you listening to the agent telling you they get their money back? You signed a contract with a guy from RE/MAX, then he changed company and misrepresented himself to you?.. have you any documentation from him to say you have an agreement with the new company, did you signed another contract? You owe him nothing from what I can gather - have you spoken with the Notriat? Get yourself proper legal advice and get out from under this guy.
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Old 28.08.2009, 08:41
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Re: Legal advice needed - Dispute with property agent

I've delt with Remax in Zug before and the place we were looking at buying asked for the deposit to go into the owner's account as secutity, not to the agents account. The agent we were dealing with at Remax also left the company and started his own company. When we went through another house purchace in Zug, the deposit went directly to the owner's solicitor, the same in other countries I have bought property in.

Unless you agreed to pay the agent for anything other than selling the property eg drafting the contract of sale, marketing ect, then there should be nothing to pay unless the property changes hands.

Many property lawers speak English in Zug. I would recomend you have them look over the contract you made with Remax and the draft contract with the buyer.
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Old 28.08.2009, 15:15
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Re: Legal advice needed - Dispute with property agent

Thanks all for the advice. The guy used to work for REMAX in Zug, but since he has left, I think this has nothing to do with REMAX Zug.
I looked the contract again. He send the offer in name of RE/MAX Zug, but in contract he made "xxx(his name) Gmbh, REMAX Zug". We never signed any other contract with his new company. In addition, in contract with REMAX, it also quote selling price and a minimum selling price. For the contract we signed with the buyer, the price is much lower than the minimum selling price we agreed in contract with REMAX.
In contract it shows how much percentage we should pay after selling is completed. But not clear how much we have to pay if terminated, it has a 500CHF, plus cost.

In addition, in the selling contract with buyer, the agent specified that deposit goes to his company account. Since we had no experience before, we thought it is standard, anyway we have to pay him commission after transaction.

I agree it is a good idea to join this owner association, it is a pity that we don't know this before.
Anybody can recommend a good lawyer on this issue in Zug?

thanks!
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Old 28.08.2009, 16:32
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Re: Legal advice needed - Dispute with property agent

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Thanks all for the advice. The guy used to work for REMAX in Zug, but since he has left, I think this has nothing to do with REMAX Zug.
I looked the contract again. He send the offer in name of RE/MAX Zug, but in contract he made "xxx(his name) Gmbh, REMAX Zug". We never signed any other contract with his new company. In addition, in contract with REMAX, it also quote selling price and a minimum selling price. For the contract we signed with the buyer, the price is much lower than the minimum selling price we agreed in contract with REMAX.
In contract it shows how much percentage we should pay after selling is completed. But not clear how much we have to pay if terminated, it has a 500CHF, plus cost.

In addition, in the selling contract with buyer, the agent specified that deposit goes to his company account. Since we had no experience before, we thought it is standard, anyway we have to pay him commission after transaction.

I agree it is a good idea to join this owner association, it is a pity that we don't know this before.
Anybody can recommend a good lawyer on this issue in Zug?

thanks!
Although the account of the facts you have given is somewhat confused it seems that there is no contract between you and the property agent, that the original contract was with RE/MAX. If there is any agreement between you and the second agent it is oral and is unlikely to include any minimum period or any obligation to reimburse for expenses. On that basis you can tell him to just pound sand.

As for the deposit paid, the conditions of its payment seem quite unconventional. There should have been a notary involved and I suspect that Snoopy may be correct regarding the putative buyer's ability to reclaim it.

On the other hand, there seems gross malpractice on the part of the agent. The threat to counterclaim if he persists in his demands for compensation may make him go away.

The level of competence and knowledge -- and of dynamism -- among real estate agents and notaries in Switzerland is notoriously abysmal. I appeared at a hearing before the Commission Foncière in Lausanne last week, and that was one point all 7 or 8 members of the Commission and I could agree on. (Much to my surprise, the Commission, or at least the head of the Commission, took the approach of trying to find a practical solution to the grievance before them so my case has a relatively happy ending. I wonder whether land registries in other cantons would have been as helpful. The case at hand was just one of a number of nasty problems left to others to resolve by greedy, incompetent notaries and a greedy, lying developer.)
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Old 28.08.2009, 16:35
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Re: Legal advice needed - Dispute with property agent

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Anybody can recommend a good lawyer on this issue in Zug?

I PM'ed you!
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Old 28.08.2009, 16:37
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Re: Legal advice needed - Dispute with property agent

Sounds like you're in a real pickle. The whole setup stinks of fraudulent dealings and misrepresentation. Anyway, if you go to this website:

http://www.swisslawyers.com/de/01_an...suchsystem.htm

You can do a search for lawyers in a particular canton, with a particular area of expertise and who speak a particular language. I would try that and call or write to one or two and see what they say for starters.

I sympathise, really I do. I made a similar mistake some time ago. It all worked out in the end, but the aggravation that I went through.....

Best of luck anyway
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Old 29.08.2009, 18:57
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Re: Legal advice needed - Dispute with property agent

I feel your pain on this, we had a protracted negotiation of our house in France fall down just prior to the signing of the compramise with the notaire. Although we had agreed everything verbally, the signing at the would have tied it up and they would have lost their deposit. Forunately we have a good agent who is on the case, but with the markets the way they are......

I hope this works out for you
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Old 29.08.2009, 20:49
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Re: Legal advice needed - Dispute with property agent

RE/MAX is a franchise brand. It is not a legal entity, at least not in CH. Presumably any property agent who pays the franchise fee can include the RE/MAX trade mark in the logo.

So your contract is clearly with the specific agent. It is irrelevant whether s/he has the RE/MAX franchise or not.
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Old 29.08.2009, 20:57
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Re: Legal advice needed - Dispute with property agent

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... The level of competence and knowledge -- and of dynamism -- among real estate agents and notaries in Switzerland is notoriously abysmal. I appeared at a hearing before the Commission Foncière in Lausanne last week, and that was one point all 7 or 8 members of the Commission and I could agree on. (Much to my surprise, the Commission, or at least the head of the Commission, took the approach of trying to find a practical solution to the grievance before them so my case has a relatively happy ending. I wonder whether land registries in other cantons would have been as helpful. The case at hand was just one of a number of nasty problems left to others to resolve by greedy, incompetent notaries and a greedy, lying developer.)
Each Canton has its own system of Notaries. In Zurich they are appointed by the Canton (unsure whether they are employees?). The State appointment does not make the ZH notaries more intelligent. But they are more professional, have standardized fees and procedures, are not freelancers and hence much less likely to defraud.

In some Cantons, it is a free for all. Anyone with a law qualification, or has passed the notarial exam, can set up as notary. They charge whatever they please and may have conflicts of interest, e.g. colluding with agents.
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