The misleading estate agent

Selling your house to a real estate agent within hours, although signed, nullification is possible.

My client owned a house together with his wife who was terminally ill. They could not pay the mortgage anymore. One day, my client walked past an estate agent's office. The estate agent accompanied my client to his house, viewed it in five minutes and made an offer, which my client was to accept on the spot. My client did not say much, but went along to the civil-law notary, where he signed the purchase agreement within two hours of visiting the estate agent. Parties agreed that the title would be transferred within three months.

My client regretted it. The estate agent put the house on the market for € 50,000 more than he was paying my client. My client did not dare tell his wife about it, nor did he tell her that he forged her signature on the purchase agreement. After the buying estate agent had demanded fulfilment of the agreed delivery, he engaged me as his lawyer. On behalf of my client and his wife I invoked nullification of the purchase agreement. Firstly, my client's wife did not give the permission required by law. Secondly, my client misjudged the actual market value of his house based on incorrect comments from the purchasing estate agent. Thirdly, the purchasing estate agent abused the situation.

On account of my client's refusal to deliver, the purchasing estate agent summoned my client and his wife to appear before the Court President. He demanded performance of delivery under penalty of a fine. The President refused to allow the claim. He decided that it was insufficiently plausible that the agreement entered into was still in force and doubted whether my client was still obliged to deliver. The President considered the matter too complicated to be dealt with in interlocutory proceedings and referred to the standard procedure. He did emphasise that the agreed stipulated price seemed to be on the low side and that it was suspicious that my client signed the purchase agreement at the civil-law notary's office within a few hours from the visit without adequate time for reflection.   The purchasing estate agent subsequently tried again in the standard procedure. During the hearing, the Court appeared to be very critical of the estate agent's role and attitude. When the purchasing estate agent realised he had no chance here either, he withdrew his claims. My client subsequently managed to sell the house on the free market for a realistic purchase price, which was many tens of thousands higher.

 

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