DEAR BOB: We are in the process of trying to buy our first home. Actually, it is a condominium. When we visited a Sunday open house, my wife and I had instant rapport with the listing agent. We got along great. That afternoon we made a written purchase offer, which the seller accepted that evening. However, when we got back to our apartment and read over the paperwork we signed, we realized the listing agent was acting as a “dual agent” for both buyer and seller. We then realized we probably offered too much for the condo because we didn’t have our own agent advising us. How can we get out of this deal? –Ruben R.

DEAR RUBEN: If there were no misrepresentations and all the required paperwork including the agency disclosure form was presented to you and you signed each paper, you probably have a binding sales contract.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

Just because one agent represents both the home seller and the buyer, as a disclosed dual agent, doesn’t mean there was anything illegal or improper.

You knew the open house host was the listing agent. But you proceeded to make a purchase offer through that agent, and the seller accepted your offer. At the same time, you were presented with an agency disclosure form, which showed the listing agent was also acting as a “dual agent” representing you.

Perhaps you could have done better if you had your own buyer’s agent representing your best interests. But because everything was properly disclosed to you, there is no valid reason to back out of your condo purchase. For more details, please consult a local real estate attorney.


DEAR BOB: A few months ago, a neighbor sold her house to a buyer who said he was going to live in the residence. Instead, he rented the house. The people he rented to moved in about 20 extra people. The place is a mess. Is there anything we neighbors can do? –Mildred W.

DEAR MILDRED: Yes. You have either a private nuisance affecting only a few adjoining neighbors or a public nuisance affecting a large number of nearby residents.

Your first step should be to contact the landlord, politely explain the situation, and ask him to abate the nuisance, which is disturbing the neighborhood. Maybe he is not aware of the situation.

If that doesn’t work, then legal action may be required. You can bring a private nuisance abatement action against the owner to remove the nuisance. However, before you do that, check with local officials to learn if any city or county occupancy ordinances are being violated.

If you discover there is a maximum occupancy limit, then ask the city or county attorney to step in to abate a public nuisance that violates a local ordinance.


DEAR BOB: My father passed away about five years ago. His will left his house to me, his only child, subject to a life estate for his second wife (my stepmother). She is letting the house run down. But she pays the small mortgage payment and the property taxes. As she is only 46, I am afraid by the time she passes on, there will be nothing left to inherit (if I am still alive). Is there anything I can do to get her to either maintain the house or give up her life estate? –Steve R

DEAR STEVE: Sorry, unless you can prove your stepmother life tenant is allowing the house to deteriorate by “waste,” there is nothing you can do. As the remainderman, you have no legal right to get rid of your life tenant unless she commits serious waste of the property. For full details, please consult a local real estate attorney.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “Probate Property Profit Secrets Revealed,” is now available for $5 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet delivery at Questions for this column are welcome at either address.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center

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