Unethical Realtor!!

goldensmomApril 27, 2010

I am relocating to a different city with very little time to find a home. Contacted a realtor who spent a few days showing me 12 homes that just weren't for me and then finally I walked into my dream home that went on the market 3 days earlier. Well this snake in the grass saw how excited I was plus he knew I was short on time and gave me the following terms:

1. 20,000.00 down NONREFUNDABLE regardless of any cicumstances

2. Had to pay FULL price nonnegotiable since it was new on the market.

I said nothing, he drove us back to the company & I left. Later that night I called to tell him he was fired, that I don't deal with unethical, snake in the grass agents and that I don't know what he is smoking but to go smoke it with someone else at which time he called me back to tell me he was named realtor of the year many times and blah blah blah. He finally said I still want to be your agent!!! Everyone says I should report him but should I really waste my time?

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kats_meow

Ummm....I'm not sure I understand. Typically the seller (not the realtor) sets the terms wanted for sale and the realtor is just passing on what the seller says. I don't understand why you are holding the realtor accountable.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 12:36PM
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goldensmom

That's my point! He would not let me set the terms for this transaction ... it was on HIS terms only ...
Why am I holding him accountable? He knew I had to leave the next day, I had no time to find another realtor and in the meantime I have lost the house...it sold within the week. This was his listing, he sat on it for 3 days before showing me. I know he knew it had everything I asked for and I also feel he held showing me it till the last minute thinking I was just a dumb lady who would agree to a dream house under his terms.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 1:07PM
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Billl

If you signed a contract with him saying that he would represent you, he is obligated to present whatever offer you wanted to make.

If he just told you that the only way you would get the house is to agree to the sellers terms, then that isn't unethical. He was obviously correct if it went under contract immediately. If he was the listing agent, he would have know about the other offers and could tell you with certainty a particular number you had to beat. If you think he cost you the house, I think you are way off base. He told you what it would take to get the house and you decided it wasn't worth that. It wasn't a trick and he wasn't bluffing. Did you really want him to waste your time by putting in an offer below what other people were making?

As for the ethics, he needs to disclose who he represents and in some areas there are rules about representing both parties. It isn't necessarily unethical for one agent to handle both sides, but the potential conflict of interest is self evident.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 1:27PM
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lyfia

Did you sign a contract that he's your buyers agent? If not then he is always representing the seller on all houses he's shown you. In such a case he will tell you what is best for the seller and represent their interests. This is how all realtors work.

I think some of this is a little bit of you not understanding how realtors work. It may also be a communication issue between the two of you, but like others said I see it as him representing the seller's if it was his listing and telling you what was needed to get the house.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 1:34PM
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larke

The realtor does not set terms of his employer (the seller). The buyer (you) sets only terms of things like the inspection, e.g. whether or not the sale goes through, or for how much, following an inspection that uncovers necessary expensive fixes. You do not decide terms of the down payment, or timing of acceptance, the seller does. You may think they are outrageous, you may choose to think the seller imagines you're in a rush, etc., but the realtor is only the 'messenger', and it's the seller (home owner) who's being tough on you, not the realtor.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 2:38PM
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terriks

Did you sign a contract that he's your buyers agent? If not then he is always representing the seller on all houses he's shown you.

This is NOT true in all states. Where I live you do not need to sign a buyer's agency agreement for the agent to work for you, not the seller. It is important to understand the RE agency laws of your state.

To the OP. Did the agent flat out tell you that he would not write the offer the way that you wanted it? If so, then he was behaving unethically. Or was he advising you that if you really wanted the house you should write the offer a certain way? If so, it sounds like he may have been giving you good advice, since the house sold so quickly.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 2:46PM
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goldensmom

I had no contract...he just agreed to show me homes with the criteria I wanted. He said he would not approached the seller that I was interested in the house unless I agreed to HIS terms of a contract. The seller had no idea I wanted this house. How would I know what the sellers terms were? He was giving me the conditions not the seller. There were no offers on this house at the time I looked at it. There was no $ amount to beat.

BTW I do know real estate...bought & sold many homes through the years. Never was I told that an escrow down payment was nonrefundable...it is always based on house inspection, termite inspection, structural inspection. Asking for 20,000 down being nonrefundable is unethical in my book.

Another BTW ... found out from a realtor friend who unfortunately was not available for me at the time ... the house sold for 10,000 less listed price.
I know this guy was unethical but thanks anyway for the replies.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 3:35PM
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Carol_from_ny

I'd turn him in to the state board of agents if I felt he was trying to pull a number on me. If you don't he's going to do this to another unsuspecting woman and she may not be as wise as you as to what is going on.
IF I get what you are saying he had HIS terms on which he'd write a contract and present it to the seller they had nothing to do with what the seller had in mind. He was trying to box you into a contract you couldn't get out of at a higher price for a better commission.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 4:03PM
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creek_side

The realtor does not set terms of his employer (the seller). The buyer (you) sets only terms of things like the inspection, e.g. whether or not the sale goes through, or for how much, following an inspection that uncovers necessary expensive fixes. You do not decide terms of the down payment, or timing of acceptance, the seller does.

The buyer can set any terms he or she wishes in the offer to purchase, as long as they don't contravene law. The seller can chose to accept them as presented, reject them out of hand, counter with different terms, or ignore the offer entirely. The real estate agent is obligated (often by law) to present the buyer's offer (terms) to the seller. To refuse to do so is misconduct, at a minimum.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 4:04PM
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goldensmom

Thanks carol from ny....YOU GET IT!!!! That's exactly the point I was trying to make. I know he will try to do this or probably has already this to someone else.

Exactly creek side ... misconduct, at a minimum.

The only good thing is another realtor sold it so he didn't get his lousy full commission.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 4:24PM
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lyfia

I see your first post is missing a lot of the detail and that puts it in a completely different light - I would report it to the real estate board in the area/state where he operates.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 4:27PM
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sap55

I have never heard of earnest money being non-refundable for "any reason". $20,000.00 non-refundable? Who in their right mind would even consider such a thing.

Inspections, financing, etc. - please, this guy is just plain scary - report him immediately.

I hope you find your true dream home.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 5:47PM
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sweeby

That whole deal doesn't smell right...

Why would he wait until the last minute to show you the house (his own listing even!) that sounded perfect for you unless it was to apply pressure?

Since he was also the selling agent on that house, he absolutely had the incentive (duty even) to try to sell for the highest price. But wouldn't he also have the duty to disclose that fact up front? (I'd check on that.)

Even so, getting the buyer's side of the deal would MORE than make up for a slight discount on the purchase price. It doesn't make sense that he would make the deal so lop-sided that it wouldn't fly.

I would absolutely report him --
And be thankful that you fired him!

So what's up with your house hunt now?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 9:31PM
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polie

So he was a Buyer's broker?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 9:31PM
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linda117117

It doesnt sound unethical to me either. It sounds like he knew of another offer because he was the listing agent, the other offer was 10k lower, although there is no way for another agent to know that and tell you that, so I question that fact. It sounds like he was telling you WHAT was going to get this house without coming right out and telling you what the other offer was.

Was it new construction? Perhaps a builder put the stipulation that the earnest money was non refundable?

Something seems like its missing, this just doesnt make sense. He has absolutely no reason to withhold the perfect house from you. Why waste time showing 12 houses that wont work, its ridiculous. Realtors are in the business to sell houses, not withhold them til the very last minute so you feel cornered.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 9:20AM
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chrisk327

Its really hard to judge from an internet post what the tone of the discussion was, or intentions. And also, you're take aways from the discussion, may not be what he intended to communicate.

There are so many RE agents out there that don't behave correctly, although what they do might not be completely outlawed, I find it hard to get excited about anything they do. In my area I'd argue that 25% of RE agents are incompetant, 25% are slimey, 45% are acceptable, and 5% are really good.

I doubt he held the last house that he "knew" you wanted to last, not really in his interest.

he may have been frustrated with showing you that many houses in a short timeframe, but thats not an excuse.

he may have been trying to tell you that the house is priced correctly, and if you definately want that house, a full price offer is warrented.

I really don't get the deposit thing.

I don't see his incentive to shoving the deal down your throat. Whether you pay less, or more its a small margin, he will only care about getting the deal done. His commission isn't all that variable.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 10:38AM
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spacific

Since you have bought and sold real estate before, you know that no real estate transaction is valid unless it is in writing. And by law, a realtor has a fiduciary responsibility to present ALL written offers.

If you are still interested in the house, and it has not yet closed escrow, you could still put in a backup offer with another agent. Many deals fall through for a number of reasons.

As for him not writing an offer, or you not having time to find another agent, you could have walked into any real estate office in the area and asked any floor agent to write an offer for you on your terms. Or you could have even gone back to the office where this agent was, asked to speak to the broker/manager of the office. Explain the situation right there, and ask for another agent to handle writing and presenting the offer, on your terms.

You could even have handled an offer with a different agent via fax/email after you returned from your trip. It is easy to go online and find other agents in the area and interview them via phone.

Though, as you write it, that agent was wrong and you could report him (complain to broker, report to Real Estate Board, file complaint with BBB, etc.), you did have other options, but chose to fume rather than find a solution that gave you a chance to purchase the home.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 11:48AM
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seasonedseller

Sorry you lost the home.

Advise: When dealing with realtors who are taking advantage of the situation, remember EVERYTHING is negotiable. You could've had another agent write the contract (time permitting) or you could've written the contract as per his specifications, making the sale contingent upon his or his broker's acceptance of a reduced or eliminated commission. (be specific if using this tactic)

Use the contract as your weapon if you feel the agent is manipulating the situation. He/She is bound by their fudiciary responsibility to present ALL offers to the seller.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 11:38PM
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eandhl

I am sorry you lost the house. Many years ago we had something similar happen. We wanted to make an offer and the realtor refused to submit it. We didn't know any better and let it go. A few months later the house ended in foreclosure and it sold immediately. We got to know the buyers and YEP they were good friends of the realtor!!!! He held out for them and they paid a lot less than our offer.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 7:46AM
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villacolonica

Sometimes things happen for a reason and turn out better than you thought at the time. A similar situation happened to us, in which a listing agent on a property withheld a counter offer from us to the seller. She wanted us to just accept the seller's counter offer, saying she got another offer on the property...but instead we wrote a counter offer and told her if we lost the property to another buyer, that was fine with us. Turned out she was lying, anyway.

The reason we found out is we got suspicious when we never received a response to our counter offer for almost 2 weeks (and we were all cash and could close in 14 days), so we contacted the seller directly and asked if he had seen it. He said he didn't and then he said that his agent told him we lost interest and bought another property...which was totally untrue! Talk about an unethical Realtor!!!

Anyway, after this happened and even more unethical behavior displayed by the same agent, we ended up buying the property next door at 17% less than the first seller's lowest price. We closed our deal in 12 days and the first seller has had his property listed with the same unethical Realtor for 4 1/2 years now and he started out at $850k and he was at $259k when we made an offer. She's unethical, he's stupid...what a match! ;P

goldensmom, I wish you the best of luck in finding your new home. It will find you eventually, but I hope the sooner the better! BTW, you're absolutely right...that agent should have presented your offer to the seller under your terms. Instead, that agent wrongfully acted like a principal. Non-refundable $20k deposit and "non-negotiable" full price? Hah! You did exactly what I would have done...good for you.

P.S. Your comment about him saying he was Realtor of the year made me chuckle...I guess putting themselves on a pedestal could be one thing unethical Realtors have in common. The unethical Realtor in my situation introduced herself in our first telephone conversation by saying, "I'm the number one agent".

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 6:27AM
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sylviatexas1

I just get the feeling that there's more to this story;
why wouldany listing agent (who has not been instructed otherwise in writing by the seller) not present an offer, especially if another agent shows up with a contract for less money?

Ethics aside, the other agent would get half the fee instead of the listing agent getting all of it.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 8:34PM
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seasonedseller

QUOTE:
"Ethics aside, the other agent would get half the fee instead of the listing agent getting all of it."

Sometimes cash in hand, under the table, not being split with any other agent and/or broker, and unreported on any 1099 or W-2 form, might be worth more to the agent than doing business ethically. Especially if there are other sales tied to it.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 3:04AM
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polie

This has been one of the most confusing posts to read because there is a lot of missing information. He may very well be an unethical realtor--or not.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2010 at 12:24PM
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sylviatexas1

"Sometimes cash in hand, under the table, not being split with any other agent and/or broker, and unreported on any 1099 or W-2 form, might be worth more to the agent than doing business ethically. Especially if there are other sales tied to it."

I'd agree with that if it made any sense.

The way for the listing agent to net the most money is to list & sell his own listing.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2010 at 2:13PM
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