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Deception or lack of knowlege?

Posted by jane__ny (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 9, 11 at 21:25

My husband and I just returned from Florida spending 3 weeks house hunting. We used an agent I met through online searches and we talked on the phone numerous times. She set us a search with our criteria and we received hundreds of listing over the past 6 months. We liked her energy and enthusiasm and looked forward to working with her.

After arriving in Florida, she set up appointments and we saw, at least 5 houses a day. She was aware we were cash buyers.

She showed us a home which needed work but was very interesting and unusual for Florida. We liked it although we knew it would need work. It was in a expensive area of Sarasota, on the water with a pool. Had beautiful property, but the house would need work. We were tempted but decided to continue looking. When we first entered the house, I asked if it was a short sale and she said, 'no, its a straight sale.' I asked again a few more times.

After leaving, my husband and I took a walk around the neighborhood and ran into a woman living in this house. She said she was renting and proceeded to tell us the house was very over-priced and was a foreclosure. She said it was scheduled to be auctioned on July 24th. She told us the mortgage and taxes haven't been paid in over 2 years. She was still paying rent to the original owner who was not paying the mortgage.

The next day I confronted our agent about the information and she acted surprised. We found out later, she contacted the owner and got the renter in trouble for giving out that info. She was accused of keeping the house from selling and told she had 30 days to move out.

Needless to say, we felt horrible. We fired our agent and found someone else who we were very happy with.

My question is whether an agent would be aware that a house listed for sale is a foreclosure? It was not mentioned in the listing.

Jane


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Massachusetts realtor here. The agent would know if it was a foreclosure. Up here it is in the listing. The bank would also be listed as owner in public records. A foreclosed house would not have a renter. It's possible it was a short sale, but again the realtor would/should have been told by the listing agent if it wasn't in the listing.

It sounds to me as if the renter WAS interfering with the sale. Why did you blame and fire the realtor? If in fact the tenant gave out false information, the owner had a right to know.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

I hesitate to accuse anyone of deliberate deception. From my own fairly recent experience with realtors, you would be surprised by how little some of them know. I would guess the problem was laziness, not a scheme.

On the other hand, asking a tenant about a home they live in is really part of a buyers agents job IMO. The agent is supposed to watch out for you, and she must have been aware that the home was occupied. Really, she should have talked to the tenant herself, or introduced you. A good BA should be trying to get you as much info as possible on a possible purchase. Not knowing the house was in foreclosure, and scheduled for auction is a red flag. Her reaction says she was more upset that the tenant spoke to you than she was about her own massive oversight. Something was not right here. I think you were wise to move on.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Wow, that is crazy!

Have you looked around online to see if you can find the sale and mortgage records for properties in your area? In mine, all of that information is available online, and you can find out a lot of your own.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

We were interested in a house in suburban Chicago. Our agent saw it at an agent open last year. It was a very nice property in an upscale neighborhood, but as a 3 bedroom, overpriced. We were interested in seeing it because it had attic space for conversion to a 4 bedroom and figured after being on the market a year, the owners might be interested in selling at a more reasonable price. As soon as our agent started making inquiries, the house was suddenly only being shown between 10 and 11 on Saturday mornings. This struck me as odd, so I started doing some online research. It took a little digging, but sure enough, the house was in "pre-forclosure." I sent our agent the web page showing that and she called the LA. LA had no idea. She confronted the owners, who admitted they were too embarrassed by the situation to let their LA know. They really didn't want to sell the house, but they "needed to show the bank they were trying to sell" or they would be evicted and foreclosed on. The husband was "just one or two deals away" from getting some more money to pay back the bank.

I just checked the MLS. The house is still on the market 3 months later. There is no info on the bank status in the listing. The owner lied to the agent, who spent time and money marketing the property (there is a beautiful web site dedicated to the property and no doubt brochures as well).

Thank goodness we did the research. I feel bad for the LA, but there was no malice on her part at that point. Now however, since she knows the story, she is part of the scheme to dupe the bank and I feel like she should stop representing the owners.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"It sounds to me as if the renter WAS interfering with the sale. Why did you blame and fire the realtor? If in fact the tenant gave out false information, the owner had a right to know."

Nothing like shooting the messenger......

I think the OP was wise to fire this agent. If a professional in the real estate business doesn't know that the house they are selling is in foreclosure, then they are either incompetent or are being intentionally deceptive. How mean of her to get the renter in trouble for telling her client the truth. That would make me fire her as well.

Thanks goodness you took that walk around the block. Is the house interesting enough to attend the auction for?


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

If auction was scheduled soon, then it was technnically a pre-foreclosure. Still owned by original owner. The bank didn't own it yet. Could be that the listing info was wrong and showed it as a normal sale. As you know, there is often a wrong info in many MLS listings. Maybe the agent just went by what was in the listing. Just giving the agent benefit of the doubt.

I don't think they would hide that the fact that it was a short sale or foreclosure. The Sarasota area has a very large percentage of short sales and foreclosures and distressed property. Investors have been snapping them over the past 6 months or so. They are so common, that often the MLS remarks of normal listings will say "Not a short sale or foreclosure".
FYI...these days in Sarasota area, probably 75% of buyes are cash buyers. So you really are just the norm.Typically in the area, 50% of buyers are cash buyers. I guess there are more cash transactions due to the distressed properties and investors paying cash. There are investment firms snapping up hundreds of properties for REITs around the country. They have been getting properties for very low prices.
FYI, Sarasota county govt has a great web site that you can search by property records by address. It then gives you owner info, sales history, assessment, sq footage, etc. I find that sometimes MLS listings have wrong sq footage as sometimes it says home is larger than it really is. So it is best to confirm size in county records. I have seen sales fall through days before closing because MLS sq footage stated the home was larger than it really was, and this wasn't found out until the appraisal came in just before closing.

Also you can get the owner name from same public records. Then you can search the county clerk's public records(a different web site), using that owners name...and can see if any pre-foreclosure lawsuits going on.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"If auction was scheduled soon, then it was technnically a pre-foreclosure. Still owned by original owner. The bank didn't own it yet. Could be that the listing info was wrong and showed it as a normal sale."

THIS.

It is not REO, not a short sale.

Until the bank actually forecloses there is NO public record of anything.

It would be up to the actual owner to tell their listing agent what is going on.

Even if the listing agent asked, the owner may have simply refused to answer or lied.

The owners status can remain private right up to the lender filing to foreclose, then it hits the public record.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Doesn't the bank issue a Lis Pendens on the property records, recorded against the property and owner, prior to the actual foreclosure auction taking place? In this case the original owner still owns the place.

Also, often the bank allows a short sale to be attempted before they take over.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

I just confirmed. In Sarasota county, you can look up property info by address, and get owner name. Then go to county clerk web site and look up owner name and find out if Lis Pendens from bank is recorded. This is recorded long before the bank actually forecloses. Original poster was looking at property in this county.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Jane, why are you even looking at FL again? I thought you said you hated it down here.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Realtors, like buyers, expect to be able to rely on the information provided by the seller.

Tenants *often* lie, mislead, gossip, make the house sound like a money pit/haunted house built over a cemetary/former meth lab that has given them headaches & asthma.

They don't wanna move.

so why did you really fire a Realtor who has helped you for the last 6 months & who has carted you around to see properties for the last however-many-days & who didn't know sensitive information about a house that she didn't list & that you didn't want?

("we were tempted but decided to keep looking"...& *then* you returned & "walked around the neighborhood" & engaged in this conversation with the tenant)


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

I don't know if things have changed, but I was a renter 20 years ago in a house that was foreclosed upon. I knew nothing until I got a letter from the bank telling me to send my rent to them. They were happy to have me continue to rent.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"She said it was scheduled to be auctioned on July 24th. She told us the mortgage and taxes haven't been paid in over 2 years. She was still paying rent to the original owner who was not paying the mortgage."

The renter lied to you, no lender waits 2 years to foreclose. I'd say you owe your agent an apology.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

In FL, it can take approx 2 years for foreclosure to occur. I know of several properties where it has been this long since the owner stopped paying and the bank still has not taken the property. A couple of the properties are still vacant and have been vacant for over 2 years and are still in the name of the last owner that left long ago.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

You owe her an apology----and a check for dealing with you for so long and then being unjustly let go. Your decision was uncalled for.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"In a recent servicing announcement sent to seller/servicers, the GSE increased what it calls the "allowable time frame" for Florida foreclosures to 185 days, a 35-day increase. Fannie said it added days "to allow for a mediation referral prior to a foreclosure suit being commenced."

One year is still way outside the norm. Two years, maybe criminal reasons.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"You owe her an apology----and a check for dealing with you for so long and then being unjustly let go. Your decision was uncalled for. "

No, she doesn't. REGARDLESS of what state the home was technically in, foreclosure, pre-foreclosure, or the tenant telling a whopper, she was acting as the BUYERS AGENT.

She had a responsibility to her BUYER to find out the truth, and then discuss the info with her buyer. She did not do that. She turned around and gave potentially valuable info to the SELLER of the property, letting them know what information her buyer - to whom she had a duty - had dug up on her own. That is info, which if it was in ANY way correct, that the buyer might have decided to use later to negotiate a much lower sale price - if only because the seller would now realize that the tenant was not being helpful to their cause, and it was time to get out.

Any info that might result in her buyer getting a better or faster deal on the property should have been shared only with her BUYER unless it was a threat to someone's safety ( "did you realize the roof is caving in? " , for example). I don't see that here, or any effort to pass along the info on her buyers behalf to get a better deal. She simply ran her mouth because she was upset at a tenant it would appear.

The agent had no right to share that info with the seller without her buyers approval in my book. The fact that she did so is more than adequate reason to dismiss her.

Why on earth would you want to keep a buyers agent who blabs to a seller without your best interest at heart? It's called fraternizing with the enemy.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

She had a responsibility to her BUYER to find out the truth, and then discuss the info with her buyer.

IF the OP had decided to make an offer on this house, then the agent should do everything possible to get ALL the information on this house. BUT, she was showing the OP 5 houses a day. It could take half a day at least, to maybe find out what the status of the house is. And in a pre-foreclosure, which it sounds like this is, the agent would likely not be able to determine that.
I don't see any deception on the part of the agent.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

You said, "The next day I confronted our agent about the information and she acted surprised. We found out later, she contacted the owner and got the renter in trouble for giving out that info. She was accused of keeping the house from selling and told she had 30 days to move out."

The agent probably contacted the owner because she had to find out the real story because you were obviously interested. The owner probably said, "What makes you think it's a foreclosure?" whether it is or it isn't. Unless someone told her this was a secret, I don't think the agent would have realized she should have said, "I can't tell you who told us." She probably innocently said, "Oh, your tenant told us." No?

Also, whether it's true or not, if I was the seller, I'd be really mad at the tenant too. Tenants often sabotage sales. You think she had YOUR best interests at heart? I think she had her own interests at heart. I don't know; that's what I'm thinking...


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Actually, it is nearly two years these days, according to the Washington Post:

In early 2007, it took less than six months on average to complete a foreclosure proceeding in Florida. Four years later, it takes an average of 619 days.

Here is a link that might be useful: Washington Post article on times for foreclosure


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

terriks, did you even read my posts? I said , "I would guess the problem was laziness, not a scheme. "

How do you read the word deception into that statement? I hope I am still speaking english.

How does the number of houses they looked at have any bearing on the agent blabbing to the seller, instead of trying to track down the truth for a buyer who made a special trip in from out of town to see her?

Honestly, and this is NOT intended for you, but some folks on here seem absolutely hell-bent on defending every ridiculous thing that a realtor does, instead of simply saying - "Guess what? You got a screw-up. Better luck next time."


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Some clarification. The tenant did not know we had seen the house nor was interested in it. We ran into her while walking past the home. She was outside working in the garden and her dog ran out to meet us. There was a For Sale sign on the lawn and we started chatting. She probably thought we lived in the neighborhood. She was not home when we saw the house an hour earlier.

Sweet tea, my SIL did the search on the Sarasota website which confirmed the info on the house. Tremendous amount of info available, wish NY had the same thing. We saw the owner had a line of credit or 2nd mortgage (can't remember) with BOA for $500,000 and stopped making payments 23 months ago (one month short 2 yrs.) We also discovered he did major work on the house, adding a huge family room, and a master bedroom suite. He added another bathroom and updated 2 other bathrooms. He did not have any permits filed.

How would they have sold the house, and why was it not listed as a foreclosure? How could the house sell without the necessary permits? He added 1000 sq ft. to the house over a 4 yr period. The master suite was huge and was originally the attic.

Frankly, the house looked like 'the house that Jack built. It appeared odd but interesting because rooms were on different levels. It looked like rooms were added over time. I didn't think to ask about permits, assuming my agent would have that info. The permit issues were found during the search on the website.

The tenant told us the owner had not been to the house in over a year. He did not provide any maintenance and she was taking care of the pool and property at her own expense. She paid the utilities.

I want to make it clear, she did not know who we were. She was friendly and lived alone with her dog. She was suffering hardship in her life and was anxious about what would happen after the auction. She hoped the bank would not accept the bids and it would give her more time to stay there. She was not present during showings and I don't feel she was trying to sabotage the sale.

Frankly, we were thrilled to meet the person who lived in the house and who freely gave out so much info on it. Wouldn't most people like to get the facts on a house they were considering purchasing? I did.

One other point. I asked my agent, three different times, if this was a short sale. After the third time, she acted frustrated and stated, "No, this is a straight sale."

She did not spend 6 months showing us houses. She sent us listings with our search criteria. This didn't require her to do anything except put in the search and the computer sent us the listings. We made contact over the internet and spoke on the phone. The first time we met, was during this visit. She showed us this house on our second day together.

I am feeling she either knew the story or should have known the facts. She was putting subtle pressure for us to make an offer. She expressed what an incredible buy this would be as the property was worth more than the asking price. We knew this was true and was tempted to make an offer.

I'm willing to believe she didn't know the facts. I can't imagine what would have happened when the issue of the permits came to light or whether we would have known the house was being put on the auction block.

I was mostly angry about what happened to the tenant. I hope she wasn't asked to leave. I don't know what happened to her. I never told my agent that I knew she got the tenant in trouble because I was afraid it would create more problems for the tenant.

We fired her and found a new agent, literally off the street. We walked into town and found a small, unknown agency and walked in. We met a wonderful, young man who spent the rest of our stay showing us homes. He never knew what happened to us, we didn't tell him. Every house he showed, he presented so many facts about it, we were impressed. He showed us many short sales and foreclosed properties. He was honest and forthcoming and very helpful about the process of buying distressed properties. He was great and we were lucky to find him. Our problem was our price point. The majority of homes in our price point were distressed. Most were homes built during the boom years.

Beachlily, you are funny and so right. My family lives in Florida and we've had 40 years of pressure to move down. We are trying to like it, but it keeps reminding us why we don't. We came home empty-handed. We'll stay in the cold North, at least for the time being.

Jane


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"Doesn't the bank issue a Lis Pendans on the property records, recorded against the property and owner, prior to the actual foreclosure auction taking place?"

If they bank issues a Lis Pendans on the note they must move it form performing asset to non-performing and it no longer counts in reserves.
The bank then is required to secure new reserves (or at least make sure they meet the reserve requirements).

If the bank has a significant number of defaults they very well may have dragged their feet to avoid the reserve requirements (AKA 'mark to market').

While there may be some clues that a bank is moving towards foreclosure there is no requirement that the bank notify anyone besides the borrower.

Recording costs money, and the bank already has a lock on conveying the property through the note (the lender must release the lien, the property cannot be conveyed without a release).


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Let's get rid of all the emotions and look at the facts...

1. Your Buyer's agent showed you another listing agent's property.
2. The home was NOT being advertised as a short sale, nor a pre foreclosure, nor a foreclosure. If it was advertised as such, your agent would have told you so, and you would have seen it in the MLS data sheet, along with your agent. In fact, there is no logical reason for a buyer's agent to lie about this. It will be found out sooner than later anyhow!
3. It is the listing agents' responsibility to find out what status the home is in and advertise accordingly. Once again, there is no logical reason why a listing agent would advertise a pre foreclosure as a straight sale. It is going to be discoverred soon after the contract is executed and the deal more than likely fall apart anyhow. Nothing with this scenario is win/win for anyone.
4. Sounds like the sellers deceived the listing agent about the financial status of the home. (If it is as simple as checking a website in Fl. to find this info out, then the LA should have done so.)
5. Chances are the renter has no clue of the financial status of the home, nor does she probably know the market value of the home. You and your agent have agreed that it was priced well.
6. Why do you think the lack of permits should have been known by your agent at this stage of the game? For your future reference, here is how it works: A real buyer might see 20 homes over a few days. Buyers and agents narrow these down to 2 or 3. Now is the time to start doing some additional research, not when you have 17 or 18 homes that you know are not going to be the one. Lack of permit issues can be fixed quite easily during the buyer's due diligence period.
7. You spoke with the tenant and then told your agent what you found out. I can guarantee that your agent did not spend hours of research trying to find out the names, location and the phone #s of the owners. She more than likely called the LA and told her that the tenant says the home is a foreclosure. And your agent should do this due diligence on your part now that there is conflicting info between the listing MLS data sheet and what the tenant has just said. What did you expect her to do once you told her this info? She went to find out why there was a discrepancy. Also, we agents know to never cross the line to speak with another agent's client. I am sure she did not.
8. I am also sure that the owner, who has no money, is not going to get rid of a perfectly good tenant just for telling someone something that is going to come to light anyhow. Just does not make sense.
9. Anyhow, this discussion is not really worth having. Not only is the OP not interested in this home, but she has admitted that they are not even going to move to Fl! You are putting the cart way before the horse. You need to decide if the AREA is someplace that can be suitable to you. Once you do that, then you can start looking at homes. You are being selfish by wasting people's time by leading them to believe that you are serious buyers... you are not. You are someone trying to decide if an AREA is right for you.
10. FYI... In areas where the foreclosure rate is high, banks have methodically released foreclosures to the market at a certian rate and no more. This keeps the market from being flooded all at once with these distressed properties, and further bringing down the value of the market. Because of this strategy (a good one IMO), some homeowners have found themselves living in a home that they have not paid for, for quite some time.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"Also, whether it's true or not, if I was the seller, I'd be really mad at the tenant too. Tenants often sabotage sales. You think she had YOUR best interests at heart? I think she had her own interests at heart. I don't know; that's what I'm thinking..."

Most rental agreement do not include a gag order. Seems silly to rent a house that is for sale unless you know the Tenant has someplace to go after the sale.

I've looked at houses with renters. They do like to talk about what is wrong with the place. One renter warned me about hunters in the area. Said it would be a good idea to wear orange when walking in the back woods so I wouldn't get mistaken for a deer by trespassing hunters!

I think the OP was fortunate to be able to speak to the renter. How else would she have learned that the owner did so much work on the place WITHOUT getting permits?

"We also discovered he did major work on the house, adding a huge family room, and a master bedroom suite. He added another bathroom and updated 2 other bathrooms. He did not have any permits filed."

Nothing like finding out AFTER the sale that you will either have double the taxes you anticipated (assessments) or will have to completely remodel to code.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"Seems silly to rent a house that is for sale unless you know the Tenant has someplace to go after the sale. "

The sales contract is normally 'subject to' the rental
contract.

The rental contract is NOT terminated by the sale.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

NC, I appreciate your reply and respect your experience. However, it is difficult to paint a clear picture of an experience on a forum. We were serious buyers when we went to Florida. We planned on buying a house if we could find something in our price range. We did not anticipate having to deal with so many short-sales (which were listed as such) or properties which were bank owned. We had little knowledge about dealing with those kind of sales and tried to narrow our search to homes which were normal sales. We expected our agent to guide us, not the other way around.

We gave her listings we found interesting on the internet. We did not give her any short sales or foreclosures. Our intention was to close quickly and begin our move.

The reason for my original post was to ask if this information would be available to an agent. This agent knew we wanted a quick sale and would close immediately. This was not a game. We are presently renting and need to find a place to move by September.

This whole episode was disturbing and uncomfortable. Even with the new agent, it became one short-sale or foreclosure after another. He knew our deadline and we didn't want to gamble that a bank would work quickly. Would you take such a risk?

We thought this would be a quick process and we'd return to NY and prepare to move. We are now looking in NY for homes and are the wiser because of the Florida experience. FYI, we have not see one short-sale or foreclosure in NY (at least it appears they are not.)Our agent, in NY said the Florida agent should have had that information. Who knows!

Terrik, I asked the agent three times if this was a short sale. She got impatient with my questioning. If she didn't know the answer, she should have stated that...'I'll double check...'

One other point. It was obvious the owner rented the house knowing he was going to lose it. He rented it after he stopped paying the mortgage. The tenant didn't know until she found out through internet searches. She was told the house was being sold and she would have to move. She started looking at the same websites we did and found out the truth. The owner never told her the house was a foreclosure.

I guess there is no answer to my original query. It seems the consensuses is the agent would not have had that information. That is scary.

Jane


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Seems that your price range/requirements are fairly unrealistic or rare for regular FL sales and you have to see short sales/foreclosures to meet your criteria and price bracket. Which gives you many properties to choose from, because FL is loaded with them.

IMO, if you really were serious about moving to FL, you would move to FL and rent awhile while you continued to search for homes to buy. Then if only short sales or REO fit your requirements, you would move forward with a purchase. That is a small hassle that you would go through to get a home that fits your requirements, for a good price. It is not the end of the world.

If that(not finding a regular sale) is what makes you decide to stay in NY, then FL isn't for you. You don't simply change your mind just because you didn't find a home during a 3 week trip...as moving to another state is sooo much bigger than that small issue. You were on the fence all along, but maybe didn't realize it. Folks that are serious about moving to another state make it happen one way or another, period.

FL isn't for everyone. They say 50% of the people that move to FL from another state, move back to that state within 5 years. You probably would have been in that group if you didn't change your mind on this last trip. So it is probably good that you made the realization now, rather than 2 years from now.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Jane,
Sorry if I assumed you were not serious about moving to Fl. But in my experience, most buyers do not give up on a location after one hiccup.
Again Jane, if it is not listed as a short sale, pre foreclosure nor a foreclosure on the MLS listing data sheet, how on earth do you expect the buyers agent to know this fact when you are out in the field looking at it? It just does not make sense for you to think she should have known.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Jane, it looks pretty cut and dry to me. What the tenant told you was later found to be basically correct. What the agent told you was found to be essentially inaccurate.

I don't think anyone was trying to hustle you, but the end result is you were not told what you needed to know. That is, at best, incompetence.

As for the agent telling the seller about what the tenant had told you, why was she communicating the info you had come up with? Had you asked her to get more info from the seller for you? If so, and she talked about the tenant, she is merely indiscrete.

If not, I am really curious as to why she would run to the other party in a potential sale with the info you had come up with? Considering there was a website where you were able to verify a lot of this info yourself, which she apparently never visits, that seems like an awful lot of initiative to show after the fact...


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Sweet tea,
We must have posted at the exact same time...
Agents here in Charlotte have a name for the many people that move to Fl, only to find themselves moving halfway "back" to Charlotte... "halfbackers".
Jane, FYI, foreclosures take no more time to close on then do regular sales. It is the short sales that take a long time.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Dragontree,
Why do you think the buyer's agent should have known something that was not listed in the MLS, especially when the question was asked as they were walking through the home? You are not making sense.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

ncrealestateguy - it makes sense to you that the buyer - an amateur - was able to talk to the tenant, and look up the info she received and verify it online - but not that the agent - a professional - could have done the same? Especially after the buyer asked her repeatedly if it was a foreclosure? The MLS is not the only, or even best place to learn about property. The agent should know about, and hopefully use public records as well. Especially if she is asked about the possibility of foreclosure, in an area where they are prevalent.

Instead of looking it up herself after being asked, or even after being told the information by the OP, she instead apparently called up the seller and reported everything her buyer had been told.

I fail to see that as due diligence or professional in any form. I'm not trying to bust your chops, I just don't see this agents behavior as acceptable.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Ha, half-backers...good one, I'll have to tell my husband. Funny part is we really like NC and spent a week there during this trip. But, as I wrote, we have family in Florida. Although, NC would be our first choice, we would be alone and far from our kids and other family members. Little scary at our age.

dragon, I don't know why the agent contacted the LA. I never asked her to get more info. She never told us she did. We found out by running into the tenant again, who asked us if we told an agent, what she had told us. She told me an agent complained to the owner that she (the tenant) was blocking the sale of the house. The owner called the tenant, furious with her and told her she had to leave.

The bottom line is that this information should be available to anyone looking at a house. Why should that information be kept hidden? We looked at other homes and it was clearly stated on the listing, the house was a short sale. Why wasn't that the case with this house? How would we know if it was mentioned on the MLS? Only Realtors have access to the MLS.

The whole thing felt shady and made us not trust that we would get straight information from this Realtor. I tend to think it was not intentional on her behalf, but lack of research. We just didn't want to risk it happening again.

The idea of renting is a good one.

Jane


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Sylvia said - "Tenants *often* lie, mislead, gossip, make the house sound like a money pit/haunted house built over a cemetary/former meth lab that has given them headaches & asthma"

True, tenants do lie on occasion. But so do sellers, buyers, realtors, tax assessors, insurance agents, ad infinitum. If you ignore everything tenants tell you, you will miss out on a lot of info.

When we were buying houses we used to invite the tenants to lunch and BS with them. Nothing fancy, Pizza Hut, or Denny's. You would be surprised all the useful info we learned. And yes, in one case we found out a house we were looking at had been a drug lab. And yes, once we knew about it, it was easy to prove. Smart business people cultivate all their potential contacts.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

So dragontree,
I am showing 10 homes in a couple of days to some buyer clients. And then we will probably look at 10 more the following day. From what you are saying, I should research and do due diligence on every single one of these homes, knowing that only one of them is going to be the one for the buyers? Once my clients narrow the search to a couple of homes, I will then make sure that all is known about the place. Not before. What part of this strategy does not sound right to you?


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"The tenant didn't know until she found out through internet searches. She was told the house was being sold and she would have to move."

The lease does NOT not normally terminate on the sale of the house.
The sale is 'subject to' the lease as a pre-existing encumbrance.

If the new owner wants the tenant out they will have to buy out the lease.
If is is on month-to-month the new owner still has to follow the lease terms for termination.

I would really suggest renting for a year to see what the area is like.
There are a lot of things RE agents are NOT allowed to discuss.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"When we were buying houses we used to invite the tenants to lunch and BS with them."

Another good way to get information is to attend yard sales in or near the neighborhood you are interested in purchasing in.

People frequently have yard sales before they move. Nothing like talking to outgoing neighbors to see why they might be moving on.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

IMHO most (not all) Realator's are nothing more than mindless salespeople.

For several years we looked for a larger home - gave the realtor the specs - then they would show us a dump of a home. Honestly, from our experience, 90% of them are worthless.

Maybe you will get lucky. The best advice is that if you want to live in a particular area of town, get a 'local' realator.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

IMHO most (not all) Realator's are nothing more than mindless salespeople.

For several years we looked for a larger home - gave the realtor the specs - then they would show us a dump of a home. Honestly, from our experience, 90% of them are worthless.

Maybe you will get lucky. The best advice is that if you want to live in a particular area of town, get a 'local' realator.


Is that broad brush getting heavy??
Sounds like you asked for a low cost with high features house, did you get the idea you needed to adjust one or another?

Why bother with a "local" realator (sic) most (not all) are nothing more than mindless salespeople? 90% of them are worthless. Is that your best advice?


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

IMHO most (not all) Realator's are nothing more than mindless salespeople.

Since there are no such thing as Realators, I will ignore this comment.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

I really do not understand how an agent can get to the point of showing a buyer a property that they have not chosen to go see themselves. Are you all not looking through a big list of homes sent to you by your agent, and narrowing those down that look interesting to you?
I set my clients up on a search which THEY provide the criteria for. I advise them to look through them, and get back with me with the ones that may be interesting enough to go view. Easy as that. I just do not understand how so many of these posters put themselves in a situation where agents are showing them properties that do not fit their criteria. please shed some light.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

I just wanted to say that many tenants don't realize they have any rights. When the real estate boom began, someone in our complex decided to sell off all his rentals and just told the tenants they'd have to go. They all duly did--not one even considered checking to see whether they had to or not.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"Since there are no such thing as Realators....."

Sure there is. It is a species native to Florida. There is also another species - the Realodile. They look very similar, except the Realator has a shorter, stubbier nose.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

ncrealestateguy - you and I represent diametrically opposed opinions. We aren't going to convince each other, but I will make one last attempt to explain my thoughts to you before signing off on this.

The OP told her agent she was interested in the house. She asked several times if it was a foreclosure. She then spoke to the tenant, and passed that info on to the agent who was - ostensibly - still working "for her".

Instead of researching the house further for the client - who had as yet not terminated her services - she took the time to contact the seller, or the listing agent(?) and complain about the tenant, revealing what the OP had been told, and was relayed to her while she was still working for the OP.

That is indiscrete at best. It is unprofessional. It would earn swift dismissmal in my book.

I'm done on this one. This horse is dead...

cas66ragtop - haven't stopped laughing since I read about the "realodile". Is that the one that goes for the arm, or your leg?


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

LOL Cas66ragtop.

I'm a FSBO. I'm not one of the realtors on here who thinks realtors do no wrong. But I have to say, in this case, I agree with what NCrealestateguy is saying. At the stage you were in, I don't know how you could expect the real estate agent to know everything. She goes by the MLS listing, and will get more information if you request it, and then you go take a look. If you want to know more, she'll find out for you. I seriously think the lady simply called up the seller's agent and said, "What's this about a foreclosure?" Did you ask the agent to find out if it was really a foreclosure or not? You must have if you were so interested that you went back again and you were very concerned about foreclosures. I don't think that agent was doing anything other than what she's supposed to do. I feel sorry for her.

By the way, my sister just bought a short sale in Cape Coral. It literally took a month. I was so jealous. I've been in and out of contract and she goes down there and boom, gets it done. And what a deal she got. You're renting. You're in the perfect position to buy a short sale or a foreclosure. I'd be actually looking for that if I was in your position.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

I've been following this whole thread, and I am absolutely stunned that anyone thinks what this agent did was just fine. I understand not knowing something when a client asks you. But if a client comes back to you and says they are interested in a place, ands asks over and over "is it a foreclosure?", and that they heard stories from the tenant that it was in foreclosure, then you look the info up for your client. You don't shoot your mouth off to the seller. The whole things stinks to high heaven, IMO. I would have run for the exits. This is the sort of thing that makes people distrust realtors. I guess our lawyer gave me good advice when I bought my first home - "Don't tell the realtor more than you have to."


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"She showed us a home which needed work but was very interesting and unusual for Florida. We liked it although we knew it would need work. It was in a expensive area of Sarasota, on the water with a pool. Had beautiful property, but the house would need work. We were tempted but decided to continue looking. When we first entered the house, I asked if it was a short sale and she said, 'no, its a straight sale.' I asked again a few more times. "

Sounds to me like they had taken a look, the agent relied on the MLS/sellers information for her answer, and then did not bother to look up the truth after the OP heard the foreclosure and permit info from the tenant. If this IS the way it went down, it is a horrendous way to treat a client who came in from NY.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Ted,
The agent never spoke to the seller! She called the listing agent up and asked something like; "the tenant told us that the home is a foreclosure. It is not disclosed in the MLS as such. Is this true?"
This is the only scenario that makes sense for what went down. She was verifying what the poster said the tenant said.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Somewhat off topic, I have seen many MLS listing where there is something incorrect. I am sure realtors can tell stories about this, as they really see a lot of listings.

Sometimes the listing is missing important features that cause the home to appear less than what it really is. On the other hand, sometimes the home appears to be better than it really is.

Some real life examples
*A home did NOT mention that it has 3 sides brick. the area had some homes with 1 side brick and others wih 3 sides. It was approx $8k more for 3 sides brick and some folks searched by that criteria as some folks required this. I was the lucky recipient of this error, as we got this home for a good deal. Maybe fewer people came to see it because it didn't match their MLS search criteria. The photo was only of the front.

*I have seen several homes where MLS stated more sq footage than home really had. One home I viewed with listing agent, but I checked county web site ahead of time. I asked the agent why the sq ft difference and she said she would need to confirm with her assistant who comes out and measures. The agent later corrected the MLS and said her assistent measured wrong, forgot to calclulate correctly for an odd shaped room.

*Saw several listings where someone illegal(no permits) converted a porch or garage to living area. MLS showed higher sq footage than public record.

*Saw a listing where land size was listed as 4 acres but actual land size was 1.5 acres.the 4 acres was mentioned the first line of the comments as well.

*this one is common around here and is related to waterfront property. These are high priced properties. The MLS and sign riders often say "DEEP WATER". this means you can get most any boat to the edge of the property - and is most desired. Problem is, MLS commonly notes DEEP WATER even in Shallow Water properties that limit you to shallow water boats or maybe no boat if real shallow. It is like they assume it is deep water and buyer will have to get into the water to measure depth before they buy. This one is hard to prove unless you actually measure the water which isn't an easy task.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

I also agree with the NCREGUY scenario. A buyers agent shouldn't be expected to investigate every house the buyer wants to view.

The seller is at fault for not advising the LA of changes to the property. It is strange the seller would kick out a paying tenant in a foreclosure.

The whole situation is a bit odd, but none of us know the true details between all the mentioned parties.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"I just wanted to say that many tenants don't realize they have any rights. When the real estate boom began, someone in our complex decided to sell off all his rentals and just told the tenants they'd have to go. They all duly did--not one even considered checking to see whether they had to or not."

They obviously have no idea what a contract means, and likely never read there rental contracts.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

>They obviously have no idea what a contract means, and likely never read there rental contracts.

No doubt, and that's true of an awful lot of people, unfortunately. But I'm not sure an office supply store lease form even mentions those kinds of contingencies.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Tenants have rights well beyond what is written in their rental contracts AND many sections of their contract may not be legally enforceable anyway. For instance, due to the recent crisis, we've had a major rewrite of tenant laws when it comes to foreclosures. Leases now need to be honored even if the property is foreclosed on. Additionally, month to month leases have to be honored BEYOND their term to a full 90 days.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

NCguy you stated - "She called the listing agent up and asked something like; "the tenant told us that the home is a foreclosure. It is not disclosed in the MLS as such. Is this true?"

Why is this agent calling the LA with this question when she did not report back to her buyer? And why does anyone think it is acceptable to tell the LA the info came from the tenant?!

That IS indiscretion. In my company, I would get fired for sharing information from a client without their express consent.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

From reading this thread it is clear that no one knows exactly what happened here. The only thing we do know is that the only person who gave accurate information to the buyer was the tenant. And she got in trouble for it.

I think that is sad.

Since I see some people are defending this as normal, I guess the moral of the story is: "Don't tell a real estate agent anything you don't want spread all over town."


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Okay, here's the exact order of what happened.

I saw the house when I first arrived in Fla. It was next-door to where we were staying. We knew someone lived there but thought it was the owner. This was an expensive area of Sarasota (Key) and we looked on-line and found the price. It was extremely low for a home in this area.

I contacted my agent who I hadn't met yet. Asked if she would take us in to see this house. It was priced above our price-point (but not by much). Agent had agreed to show it the next day with other homes in our search criteria.

Meet the agent at this house (next door) and we go in. Once inside, it looked too good to be listed at that price level. It needed work, but still looked priced very low. That was why I kept asking if it was a distressed sale.

Agent knew a lot about the house. She mentioned things and pointed out certain features. She had obviously shown the house before.

We spent the rest of the day looking at other homes. When I returned back to where we were staying, we took a walk and ran into this woman who we started talking to. She told us she was renting and the house was going to be auctioned.

We were shocked and wasn't sure if she was being truthful.

When we got back to our place, my SIL looked the house up on the Sarasota County site and we found the info. Everything the woman told us was true.

Next day we had planned to meet our agent to look at more homes. I called her and asked her if she knew the house was in foreclosure. She denied knowing. She acted surprised.

We spent that day looking at homes and she asked me how I knew about the house and I told her. Big mistake on my part! But I didn't expect her to spread the info. I had no idea she did until I returned that evening and ran into the woman again. She confronted me and told me she was in trouble with the owner and was told to leave.

I was horrified. I sent an email to my agent telling her we couldn't work with her anymore. I did not tell her why.

NC, I agree she might not have known. I stated that possibility. I'll never know for sure. But she could have said she'd check into my query before giving a definitive answer. I know she had shown the house because she knew too much about it. She tried to have us make an offer. We almost did. It was an incredible buy for this area.

I now know I can't expect an agent to research another listing until I show interest. Thanks for that information. That was my original question. However, I do not feel I was wrong to fire her. You must be able to trust the person you work with. She should not have caused problems for the tenant. I just hope she didn't get thrown out.

Jane


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Ted, isn't it the norm for an agent to call the listing agent first to get more information? Isn't that what they're supposed to do? And how was she supposed to know the foreclosure was a big secret? What kind of secret is this anyway if the tenant knows and it's in the public records? I bet if that agent knew it was supposed to be a secret, she would have gotten the information some other way or she would have told the listing agent, "I can't say who told me, but we heard..." Kind of silly for something that's in the public records. But maybe she did that. And if that's the case, then wouldn't the seller figure out that perhaps the renter mentioned it? And it just doesn't make sense that a seller going into foreclosure would kick his renter out. This whole thing just doesn't make sense. I'll be the first to admit there's a lot of crappy real estate agents out there, but it's got to be a really frustrating job for the good ones.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Jane, I think you have explained very carefully what you went through. I can't speak for anyone else, but I think you have every right to be horrified that the agent let the seller know the tenant had spoken to you. Even if it was through the LA as some here have asserted it "must" have been. Although, considering that none of us actually KNOWS that, it is surprising that this seems to now be accepted as a FACT. Either way, the fact that the agent could not get more info without divulging the tenant as your source is awful.

You also stated " I know she had shown the house because she knew too much about it. She tried to have us make an offer. We almost did." It is frightening to think that an agent could have possibly shown the house previously, and pressed you to make an offer, without ever looking into your concern regarding the possible foreclosure - "That was why I kept asking if it was a distressed sale. "

I suppose it all boils down to what we expect from a professional. Some people think there is nothing wrong with pushing a sale without doing the research or betraying a source of info. I for one, am still appalled.

Loveinthegarden - Yes, the agent should call the LA, if she did that, rather than the seller if she is actively gathering info for a client. But first, I am not at all sure she did not call the seller. We received MANY calls from BA's when we were selling through an LA, and they asked us all kinds of questions. So I am not sure where the idea that LA's never call up sellers came from. That is speculation, not a fact. The fact is, that whoever was called, and whatever was said, the tenant who helped the OP out with good info got in trouble.

That is indiscrete and grounds for firing. I am trying to be nice and not assuming that was the LA's intention to begin with, to get "even" with a tenant she felt was blocking a sale. Considering that is exactly what the tenant appears to have told the OP, we might wonder if that was not the case? But again, that is speculation

I agree with you, it must not be easy to be a good real estate agent. I read somewhere once that only about 40% of people are happy with their agents. But paradoxically, the good agents should benefit from the presence of their less -skilled compatriots. At least in a normal business model.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

TYPO! "So I am not sure where the idea that LA's never call up sellers came from"

Should have read - "So I am not sure where the idea that BA's never call up sellers came from"

Not intended to confuse anyone.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Jane, You were right to fire your agent. She lost your trust and spoke out of turn and got someone in trouble. Not the best way to conduct a business transaction. Unfortunately this is more the norm then the exception imo. Of the 8 RA we have used over the years buying and selling not 1 would we recommend to a friend or family.
So in answer to your question...I say Deception and yes she probably did know about the foreclosure from what I read in your posts. Don't feel bad about firing her,you did the right thing. NancyLouise


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"Tenants have rights well beyond what is written in their rental contracts AND many sections of their contract may not be legally enforceable anyway."

Sometimes, but NOT always.

I hold title to investments in a number of ways to AVOID being subject to certain provisions of landlord-tenant law triggered by the number off units owned.

Selling a leased property is not the same as a foreclosure action occurring against the property.

I have never seen a lease that terminates on sale of the property, but someone has probably written one.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

For the last time. The buyer's agent asked the listing agent what was going on and relayed what she was told. This is what she's supposed to do. What happens after that is not in her control.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

She lost your trust and spoke out of turn and got someone in trouble.

I don't see how the agent spoke out of turn. You can't have it both ways. Is the agent supposed to be working for the buyer's best interest or the renter's? It sounds as if the owner of the house is playing games with everybody.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

We are not even sure if the agent was acting as a buyer's agent. She could have been working as a transaction agent. FL agents that show property to people are required to disclose this in writing prior to showing the buyers any property. Jane...was she acting as a buyer's agent or transaction agent?


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Exactly what terriks said. "You can't have it both ways."

You expressed more than the usual interest about this house to your agent, and even though the info the renter told you wasn't on the MLS, she did her job by attempting to verify the home's status. The easiest way is to call up the listing agent and ask "what the hey" about the info you heard from the tenant. If it's not on the MLS, then the owner or the agent is being deceptive, not your agent. Unless the tenant said that this was priviledged information known only to her because she was the tenant, the buyer's agent has no reason to not divulge the source of the info she was asking about. She was doing her job and you let her go for doing her job. And you're complaining about her doing her job under the system as it exists. That wasn't a fair reaction from you. You had a guilt response from speaking with the tenant, and instead of blaming the a-hole seller who is responsible for how he treats his tenant, you looked to put blame on your agent because deep down, you really didn't want to move there anyway.

I really feel for this agent, because, well, the title of your post could well apply to your behavior to her. You represented yourself as an actual buyer to her, and consequently she spent a lot of time on you. That was deeptive on your part. Your lack of knowledge of the reality of Florida living led you to this deception , but that's no excuse. If you have family there as you've said, and you've spent time there, it seems you should know the place well enough to be able to decide yes or no about moving there. Don't engage the services of another realtor until you are 100% sure of that question, because it's dishonest of you to engage their services on a false pretense. I agree that you owe the realtor an apology for your behavior. It would also be fair to give her a gift certificate for all of the gas she spent driving you around.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Are there many people looking in Florida in JULY?

I think 'half-backer' refers to a northerner who moves far south, then moves midway between north and south. Jane can skip the whole thing and buy in NC. lol We gave up on moving in retirement. We just stay at home in Chicagoland most of the year and shuttle to Maui for a break in winter.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Usually, the earlier contract takes precedence, so when the house is sold the lease would remain in force *normally*.

Sometimes there's a clause that the tenant agrees to move if the house is sold, usually for a fee or some kind of consideration;
even so, the tenant doesn't want to move & sabotages the owner's sale.

Also, if the house is in foreclosure or about to be in foreclosure, the tenant may be able to remain in the house, without making any more rental payments, until the new owner (the mortgage company) completes an eviction process.

The tenant could get several months of free rent if the house went to foreclosure sale, but would have to move or at least keep making rental payments if the house were sold by the current owner.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

mpinto and greendesigns are exactly right.
Look folks, usually the explanation to something that happened is the most simple one. Same with most conspiracy theories.
You asked your agent to find out the status of the home, so she called the LA, who in turn called the seller, who in turn called the tenant. Pretty simple to understand. I would have done the same thing.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

GreenDesigns said, "You had a guilt response from speaking with the tenant, and instead of blaming the a-hole seller who is responsible for how he treats his tenant, you looked to put blame on your agent because deep down, you really didn't want to move there anyway."

Even though you ripped apart my house one time, I've got to say, you're a pretty smart cookie. I think you hit the nail on the head.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

OK, I just got here and I am left with one question:

How can anyone here who wasn't actually involved in this fiasco say they know what really happened?

But to the OP - if you felt there was something "not right" with the way the agent handled things, then that is reason enough to move on. You aren't obligated to make one of the biggest decisions of your life relying on someone you don't trust. I don't see how anyone here could advise you otherwise.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

LoveInTheHouse, you and GreenDesigns, it makes two smart cookies.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Thank you Azmom.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Somehow my original question has gotten muddled. I asked if I should expect my Realtor to know if a house is about to be foreclosed? When an agent shows a house, it is not their responsibility to 'check' when asked directly by the buyer, if a house is a short sale or foreclosure?

I suppose it is my responsibility to check public court records on any house I am interested in?

My question was whether I was deceived by my agent, or whether she just didn't know. She could have said she didn't know.

Regarding the tenant. I doubt she had a lease. I know she planned to stop paying rent when the house went to auction. Her hope was that she could remain there, rent free for as long as it took the bank to tell her to leave. She was savvy.

I did have a guilt response when I found out the conversation, with my agent cause problems for the tenant. However, I had an 'angry response' when I found out my agent didn't provide us the information. My reason for firing her had to do with the fact that she either deceived us or didn't check to see if the house was a short sale, when I asked her. I was angry she gave out information on a private conversation. If she was trying to gather facts, she could have been discreet.

GreenDesigns, are you saying I should have called the LA to find out the information on the house? I think most people would ask their agent.

....."I really feel for this agent, because, well, the title of your post could well apply to your behavior to her. You represented yourself as an actual buyer to her, and consequently she spent a lot of time on you. That was deeptive on your part. Your lack of knowledge of the reality of Florida living led you to this deception , but that's no excuse."

I was/am an 'actual buyer.' Do you think I traveled 2,000 miles to play games with a Realtor? What lack of knowledge of the area? How do you know that?? My entire family has lived in Sarasota for over 40 years.

We are moving to a State we are not crazy about, but we are going to do it. People have their reasons for moving and we have ours. One doesn't always have the luxury of moving to the 'perfect place.' I did not deceive anyone.

I think my original question has been lost in this thread. I would like to have the information on the status of any house I look at.

BTW, GreenDesign, this was the first house she showed to us.
This was the first day we worked together. Not much gas wasted.

Jane


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Jane Wrote:

"Somehow my original question has gotten muddled. I asked if I should expect my Realtor to know if a house is about to be foreclosed? When an agent shows a house, it is not their responsibility to 'check' when asked directly by the buyer, if a house is a short sale or foreclosure?"

Jane, One more time. It is the listing agent's responsibility to gather the material facts about the listings they advertise. This LA, for some reason, did not post this fact in the MLS. When you asked your agent if it was a foreclosure, she told you "NO", because it was not advertised as one by the LA. How hard is that to understand? When you kept asking, and because you were showing interest in the home, and because the tenant was saying otherwise, she called the LA to find out why there was a discrepancy. And the fact that the seller now knows that you know that it is a foreclosure, gives YOU the upperhand, not the seller. Your agent DID NOT give away any material facts that the seller could have used against you. You felt bad for the tenant, so you blamed the agent. You say the tenant is savvy for not paying rent, but I call that freeloading.
And again, if the home was such a great deal, why did you walk away from it? Foreclosures close in the same amount of time as a regular sale.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"I asked if I should expect my Realtor to know if a house is about to be foreclosed? When an agent shows a house, it is not their responsibility to 'check' when asked directly by the buyer, if a house is a short sale or foreclosure? "

Unless the seller is wiling to reveal the information to at least their listing agent there may be NO WAY for anyone to tell that is not directly involved between the owner and the lender.
There is only so much available in the public record until the foreclosure actually proceeds in many places.
Many lenders do NOT record a lis pendans since they control the release of the existing note lien already.

Why pay money to establish a power you already have?
The owner cannot convey title in any case without a release from the lien.

If you are dissatisfied with the agent, find another.


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reRE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Never ascribe to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"I did have a guilt response when I found out the conversation, with my agent cause problems for the tenant. However, I had an 'angry response' when I found out my agent didn't provide us the information. My reason for firing her had to do with the fact that she either deceived us or didn't check to see if the house was a short sale, when I asked her. I was angry she gave out information on a private conversation. If she was trying to gather facts, she could have been discreet."

The agents were the ones who caused the problem. The listing agent for not telling the BA and the BA for getting tenant in trouble (shooting the messenger) once she told you the truth.

I'd want to wash my hands of this situation as well. Not only because of the agents, but because of permits not being pulled for all the work that was done. ("We also discovered he did major work on the house, adding a huge family room, and a master bedroom suite. He added another bathroom and updated 2 other bathrooms. He did not have any permits filed.")

At least you know to look at the public records and talk to neighbors before believing what your so-called hired rep wants to you to believe.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

I think the original poster pulled the Lis Pendens from public record for this property via the web. So agent could have done the same.

Maybe when asked whether ift was a foreclosure/short sale, the listing agent should have replied that the MLS is showing it as a normal sale, but she could have offerred to check public records if there was further interest on this home from the potential buyer. However, if buyer already stated that she was NOT interested in the home for other reasons, then no need to waste time on this home.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Jane, you said, "Somehow my original question has gotten muddled. I asked if I should expect my Realtor to know if a house is about to be foreclosed? When an agent shows a house, it is not their responsibility to 'check' when asked directly by the buyer, if a house is a short sale or foreclosure?"

But Jane, she DID check. She looked at the MLS. She had no reason to believe the information was incorrect. Then when you said that you found out otherwise, she called the listing agent.

I don't understand why your loyalties were for that tenant who is trying to live there for free. If you ask me, that's stealing. Really, I think all that agent was trying to do was find out for you.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

LITH Wrote:

"I don't understand why your loyalties were for that tenant who is trying to live there for free. If you ask me, that's stealing. Really, I think all that agent was trying to do was find out for you."

Like I have said, usually the simplist answer is the correct answer.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Love - I asked her 'three times' if the house was a SHORT SALE!

She should have said, "I'll check and get back to you."


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"Love - I asked her 'three times' if the house was a SHORT SALE!"

And it wasn't a short sale. It also wasn't a foreclosure. It was about to be foreclosed on, but that is an entirely different matter. An owner that is about to be foreclosed on BUT has enough equity to not have to do a short sale is an IDEAL seller in terms of wanting to get a sale done quickly.

Anyway, it is entirely within your right to fire an agent for any or no reason. If you weren't comfortable working with her, it is better for both of you to just part company. As an ethical matter though, it really isn't fair of you to go around bashing her as either deceptive or incompetent. She was just relying on the MLS data. That is the whole point of the MLS - to quickly communicate the important data about a property that is for sale.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"Anyway, it is entirely within your right to fire an agent for any or no reason. If you weren't comfortable working with her, it is better for both of you to just part company. As an ethical matter though, it really isn't fair of you to go around bashing her as either deceptive or incompetent. She was just relying on the MLS data. That is the whole point of the MLS - to quickly communicate the important data about a property that is for sale."

The Buyers Agent yapped to the listing agent and got the tenant evicted for telling the TRUTH! How ethical is that?

That alone would be enough to make me back out.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"The Buyers Agent yapped to the listing agent and got the tenant evicted for telling the TRUTH! How ethical is that?"

The owner evicted a tenant.
They must have been month to month or there would be no grounds for an eviction under a normal lease contrsct.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"The Buyers Agent yapped to the listing agent and got the tenant evicted for telling the TRUTH! How ethical is that? "

100% ethical. The buyers agent has a duty to the buyer to look into the discrepancy after it was brought to her attention.

The seller is the unethical person here. They are the ones who were hiding the status of the home. They are the one that kicked out the tenant. I say "kicked out" because there is no way they had the tenant legally evicted in this time frame.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

jane_ny "Somehow my original question has gotten muddled. I asked if I should expect my Realtor to know if a house is about to be foreclosed? When an agent shows a house, it is not their responsibility to 'check' when asked directly by the buyer, if a house is a short sale or foreclosure?"

I think it should not be your responsibility to do the legwork. What is % does a realtor earn in commission in FL? Wouldn't the disclosure status of the home be the ultimate responsiblity of the agent? Also, wouldn't any of these problems the owner having be an issue with the title report, in the event jane went forward with this purchase?

While I don't frequent this forum, I think this is a very good cautionary tale. If I ever sell my home I will do so FSBO, with a full review of all documents from a legal standpoint. Not sure what I would do to buy a home. I don't have much faith in realtors after hearing many tales similar to this one, as well as reading this particular thread.

So glad I wandered to this forum.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

I don't think I am bashing the agent. I asked if a Realtor should have this info. I asked because I am still looking at properties and would like to feel a little more secure knowing my agent DOES have my best interests at heart.

FWIW, I am also looking at property in NY and working with another Realtor. I told her the story. She said she would have known and the permits should have been pulled. She said the agent should have had the information. She thought it was wrong for her to mention the tenant at all. She said the status of the house could have been checked by simply asking the LA.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

But isn't that what she did?! Ask the listing agent? Don't worry, this is the last time I'm piping in on this one. Whew.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Last for me too: She did a lot more than just asking. She never told me she'd check, she told me, it is a 'straight sale.' She ratted on me and the tenant...she should have simply asked the LA if it was a distressed sale. She could have maintained our privacy. My conversation with her was private. She didn't!

Whew..


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Jane...
If your agent would have asked the LA what the status of the home was, the LA would have told her it was a straight sale, because she was lied to by the sellers. The only way your agent could have figured if the home was something other than advertised, was to let the LA know that the tenant had told you that the home was in the foreclosure process.
And by the sellers knowing that you now know, in no way gives the seller more leverage... just the opposite.
Did you ethically let your new agent know that you may be wasting her time, since you are still looking in Fl. too, per your post a few back?


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Jane, your last post pretty much sums up what happened quiet simply. As I said before you where correct to dismiss your RA. She no longer had your trust due to her lack of ethics and speaking out of turn. As stated by a previous poster...I'll be selling our home FSBO when we decide to retire and downsize also. Due to my own personal experiences (and those of my family and friends)with agents and stories like these and others on this forum, they just aren't worth the commission price. NancyLouise


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"Jane...
If your agent would have asked the LA what the status of the home was, the LA would have told her it was a straight sale, because she was lied to by the sellers."

When you are taking on a client, isn't it in your best interest to find out if the owner is telling the truth (still owns it/not a foreclosure/etc)? Can you trust a fellow realtor to give YOU all the facts? What would you do if you found out otherwise?

"Did you ethically let your new agent know that you may be wasting her time, since you are still looking in Fl. too, per your post a few back? "

Cheap shot.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Having read this whole thread, here's my two cents... it seems unreasonable to expect an agent who is showing houses to a prospective buyer to question everything that is stated by the seller. How can that possibly work? And how insulting to the sellers agent if there was such mistrust between agents. Only when there was evidence to the contrary was it logical for the buyers agent to ask for confirmation from the listing agent. Which she did.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Thank you, gardener.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Dreamgarden wrote:

"Did you ethically let your new agent know that you may be wasting her time, since you are still looking in Fl. too, per your post a few back? "

"Cheap shot."

Not a cheap shot at all. This entire thread was bought on by Jane thinking that someone was not treating her ethically... just saying...


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"FWIW, I am also looking at property in NY and working with another Realtor. I told her the story. She said she would have known and the permits should have been pulled. She said the agent should have had the information. She thought it was wrong for her to mention the tenant at all. She said the status of the house could have been checked by simply asking the LA. "

There is no such thing as occupancy permit for resales in Florida. No one check if there has been any alterations to the buildings, so the fact that in NY you need to pull permits, does not mean you need to pull permits the same way in FL.
You stated that you asked if this was "short sale" and the agent said no, as per MLS it was not "short sale". I do not know any agent who would pull mortgage information from court papers to check if it is possibly a short sale, and even if the asking price is less than the stated mortgage amounts on court papers, the seller might have enough reserves to cover the difference, hence not short sale.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

I wasn't going to answer any further, but I have to ask how I was wasting her time?
I posted a question. I'm looking at real estate and wanted to know if lack of knowledge or deception was the reason I was not told I was looking at a distressed property.

I don't appreciate being accused of something I didn't do.

Jane


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

I feel like my answer was not clear - in most likelihood the agent was neither deceptive nor lacking of knowledge.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

ncrealestateguy-You never answered my first question:

("Jane... If your agent would have asked the LA what the status of the home was, the LA would have told her it was a straight sale, because she was lied to by the sellers.")

When you are taking on a client, isn't it in your best interest to find out if the owner is telling the truth (still owns it/not a foreclosure/etc)? Can you trust a fellow realtor to give YOU all the facts? What would you do if you found out otherwise?


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"When you are taking on a client, isn't it in your best interest to find out if the owner is telling the truth (still owns it/not a foreclosure/etc)?"

That is a straw man argument. Of course it is better to know the facts. The question is how much time (and money) should someone spend verifying the facts and cross checking them against multiple sources? Generally, I think it is reasonable to say that there should be some additional verification of key items before an offer is made but not necessarily before every showing.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Exactly, Bill.
No LA is going to waste their time and energy by advertising a home as a straight sale, knowing that it is a short sale. The LA wants the home to sell to, in order to get paid. Every LA knows that the deception would be found sooner or later, and the deal probably would fall apart. Why would a LA do this sort of nonsense.
Dreamer, as soon as my buyers narrow their choice to 3 properties or less, I then go into research mode, and take nothing for granted nor do I assume what anything tells me about the properties.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Okay, one more time. We sold our home in NY last year. Before listing, while interviewing Realtors, each went to the Town and looked at permits. I didn't even have a relationship with these people. There were three agents from different agencies.

I didn't know they would do this, but during the interview, each one told me I should check with the Town because there was no CO filed on my sunroom. I was not aware of that until met with these Realtors. Sunroom was built 15 years before.

I knew there should have been a CO but immediately went down to Town Hall and the CO had not been filed. It was a mistake and took a few visits to clear up.

Each had the square footage from the Town. Each had tax records, etc. They noticed I was grieving the taxes and was thrilled. All stated that would be included in the listing.

I would assume they would have noticed if I hadn't paid my taxes for two years. Wouldn't they??

They certainly knew I didn't have the CO for the sunroom.

These were not Realtors I had met before. It was my first meeting. One Realtor wanted to double-check the square-footage and proceeded to measure my rooms.

In my mind, those Realtors were professionals and I trusted each of them. My choice really had to do with personality and amount of sales.

One other point. I looked up the address of the above property on Trulia and it is still listed with the same agency. No mention of short-sale nor foreclosure. I realize it hasn't become a forclosure yet, but I wonder what the Realtor would say if someone asked if the property was distressed. Its obvious she knows the truth now! Why are they still listing the property if they were deceived by the seller?

I have no idea why this would be going on. In response to Bill, it doesn't make sense. But no one was asking anyone to check and cross-check. I asked if the house was a distressed property. Three times I was told no.

Jane


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Jane, I am sorry but you are not hearing. There is no such CO system in FL. Once you build a brand new house, you get a CO and that's it. After that you can do what ever you want to your house and there is no more CO requirement. States are different, FL is very different from NY. How it works in one place has no reflection how it works in other. So what ever your NY agents are telling you is irrelevant when it comes to FL.
I know people who did not pay their real estate taxes for two years because of cash flow reasons and then started paying the older ones, because after two years they counties start selling the delinquencies. So even the fact that real estate taxes were not paid two years is not iron glad proof of distressed property. Your buyer agent had no way to know for sure that this was distressed property unless she was told so by selling agent.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"One other point. I looked up the address of the above property on Trulia and it is still listed with the same agency. No mention of short-sale nor foreclosure. I realize it hasn't become a forclosure yet, but I wonder what the Realtor would say if someone asked if the property was distressed. Its obvious she knows the truth now! Why are they still listing the property if they were deceived by the seller?

I have no idea why this would be going on. In response to Bill, it doesn't make sense. But no one was asking anyone to check and cross-check. I asked if the house was a distressed property. Three times I was told no."

Jane, what was the point in hiring someone who didn't know anymore about the house than you?

Your experience made me think of an article in Smart Money mag about why so many people are looking on their own without an agent.

A link that might be useful:

www.smartmoney.com/spend/real-estate/do-you-need-a-buyers-agent-1304523622290/?cid=1122


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

When buying a house it will be important to build an ideal relationship with the realtor because most likely, they will be the one in charge of the house search and you will rely on the details that they provide.
A smart realtor will know right away if a house is good buy or not and of course, he/she will go out of his/her way to make sure that your investment will be protected.
We cannot easily judge if it was an honest mistake or of there was really some shortcoming from the part of the realtor but this should be a lesson for every buyer that they should try to be more assertive in dealing with a very important transaction.


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Jane,
What is the address of the property?


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

"I have no idea why this would be going on. In response to Bill, it doesn't make sense. But no one was asking anyone to check and cross-check. I asked if the house was a distressed property. Three times I was told no." "

There is no official thing called "distressed". The bank can foreclose and then it would be bank owned. That didn't happen. The seller can be trying to do a short sale. They weren't. If the seller was selling above the amount they owed, it doesn't matter if the bank wanted to foreclose in the future. It would have no impact on the sale to you.

Also, you have repeatedly said you expected your agent to cross check. In the same breath, you are saying you think it is the Listing Agents job to verify the info. Whose job is it?

As for the LA disclosing that her client is having financial trouble - I should hope not. That would be a serious ethical violation. It would be the equivalent of saying "Please lowball my client. They will take any offer to get this thing sold and avoid foreclosure."


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

..."Also, you have repeatedly said you expected your agent to cross check. In the same breath, you are saying you think it is the Listing Agents job to verify the info. Whose job is it? "

My listing agents checked on my house before listing it.

I never said I repeatedly expected my agent to cross check! I said, I asked her if the sale was a distressed, a short sale. I never asked her to check because I assumed she already had the information. I thought, that's what a real estate agent would be expected to know. If the LA had checked, she would have the information...no? Why did no one know? Seems sloppy work to me.

Distressed is a term frequently used, I am not a Realtor. I don't understand short-sales, foreclosures, etc. I made it clear to my Realtor that we did not want to be involved in any of those. We wanted a straight, direct sale. We wanted to close as soon as possible.

If the only role a Realtor has is to open the door to a property, what is the point? I know that isn't true because I have worked and continue to work, with Realtors who are professionals.

I don't understand why this argument continues. I asked a valid question and got mixed opinions. I still don't understand what the answer is.

If I remember correctly, the house goes to auction on July 24th.

Here is a link that might be useful: Siesta Key


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Okay, Jane. Sorry, I just returned from vacation and noticed this thread involved my neck 'o the woods.
My MLS just merged into the same MLS as the home in question, so I'm new to the format, but I can answer your question about what is visible to your ex-Realtor.
Firstly, "distressed" is our unofficial term that includes short sales and pre-foreclosures, REO (bank-owned), foreclosures, etc.
Since you were specific to your ex-Realtor that you did not want to consider distressed homes, "REO/Bank Owned" and "Short Sale" can be excluded in the search criteria. When I did a search for REO/Bank Owned, this house did not pop up, so that criteria was not entered into MLS (I don't know whether that is a required field, so I can't tell you if this is a violation or not.)
You did specifically ask whether this home was a short sale, and there is absolutely NO WAY an agent can not know that a home is a short sale because there is very specific verbiage that is required to be the first thing in the remarks. This home is not a short sale.
Next, I see that the owner is listed as "American Land Investors" which doesn't sound like a person. One click of my mouse takes me to the public records that tells me the foreclosure was filed on 8/6/2009. I can't see anything about an auction.
Of note, public records state that the home is 1592sf heated, while MLS states 2541sf. So it makes sense that the listing agent specifies that the "as-is contract" is to be used, because the standard contract is very specific about permits and correcting non-permitted work.

Here's how it would've worked with me. You would have told me your criteria. I would've told you that I don't do short sales or distressed properties because (1) I'm not an expert, and I'd refer you to someone who is if that's the direction you wanted to go and (2) they are just too emotional and draining for me. An acquaintance just took almost two years to get his short sale home. (Cape Coral is a unique area and I'm not surprised a short sale took a month. I doubt that would happen on Siesta Key.)
I would have sent you listings that met your criteria and you'd tell me which ones you were interested in seeing when you were in town. This would be updated within a day or two of your visit. If you popped a property on me that was listed with a Realtor (i.e. you saw a sign that was not a FSBO), I would assume that there was a problem or else it would have been on the list I provided you, right?
I'd still look it up, because there's always the chance that it's a brand-new listing. A quick look at the MLS - about all I'd have time for if you wanted to see it ASAP - wouldn't have flagged anything to me. I probably would not have noticed the ownership nor looked at the public record. I would have scanned it and immediately tried to get a hold of the listing agent to schedule that showing, because it can take a while to work out. Later, after the showing, if you were still interested in the home, then I'd find out all that stuff before you made an offer.

What I find interesting is how the square footage doesn't match. That's an auto-fill from public records, normally. I haven't tried to change that field, but obviously the listing agent manually entered everything (ugh) or was able to change the fields that auto-populate. The permitting issue is HUGE and I would RUN, not walk away from that house. If the owner did the work, you have no idea if the work was done to code. Electrical is behind drywall and no inspector would sign that off unless you ripped the house apart.

I hope this actually answers your question. I'm being kicked off the computer so I don't have time to proofread this!!!.....Lisa


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Sounds like perhaps we have a disgruntled tenant that does not want the home to be sold.
Lisa, what about the public access that so many people mentioned in this thread that allows anyone to check the foreclosure status of any property? What does THIS site say to you?


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

I don't understand why any of this would involve the tenant. The info is public as are the County records. Anyone can look up any address and get the information. The tenant didn't provide nor offer the County Records.

From what I could see, the owner changed the ownership from his name and put it into an Llc. From what I hear, that is done frequently to prevent the banks or creditors from going after them. I saw many homes in Florida listed as Llc's. Apparently, this is legal.

Realestateguy, why do you point a finger at the tenant? You can look up this information as can anyone else. I did and continue to look up houses through their Public Country Records. Its quite easy and user friendly. I wish it was offered in NY.

The tenant did nothing wrong. Whether the RA did is the question. I don't know and in the future will insist my agent try to get as much information as possible about a house I am planning to make an offer on. It is apparent this house is a tear-down.

Jane


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Did the home go to auction last week as the tenant said it was going to?


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RE: Deception or lack of knowlege?

Jane,
I took a fresh look at your postings and the listing this morning, which, BTW, expired yesterday. I'm really trying to determine your initial question: deception or lacking? on the part of your buyer's agent.

Also, I feel obligated to point out that the listing agent DID know that the home was in pre-foreclosure, not that this is relevant.

First, you got "hundreds" of listings forwarded to you based on MLS criteria:
The "special sale" field is mandatory, but would not show anything because the only options are "none", "short sale" or "REO/Bank Owned" (defined: a property which is being offered for sale by a lender or other party who: (i) holds legal title to such property, (ii) does not reside in the property, and (iii) is not in the business of acquiring, selling, holding for investment, or otherwise managing or renting, such property.)
The "auction" field is also mandatory, but honestly, I cannot see where it is to be auctioned. Again, this is a new system for me, and we (ex-Suncoast MLS agents, now MFRMLS) have a new public records access program (IMAPP) and I haven't been in town to take the classes on this new program. What I'm saying is that the way we look at public records is obviously different from how the public looks at it through the county website. Since I do business in Pinellas County, I'm not familiar with Sarasota County's public records. This is the first time I've heard of a discrepancy between what the public records say and what IMAPP tells us.
Anyway, these are the only two fields that can eliminate distressed homes from your list, and they wouldn't have worked for this home. You should not have gotten ANY short sales in your big list, but you can see how foreclosures can slip into an auto-generated list.

Then, you returned to the agent with the homes that you were most interested in seeing when you were in town. IMHO, this is where the agent actually "works" to screen each of the listings. This involves scouring the entire MLS listing, mapping the location, looking at the pictures, checking public records (using IMAPP), etc. As you mentioned, the owner's name doesn't necessarily mean anything (many homes are owned in trusts), but it does raise a flag of something to look deeper into. That the home is not homesteaded is a flag (home not the primary residence of the owner). Specifying use of the "as-is contract" is a flag. Just things to look at a bit closer.

So I think where your buyer's agent screwed up was not catching the foreclosure proceedings at this step, before the home was shown. And when you pointed this out to the agent, he/she should have been embarrassed for not catching it before you did. Sure, mistakes happen and can see how this could slip through the cracks if you had a pretty long list of houses to view. But it is in no way the fault of the listing agent (or tenant).

If you were seriously thinking about making an offer, the agent would have a second chance to catch it when going back into the system to do a quick CMA to help you make a good offer, and should have caught the square footage discrepancy as well. I did not see that you thought this was a tear-down until your last posting, which does change the strategy.

Keeping in mind that non-permitted work is not insurable, which is not usually a problem when it is below the main living areas (raised homes), and may not be an issue with a cash purchase, depending on the mindset of the buyer. (And as somebody mentioned, July - actually all of hurricane season - can be a difficult time to buy in Florida because you can't get insurance if there happens to be a named storm at the time of closing.) This is a non-issue if you're planning to tear down.

Bottom line: your buyer's agent works for you and should have caught this. After you pointed it out, the agent should have gone back to verify that what you were saying was true and apologized to you. Taking it out on the listing agent (and then the tenant) was inappropriate - it really has nothing to do with the listing agent unless there was an MLS violation and I don't see that. I can't imagine what your agent would have to gain by being deceptive, so I feel that it was more along the lines of ignorance. You were right to move on to a more knowledgeable agent.


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