Unethical real estate agents.
Are your best interests in 100% perfect alignment with your clients? Are you sure? If the answer to either of those is no, or if there is a hesitation at all, it is time to become a protector for your client.
The real estate industry has a very bad reputation. We have shown you a a few reasons why recently with our blog post on annoying telemarketing real estate agents and agents rolling around in money as part of “training.”
Here is a story from this summer, that highlights another problem with our profession.
Meet Nick and Anna, yes the names were changed to protect the innocent. Nick and Anna recently had their first child and they were looking for their first house. After a couple weeks of searching, a house comes on line that is in the Chandler neighborhood they want, at the price they want, with the layout they want. The only thing left was to show it to them, and write up an offer.
Anna was so excited when she saw it in her email inbox that summer afternoon she texted me and said we need to see this tomorrow. I happened to be in that neighborhood that night so I stopped in and took a look at it for them. I knew at once it was exactly what they were looking for. I dialed up Anna on Facetime and showed it to her and she said “I want that house.” We set up a time to see it early the next morning.
I called the co-listing agent to feel him out. He said they had some heavy activity on the house that day, but no offers yet. I told him my client was interested, that we would take a look at it at 8am the following morning and he would almost certainly have an offer before noon.
That is when things quickly changed.
The next morning we arrive at the vacant house at 8am, and the key was gone out of the lockbox. I called the listing agent and co-listing agent. I texted them, I emailed them, I texted them again. Then I started getting suspicious. My first reaction was someone saw it, like it and wanted to write an offer so they took the key.
We walked around looking in the windows and Anna said this is it, this is the one. So off of the video walk through and looking in the windows she was ready to write an offer.
I started getting suspicious of the agents not at least texting me back. I decided to call from a different line and the co-listing agent answered the phone. He said he was unsure about the key and they were expecting an offer that morning, but had not received it yet. My client decided she not only wanted the house, she was willing to offer over asking price on a conventional loan. While I expected it to appraise, she said she would pay the difference if it came in just short.
I called the agent, let him know that an offer was coming, and that it was over asking price. He was silent for a moment, then said that they had another offer that just came in and that he thought the owner was “comfortable with it” and would “probably just accept it.”
I told him, it if is not over asking price just hold on to compare our offer, he would have it in 2 hours after Nick signed it. He said that we didn’t need to bother because he felt that the owner was just going to sign the offer they had.
Something did not feel right. I had a suspicion that something was going on. The key missing and now him saying to not even send an over list price offer?
Of course my initial reaction was that he had the buyer. He is doing single-agent dual-agency. Of course I had no proof of this, but it was my suspicion.
We ended up sending the offer later that day, and when I called the agent he said they had just accepted the other offer, but thanks. I was furious. My client was more furious. My client wanted to call the Department of Real Estate and complain about what happened. And I encouraged her to look into it if we found out it was indeed dual-agency.
Two days later we were in the neighborhood to take a look at another house. Anna wanted to drive by just to show it to Nick. As we pulled up we noticed the front door was open and there were people inside. We got out and I asked them if they were the agent. They said no, our agent “Bob” gave us the key to take another look and get some measurements. That they had just got an offer accepted.
Yes, “Bob” was indeed the listing agent. So now we knew the agent was in a dual agency situation.
Dual-agency is where the agent represents both parties. And yes, get’s paid on both sides.
My client was even more furious. Of course there were still things we didn’t know. Was the offer higher than list price? Were they a cash buyer? Was the agent waiving his commission one side? It was a rotten smell for sure, but we had no proof the rotten smell was another unethical agent.
You will be happy to know Anna and Nick found another house a few weeks later that also matched their needs and are happy now. They got over it because they liked the new house, but that doesn’t change the fact that they got a bad taste in their mouth of unethical agents.
I put a saved search on the listing, so when it did close I did get a notification. And guess what, the buyer was not cash, the offer was 8,000 less than our offer, and the agent did represent both sides of the deal. Well, not sure how well he “represented,” but on paper at least they were listed as the buyer and seller agent.
There will always be some unethical real estate agents. So how do we know we are doing the best for our clients? We need to always make sure a win for me and are win for my client are in complete alignment. In the case above, a win for the agent was not necessarily a win for their seller client. My clients just let it go, so we will never know. But when something smells strongly like a rotten fish, it is not usually because there are a bunch of roses under your nose.
Here are some houses in Arden Park you can see: