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paper_spider

dilema with broker - switch after seeing house?

paper_spider
16 years ago

Hi,

We have recently had a very negative experience with a buyers agent. She constantly tried to get us to buy a house in her favorite section of town. An urban section we would NEVER dream of calling home, its crowded, the houses are tiny and run down, the streets are full of traffic, lacking trees, and it generally looks like no one cares about thier homes. Although we firmly and repeatedly told her we HATED the area and would NEVER consider it, she persisted.

We then made an offer ($345,000, high end) on a home in a different area and came to an agreement with the sellers, but she stalled us for several days when returning the paperwork. She constantly asked us, "are you sure?" and continued to try and get us to buy in the other section of town (at the same price). As a result we lost the only home we've liked in ANY area of the city and had watched for over six months waiting for the right time. Another buyer made an offer that fourth day and was accepted at only $1,000 higher.

We do not have a written agreement with her. Two houses in the same neighborhood are also for sale. We have seen both, but only one of them she showed us. If we chose to make an offer on the one she showed us, but without her, will she be able to stake a claim on the transaction? If this is the case, I am willing to let the house go.

We intend to either use a new broker or none at all in any future dealings.

Thanks.

Comments (27)

  • theroselvr
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I would start by writing a letter to her brokerage letting them know you are upset and won't be back to use them, then find another agent. Hopefully one of the agents that come here can answer your question

    The way I found the one I'm using was by searching the NJ MLS. The search results came back to this one agents site. I ended up joining, got a welcome, then she emailed me a week or so later asking if she could be of any help. I let her know I wasn't ready yet, she would email every 10 to 14 days which was perfect. She never pushed herself on me but when I was ready, she was great with promptly returning my emails. Hopefully you'll also be able to find someone you click with

  • esga
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I believe that she does have a right to a commission on the home she showed you, but check your local laws. I agree that it is extremely important that you tell her broker how she dealt with you - it might prevent someone else from getting the same treatment. The broker should really be concerned that one of their agents probably caused the loss of the home you really wanted, delayed paperwork, and pushed you into an area you told her you didn't want. I wonder if she has some kind of financial interest in that area herself. She may own some investment property, in which case it's in her interest to get people to buy and fix up. But it's unethical, though probably not illegal, for her to push clients so heavily toward that area, IMO.

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  • GammyT
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Are you sure she isn't steering you to homes you can afford to meet the mortgage payment on each month? I assume you told her what your down payment is and your income and credit rating.

    It doesn't make sense that an agent who cares would steer you to a lower priced home because then she gets paid less. Bad agents take you to places you can't afford.

  • talley_sue_nyc
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think she might have a claim, since she showed you that house.

    If you really wanted to, you could (after you have a contract on the other one), I'd write a letter to her and the broker, and say, "We're very unhappy. We believe that this agent's delaying on the paperwork cost us a sale. We believe she spent so much time pushing us into a different neighborhood that she didn't work in OUR interests. Therefore, we have deliberately chosen not to buy that house because we do not want her to get a commission. Instead, today we signed a contract on the other house. That's how clearly her behavior cost your agency the commission."

    But probably that would be too much work for me. I'd buy the other house, and bad mouth her every chance I got. Politely and non-vitrolically, of course.

    (gammyt, did you miss that the agent wanted them to buy a house at the SAME PRICE in the other neighborhood?)

  • jperiod
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I know when selling a house, if you switch agents, any old buyer that shows up with an offer, the commission goes to the NEW agent in my city. So one might assume it could be the same on the buying end -- especially since you haven't signed anything.

    At the very least, I think you should get a new agent if you're gonna be making any offer on a house listed on the MLS. Don't automatically use the seller's agent (we made that mistake with our first home). You need someone representing your interests, so start some interviewing!

    Just my two cents. Perhaps ask a prospective agent when you call for an interview.

  • rrah
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My first question: is she a REALTOR and is the new agent a REALTOR? Realtors must follow a code of ethics and standards. One of those standards deals with something called "procurring cause." She may have "procurring cause" on the one she showed you and thus have the right to be paid for first introducing you to the property. There are a couple of other factors that come into play also. It's a sticky situation.

    Has she continued to remain in contact with you since you saw the house? These are not the only issues that are looked at, but they are 2 biggies. If you answer yes to these 2 questions, I would recommend contacting the managing broker of her company. Explain the situation to him. Tell him about the paperwork stuff. Tell him you would like to make an offer on this house, but absolutely do not want to use this woman to do so.

    If she has not remained in touch with you, it MIGHT be easier, but please be upfront with any other agent you choose regarding the situation. You do not want to get your new agent in trouble for it. Just last week a potential client called me regarding a house my office has listed. In speaking with her, I discovered she had seen the house twice with someone else. She was unhappy with this agent because he couldn't meet at the exact time she wanted to meet. (yes, agents do have more than one client). I had to tell her to call the agent back, tell him she was ready to make an offer on that house at a certain time. If he could not meet with her, than tell him she was prepared to work with another agent. Part of me was irritated because she didn't want to work with this agent any longer, but I also knew I had to do the right thing. Karma---

  • berniek
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    7 Key Questions To Determine Procuring Cause

    The majority of commission disputes hinge on disagreements over whether individuals contributed significantly to making a sale. In determining if a cooperating salesperson or broker is entitled to a commission, consider the following:

    1. When and how was the original introduction [of the buyer to the property] made?

    2. Did the original introduction start an uninterrupted series of events leading to the sale?

    3. Did the broker/salesperson who made the original introduction maintain contact with the buyers?

    4. Did the broker/salesperson engage in conduct that prompted the buyer to look elsewhere for assistance?

    5. If more than one cooperating broker was involved, was the second broker/salesperson aware of the prior introduction of the buyer to the property?

    6. Was the introduction of a second broker an intrusion into the transaction or the result of estrangement or abandonment by the original broker?

    7. Did the cooperating broker initiate a separate series of events, not dependent on the original brokers/salespersonÂs efforts, that led to the successful transaction?

  • jojoco
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    A bunch of posters have used the term "steering". Be very wary of tossing that term around loosely. Steering is an illegal practice of pushing people towards a certain neighborhood. It usually always has racial undertones. I know the op didn't use it, I just want her to be wary (unless the agent's behavior does seem to be racially motivated in which case the op needs to be aware of it.) I am a new realtor and if I am wrong in my information, someone please let me know.

    Jo

  • Linda
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think it really depends on what state you are in. In NY, if you haven't signed anything it doesnt matter who showed you the house, you are free to put the offer in with whomever you want. Showing the house is not enough. There must be a "meeting of the minds" to procure a sale. For the agents who have posted that there might be procurring cause, I have a question for you. What happens in your area when someone looks at an open house with the listing agent and then wants their buyers agent to present the offer? The LA is the one that showed them the house. This is a situation where the BA may never even step foot in the house? Just curious.

  • rrah
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    linda117---Regarding open houses with the listing agent. In my board it's very common for agents to send out emails with announcements indicating that relationships will be respected. I've not heard of an instance when this was not the case, but I'm sure it's happened.

    This exact thing happened to me twice this year. As the LA, I did an open house. I asked the question I've been taught to ask from day one: are you working with a realtor? Answer was yes. Me: Great! Who's your agent so that I may let them know you were here. I emailed the agent about their clients interest and followed up. Buyer's agent brought an offer after viewing the home a second time with clients. The reverse also happened. I sent my client a list of open houses in their price range. (FYI--We had already seen a number of houses. These were new listings we had not yet had the time to see.) They really liked one of them. Listing agent followed up with me as well. A few days later we wrote the offer.

    That's not to say that I wouldn't work with someone that had a previous relationship with another agent. There may be some geniune dissatisfaction with that agent, but I feel obligated to make sure I'm not the only reason for the dissatisfaction.

    I agree that it does take more than just showing someone a house which is why I asked if the agent had kept in touch with the OP. For me personally, I would rather lose a couple of thousand dollars than deal with a grievance hearing though. I tend to follow the "golden rule." In 4.5 years I think I've earned a reputation among my collegues as an agent that is honest and professional. It maybe naive, and I may never be rich because of my work as a REALTOR, but I can sleep at night.

  • paper_spider
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    rrah: Yes, I think she's a Realtor, she has the logo on her website and card and all the forms had the logo on them.

    No, she hasn't contacted me since telling me we lost the house. She didn't even apologize which hurt my feelings and there's no way she didn't know I was super hurt. She never really had much contact with me, which is another one of my issues with her. I found all of my own listings by doing a search every day in multiple places and by driving around my favorite neighborhoods. She would send things days and even weeks after I'd seen them saying, "this came up today," which was a complete lie in my eyes.

    In fact, this house is one that we found by driving around in the neighborhood, picking up the sheet while talking with the owner, in February. We figured we needed an agent to be able to see it, so we asked her to show us the inside. She never mentioned it afterwards. Not even when she said, trying to sound concerned with the "zen of real estate" line, "it wasn't meant to be, there'll be other ones."

    The house is well within our range for the person that mentioned she may be showing us ones we can afford. Many of the ones she did email me were actually higher. I don't believe her trying to get us to buy in a different area is racially motivated. We, the agents, and the areas are all of the same background. However, although I don't notice it, my spouse says she seems snotty about it, like we don't "belong" in that area. I suppose it could be an age thing though. We are young, thiry-somethings with no children and a high income.

    The area she likes is in walking distance to all the shops and the so called "happening" area of town. (However, there are towns close by that are much more chic with truly an art scene and open minded people - which after this giant disappointment, we are also considering moving to.) She lives in that area and loves it because its "hip" and "up and coming." To me the he houses are tiny, turn of the century shacks with little to no actual garden/lawn and many have things strewn about on their porches and in their yards. Most are extremly close to the interstate that comes through the area and the area is only 40% owner occupied, the rest are renters. Not really what I'm looking for if I am going to spend that kind of money.

    The area we like is an older neighborhood, with tall trees, mature gardens, large yards, and the homes are mid-century and established. It is a sought after place to be and the home prices continue to rise. The people in the area tend to keep their homes for a really long time. We planned to move in and stay for at least 10 years.

    I read the law sheet I was given by her, but it didnt list anything about a procurement clause. I have to say when I read it again today, I felt she did not uphold the standards for a buyer's agent. She did not act in a timely manner and acted in a manner not in our best interest, in fact she acted contrary to our best interest in my opinion. Prior to the loss of this house, there was an incident where we attended an open house of a different house we were interested in where the LA already knew tons of our personal information. We were shocked and angry about this, but she claimed she never said those things and was angry the agent had told us. It struck me as suspicious, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt although I was still mad. And in every house we looked at and discussed, she would not voice an opinion or act as a sounding board on value. I was under the impression this was what buyers agent's were for. I did my own research on comparables, tax values, neighborhood rent/own ratios, crime rates, and schools. Anyone without an opinion on something makes me mad when it is my feeling she is supposed to be the one to know the market and could better estimate value. Anyway, these are my main reasons I REFUSE to work with her ever again.

    I've spoken to two agents since with different agencies and told them both of my experience. I'm currently suspicious of any and all agents. If I do make an offer, I will work up my own estimate of its worth and will negotiate through the LA and have things looked over for my best interest by a lawyer. I just don't want her to be able in any way shape or form to be able to get any penny. If that means passing up on that home and moving to a different town or city or even waiting years for the next home to go on the market in that area, then I'm willing to wait.

    How do I find out the state laws regarding being shown and having a claim to the commission? Are they state level laws?

  • quip
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "As a result we lost the only home we've liked in ANY area of the city "

    I'm sorry you didn't get the house you wanted. Based on your statement, I wonder if you really like the other home you are considering. I know you have been looking for some time now and you must be frustrated after losing out on a house. But think long and hard before settling for a home you don't really like. Or perhaps the other house has grown on you.

  • Linda
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Paper, from everything you said, she doesnt sound like she was representing your best interests at all. If you didnt sign anything, Im willing to bet she wouldnt be able to get any part of a commission. You said you have spoken to two other agents, did you ask them the question?

    What doesnt make sense to me is, you wanted the house, you made the offer, the deal was negotiated, why would she hold back on the paperwork? Most people on here seem to think that agents just want to get the sale and don't care about anything else. She had that. Did she give an explanation of what happened? I know you said she stalled, but Im curious to know her excuse?

  • marys1000
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I typically avoid from face to face confrontation and negativity, don't know about you - but I think there are two avenues you could take - discuss it with the LA of the house you want to put an offer in on - she should be aware of the laws in your area and be able to determine whether or not you have to stick with the other realtor. Or just to call your previos realtor and tell her - We are really unhappy about losing the prior house and aren't using you anymore. We are thinking about putting an offer in on the one house you showed us. Because of our experiences with you we would prefer to run the sale through the other realtor. Are you going to make a stink? If she says yes - tell her you are going to talk to her broker and explain the situation and then do so. See if they have some way to make it right.
    If the LA of the house you want to put an offer in on is the same broker/company - that could work in your favor.

  • berniek
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "What happens in your area when someone looks at an open house with the listing agent and then wants their buyers agent to present the offer? The LA is the one that showed them the house. This is a situation where the BA may never even step foot in the house? Just curious."

    Looking at open houses does not mean there is procuring cause.
    The listing agents obligation is to ask if a looker is working with another agent (see the REALTOR COE), the looker has a right to be represented by a BA and the LA has to disclose who they are working for to the looker (If the looker has no BA).

  • housenewbie
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "I've spoken to two agents since with different agencies and told them both of my experience. I'm currently suspicious of any and all agents. If I do make an offer, I will work up my own estimate of its worth and will negotiate through the LA and have things looked over for my best interest by a lawyer. I just don't want her to be able in any way shape or form to be able to get any penny."

    Why not start talking to that lawyer now, and get his.her opinion on the commission thing? Personally, I'd expect her to have a really hard time trying to say that you're buying that house because of her in any way.

  • berniek
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "If I do make an offer, I will work up my own estimate of its worth and will negotiate through the LA and have things looked over for my best interest by a lawyer."
    Most likely the LA will get all of the commission, unless your attorney is also a Realtor.

  • marys1000
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    If the state has dual-agent laws you will have to sign off on that right? You might still want to get a different realtor just incase negotiations get sticky. Or find a real estate lawyer that is also a licensed broker, then they would get the commission right?

  • sweeby
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    There are two different options that come to my mind --

    - One would be to call the Broker in the lousy Realtor's office, explain why you were unhappy with the lousy Realtor, and asking her to recommend someone in her office who would be a better match for you. Interview the proposed new agent, and if you like her, make an offer on the new place with her. That way, the Broker will run interference for you on any potential comission conflict scenarios.

    - The other would be writing a letter to your lousy ex-Realtor and CC'ing her broker. The letter would outline the reasons for your dissatisfaction and officially terminate the business relationship.

  • theroselvr
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I've spoken to two agents since with different agencies and told them both of my experience. I'm currently suspicious of any and all agents.

    Do you think that the agents you spoke to may be friendly with her?

    Is it possible for you to find an agent farther away?

  • marys1000
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Don't you hate when the OP doesn't give feedback on
    whether all the advice worked or not?

  • Linda
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Looking at open houses does not mean there is procuring cause.
    The listing agents obligation is to ask if a looker is working with another agent (see the REALTOR COE), the looker has a right to be represented by a BA and the LA has to disclose who they are working for to the looker (If the looker has no BA).

    Then my guess would be that the OP is free to put an offer in with whomever she wants. She is no longer working with the agent and has stated that nothing was signed. That is NOT a BA.

  • dianemargaret
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "Don't you hate when the OP doesn't give feedback on
    whether all the advice worked or not?"

    Yes

  • berniek
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "Then my guess would be that the OP is free to put an offer in with whomever she wants. She is no longer working with the agent and has stated that nothing was signed. That is NOT a BA."
    I'd say yes, as long as some of the procuring cause issues can be resolved. Of the 7 I mentioned above, #4 looks like it could apply.
    Right OP? Where ever you are.

  • paper_spider
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We chose not to offer on the house she showed us. Partly because we dont want have to deal with any more non-sense and partly because it would be settling on a house we didnt really feel head over heels about. Although, I do agree with those who said she wouldnt have any claim on the transaction. She's abandoned us and was never working in our best interest anyway. On a different note, youre right, I did say I didnt sign anything, but the law sheet I was given said the BA relationship existed with or without a contract. Is the absence of a contract why she might have not been the best to work with?

    On another note, we put in an offer yesterday on a home in a city 10 miles away for a price slightly above the one we lost. But they received three offers and ours was not chosen, but thats okay, the home had only been on the market two days and was seriously underpriced. And we did so through an agent, same company as the old one, but in a different office. There are several in the city and all have hundreds of brokers. I doubt if they know each other, but I have not told the new agent the name of the old one, simply that we were extremely unhappy with her. And the new agent is super professional, its like night and day!

    The bad agent never gave an excuse as to why she stalled. She asked me several times if I was sure I wanted to accept the final counter and I said yes, definitely! each time. I remember her saying something like well, I just wanted to make sure, and thinking it was odd that she would call a couple times a day and email asking the same kind of thing to which I always expressed my enthusiam for the house. She never said she had given our addendum sheet to them and I thought nothing about it, because we had come to an agreement with the seller and signed the paper. Then she called and said she had bad news and there had been another offer accepted. I was so shocked and upset that I didnt confront her. She had not even given them the sheet (for them to make the final acceptance) until after the other offer (a diffence of three days or so). My only guess is that she was too busy with whatever she does in life to even bother with her "clients." I never called to confront her, because I didnt think it would help. It wouldnt get us the house. I wouldnt call up her office either, for the same reason. I'll just take my business elsewhere.

    Thanks for everyone's responses!

  • marys1000
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Hm. It seems highly unlikely but you almost get the idea that a friend or relative really wanted that house and she didn't want your bid to compete with theirs.

  • marvelousmarvin
    16 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "Don't you hate when the OP doesn't give feedback on
    whether all the advice worked or not?"

    And, don't you hate it when the OP askes for advice, but then argues with the advice when it's given?