Thursday, February 1, 2007

Desperate sellers or desperate agents?

In the past 3 months I have run into 2 situations where it appears the sellers best interest are not in the best interest of their agent. In both instances I represented the buyer and placed offers on properties when there was existing offers with acceptances, but NO signed contracts. In the first instance my buyers placed an offer $3K over list price, knowing they had to make a strong offer. In the other my buyers placed an offer $10k under list price. Both offers had mortgage contingencies, though the later being half cash, and both had structural inspection contingencies...not out of this world contingencies!

According to the rules we play by, the listing agent has the duty to present all offers that are received before the contract is fully executed. Regardless if the current offer is accepted, or if they are "in house" (listing agency procures the buyer) the listing agent must present any offer received. They work for the seller. They have a duty to get as much money for their seller as possible, without personal bias, until the time the contract is fully signed by both parties.

Both times we were told the seller had accepted the other offer, within 4 hours! Fine. Move on.

When the two properties came up as sold on our MLS hot sheet, I stared in shock at what I saw. The first sold by cash, "in house" at $13K under list price, or in other words, $16K below our offer. I cannot see the contingencies on our hot sheet, all I see is how it sold, by whom, and the closed price. The other sold for $75K under list price ($65K under our offer) cash, "in house".

A few questions:
How is this representing the seller? It's not, plain and simple! There is no way a seller would leave $65K on the table without at least considering the offer.

Did those agents even present our offer? Hard to tell, I would like to think they did, however I know of no seller that would at least not ask for a best and final offer from both parties being that the original offers appeared to be so low.

Do these small, local real estate companies not want to co-broke, and instead keep their deals in house? Bingo! They feel threatened by our big, national company, and tell their sellers "in order for us to stay alive you need to only accept offers from our agents." The easiest way to say this without saying this, is to not present our offers. The seller has no clue an offer came in, and the small real estate office can line their pockets with what should be our commissions.

Desperate sellers, or desperate agents?

-Josh Pratt

5 comments:

darleen said...

Dear Josh,

We are a regional real estate office, not a C21 chain, and have also witnessed this behavior (in-house selling) in the past with some of our southern agencies. You are allowed by DOS to ask to be present (either a conference call, or be at their office) when an offer is made. This usually stirs the listing agent into a defensive position; but they have to oblige. If you have repeats from the same agency; perhaps it is time to utilize this tool.

Again, remembering the human nature of people, you'll have a uphill battle to climb for your client, but they are worth it. Yes, the selling agent must present all and ANY offers unless the selling agent has in writing from his/her client to refuse any offers under such and such. (Only one client of ours ever did this, most want to see offers ... period). And yes, the buyer agent must do all he/she can to get the deal negotiated even if it means traveling to the selling's office to oversee the presentation, or a conference call.

We are now battling some agencies in the southern/central Adirondacks that don't even co-broke and ignore our requests for info on their properties. Ostrishes, I guess.

Best wishes, and hope to do more business with you folks in the future.

Darleen R. March, Broker
Adirondack Country Homes Realty

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