Realtor changed my offer without asking/(thinking?)

39 Replies

Sorry, this is more venting than anything else but I'm curious if anyone else has had similar experiences...

Our first realtor wasn't that great, particularly on communication and actually submitting offers (although we are trying to close a 4 unit deal with him right now).

Now, the second realtor we're actually trying to purchase a personal residence with potential profit when we sell in 2+ years. She's been great so far. Prompt communication and is okay with submitting our "low" offers. Until today...

We are trying to get a property listed on homepath. It is listed at 150k. We initially offered 120k. Bank came back at 141k, we countered at 125k. Bank came back at 137k, we countered at 126k. Bank came back at 136k. (I actually thought that was funny).

Yesterday, we advised our realtor that we would like to counter at 129k (our max is 130k). She then tells us after she submitted our offer that she "asked them to contribute $7,000 to repairs costs of "as is" conditions". So, after all this negotiation with the bank, she basically reduced our offer back down to $122k! and without consulting us first! I don't even know what to say...

P.S. I am currently working on getting my own real estate license so I don't have to worry about this anymore. lol

I would ask her WHY she decided to make up conditions without consulting you first, and that you don't appreciate that.

@Dawn Anastasi I intend to do that but so far I have not though of a "nice" way to ask. When my husband first told me what she said we were both dumbfounded. We just couldn't think of a way to respond. It was just so wrong... 

I'm trying to imagine what the listing agent and the bank asset manager will think. I actually want to get this deal and I'm afraid that this might affect our chances. They were atleast negotiating with us, but with this silly thing our realtor pulled, they might just reject the offer outright.

I don't know if others will agree with this, but I would call the bank directly at this point. Tell them the realtor was operating without your authorization and then call the realtors broker and tell them what happened. Realtors are not allowed to change your offer. Period. They can advise you and choose to drop you as a client if you fail to take their advice. But they cannot make a contractual offer on your behalf without your consent. I would guess the realtor can potentially lose their license over this. Or worse. Depending on how the laws are written in your state, this could be considered fraud, misrepresentation etc. This is not a small matter. Just my opinion. 

I would just come right out with it...You meaning your realtor only acts with your authority and anything else is breaching contract...I'm not good at sugar coating it...But I say what I am trying to say directly and move on.  The bank isn't going to deal with you...You can call her broker and work with them, but in all honestly I think your realtor was trying to be helpful but just went about it the wrong way...Good luck with this!

@Bill Hamilton I do want to let the bank or at least the listing realtor/broker that the offer was not authorized by me. And I agree that this is not a small matter. However, I would feel bad if this resulted to the realtor losing her license.

@Kyle Penland I agree, she was probably trying to be helpful. I do like the person and I don't think she was being malicious at all. Of course the timing is horrible and she is out of town for the next few days. Perhaps we can call her tomorrow, call her broker and she can explain that it was an honest mistake. 

We'll call the listing agent too and explain, I guess.

Hi Arianne,  Helpful or not she did not submit YOUR offer.  I suggest you talk with her and ask if she misunderstood or why she submitted what she did.  I also suggest you speak with her broker.  I would want to know if an agent was not following a client's instruction.  Calling the bank or the listing agent wouldn't be particularly helpful as your agent is supposed to be their point of contact on your behalf.  Your goal is to have your offer accepted, so talk with your agent and her broker and figure out what needs to be done to get this back on the right path.  Best, Teresa

No, a Realtor cannot offer price/terms which you did not tell her to offer.  That is why it is best to negotiate in writing.  

That aside - If your first response is to call her broker, get her in trouble, and take her license away- Why not have a conversation with her first? Are you sure there is not a miscommunication here?  Based on the numbers you stated:

Bank is at 136k

You tell Realtor to offer 129k

She says she asked the bank to contribute 7k to repairs. 

Was the counter at 136k minus 7k towards repairs  (net offer of 129k, as you wanted)?  Or was it 129k with 7k credit (net of 122k).  Did you even ask her?  Is it just a coincidence that the difference was 7k?

It would be cool if the bank and the listing agent always expected to pay for some repairs and that's what caused them to be firm at about 10k above your last offer.

It will be awesome if you do get it for 7k less!

Good luck!

Again....hmmm. While I understand you not wanting to cost the RE agent her license, this is business.  Real estate exams are supposed to be comprehensive and difficult for a reason. And managing brokers exist for that same reason. It is not that I doubt she is a nice person and was acting from good motives. It's just that it doesn't really matter. If she doesn't understand her responsibilities under the law, then it is best that she move on to a less taxing career. In Colorado, real estate agents function (in real estate matters) as attorneys to a great extent under Colorado law. The ability to write legally binding contracts etc, etc.  What if instead of low balling on this offer, she had offered $30k in the other direction without your approval? While I imagine you would still have been able to back out of the offer, what if this was a no contingency offer (common currently in Colorado)? Or at best it costs you your earnest money? In Denver that earnest money could be huge. I am not saying be vengeful or to try and punish this person, but RE is for most people the largest investment they will ever make. If the person representing you doesn't understand, the legalities, the seriousness and their fiduciary responsibilities, they are best off doing something else in life. I will tell you that I personally know former RE agents that made errors that were done with the best of intentions but ended up with felony convictions for mishandling transactions. And one of these is someone I have known personally for a very long time. They don't have a dishonest bone in their body. They just did not understand or pay attention to the letter of the law. It cost them dearly in the long run. Point being, if someone doesn't get this they either need to be taught what they are doing is wrong or find another line of work. I am not trying to be harsh here. I just feel strongly on this point. I used to be on the mortgage side of things for many years and while most of did things the right way, I did see the aftermath of unknowledgeable or unscrupulous mortgage brokers. Things would have been less difficult had the poor ones been weeded from the pack earlier.

@Teresa F. Thank you for your input. I will definitely call her tomorrow to clarify any misunderstandings that may have happened and go from there. I appreciate the advise about contacting her broker vs the listing agent. That does seem to be the better way to go about it.

@Geoffrey Hoffman It is interesting that you point that out. However, based on the way she worded her response, we do believe that this is just a coincidence. We will definitely confirm this tomorrow when we speak to her though. Thanks for the input!

@James Rea That would be very interesting if we do get it for 7k less (than our proposed offer). Maybe if they get as confused as we did, the asset manager may just accept the offer while laughing. Wishful thinking. :)

From all the advise, we think our first point of action is to contact our realtor and make sure we understand what actually happened. Depending on the answer, we'll figure out if there's anything she can do to correct the situation. We like the person and don't want to get her in trouble, and will only escalate things after exhausting all other options. 

Hopefully everything turns out fine and we get our offer accepted.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. I will post an update when we resolve it.

@Arianne L.

@Geoffrey Hoffman

I am rooting with Geoffrey here. The numbers suggest that the realtor offered as much as advised, just in a different package. Not sure why this was necessary or if it was prudent. But before I raise the issue with the broker, I would confirm it with the realtor. Reducing an offer price with or without client consent doesn't seem to make any sense for either party involved.

@Bill Hamilton Thank you for your input and insight on the matter. We agree that this is a serious matter and will discuss things with the realtor tomorrow and hopefully clear up any misunderstandings, if there are any, and perhaps find out her reasoning behind them. In any case, she should have confirmed with us before changing our offer or the way it was offered. I agree that she should understand her responsibilities and limitations. Perhaps this situation will help her become a better real estate agent. Hopefully, we can get everything resolved tomorrow.

@Geoffrey Hoffman @Arianne L.   Geoffrey I am thinking between the lines that your correct.. unless this is a brand new agent I really don't see any agent changing terms after the fact.

you write a contract then have your clients sign it or docusign it.  then present.

You do not present offers or counters without your clients signature.. the bank will reject them..

So either Arianne signed this contract and does not understand what she signed and now wants to throw the agent under the bus.. 

Or if Arianne is saying this agent forged their signature.. something is not adding up here.

In my 40 years of selling RE I have dealt with all kinds of buyers.. and many get things totally fouled up.. which could easily be the case here.

So yes talk to the agent and see whats up.

If the agent in fact changed the contract and foreged your sig or docusing then that is something else.

this is why in many states we do not  ( and I don't) allow scribbling new terms on contracts then initialing them. we do a new counter or addendum with clear sigs.

@Jay Hinrichs  I would never throw anyone under the bus. I am also a healthcare professional, people live and die under my care. If my mistake caused somebody their lives or a decrease in function, I would own up to it. 

We did not sign anything after our initial 120k offer. 

From our conversation with the agent, she said that Homepath had a portal where she entered in our "bids". We signed an initial contract, but after that, she always just called us with the bank's counter offer and asked us what our next counteroffer was. There were no docusigns or wet signatures after the initial contract that we signed with our original 120k offer.

My husband is speaking to the agent right now. She said that she put in our 129k offer with "7k repairs" and the seller/bank rejected it. 

Here is a rough transcript. Everything I type in quotes is verbatim. There are some gaps when my husband was talking and I wasn't quick enough in transcribing.

agent: "they actually rejected the 129k offer, but they didn't say anything about the 7k in the rejection so they didn't actually reject the 7k. Now they said that they are asking for highest and best. the phase that we are in, is not when they say okay we'll work with you and we'll take your offer, that's not how it works."

agent: "i understand how you feel, it's okay, they dont' look at it, it's just an algorithm, it's just like... it's just.. they just look at the numbers, that's all"

husband: "the 7k is a new number and you lowered our offer"

agent: "no, no, that's not a new number."

husband" yes it is, we did not authorize that change in our offer"

agent: "we'll just take it out...If we look at it, that is not why they rejected it, I promise you, they have higher numbers coming. she already told me that they had higher numbers coming. it really doesn't affect it, it's not like they, they don't look at it that way. I wouldn't say concession cause it's not really. the seller understands that sometimes the house needs repairs. there is a law that lets the buyer agree to repair that stuff"

hubsand: "and we agreed to that and did not want concessions"

agent: "i misunderstood that and i apologize and i just thought they're coming in with so much money and I'll just ask the seller side to do that. and all people do is ask, that's all they do, they just ask. even though it seemed like we're getting closer, there are a looot of people out there putting in bids. she did tell me that they were getting to what they're asking for. now in the bidding process they need to open it up and give everybody a chance. at this point, they're not going to counter offer anymore, they're just taking offers, whichever one is the best"

husband: "So, I just want to make it clear,  

agent: "I understand that you see it that way, but it wasn't really changing it. I can understand why you think I was finangling with the numbers but it didn't really change your offer of 129k. I can promise you that that wasn't what made them reject it and they don't look at it that way"

Have to run to work. But I'll update later in the day.

I'm not quite sure how it's possible a real estate agent can submit an offer for a client that the client didn't request. That is extremely shady!!!!

My only advice would be to get this deal done and find another agent. 

If you haven't done this before make sure to read reviews on agents!!!

My agent is quite amazing, but I've had to deal with MANY incompetent agents on the other side of the table and it is unbelievable what some of them would do/say. On my primary residence the sellers agent refused to give our offer to her client because it was too low in her opinion.

@Jay Hinrichs

For Fannie Mae HomePath offers, only the initial offer is written. Counter offers are done electronically and you simply edit terms on a webpage. 

@Arianne L.

It's not often an agent would randomly lower someone's offer, obviously lessening the chance of getting the deal (and commission) - so that is certainly odd. I can't tell from the story if they were honestly trying to get you a better deal or simply goofed/made a typo. 

Fannie Mae does not use an algorithm. There are humans behind desks making decisions. It sounds like this agent caused a delay in your counter offers which led to a multiple offer situation. At this point you don't have recourse against Fannie Mae obviously so if you have a contract with your agenct I would consider terminating it after speaking with the listing agent. Contact the listing agent, tell them what happened and see if the listing agent will enter into a dual agency with you and guide you through the process a little better. 

HOWEVER, bottom line is when you resubmitted $129 there likely would have been another seller counter which would have led to multiple offer round anyways which leaves you in the exact same spot you're in.  

@Jay Hinrichs

HomePath (Fannie Mae) only requires the initial offer to be signed, all counters are done electronically through the website without rewriting paperwork each time (basically, verbal). Obviously, the final documents must be signed. Been that way since I've been a listing agent for them.

@Arianne L.

I know you're trying to be nice and I know you like this woman, but at this point I would probably have fired her. She's not following your directions and, to be honest, she sounds like she doesn't understand foreclosures in the least and most of what she told you looks like unvarnished BS. It's not her decision to make as far as repairs go. Also, you probably don't want Fannie Mae's contractors doing the work, which is what would happen.  She's also wrong about the algorithm thing, there's a sales rep that looks at offers and decides on the counters/acceptances. They aren't that far on the forefront of technology. 

She is, however, right about the multiple offer round. When two or more offers come into HomePath on a property, it automatically goes into a multiple offer round with a deadline for highest and best. It is all automated and verifiable, so, in spite of what I said above, I'd give her your best offer to take to Fannie Mae and ensure she doesn't add anything to it. After that, I'd drop her.

Originally posted by @Geoffrey Hoffman :

No, a Realtor cannot offer price/terms which you did not tell her to offer.  That is why it is best to negotiate in writing.  

That aside - If your first response is to call her broker, get her in trouble, and take her license away- Why not have a conversation with her first? Are you sure there is not a miscommunication here?  Based on the numbers you stated:

Bank is at 136k

You tell Realtor to offer 129k

She says she asked the bank to contribute 7k to repairs. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't understand this either.  What was the situation on the repairs.  Did the Bank counter with $136,000 and nothing toward repairs?

Did you offer $129,000 and the property AS IS??  If you did offer $129,000 with nothing toward repairs from the bank wouldn't that make the bank offer $136,000??? (less $7,000) what you want to pay??? 

So if the agent said you would take it for $136.000 as long as they paid $7,000 toward repairs  that's the same as your offer of $129,000???

Originally posted by @Barbara G. :
Originally posted by @Geoffrey Hoffman:

No, a Realtor cannot offer price/terms which you did not tell her to offer.  That is why it is best to negotiate in writing.  

That aside - If your first response is to call her broker, get her in trouble, and take her license away- Why not have a conversation with her first? Are you sure there is not a miscommunication here?  Based on the numbers you stated:

Bank is at 136k

You tell Realtor to offer 129k

She says she asked the bank to contribute 7k to repairs. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't understand this either.  What was the situation on the repairs.  Did the Bank counter with $136,000 and nothing toward repairs?

Did you offer $129,000 and the property AS IS??  If you did offer $129,000 with nothing toward repairs from the bank wouldn't that make the bank offer $136,000??? (less $7,000) what you want to pay??? 

So if the agent said you would take it for $136.000 as long as they paid $7,000 toward repairs  that's the same as your offer of $129,000???

 Yes, after looking at the end part there, it does look like the agent put in an offer of $136,000 with $7000 in repair costs. It doesn't change the fact that she didn't consult her clients prior to doing that, and, like I said, those repairs would be done by contractors of Fannie Mae's choosing, not her clients. The better tactic is to ask for some closing costs back, although you'd be hard pressed to reach $7000 that way, you could make the deal a little more attractive.

That said, she has no business changing an offer without asking the clients. It does not matter if it is effectively the same (even though it isn't, for reasons I've outlined above). It's in violation of license law in my state, and I imagine every other state in the union. It should never be done.

I always have my clients confirm offers in writing. A short text will do the trick..

@Geoffrey Hoffman @Barbara G. We confirmed it with her this morning. She did in fact put in a 129k offer and asked for the bank to contribute 7k towards repairs, not 136k. She did not seem to understand that that is almost the same as putting in a 122k offer. We never asked for any repairs/concessions as we understand that the bank only really cares about the net money to the bank. We wanted and only authorized a 129k as is offer.

@Mark Gallagher Unfortunately, dual agency is not legal in the state of Florida, so that is not an option for us. I wish it was.

@Eric Peterson  Yes, in the end my husband was on the phone with her while she was making our "highest and best" offer and he made sure that she at least confirmed verbally on the phone that she did not change anything and just submitted an AS IS offer. We will not be using her again after this.

@Luka Milicevic I'm glad that you found an amazing agent to work with. We actually experienced something similar with our first agent (not this one). The listing agent told our agent verbally not to submit our offer, and our agent strongly discouraged us against submitting our offer. We still wanted to, but did not since they "politely refused" us.

@Arianne L.

If your agent submitted $136,000 with $7,000 credits, a few points to make:

1) Your agent should have still consulted with you and discussed their reasoning.

2) There's a big difference between a credit for closing costs, or an allowance for repairs. A credit for closing costs would simply reduce the buyer side HUD by that amount to cover your closing costs, provided the closing costs exceed that amount. A credit for repairs would be Fannie Mae spending up to $7000 to repair the property and presumably accommodate financing on it.

3) This is more than 6% credit. So there is no way this is feasible if it is a closing cost credit rather than a repair allowance. Not if you're using FHA (6% max), or conventional (3%) or cash which Fannie Mae won't allow credits on a cash sale.

4) If the agent had asked for a closing cost credit that was allowable on your loan type, this would have in fact been a good way to go. Even a repair credit might have made sense if you needed to repair some items after purchase any ways. I've seen Fannie Mae take higher offers with seller assist, even if it reduces it down. In your case, your sales price would have been much higher but the net to you is the same. Why would Fannie Mae care? Because Fannie Mae backs so many mortgages they're concerned with values on your block, in your neighborhood - if your house sells for $136 with $7K back, the deed says $136K, Zillow says it sold for $136, etc. If it sells for $129K, everything says it sold for $129. Perception of values comes into play. 

Something here just does not add up for me. Not in a million years can I imagine a Realtor submitting an unauthorized offer on a property....and to top it off you said you have a similar problem with your previous real Realtor. So running into this issue with two separate Realtors, the chances of that just seem so astronomically high. I have to wonder then is there a communication issue on your end perhaps?

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