Should I go around the Realtor on a preservation job?

4 Replies

I am having one of those rough weeks. I am not sure if I should go around the Realtor that contracted us to do a trash out at a property held by a wholesale group that I somewhat know. She initially contacted us to give bids on a batch of local properties, and that we would get the work. 19 properties all together. I agreed and said we would waive the trip charge, get her pictures and submit bids for any preservation work needed on them. After we had submitted several, she informed me that she didn't need pictures of the work needed, she needed full room pictures only. I started being concerned we were just getting her pictures to list with. 

She had sent someone else to do all the lock changes but 1. We did that one, to her agreed price. That's been almost 7 weeks ago. Then we were requested to do a trash out and that we would be paid in 3 weeks. Did both in less than 48 hours, and we are over 4 weeks from the trash out completion and no money for either yet. On 6/24 she stated she had forgot to send our invoice and pictures in on the trash out.  I requested urgency with expediting the funds for the work. Today when I called she apologized again, and said she hadn't talked to the gal about it. Also said that the customer was getting someone else to give bids. Aggravated at that because anyone can go in and low ball someone else's bids. Also if I was on their end I would wonder about why it took so long to submit completion of work preformed.  

My partner requested I get in touch with the end customer and talk to them about doing the work straight to them. The Realtor said she wasn't utilizing any discount so her involvement was strictly just getting the work done. I didn't feel us contacting the end customer was very professional, but I am concerned that they don't feel things have been handled very professionally any how. 

I am starting to believe she is either really busy, lying, or just an airhead.

I hate to loose out on all this work, what do any of you suggest I should do?

Sounds like a dangerous precedent to set if they can pay you whenever they feel like and you have 18 more to go. . . Do you have a written agreement on any of the work? Did they accept your bid? Is the contract with her or with the owner? It doesn't make sense to me that the realtor would be involved in any of this quite frankly because she doesn't own the property - that said I have no experience with trashouts or wholesalers so someone else may want to chime in here.

Also, wholesalers aren't going to want to put money into the project if they don't have to so she may be stalling on their behalf while they locate a buyer. That said, if she knows "they" are soliciting other bids then 1. She did talk to them. 2. She knows more than she is saying because she would logically be the one taking the bids since she did from you.

Would you lose more by doing all the work and not getting paid for a year or would you lose more by not doing the work? Worst case you could take them to court but if it is enough that smalls claims can't handle it then you are going to lose some money some money no matter which way you slice it.

Those are some good questions. We have been stuck before by Nationals. Her customer does own the properties. She is acting as a property manager for them and listing agent. I don't feel she has the background for a property manager. She does act scatter brained constantly. It just sounds like it is her, in the middle that has caused the problem. She just passed a National to us a few minutes ago, to let us handle their local properties, but doesn't make up for the delays on the money owed. I agree it is better to let the ones that don't pay go. That was something my partner tried to get me to do a few years ago with one. They ended up sticking us for almost $10,000.  They paid invoices here and there, stating the others were still in QC, so I kept trying to work with them.

In sitting back and thinking on this I believe I have figured out a way to approach the situation in a moral and proper manner. 

We found out somethings on her handling of maintenance with the properties during our emergency visit with the property of the new account yesterday. We had spoke with the controller, and was given a go, to go pump water out of a basement. Upon arrival we ran into a gentleman that stated he was given a verbal from her to go pump the day before and was in the process of doing the work. The same day she gave the property holder our contact info. We were upset because we put off an $800.00 work order to take care of this emergency situation that was somewhat under control. Also learned the guy didn't know much about preservation. The property has never been lived in and has not properly been serviced or maintained. The sump pumps have not been correctly installed and there would have been constant emergency pumping needed. Power lines to the one sump pump were laying over the float not allowing it to kick in. The battery back up system has been damaged by water and not replaced. (dual pump pits) Found something that we are going to have to ask a local developer or builder about. There is a constant flow of water into the pits. As though there is a geothermal system from a possible artisan well. The water is crystal clear and a steady flow rate unlike a french drain system would be. This is not something we are familiar with and all new to us. I also understand there are certain codes that govern systems like this. The house had been completely stripped of all drywall, flooring, and cabinets, yet there were no signs of mold treatment or sealing. No mold or treatment present on any studs. Plastic is barely covering ground level open basement window areas. 

What I am going to do is email her, nicely requesting that she send an email to the other account and have them work directly with us for the maintenance/preservation work. Like she did on the new account. Letting her know we will pay a discount fee back to her office.  I think I will put some time into the letter so I am not degrading and just letting her know we are here to alleviate the headaches for her. I am not sure if she is just that busy or has no systems into place so she can handle these types of situations at the properties. At this moment seeing this property something is definitely not right.

I think your posts illustrate your dedication to the industry and your trade. I wish everyone in our line of work was as committed to excellence.

I am concerned about your willingness to keep doing work for a client who has demonstrated a willful disregard of your business' need to be paid on time. As a rule, I don't continue working with clients who fail to pay in a timely manner according to our written contracts.

I believe firing bad clients is as important as firing bad employees when it comes to running a healthy business.

My half-a-penny worth.