Ethical dilemma with agent

18 Replies

Working with an agent for almost 6 months who is 3 hours away in MA. 

He sent me a listing for multi unit which didn't look appealing so  I passed on it . It's too far away for me to see every house. 

Now, a month later , he tells me he went to see it and liked it so much that he and his brothers will make an offer after New Years .

If I had known it was that nice I would have made an offer . It makes money for sure!

Is it too late for me to make an offer?

Where is the ethical dilemma?

I never tell anyone when I am interested in a property. Till I have signed papers no one except the property owner knows I am interested. 

My question is "why is he telling you this"? I can think of 2 reasons. He just can not keep his mouth shut or he is baiting you.

I see no dilemma.  You passed, he said he likes it, and wants to buy it. That may or may not be true. You can always make an offer and if not under contract, he has a duty to present it. 

Ask your agent.

Never too late to make an offer. Agents can purchase property as well.

It’s not his job to force you to buy a property. You passed and he made the purchase. Nothing wrong with that. Most agents are also investors. Nothing wrong with that either.

I see what you mean @Marci Stein , while it may not present a legal or difinitive ethical issue, it just feels "Icky".

If you work with this agent regularly, and respect him, I would, at the very least, have a conversation with him to let him know that you are interested based on his recommendation of the place, and see what he says.  You may mention that if his offer doesn't work out with the Seller, you would like to put one forward.  You never know, he may only be putting forward an offer because he knows its a good deal and he just doesn't want to see it go by the wasteside.

It really comes down to...not necessarily what you CAN do, but more so what you SHOULD do.

You may find that if you try and compete with him on this, you find yourself off of his distribution list in the future.

@ Mark Holencik, I thought your agent is supposed to tell you if they try to make and offer on a property they showed you at one point, even if you passed on it?I think this is where the ethical dilemma is coming from, am I missing something?

“If I had known it was that nice I would have made an offer.It makes money for sure!”@Marci Stein, if I may ask, why the sudden interest in a property that you passed on?Why did you not pursue it then ?Is it possibly the idea that someone else has shown interest I it, so now it becomes that much more attractive?Sorry am not trying to be mean at all am just trying to understand what all changed.Usually when my agent presents properties to me, I try to go and take a look at them so as to determine if it is a win or not.I can however understand your position that distance was not preferred, so that makes me wonder how that has since changed? The distance is the same is it not?Or is there some slight regret at not having taken time to check it out then?

My agent and I will often discuss at length why a deal is good and/or may not be good, but he will also be transparent on his own views of the place since he himself is an investor and very good at flips.The properties that I have often turned down are often those that would involve lots of rehab which would be costly for me but he on the other hand is very good at rehabbing and often does most of his own work and primarily targets such properties, which is all fine by me.Anyway was just curious as to the change of heart and also just how much of a discussion you and he/had when he first presented the deal to you.If you passed on it then, perhaps he felt he cannot make you go to see it and if you had, perhaps you would have liked it, or maybe not, but in the end if he went and looked at it and likes it and will be making an offer, I think he is entitled to that, as are you if you do now decide that you want the property.Not sure how it works in real estate and I could be wrong, but would he need to represent your interests before his or if he chose to go after the property would he be required to withdraw as your agent, am following as am curious to know how this works out too.

The part about him telling you though was something I always thought is required of all agents if they are interested in a property that they showed you at one point. Anyway couldwrong on this.

I guess you only have one way to find out, let him know that you want to make an offer and see what he says.

Thank so much for your replies - really gave me food for thought. 

I think one mistake I made , which I won't do again , is have my agent send me listings he hasn't seen . 

Had totally different idea of house after he told me what he saw !

you can always make an offer.  I would go w/ a separate agent to make the offer though and keep your lips zipped.  

Originally posted by @Marci Stein :

Thank so much for your replies - really gave me food for thought. 

I think one mistake I made , which I won't do again , is have my agent send me listings he hasn't seen . 

Had totally different idea of house after he told me what he saw !

I am not sure that an agent is going to actually take a look at all of the listings before sending them to you. I can't imagine that.

As an agent myself as well as an investor... 1. The agent has been very right to purchase the property if you pass on it. 2. An agent will NOT go and preview every property for you. That’s a huge time suck and expensive both in time and other costs... if you are interested in a certain property I would preview it at that point but not every property. 3. He hasn’t made the offer yet so if you are interested put an offer in. I would not use a different agent however and if you have a buyers agency contract with this agent you would owe him commission anyways if you did use another agent. Just tell him u re-evaluated it and are interested in it

I do not see any ethical dilemma here, he even told you that he was doing this. It sounds on the up and up to me.

@Marci Stein - is there an opportunity for you to partner with your realtor on this deal vs competing for it?

I’m guessing there are a lot of details missing here, but this sounds more like FOMO based on the described fact pattern. If you analyzed the deal and ran the numbers based on your goals/objectives, and the deal didn’t seem good, it doesn’t suddenly become good for you because your realtor wants it. Of course some deals are objectively bad/good, but many deals that work for some investors wouldn’t be acceptable for others. There will be more properties to analyze in the future that you won’t want to pass on.

@Marci Stein, we all make mistakes so don’t beat yourself up. In the end, agents are busy people too and it rests on us as buyers to be proactive about checking out the listings they send our way and see if we need their help to proceed.It will be the same with any new agent you hire, particularly if they are a buyer’s agent not being paid by the buyer – the incentive while there is not as strong to be working any more than necessary just for the buyer to turn around and say, no notinterested in that one, just my opinion, but ultimately it comes down to time, a rare commodity and while you may have discussed what you want, it always comes back to us as the buyer to check out what is presented to us.The Good news is that it is not too late for you to make an offer if you really like this house, but I would suggest visiting it and running the numbers, maybe even having some knowledgeable people here on BP that you trust, help you with reviewing the numbers with you.To remove the awkwardness and ensure that your best interests are being met, I would do as @David N Peterson suggested, which is to go with a separate agent and also just keep your lips zipped.That being said, I am curious, did you sign a contract with the agent that would prevent you from doing this, i.e. going with another agent?I would like to believe that all agents are ethical and he may be as well, but it would just be awkward to go back and say, “oh BTW, that house you saw and presented the listing to me but I turned down and you later went to see and liked and want to put an offer in on……uhhhhmmm yeah, I think that now I want it.......yeah, can you work at putting together an offer for me?” sorry for the over-dramatization here, but Just sounds so wrong to me and not fair to your agent at all.I think in my opinion to be fair to him and to you, work out getting out of any contract you and he have so that you can move on to work with another agent and he can move on to trying to bid for this property too with his brother, because in the end did you not say his brother is going in on the deal with him too? Am certainly no agent so I will let the agents in the group steer you right, but to me from a buyer’s standpoint and from a place of empathy having him work with you on a house you turned down and now want because he wants, just feels like it would be wrong to do to anyone and even though ethically he would be required to represent you, I just feel like it would be shady and awkward.  Go after the house yes, but do it with a different agent, so that you are not rubbing this in his face, just my two cents.

Originally posted by @Anna M. :

@ Mark Holencik, I thought your agent is supposed to tell you if they try to make and offer on a property they showed you at one point, even if you passed on it?I think this is where the ethical dilemma is coming from, am I missing something?

 Anna, The agent did not show the property to her. She said she was not interested in the property. Other then that you may be right.  

I find most of my own deals. When it is on the MLS I will have my agent make the offer so he can make some money, otherwise I am leaving money on the table. The listing agent would get the whole commission. I build good will by doing this. My agent will help me with anything. He makes commissions with very little work.

Jay H- that would be a great idea , but it's actually not my agent who's interested- it's his father and brother. 

Embarrassed to admit , but the real mistake I made was not evaluating numbers . I looked at this 7 unit and thought "who would live there - it's so ugly" ?. 

Also, I have 6 SFH now , and although I'd like to grow into MFh , I became overwhelmed and scared , at the idea of managing a 7 unit 3 hours away . Once he told me he wanted it , i ran the numbers And regretted giving into fear . My bad .

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