Are you noticing more Unethical Realtors? Or just in Maryland?

25 Replies

It seems I am running in to quite a few unethical Realtors.  Wondering if its everywhere, or just here in Maryland?  (Carroll County)

I could go on for days, but the scenario that happened this morning has got me fuming!

Spent hours putting together an "Non-Contingent", No Inspections, As-is offer on a project that has hit the 100 day on market point yesterday.   My Realtor forwarded the offer via email last evening around 7:30 pm.  This morning at 8:01 am, he gets a one-sentence reply.    "No thanks, we have a better offer on the table now" .   Which would be fine, if it were true.  I am positive it was never presented. (My Realtor gets a receipt when the email is opened...)

Yes, it was less than list price.  I included a one page letter to the seller (which I normally don't do), explaining our logic, and wanting to start a conversation. (The house needs over $100K in renovations)

I have many, many, more stories about less than ethical Realtors - Just this past year.  Just in the last 15 or so offers.  

I may start posting them one at a time.  Should I?

Just wondering if you guys are having the same things happening in your neck of the woods.   Thoughts?

Perhaps a more accurate response from the listing agents would be "we've already turned down better offers".  And, no one cares why you think their property is worth less than list.

I always think wondered when I make an offer on a  property listed for months , how strange  it is that they received 4 other offers on the same day 

You are not alone.  Before I knew better, when I purchased my first property, I got screwed by the listing agent who must have known she was giving me a fake roof certificate.  We had some minor dampness in our bedroom ceiling and I tried to reach out to the company on the certificate and the license number didn't exist and the address for the company was an apartment building.  I actually felt let down by my own realtor because he's experienced and should have checked the license for accuracy before moving forward with the purchase.

So you think it is unethical to turn down your offer when they have already received better offers? Im not sure I follow the logic.  

I agree with @Russell Brazil .  The story does not show anything particularly unethical. 

An example of unethical is when an agent reveals their buyer client's identity and max price when they have been hired to shield that information.

I have seen buyers pay $450,000 more than they could have gotten a property for because their agent revealed to the seller how much they were willing to pay.  They also revealed the buyer as McDonalds.

It is the seller's call whether to accept or reject, not the listing agent.

There are quite a few bad apples in any profession, including realtors. I am a realtor too.

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :

So you think it is unethical to turn down your offer when they have already received better offers? Im not sure I follow the logic.  

 He said the email with the offer was never opened so they wouldn’t have seen the offer

THIS and MANY more reasons is EXACTLY why I put my offer in with the listing agent

And NOT use the same real estate agent to show me multiple properties. 

Originally posted by @Michael Plante :
Originally posted by @Russell Brazil:

So you think it is unethical to turn down your offer when they have already received better offers? Im not sure I follow the logic.  

 He said the email with the offer was never opened so they wouldn’t have seen the offer

THIS and MANY more reasons is EXACTLY why I put my offer in with the listing agent

And NOT use the same real estate agent to show me multiple properties. 

 And yet somehow the listing agent replied to them to tell them their offer was lower than other offers they had on the table.

BTW, in Maryland the same agent can not be on both sides of the deal, so going directly to the listing agent doesnt work.

Had nothing but great experiences with all 3 of the realtors I've worked with so far (2 in CO, 1 in NY).

I can't say I entirely follow why this is unethical, if I was the seller and I wasn't interested in offers below a certain price I wouldn't care if my realtor said no thanks on my behalf. 

Depends on the understanding between seller & their agent. I'd speculate after the 100-day mark they've probably received multiple offers that were also below ask and the realtor knew their client wouldn't be interested.

@Russell Brazil beat me to it. How could they know to refuse your offer if they did not see it?

I don't think this alone is any indication of a trend toward more unethical real estate agents. 

If the selling agent never opened the email (I read your original post that if he had opened it, your agent would have seen the receipt) how did they respond with a one sentence reply? Wouldn't that come as a reply to the email they would have had to read? I have been part of deals where a house has no action for months, then I write an offer and sure enough... multiple offers, best and final. I am certain the selling end has buyers lined up to come in just above my offer and get the house. It is what it is, and all part of the "game".

@John Lopes  Some devices do not trigger open/read receipts. And if that message was automatically forwarded to some other email account, or downloaded and then opened offline, etc. that would also fail to trigger the open/read.

I think you're assuming too much here. 

Correct me if I'm wrong, in Maryland, (maybe most places) the Listing agent MUST present all offers to the Seller? My point was that this particular agent opened and read the offer, then emailed a one liner back, without taking the time to present the offer. (within 3 minutes) It is NOT up to the Listing agent to be gatekeeper. They are compelled to present. Period! (Thus, some agents ask to be there while presenting to Seller)
Originally posted by @John Lopes :
Correct me if I'm wrong,

in Maryland, (maybe most places) the Listing agent MUST present all offers to the Seller?

My point was that this particular agent opened and read the offer, then emailed a one liner back, without taking the time to present the offer. (within 3 minutes)

It is NOT up to the Listing agent to be gatekeeper. They are compelled to present. Period!

(Thus, some agents ask to be there while presenting to Seller)

Not correct. Sellers often empower their agents to accept or reject offers on their behalf.

@Russell Brazil Is that done in writing? (empowering listing agent to make decisions) And I'm positive that would be a rare occasion. Right? I understand you may feel I'm bashing Maryland Realtors, and while you may be the most ethical of Realtors here in Maryland, lately it feels like you would be the exception to the rule. (especially in the Reo or Distressed Property Space) I'm going to start posting my experiences, this one is mild to say the least! Let me be clear, I am NOT asking for any sort of preferential treatment, I am asking that the playing field be litgitimate, and above board. Too much to ask?
Originally posted by @John Lopes :
Correct me if I'm wrong,

in Maryland, (maybe most places) the Listing agent MUST present all offers to the Seller?

My point was that this particular agent opened and read the offer, then emailed a one liner back, without taking the time to present the offer. (within 3 minutes)

It is NOT up to the Listing agent to be gatekeeper. They are compelled to present. Period!

(Thus, some agents ask to be there while presenting to Seller)

Aside from the fact that the agent may have the authority to reject offers below a certain threshold, how can you be sure he didn't read the offer, call his client, and confirm that the offer was unacceptable?

It would take approximately 30 seconds to open an email, read the offer price, call your client, and return back a one line rejection. 

Originally posted by @John Lopes :
@Russell Brazil

Is that done in writing? (empowering listing agent to make decisions)

And I'm positive that would be a rare occasion. Right?

I understand you may feel I'm bashing Maryland Realtors, and while you may be the most ethical of Realtors here in Maryland, lately it feels like you would be the exception to the rule. (especially in the Reo or Distressed Property Space)

I'm going to start posting my experiences, this one is mild to say the least!

Let me be clear, I am NOT asking for any sort of preferential treatment, I am asking that the playing field be litgitimate, and above board. Too much to ask?

 No it wouldn't need to be done in writing.  Also having bad agents around only benefits me, as it makes me look better.  I'm also making an observation on third party people based off very limited information that you've posted.  It's perfectly possible there is a problem with the listing agent, but based on the information provided I just don't see it, and neither do some of the local professionals in the thread.

One thing that stands out to me though is why would your agent be submitting an offer lower than other offers that have been submitted? That tells me, and I could be wrong, that he did not have a conversation with the listing agent before writing the offer, which should especially be done if the offer is going to be a low one.  This should be done for several reasons. He should be asking if they've already turned down offers that low, so he can find out if he is just going to waste everyone's time before writing the offer.  I always ask the question, is it worth it to even write an offer at X dollars, or would i just be wasting my time?  Also he should be doing it to prep the other side so they are less offended when they see that low number. 

It can be worth it to lowball properties that are sitting on the market a long time, but a conversation between agents should happen 100% of the time before writing up an offer as this will help to ensure everyone involved time is respected, both agents, both clients.

Also you mentioned a letter you wrote. This likely wouldn't be the case here, but NAR has suggested to its members that they withhold letters from their clients so as to not cause a Fair Housing claim. This would be more the case where someone is writing "My Family loves the home" kind of letters.

I think the bottom line here is that it’s very frustrating to try to do business with parties who don’t feel the need to function with any kind of professional courtesy. Could the listing agent in this case have permission to reject obo the seller? Sure. Who knows. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about it. But, the agent doesn’t have to treat your offer like garbage and dismiss it in that manner. A simple professional response acknowledging receipt of your offer, advising of the rejection, showing basic courtesy - would likely have engendered more trust on your end.

Like many professions, not everyone is on the same level. Recently, I was trying to show a fixer upper property to an investor client. I tried for over a week to get in touch with the listing agent - phone, texts, emails, messages. No response, until one day I receive an email advising all offers were due by EOB that day and a signed hazard waiver was required prior to showing. This gave me less than 3 hours to attempt to coordinate with my client and submit an offer. Truly frustrating!

@Russell Brazil ,

My agent did in fact attempt to contact the Listing agent 3 days prior, 2 days prior, the morning of, and just prior to submitting the offer.  (Via Phone, Text, and Email.) TO NO AVAIL!

Also, don't assume my offer was a "lowball".    I routinely make offers in excess of list price.  I don't see the value in shotgunning lowballs.  (Yes, you could get one here and there.)    Therefore, I do NOT do that.

My letter, I suspect, is why the Listing Agent did not want to present the offer in this case.   (I utilized the listing agents own marketing materials to justify my position.)

And, just a side note, if I was the listing agent, I would NOT want the liability of making decisions for Sellers....   Not sure many would....

@Tom Gimer ,  You are correct.  I guess it would only take 30 seconds to read the offer price, etc...   (Doubtful it was done in my experience)

The thing I find funny, is the local realtors just circling the wagons......  

@Audrey Dixon,   Your experience with no calls returned, last minute showing availability, or offer deadlines seems to be the norm these days.   I suspect quite a few of them have a buddy, or partner, or someone in the wings, waiting to buy the property   (The next experience I post will clarify this thought)

@John Lopes I don't pretend to know the professional courtesy expected between real estate agents. It may very well be you deserved better treatment in this transaction. But the title of your post says "Unethical", which is inaccurate, to say the least. Under the circumstances I have no problem with agents defending their own.  

A real estate newbie, but an IT pro - read receipts are not very effective.  In many cases the email recipient can choose to send a 'read' confirmation or not.

@John Lopes in your first post you noted that the one sentence reply would be fine, if it were true (having a better offer). You seem to be hung up on the fact that due to a read receipt and the quick response, the having a better offer isn't not true. It very well could be true, they could have a better offer and plan to negotiate with that buyer. We probably all have our annoying deals (I was the highest offer on a house , all cash, no contingency and they went with the other buyer.  I was also using the listing agent, so the bias should have been with me, right? That one pissed me off) but this business will throw these at you all the time. Just move on to the next deal.

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :

Also you mentioned a letter you wrote. This likely wouldn't be the case here, but NAR has suggested to its members that they withhold letters from their clients so as to not cause a Fair Housing claim. This would be more the case where someone is writing "My Family loves the home" kind of letters.

Why that is the stupidest logic I have ever heard. Withholding the letter could subject the agent to fair housing claim as easily as giving it to the seller.  More importantly it opens up the agent for claims of withholding information.  That is unethical and clearly against the agent's fiduciary duty. 

This is why I am not an agent any more.  I certainly don't blame individual agents but the Realtor world has lots of ridiculous, self serving and counterproductive rules. 

@John Lopes , seems to me, you're just peeved about missing out on a real "deal".

But, what's that you say: Your offer was genuine market value? 

If so, why worry? There'll be another market value opportunity, tomorrow, the next day, the next...

Really, I reckon it's (mainly) SELLERS who have the right to carry on about Realtors who lack ethics. My 2c...

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