Landlords, Realtors, Sellers. Would you condone this?

30 Replies

I am not the first person that has mentioned being baffled by what people will post on the internet with their name attached. 

Here is what an investor posted

"I contacted my Realtor and he contacted the seller's Realtor. I didn't hear anything and tried to find out what was going on. My Realtor said "the listing agent said the tenants are being difficult and aren't letting anyone see the property".

So, being the type of person that doesn't let a little thing like that stop me, I drove over to the property and knocked on the door. A woman answered and I let her know that I understood the house was for sale and I was looking to buy a property like this as a rental property. I asked her if I could please see the interior. She said sure, and gave me such a great tour. She was friendly and personable and when I told her what the listing Realtor said, she said she's never been "difficult". She did point out a few deferred maintenance items that the prior property manager (who was also the listing Realtor) never fixed. I asked her what she was paying in rent and I told her I would lower her rent by $75/month and she hugged me, she was so happy! She said her and her husband are on a fixed income and that $75 would make so much of a difference in their lives.

I did an internet search and found the email for the seller directly (oh, the things you can find on the internet these days!) and emailed him and said "I would like to buy your house and I will pay your asking price and I will pay cash." He seemed a little suspicious but said I would need to go through his Realtor. So I had my Realtor write up an offer and submit it to the listing agent. He then accepted the offer."

As an owner that has contracted with a Realtor I am not expecting my tenant to "show" the property for me.  I would be incensed if someone showed up on my tenants doorstep and interfered with my landlord/tenant relationship.  Definitely a lawyer letter and possibly a police call.

As the listing agent I would be incensed when the owner called me to say the tenant was told that I made a comment that they were being difficult.  Excuse me,  there were several appointment times offered but none were convenient for the buyers agent.  I've also got the owner made at me because they are being contacted directly.

As the buyers agent I would refuse to write an offer.  Excuse me I never would have given you the address if I thought you would stomp over there on your own.  And what's this crap about contacting the seller direct?  Hoping to cheat me and the listing agent out of a commission?  And what would possess you to relay a statement I made to you to the tenant?  You are on my "do not show" list.  You showed yourself the property, I don't want anything to do with you.

As the tenant I'd be pissed that you showed up and intimidated us into showing you the property.  We assumed you were acting under authority of the owner.  Now that we know that you weren't our lawyer will be contacting you.

Am I just out of touch with what passes as ethical today?  It seems that this investor opened themselves to all kinds of liability and burned some bridges in the investing community.

Is this acceptable behavior and would you post it on the internet?

I am familiar with the post you are talking about and even commented on it. You bring up an interesting point of view that I had not considered. 

I'm not sure what the answer is but do think this is going to be a fun post to follow....

I'm sure her mind set and way of thinking is not on the same wavelength as yours. Although I agree with you there is a process and a ethical way of doing things. Her determination got her success however it could of gone bad very fast. I do caution against cutting corners. The reward is not always worth the risk.

One man's opinion -

Buyer's, if they are not themselves members of the MLS system, are not bound by its rules and I don't see how anything she did violates the law.

IF the listing agent does not do his/her job - and sometimes they do not out of greed or sloth - it would be INappropriate for the buyer's agent to go directly to the tenant leaving the buyer with a tough choice. Their remedy is likely through the MLS system.

IF the listing agent is not doing their job and IF and only IF it is clear that the tenant is aware that the property is on the market (remarks in the MLS system, sign in the yard, etc.) I don't think it's illegal or unethical for a buyer to knock on a door provided they are extremely polite and defer without argument to the tenant's wish to remain undisturbed if that is the tenant's wish. I'd still probably recommend that the offer at least initially go through the agent in the manner of a curb offer.

If  a buyer is even a little unsure whether or not the tenant is aware that the property is on the market, I personally I believe it would be inappropriate to share that knowledge with them.

Would the buyer be subject to sanctions from the agents? Sure, the agents could elect to not do  business with them though I believe the listing agent in most states has a duty to present the offer.

@Bob Bowling

Unethical, perhaps.  However, you alluded to lawyers.  I'm not sure how this is illegal? (Unless of course something stipulated in a contract).

Perhaps I take the opposite view.  I don't see anything wrong with what the investor did.

From what was posted, I don't see anything illegal that actually occurred.  At the end of the day, the transaction is between the principals.  Agents are merely the middlemen.  I believe the principals, if they should choose, should always be able to negotiate with one another.  Cutting the agent out of commission is illegal if a contract is signed.  It's unethical if a contract has not.  If the investor did indeed plan to cut his agent out of the commission, then illegal or not, the investor would not be in the business very long.

Perhaps the better question is this. You, as a REI, see a very desirable property. You first goto your agent, and get nowhere. How would you have acted differently? Would you just say "oh well" and move on?

As a listing agent, I would counsel the tenants to not let anyone in the home without an agent present.  Noone knows who this person is, if they would steal, damage, etc the property.  2nd, as a listing agent, I try to get potential buyers in there as soon as possible, knowing the next deal could be one mouse -click away from them no longer wanting my property. 

As far as the investor is concerned, he can know on anyones door at anytime, if he's not getting anywhere working with the agents. 

It's all about communication. Let the tenants know, you will let them know of any showings via text or email, so they always are prepared when someones needs to be let in. This is their home after all.  

Originally posted by @Bob Bowling:

I am not the first person that has mentioned being baffled by what people will post on the internet with their name attached. 

 Sometimes I can not believe some of the things that people post on here with their names attached.  Usually when I shudder about these things it is regarding someone openly committing Fair Housing violations or openly asking for advice on how to violate Fair Housing laws. 

From the looks of it based on what was said it looks like one of the agents didn't do their jobs(either buyer or seller agent, or maybe both). Low priced property, low % for the agents, not much interest in representing. But that's a bit of speculation on my side.

In the end both the agents got paid for the work the investor did. Would/Do you tolerate that?

Nothing wrong in stopping and knocking on the door and asking about the house, i'm sure many of you did it without knowing that there's a homeowner in the house or renter.

I don't what to try and read to much into what was said, sometimes there's fault in all corners.

@Florian N.  I'm with you.  If you're buying cheap houses, then you have to do a lot of your own leg work.  It's pretty well understood by the involved agents they aren't doing much to earn their nominal commission.  

I would do my best to check out a property I'm hotly pursuing.  My agent would have no issues with this.  Additionally, I've found I'm responsible for getting it done and being as informed as I can be.  You can't count on or expect agents to jump through tons of hoops for you.

Originally posted by @Ed W. :

One man's opinion -

Buyer's, if they are not themselves members of the MLS system, are not bound by its rules and I don't see how anything she did violates the law.

There are civil and criminal laws.  As the seller I feel I would have no problem getting the police to make contact with the "investor".

As the listing agent and the tenant there seems to be possible actions for slander.  As the tenant there could be claims of intimidation and false imprisonment.

What if the intrusion did not result in a sale and now the tenant is so pissed that they are fighting any attempt to show.  The owner would have a strong case against the "investor". 

What if the property was broken into the next week.  Can you imagine the cops talking to the owner about the people they sent over the week before?

The second part to my question was the posting on the internet.  Even now I think the investor has put themselves at risk. 

Good results can erase some bad behavior.  My question was do you consider this bad behavior?

@Bob Bowling

To answer your question directly no i don't consider THIS ONE bad behavior. 

Why? Because this is not a black and white game. In this specific case things worked out for everyone, and yes the situation and outcome next time might be different bu so will be the players.

In this particular instance the issue is that there is no accountability for anyone except maybe the investor based on the way you are laying the facts. 

The thing is that based on what what said it's possible that the seller's agent didn't care much because there wasn't much incentive so for every interested buyer he just played the same tune: "Sorry the tenant is a pain in the rear, you can't see the property." . There's also the possibility that the buyers agent didn't care and he just played the tune i mentioned. If indeed the tenant was the issue then when you knocked on the door he would have told you to go pick rocks.

Look at it from the other side also. You are trying to sell your house at a lower price and your agent is telling everybody that the house is not available to see yet, or enter here whatever he comes up with, because the price is low and he has bigger fish to fry. After a few month you have to drop the price. And again drop the price, and again. Would you tolerate that?

Every situation is different and, some cases are straight forward some aren't, but it's easier when we actually know all the facts. 

On the other question you had about posting on the internet: Don't post anything on the internet what you don't want everyone to know, this isn't a piece of paper that you just shred.   

Originally posted by @Florian N. :

@Bob Bowling

To answer your question directly no i don't consider THIS ONE bad behavior. 

Why? Because this is not a black and white game. In this specific case things worked out for everyone, and yes the situation and outcome next time might be different bu so will be the players.

In this particular instance the issue is that there is no accountability for anyone except maybe the investor based on the way you are laying the facts. 

The thing is that based on what what said it's possible that the seller's agent didn't care much because there wasn't much incentive so for every interested buyer he just played the same tune: "Sorry the tenant is a pain in the rear, you can't see the property." . There's also the possibility that the buyers agent didn't care and he just played the tune i mentioned. If indeed the tenant was the issue then when you knocked on the door he would have told you to go pick rocks.

Look at it from the other side also. You are trying to sell your house at a lower price and your agent is telling everybody that the house is not available to see yet, or enter here whatever he comes up with, because the price is low and he has bigger fish to fry. After a few month you have to drop the price. And again drop the price, and again. Would you tolerate that?

Every situation is different and, some cases are straight forward some aren't, but it's easier when we actually know all the facts. 

On the other question you had about posting on the internet: Don't post anything on the internet what you don't want everyone to know, this isn't a piece of paper that you just shred.   

Are you a landlord/seller or a Realtor or an investor?  Would you take this risk for this price of property?  If you went into a restaurant and were told there was a half hour wait but you saw empty tables would you seat yourself?   Then if no one waited on you because everyone was busy and the server for your table was not due in for 30 minutes would you go back into the kitchen and cook your own?  Would you be surprised when the cops came to remove you?

i can see myself doing what dawn did as well. of course, my intent would not be to cheat anyone out of a commision, but simply to make the deal work. sometimes the sellers are afraid/anxious/concerned and just a little push (to set their mind at ease) is wwhat's needed.

so, no, i dont see a problem if the agents got paid. who said we can't contact the sellers, anyway? is there a law somewhere? maybe i am unaware of it.. lol

Originally posted by @George P. :

i can see myself doing what dawn did as well. of course, my intent would not be to cheat anyone out of a commision, but simply to make the deal work. sometimes the sellers are afraid/anxious/concerned and just a little push (to set their mind at ease) is wwhat's needed.

so, no, i dont see a problem if the agents got paid. who said we can't contact the sellers, anyway? is there a law somewhere? maybe i am unaware of it.. lol

 So you would have no problem with me stopping by one of your rentals asking to take a tour and telling the tenant I'd like to buy and rent to them for $75 less a month but you refused my above market offer on the property?

Ironic that your website states "Please do not disturb the tenants"  AND "showings by appointment only"  LOL!

http://onpointrentals.com/index.php?p=1_2_Our-Prop...

my tenants are not selling the house. if I was trying to sell it and if the investor pushed my tenants into letting them see it I'd be appreciative.   I can't control who goes there.  thanks for checking out the site though.  hope you liked it.

Originally posted by @Bob Bowling:

I am not the first person that has mentioned being baffled by what people will post on the internet with their name attached. 

[cut]

As an owner that has contracted with a Realtor I am not expecting my tenant to "show" the property for me.  I would be incensed if someone showed up on my tenants doorstep and interfered with my landlord/tenant relationship.  Definitely a lawyer letter and possibly a police call.

As the listing agent I would be incensed when the owner called me to say the tenant was told that I made a comment that they were being difficult.  Excuse me,  there were several appointment times offered but none were convenient for the buyers agent.  I've also got the owner made at me because they are being contacted directly.

As the buyers agent I would refuse to write an offer.  Excuse me I never would have given you the address if I thought you would stomp over there on your own.  And what's this crap about contacting the seller direct?  Hoping to cheat me and the listing agent out of a commission?  And what would possess you to relay a statement I made to you to the tenant?  You are on my "do not show" list.  You showed yourself the property, I don't want anything to do with you.

As the tenant I'd be pissed that you showed up and intimidated us into showing you the property.  We assumed you were acting under authority of the owner.  Now that we know that you weren't our lawyer will be contacting you.

Am I just out of touch with what passes as ethical today?  It seems that this investor opened themselves to all kinds of liability and burned some bridges in the investing community.

Is this acceptable behavior and would you post it on the internet?

Just so everyone is aware, Bob is talking about MY post on another forum.  And Bob doesn't know the whole story.  I can't post every single minute of what went on otherwise I'd be writing a book.

The owner lived out of town. He didn't WANT to be a landlord.  He was a pilot and all he wanted to do was fly planes.  He actually had a small helicopter or something stored in the tenant's garage so they couldn't even use their whole garage!

The reason why he was a landlord was that he had bought the property, fixed it up and lived there for a while.  Then he moved out of town because of work. Rather than sell the property, he thought he'd just rent it out.

As far as the listing agent, I have a suspicion (but no proof) that he perhaps wanted the property for himself which is why he was saying the tenants were being "difficult".  The listing agent made the original comment to my Realtor.  The tenants were absolutely NOT "difficult". They were both very nice people!  The tenant wasn't pissed one bit that I showed up -- in fact by the end of the tour, she gave me a hug and said she was praying for me that I would buy the house!

As for the buyer's agent, my Realtor, didn't give me the address originally. I found the property online as I stated it was in the MLS available for anyone with an internet connection to see that it was for sale. And I NEVER tried to circumvent going through the buyer's or listing agent. My offer was made through my buyer's agent directly to the listing agent. I bet my Realtor was happy that he didn't have to take any time out of his day to show a property and STILL got a commission!  If it wasn't for me taking initiative to see the property, I wouldn't have bought it, and he wouldn't have gotten ANY commission, so your thinking on this is actually backwards.

Okay, so maybe you think I'm an "unethical investor" because I take extra initiative to close a deal and make the buyer's agent commission, score a great deal for myself, make the seller happy that he can go out and finish his helicopter or buy another plane or do whatever with the extra money, and make the tenants happy by getting a new landlord who fixes things and charges them less rent. 

You have every right to think what you want about me -- I'll just keep on being awesome.

@Bob Bowling

'There are civil and criminal laws. As the seller I feel I would have no problem getting the police to make contact with the "investor"'. I am neither an attorney nor a police officer but from my lay perspective I see no law that was broken and I seriously doubt the police would get involved.  If I'm incorrect, so be it.

'As the listing agent and the tenant there seems to be possible actions for slander.'  I believe it is never a good idea to repeat second hand information and I fault the investor for having done so.  I'm not smart enough to know whether what she said rises to something that is actionable but I seriously doubt there are provable damages to make a suit worthwhile.

'As the tenant there could be claims of intimidation and false imprisonment.'  If the investor's account is true, it appears she was polite.  I don't understand the basis for your statement.

"What if the intrusion did not result in a sale and now the tenant is so pissed that they are fighting any attempt to show."  My original reply specifically stated that the investor had an obligation to be polite and not argue or otherwise force the issue if the tenant was reluctant to cooperate.  You are speculating.

'The owner would have a strong case against the "investor".'  For what?

'What if the property was broken into the next week. Can you imagine the cops talking to the owner about the people they sent over the week before?'  If anything, the listing agent was derelict by not telling the tenant they should let no one in without the agent.  Again you are speculating.

'The second part to my question was the posting on the internet. Even now I think the investor has put themselves at risk.'  I don't see it, but perhaps an attorney would disagree with me.

'Good results can erase some bad behavior. My question was do you consider this bad behavior?'  Under the circumstance described, I consider her negative comments about the agent - especially since they were second hand - to be inappropriate.  I also believe that she could have made that visit without disparaging the agent even if she heard it first hand.  If the tenant was unaware that the property was being offered for sale, I would consider her being the bearer of that news to be a significant breach of the ethics of our business.  I would not want someone to do that to me.  Those two things aside, I don't consider her actions to be bad behavior UNDER THE DESCRIBED CIRCUMSTANCE.

if I'm reading it right, it sounds like the listing agent was the unethical one here. either trying to keep it for themselves, or possibly trying to sell and get both halves of the commission. 

Originally posted by @Dawn Anastasi :
Originally posted by @Bob Bowling:

I am not the first person that has mentioned being baffled by what people will post on the internet with their name attached. 

[cut]

As an owner that has contracted with a Realtor I am not expecting my tenant to "show" the property for me.  I would be incensed if someone showed up on my tenants doorstep and interfered with my landlord/tenant relationship.  Definitely a lawyer letter and possibly a police call.

As the listing agent I would be incensed when the owner called me to say the tenant was told that I made a comment that they were being difficult.  Excuse me,  there were several appointment times offered but none were convenient for the buyers agent.  I've also got the owner made at me because they are being contacted directly.

As the buyers agent I would refuse to write an offer.  Excuse me I never would have given you the address if I thought you would stomp over there on your own.  And what's this crap about contacting the seller direct?  Hoping to cheat me and the listing agent out of a commission?  And what would possess you to relay a statement I made to you to the tenant?  You are on my "do not show" list.  You showed yourself the property, I don't want anything to do with you.

As the tenant I'd be pissed that you showed up and intimidated us into showing you the property.  We assumed you were acting under authority of the owner.  Now that we know that you weren't our lawyer will be contacting you.

Am I just out of touch with what passes as ethical today?  It seems that this investor opened themselves to all kinds of liability and burned some bridges in the investing community.

Is this acceptable behavior and would you post it on the internet?

Just so everyone is aware, Bob is talking about MY post on another forum.  And Bob doesn't know the whole story.  I can't post every single minute of what went on otherwise I'd be writing a book.

The owner lived out of town. He didn't WANT to be a landlord.  He was a pilot and all he wanted to do was fly planes.  He actually had a small helicopter or something stored in the tenant's garage so they couldn't even use their whole garage!

The reason why he was a landlord was that he had bought the property, fixed it up and lived there for a while.  Then he moved out of town because of work. Rather than sell the property, he thought he'd just rent it out.

As far as the listing agent, I have a suspicion (but no proof) that he perhaps wanted the property for himself which is why he was saying the tenants were being "difficult".  The listing agent made the original comment to my Realtor.  The tenants were absolutely NOT "difficult". They were both very nice people!  The tenant wasn't pissed one bit that I showed up -- in fact by the end of the tour, she gave me a hug and said she was praying for me that I would buy the house!

As for the buyer's agent, my Realtor, didn't give me the address originally. I found the property online as I stated it was in the MLS available for anyone with an internet connection to see that it was for sale. And I NEVER tried to circumvent going through the buyer's or listing agent. My offer was made through my buyer's agent directly to the listing agent. I bet my Realtor was happy that he didn't have to take any time out of his day to show a property and STILL got a commission!  If it wasn't for me taking initiative to see the property, I wouldn't have bought it, and he wouldn't have gotten ANY commission, so your thinking on this is actually backwards.

Okay, so maybe you think I'm an "unethical investor" because I take extra initiative to close a deal and make the buyer's agent commission, score a great deal for myself, make the seller happy that he can go out and finish his helicopter or buy another plane or do whatever with the extra money, and make the tenants happy by getting a new landlord who fixes things and charges them less rent. 

You have every right to think what you want about me -- I'll just keep on being awesome.

 Dawn this post wasn't intended to be about you or I would have posted in your thread but didn't want to take away from your celebration of your posts.  I have no idea of what the intentions were of poster that tagged you here.

I was commenting on the behavior that you posted and stated the reasons why I would have a problem with them.  All I'm trying to point out is how this behavior can have drastic negative repercussions.  I've been a Realtor and an investor for a long time and went to law school so I believe I have some perspective here for the novice investors.  I think you were awesomely lucky that things went the way they did.  But if you don't see how your actions put you and your business in jeopardy then I would have to say your are awesomely foolish.

Since you glossed over it WHY did you directly contact the owner?  What would have happened if he had not correctly sent you to his agent?  All your added info about the plane flying seller gives me no reason to change my mind.  The only added info was the buyers agent NOT giving you the address.  So he shouldn't feel bad about your oafish behavior. 

But we still ONLY have your story telling us that everyone is happy with your actions.  I'd be interested in hearing from the owner, tenant and both the agents and from the local Board of Realtors.   If you would facilitate that it would be awesome. 

You seem angry for some reason. Are you a party to this deal. If so I suppose you have a right to be angry. If not you put a lot of innuendo in your response that the author did not say or allude to.

I don't see the issue. The buyer took action. They got the job done. So many agents are lazy, or may be trying to keep this deal in their back pocket for one of their own investors, or themselves. Who knows the reason.

They didn't say they were trying to cheat the agents - Though maybe and that would be 100% unethical.

 'Definitely a lawyer letter and possibly a police call': Won't get you anywhere. Anyone is allowed to knock on any door they want - and they can get told to leave. 

'As the listing agent I would be incensed'  - Not sure if the listing agent was doing their job or not. If they did not do their job then who cares, Time for thicker skin.

'As the buyers agent I would refuse to write an offer.' - I'd get a new agent, and if I thought they were going around me I would never help them again. Only the buyer and their agent know the answer to this.

'As the tenant I'd be pissed' - Sounds like the renters had no issue and showed the place. Why are you all pissed for them. Once again you just seem angry.

We assumed you were acting under authority of the owner.  - Buyer never said she was acting under the authority of the owner.

Is this acceptable behavior and would you post it on the internet?

I have asked plenty of owners, who had signs in their yard, what the house was listed for and other questions. It would seem that you think I should not talk to them and only my own agent. 

Unless the buyer lied then this is all ethical. We can assume the owners wanted to sell. The house was likely also shown on zillow and realtor.com so the data is public records. The buyer used all the agents involved in the deal, hopefully that was their intent the whole time. I presume everyone got paid per their contracts. Sounds like everyone got exactly what they wanted out of the deal. And the owner even accepted the offer from the buyer. I don't see any hurt feelings.

I don't think it's unethical or illegal, but I do think it CAN be rude and selfish.  I'm not really talking about Dawn in my statement, but it reminds me of a home I had listed for rent this summer.  It was a higher end home.  The current tenants were a husband, wife and two children.  The husband travelled for work a lot, so my showings had to be scheduled for when he was in town or when no one was going to be home at all.  I had someone call on a Monday wanting to see the home the same day.  I said no, but I could show it the following day in the afternoon.  He agreed to that, but then he showed up at the house anyway on Monday, rang the doorbell and asked to see inside the home.  The wife was pissed.  Her husband was pissed that some random guy was trying to come inside the house while his wife and kids were home alone, and I was PISSED that this guy couldn't follow simple directions, be patient and wait ONE DAY for a showing.  He wanted to rent the house, and after discussing it with the owner, we said an emphatic NO!

Originally posted by @Tom Spaeth :

 . Are you a party to this deal. If so I suppose you have a right to be angry. 

Isn't that EXACTLY what I'm saying? 

Do you think ANY party to this deal would NOT have a RIGHT to be angry? And if so, why?

@Tom Spaeth

FYI

http://www.answers.com/Q/What_is_a_hypothetical_si...

Also interesting that your website won't give me any of the secret deals without me giving you my name and email.  My CO real estate attorney says there is no law to prevent me posting on Craigslist to anyone that has talked to you  Tom Spaeth and offer them a better deal.

Bob, why are you so grouchy? Perhaps you should spend a little more time sitting on one of those lovely Hawaiian beaches listening to the waves.

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