One thing that I think the Real Estate Council of BC is doing well is putting an end to double ending real estate transactions. As with most industries there are things that could be improved but in order to look out and protect the consumer I feel they are at the pointy end of the sword, leading the way on this topic.
I don't feel this is necessarily a long term solution though, as a good realtor has a good network and could possibly miss out on legitimate transactions. I do feel something must be done to deter realtors from acting disingenuously, maybe higher fines or higher penalties? Action needs to be taken so that we can avoid situations similar to the one I just experienced.
Recently, I went to take a first time home buyer on some showings and the unprofessionalism of another realtor we were dealing with was incredible. I didn't initially express to the buyer the level of unprofessionalism of the selling realtor but eventually I had to say something because it was going too far.
I find this desperation to double end a transaction to be a red flag...
What surprises me, and I blame the real estate industry as much as I do individual agents is people's 'okayness' with giving up individual representation to save a few dollars on a transaction. The biggest problem I see with 'double ending' is that the real estate councils and boards allow it to happen. The fact that an agent can double end a transaction seems to bring out the worst in some realtors.
Today I went out for the first time with a buyer to look at condos, Beth is looking for a condo close to her parents and preferably a main floor unit so that she can quickly take her dog for a walk. While driving around her neighbourhood Beth spotted a for sale sign and called the selling agent to ask about the property.
The agent seemed surprised that Beth called because the unit had been off the market for a few months. Not knowing the typical process of booking a showing Beth agreed to meet the selling agent at the property for a showing. Beth and I booked a showing into another unit in the same building and then she mentioned that she had already reached out to the selling realtor of the other property and booked a showing with that agent. I quickly mentioned that I would follow up with the selling agent, let her know that we were working together and find out if there was a lockbox so that the selling agent wouldn't have to open the door for us at the showing.
That's when the unprofessionalism started...
I called the selling realtor, explained who I was and what had happened, I said that I would be accompanying Beth on her showing as we are working together and asked her if there was a lockbox on the property. The selling realtor sounded confused so I explained that Beth had accidently called her first and set up the showing because she was new to showings and that I hadn't discussed this scenario with her. I apologized, explained the situation and said I'd be happy to take her through her listing.
Immediately she called Beth and then began texting. This is what she said
No worries! just want to ask if you have a signed contract with him?
My initial thoughts about this are why? Why is this any of your business? Why do you want to know if we have a signed contract? I called her and said I was working with her, that should be enough, explained the situation and moved on. I wanted to ask why do you have a sign in front of a property that is currently not on MLS but I didn't bother. It was the start of her manipulative techniques.
Yes but did you sign something? Property is off the market and there is no commissions for him if you like the property.
Ok, I can kind of understand this, she doesn't want to pay commissions to another realtor but then I thought why? Turns out she told Beth that it was her parent's house and told me that she had interest in the property. She is basically saying if you go with me there are no commissions and you can save money. What she didn't mention is that you lose all opportunity for representation and someone looking out for your interests. Again manipulative, in my mind it sounds like this "go with me and you can save money, ditch him and you'll save money, forget about having someone looking out for you".
In the event you wanting (her spelling) to buy it we can do a private deal.
Ah yes, a private deal... that's in your interest...and to top it off this selling realtor has interest in the property we are talking about. She told the buyer that it was her parent's place but during our showing it was obvious that it was her property and that her parents had co-signed on the mortgage...private deal...Because then no one looks out for you and I can sell you my defective house...
BUT only if you're not on a binding contract with home - other ice (her spelling) he might ask you to pay him commissions.
True, it could be complicated for her if I had a buyer brokerage agreement signed with Beth and she sold her a house. The selling agent made sure she at least covered her ass. Interesting that she phrased this question like I would ever come after Beth if she wrote an offer with someone else. That's absurd.
Ok see the property first then. If you are not under contract with him - then I can show you the property. Because bylaw (her spelling) he can only as you for commissions if you bought a property he introduced you to. And you & him can discuss how you will be compensating him.
Yup, because all I am worried about is the almighty commission... this realtor's actions disgust me. I never think about commission first, I think about my client first and their investment, this screams shady to me so much that I told Beth I would represent her no matter what. The potential for this to go bad for Beth is so high that I wanted to make sure she is represented; even if I did it for free on this deal. That's fine, maybe on this sale I don't get paid and I miss out on some additional income but I know that watching out for Beth during her FIRST home purchase is key. I know that karma will come back and that she will recommend me knowing that I looked out for her first and not myself and the couple thousand of dollars this deal represented.
Don't worry there's nothing crazy
Right....we believe you lying, manipulating realtor who is not only trying to double-end a sale but double-end her own personal property...Don't worry!....sure...
He should be educating you on this
This one I agree with, she's right, I should have told Beth that if she saw a property that interested her that was not in the emails I was sending her to reach out to me first. Wait, I did that, except that I explained the situation as if the condo was a new build, not a property that did not show up in her search but still had a for sale sign sitting in front of it two months later... Beth called for general info and this realtor worked her into going for a showing. ABC, Always, Be, Closing.
I felt like calling the selling realtor and explaining the situation should have made this 'educate your client' comment go away. Everyone in the industry has likely had a client go astray at some point, it's all karma, I have had several people come through open houses, go on showings etc and then tell me they were working with someone. No harm no foul, I just moved on and tried to assist the buying realtor in anyway I could to sell the property for my seller. I never once thought of texting that buyer to be-rate their current realtor saying he was unprofessional... I've even knowingly opened the door to a home before for buyers when the market was hot and their realtor could not make it, things happen, I understand, but texting my client and saying these things is taking it a step too far in my mind.
Let's recap the oddities.
1. There was a for sale sign in front of a property that was not listed on MLS
2. The selling realtor told the buyer that her parents owned the property
3. The selling realtor told me she had 'interest in the property'
4. The selling realtor tried to manipulate the buyer into a private sale, one where no one looked out for the interests of the buyer
5. The unit was actually owned by the selling realtor... why lie?
6. The condo fees were actually really high, almost $600, I bet there was or is a special assessment in this property and that because it is a small condo corporation that the documentation is weak... How much do you want to bet the selling realtor would have not recommended a condo doc review, or said that it was 'ok' that there is limited documentation for the building and Not to worry....
7. The parkade was riddled with cracks that had been filled using epoxy. I understand one or two cracks but there was likely 15 and they were big, top to bottom cracks that had evidence of crystallisation everywhere. Think the selling realtor would have recommend a property inspection in a private deal?
That's an extra $60,000 for the selling agent who is actually the seller too...so it's tax free, nice pay day at the possible expense of the buyer!!!
8. The selling realtor told us the property was last listed for $360,000, even though I was standing in her property with the expired listing feature sheet that said the last price on MLS was $299k... Talk about lying and being misleading? Do you think she would have told Beth that the property was actually last listed for $299k a fews months prior or that she would have negotiated closer to $360k???
I don't necessarily fault this individual, I think that what they are doing is unprofessional but they are working within the letter of the law. We need to make it so this behaviour does not happen, just like the Real Estate Council of BC did when they dis-allowed double ending real estate transactions. This is not a popular stance for me to take, especially within our industry but I feel that someone needs to say "stop this from happening".
I don't feel the long term solution is to ban double ending transactions because some double ended sales are actually legitimate. A good realtor has a good network and we can't discount that but until we find a solution maybe Alberta should consider a short term end to double-ended transactions. If a ban on representing both the buyer and seller was permanent though, realtors will find a work-around. They will get friends to do them favours and sign off on deals and credit them back the commission. Maybe higher fines to deter dishonest behaviour and some actual repercussions to unscrupulous agents is the solution. In the end the consumer should decide how they want to be represented but full disclosure to both the buyer and seller is a must.
The actions of this realtor made me want to represent Beth even if there was nothing financially in it for me. If she decided to buy that condo, I would have loved to help her buy it, I didn't attempt to dissuade her from buying it for one moment because I wasn't getting paid; Beth finding her perfect home is more important to me than that, my reputation is worth more then this deal.
If Beth decided on that property I know that representing her was the right thing to do. There are red flags all around that condo purchase. The realtor lying to both Beth and I about actually owning the property, the cracks in the parkade, the high condo fees, the realtor lying to us about the last listed price of the home and her attempt at trying to get Beth to write an offer without another realtor involved.
Sorry for this more negative story but I am tired of seeing other agents attempt to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers. I want to make sure everyone gets their own representation. Having someone look out for your interests is the main reason to work with a realtor, especially if you are a first time home buyer. The relationship between Agent and Client is an important one, 99% of the time you will be ok but what about that 1% chance??