One of the first things we learned when we attended Real Estate School were the Laws of Agency in that unforgettable acronym O-L-D C-A-R. As all agents know (or should know) this refers to the fiduciary relationship agents have to their principal clients. As agents, we must demonstrate the following responsibilities: Obedience, Loyalty, Full Disclosure, Confidentiality, Accountability and a Reasonable level of care. Sometimes, we’ve dealt with agents who have decided to trade in the OLD CAR for a new one – one that works in their own best interests.
Nobody is perfect and sometimes errors and miscommunications will occur. What we’ve found, however, is that in a number of transactions with outside agents, we may have a highly-qualified and very interested buyer for their listing and we were not allowed to present the offer. In one instance, our buyer had an adequate down payment (20 to 25%) and a stable employment history with good income. The listing agent in this particular case told us that the property (his listing) is already under contract with his own buyer, but the contract was not yet signed. In our view, what this means is that the offer was not accepted and a meeting of the minds had not yet occurred.
Our buyers had already seen the property and loved it, and wanted to present an offer. The listing agent told us because he had a contract (still unsigned by his buyer after two weeks) and could not present the offer from our buyers. He was holding us off, seemingly because he wanted to make a double commission for the listing and sale. In the end, the agent’s buyer never signed the contract and we found out the listing recently expired. We are going to do the right thing and contact the seller to see if the home is still on the market.
The agent was definitely not working in the best interests of his client. Unfortunately, this was not a singular event; we’ve had other offers that we could not present because the listing agent was either holding out for his own buyer, or had a contract that in the end did not result in a sale.
Is this a violation of the “D” in OLD CAR? Isn’t an agent supposed to work in the best interests of and give full disclosure to his client by presenting all offers? That’s what we always do for our sellers, regardless of who has the buyer. We present all offers and we would hope everyone else would too. It is possible the listing agent told his clients about our offer, but we always thought it had to be presented in writing. If we’re wrong, please correct us!
Fortunately the majority of agents we’ve worked with have been honest and forthcoming, and the bad apples are few and far between. Nevertheless, we’d like some feedback from more seasoned agents about what actions should be taken if a listing agent does not comply when you have offers to present.
Thanks for the feedback fellow Rainmakers, and hope you’ve all had a happy Fourth of July!
Bonnie & David