Are you a Vulcan?? Do you have MIND-MELD ability?

By
Real Estate Agent with Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate 303829;0225082372

Are you a Vulcan??  Do you have MIND-MELD ability? 

DO YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT YOUR CLIENT THINKS??

Gail Robinson offers good advice in this discussion about real estate agents making decisions FOR their buyer or seller clients.  See:

Real Estate Agents Are Just That...Agents, Not Decision Makers

 

Over the years, I've witnessed agents and brokers who not only THINK and SPEAK for their buyer or seller clients, I've even met a few who actually SIGNED for their buyer or seller clients.

Signing for a buyer or seller client is clearly illegal and, once observed, we can never trust anything those agents/brokers did when they represented a buyer or seller client in transaction negotiations or contract management 

I was speaking with a broker about an addendum we had prepared that needed a seller's signature.  I faxed it to the broker and BAM, it came back to me in about 45 seconds all signed in the seller's signature block.

Although the property was an hour away from the broker's office, I ASSUMED that the seller was in the broker's office and signed on the spot.  I called the broker and thanked her for the quick signature since the document was a price reduction pursuant to a low appraisal.  I remember it vividly:

Lenn said:  "WOW!  That was quick.  Thank the seller for me for driving to your office to sign."

Seller's Broker said: "Oh, she didn't sign it.  I signed it for her."

Lenn said:  "Well, if you have a Power of Attorney, don't you want to add that to the signature?"

Seller's Broker said:  "I don't need a Power of Attorney.  I represent the Seller in the listing agreement.  I can sign for her."

That document meant that the Seller agreed to a reduction in the sale price of $6,000 based on the appraisal report. Agent with blinders

 

WHAT DO YOU THINK????

WHAT WOULD YOU DO????

 

 

Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker, Homefinders.com, Serving home buyers in Maryland and Northern Virginia, 800-711-7988.

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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
319,451
Sara Homan
Coldwell Banker Ellison Realty 352-209-4044 - Ocala, FL
Realtor, Homes, Farms & 55+

Hi Lenn,  I just read Gail's post, thought it was excellent, then I saw your caption and thought this must be an interesting post... and it is!  Have a great day!

April 28, 2012 05:24 AM #1
Rainmaker
629,904
Stephanie/Bob The Ruiz/Miller Team
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Lenn, I have heard of a client asking an agent to supply a missing initial, but never a full signature!

April 28, 2012 05:28 AM #2
Ambassador
2,346,139
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Thanks Sara.  Just spreading the word - - don't try to think for your client. 

Bob.  Risky, risky.  Even an initial is risky.  I had an agent once who initialed a lead based paint addendum for a buyer.  Can you imagine that???  I was livid.  I had her attend a CE class for lead based paint.

April 28, 2012 05:33 AM #3
Rainmaker
319,451
Sara Homan
Coldwell Banker Ellison Realty 352-209-4044 - Ocala, FL
Realtor, Homes, Farms & 55+

Just out of curiosity Lenn, Why do agents "think" for their clients on the negative side but not on the positive side?  That really gets me.

April 28, 2012 05:37 AM #4
Ambassador
671,501
Karen Crowson
Alain Pinel Realtors, Pleasanton, CA - Livermore, CA
Livermore Wine Country Homes
Whho, my broker would pitch a fit if an agent in our office did that! The liability!, use electronic signatures and get a wet one later if necessary. But NEVER sign for your client.
April 28, 2012 06:16 AM #5
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Sara.  I suppose it's a tendancy to protect the client.  If we comment only on the positive, we'll be accused of "selling" them. 

Karen.  You BET.  The thought of that send shivers down my spine.  That signature cost that seller $6,000.  She may have accepted it anyway, but who knows.  No telling what the broker told the seller.

April 28, 2012 06:41 AM #6
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754,062
Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

Wow...I think that I would have said please have the seller sign and I will wait.  I don't want to go to court...what was that broker thinking?  Just because you represent your client, doesn't make you the decision maker for them...Wow...,

well, off to read Gail's post!

April 28, 2012 07:14 AM #7
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Brenda.  I thought of that but there was no way of knowing just who had signed.  I memoralized that conversation in great detail. 

April 28, 2012 07:22 AM #8
Rainmaker
798,609
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

I once had an offer rejected by the seller and months later figured out that it was the agent, not the seller who scrawled that name across the front.

It was when I ran into the seller and he apologized for not being able to work with my clients because his sisters insisted the sale had to be all cash. My offer WAS all cash, but the listing agent had a client of his own, so...

April 28, 2012 09:39 AM #9
Rainmaker
255,368
Tim Bradley
Contour Investment Properties - Jackson Hole, WY
Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY

That's amazingly stupid on the part of the other agent. Who needs that kind of liability? And once you knew that happened, could you let the sale go to closing? What if the seller objected later, noting the forgery? No thanks.

April 28, 2012 10:24 AM #10
Rainer
402,711
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

Lenn, your comment to Brenda (#8) "I memoralized that conversation in great detail" would make for a great blog.   I wonder how many agents understand the necessity of memorializing conversations or creating detailed file notes.  Brian

April 28, 2012 11:20 AM #11
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Marte.  THAT is one of the dirty little secrets of real estate of which consumers are quite unaward.  GEEZ.  What are folks learning in all of these mandatory "ethics" classes??? 

Actually, Dual Agency is the real culprit.

Tim.  I made sure that the title attorney knew and prepared a proper addendum for the SELLER to sign at closing.

Brian.  ABSOLUTELY.  If there is always a dispute in the future, a dated memo to the file is essential. 

 

April 28, 2012 12:32 PM #12
Rainmaker
1,219,387
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I think that just because one is "representing" another, there is not the legally-binding power to be able to legally afix a signature.  Period.  Unless, as you asked, they have power of attorney.  But such power should be foreknown and demonstrated with the signature.

April 28, 2012 02:26 PM #13
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Jay.  No question about it. 

It was asked at a CE meeting one time and the attorney giving the class said "Forgery".

Not pretty. 

You can bet I was on my toes until that thing settled.  I wouldn't trust that broker for ANYTHING.

April 28, 2012 03:23 PM #14
Rainmaker
1,002,002
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Realtor
HOM Sotheby's Intl Realty, 949-510-2395 - Laguna Beach, CA
Laguna Beach & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

The only thing that we can "sign" for is the reciept of an accepted offer, as the client's representative. I would get the seller's signature, even if it was only by esignature. 

April 28, 2012 03:54 PM #15
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Karen.  She didn't have the capability for electronic sig. 

The buyer would have had to drive an hour to her office or she or the agent drive an hour to the buyer. 

She was a managing broker. 

She just stood her ground and said she had the right to do it.  I consulted with my attorney, documented and made sure the title attorney got the appraisal addendum signed.

April 28, 2012 04:06 PM #16
Rainmaker
513,259
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. "Said and Done!" - Merrick, NY
Long Island's South Shore Real Estate Agent

I'm really hearing about this a lot lately - agents signing for their clients. Is this new?

April 28, 2012 07:03 PM #17
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Jill.  It's old enough for agents to have been prosecuted, fined, etc., when they are CAUGHT. 

I doubt that it's more common, just better publicized.

April 29, 2012 03:25 AM #18
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Lenn Harley

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