When is Enough, Enough? Ethics Concerns

By
Real Estate Agent with Rocky Mountain Real Estate

Any real estate agent that has been in the business for multiple years has inevitably gone through the following situation, or something similar.  I'm just curious what you would do in this scenario.

I had a newer agent in my office come to me with a concern the other day.  He had just cancelled a luxury listing that he had been trying to sell for a couple of months.  The owners were going through a divorce, and are within months of losing the home.  This agent tried and tried to get them started down the lonely road of short sale, but they would not cooperate.

Long story short, he gets an email from them saying they no longer need his services, so he cancels the listing, no questions asked.  A few days later he realizes that the new agent that listed it had accessed the home just 2 days prior to her taking over the listing.  After speaking to the husband, he finds out that the agent that took over the listing had contacted them and told them she was a short sale expert, and that if they needed her services she was happy to help.  Yep, a total violation of the code of ethics!!!!  She now has the property listed $400,000 less than what they had it listed with our office.

But what advice do I give this poor guy.  Does he go through the time and energy of submitting an ethics claim, or does he just let it go.  He's between a rock and a hard spot in my eyes, because more than likely the claim will not result in any punishment, and will take away from time that he could be spending being productive.  But if he doesn't this agent gets away with this, and might continue to practice this way. 

What would you guys do? 

What advice should I give this agent?

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Rainer
66,710
Darleen McCullen
Broker - Raleigh, NC Real Estate

Ben ~ Most definitely report it as an ethics violation! She should not have been soliciting someeone else's listing.

Who knows, your local Board may even charge this unethical agent a FINE - which would get her attention. Money talks! Best wishes to your agent.

May 04, 2008 11:05 AM
Anonymous #55
Anonymous
Anonymous

Ben, I agree with so many of the statements above:  namely -- if this person is not hit where it hurts most, their pocketbook and hopefully, embarrassment from being known as being unethical, then they will never learn nor will others learn from her mistakes.  To be labeled unethical just makes me cringe, I would hate to have something like that pinned on me and proven to be true, how would anyone trust me again?  I say file it, its worth the time and the Broker should get involved as well.  Great post and situation to bring to light.  Thanks for sharing.

May 04, 2008 01:55 PM
Rainer
16,327
Bill Schwent
Santa Fe Broker
Casa Tierra Realty

Ben,

The majority seem to agree that an ethics complaint sould be filed.  However, remember that you must prove your case.  From the scenario you have given, the testimony from the seller would appear to be paramount for you to prevail.  Your argument must be "clear, strong and convincing".  Otherwise, it's a "he said; she said" argument.  If the property is stilll for sale and the seller is happy with the new agent, it is unlikely that the seller would agree to testify at the hearing.  Also, since the seller has lots of other pressures on them, they may not be receptive to getting involved in what they may perceive to be a Realtor problem. 

And bear in mind that Darleen's comments are not accurate; you don't "report an ethics violation", you file a complaint.  A Board cannot fine an unethical agent, only the hearing panel can do that after hearing the testimony in a formal hearing.  That "due process" thing must be respected.

May 04, 2008 10:20 PM
Rainmaker
423,351
Frances C. Rokicki
Broker-Mentor,CRS
Fran Rokicki Realty, LLC

I'm in agreement with Bill S.  Is is worth the time and effort?  If they were not working well with him and taking his advice, why fight for them?  How do you know who to believe?  Would any Realtor really put themself at risk to jeopardize their career?  I would ponder that question. How would you know who contacted who?  Why assume that the wrong thing was done? If you can, have the new listing broker talk with your broker.  You may feel better when you hear their side of the scenario.

It's a Good Life!

Fran

 

May 04, 2008 03:22 PM
Ambassador
1,036,061
Jim Crawford
Jim Crawford Atlanta Realtor - Atlanta Real Estate
RE/MAX Paramount Properties
Ethics complaint would be best, but the next course of action may just be "NEXT!"
May 04, 2008 05:36 PM
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Ben Myers

Broker, GRI, SRES, Boise, Idaho
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