If I'm drunk and fall down the stairs… and how some agents perform Real Estate Malpractice (and excessive and shameless Ann Cummings name dropping)...

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Coast To Coast~ Dedicated to You!

If I'm drunk, fall down the stairs and break my leg, I think all of us would expect that the doctor who treats me, would do everything he could to help, not harm me. He would set my legs, put a cast on them, prescribe some medicine and schedule me for follow up treatment. Why should we as Real Estate Agents be expected to provide any less to our clients that are drunk and have a broken leg?The Amazing Ann Cummings with her Halo

Earlier today, I was doing my typical three time a day vent/rant/discussion/ general annoyance to my esteemed and venerable colleague Ann Cummings, and I was smooshing some sour grapes over how I had lost a particular listing of a person close to me, to an agent that I feel committed malpractice.

So as to protect the names and identities of the innocent (and the not so innocent), this particular agent, let us call her... Thomasa Brady. So Ms. Thomasa Brady is called by Mr. and Mrs. Seller, let us call them hmmm... Mr. and Mrs. Venus Williams. Yes, that would make Mr. Venus Williams a girl, but since this is my story, you are going to have to just deal with it. I told you that I was smooshing sour grapes.

Mr. and Mrs. Venus Williams are behind on their mortgage when they call Ms. Thomasa Brady. Venus and his wife fall in love with Ms. Thomasa Brady when she tells them there house is worth 2.5 million! They're good old friend Josh told them the truth that it was only worth 2 million at that time, but phooey with him. Isn't a Real Estate Agent a Real Estate Agent? This lady says it with such certainty, how could she be wrong? How fabulous is this Ms. Brady? She just made the Williams a lot of money! The Williamses only owe 1.9 million on their house, so life should be good. They have equity (a lot according to Ms. Thomasa Brady) so even with the rapidly clicking foreclosure clock, they feel good putting their home on the market under the "experience and guidance" of Ms. Brady. If she is wrong they will just reduce their price, and sell it where GOJ (good ol Josh) told them to list it.

In reality, what Ms. Brady did, was remove the broken legs of a drunken Mr. and Mrs. Venus Williams.

Fast forward six months. Having overpriced their property under the advise of the smooth talking Ms. Brady, Mr. and Mrs. Venus Williams are now staring down the barrel of the proverbial foreclosure gun. Having already reduced their price from 2.5 million, to the 2 million value it was worth, they have now hobbled on their broken legs to 1.75 million, where they have finally found a buyer! Only, this is short sale territory. Not only will the Venus Williams family not receive any money, they are humiliated, and will receive a death like sentence on their credit. Harming for a long time, their ability to take care of their two kids.

Hospital Sign, http://www.bigfoto.com/miscellaneous/photos-07/hospital-sign-n7w.jpgSo back to the fabulous, smart and sensational Ann Cummings. So I'm blowing off steam to her about how wronged I was (although she already knew because I've been telling her for the last 6 months). I was the only one that was honest with them. If they had listened to me they would have sold it already. Ms. Brady lied to them to get the listing. She hurt them. She 'committed real estate malpractice???' I say, "but Ann Ann (that's what I call her), she cut the legs off of them to fix their broken legs when just a cast would have done." Ann Ann, in her infinite wisdom (I'm not sure if it is really infinite, but mine is so finite that hers sure does look infinite to me) says, "but she didn't break their legs." No, they were drunk, fell down the stairs and broke their own. It doesn't really matter how they broke their legs: the doctor treats the victim with a broken leg the same whether they were side swiped by a drunken driver or they were drunk and fell down the stairs. Regardless of how the legs got broken, the question remains the same:

Aren't we as Real Estate practitioners, supposed to prescribe what is best for the client?

Ms. Brady knew their situation. Knew they had broken legs. She should have prescribed the appropriate treatment. The problem is, is that there is no standard treatment. There is no one that can say "This house was worth 'x' on this day" with absolute certainty. Not like you can get 45 doctors to all diagnosis that same broken leg with the same type of fracture, and prescribe the same treatment. Actually, quite the opposite as you could find three different opinions of value in the same RE/MAX hospital in which I operate. Ahh, but hindsight is 20/20 and in our case Mr. and Mrs. Venus Williams now have that benefit. They now know for a fact that the home was not worth what Ms. Thomasa Brady prescribed them. In fact, they were prescribed the wrong medicine that led to the loss of their legs! What would we do to a Doctor that prescribed the wrong medicine that led to the loss of a patients legs?

But Josh, it's not the Agents fault that their legs were broken in the first place!

But it is our job to treat the situation with the utmost care, obedience, accountability, disclosure and loyalty. To use our training, knowledge and experience to the benefit of our clients- not ourselves. To me there are a few lessons that I am taking out of this. One, as always, it's about the client, not the agent. Two, I can't win them all. That's right, I am making it a point to stop smooshing my sour grapes right now! Ok, now! Starting now. Well this one is a work in progress. Three, there really should be repercussions for those agents that put themselves above the needs of their clients that it harms them. Like Ms. Brady in this circumstance, lying about price in order to get the listing; or an experienced agent that costs their client a home because of a botched short sale.

I don't know, maybe I've just drank too much of this sour wine I've just made:)

Joshua Holt

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Maine
Groups:
ETHICS and the REALTOR
RE/MAX Active Rain Bloggers
Short Sale REALTORS®
Short Sale Specialists & Pre-Foreclosure Education
The "young" Real Estate Professional
Tags:
short sale
ann cummings
malpractice
unethical behavior
did i mention ann cummings is cool
facing foreclosure
overpriced listing

Anonymous
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Rainer
69,709
Kathy Fisher Sells Lexington TN homes! 731.845.3413
Five Star Real Estate Services - Lexington, TN

Happens everyday in every market...I call them the MALCOLM X agents (remember his motto "By any means necessary")  They will do or say almost anything to get a listing. 

Jan 13, 2009 08:54 AM #3
Rainer
19,166
Josh Holt
RE/MAX Coast To Coast~ Dedicated to You! - Berwick, ME
Southern Maine and NH Real Estate - Your Source of Info on the Berwicks

Gayle- You are right- education is what it comes down to.

Gary- The consumers really should have someone looking out for them. Thanks for stopping by.

Jan 13, 2009 08:55 AM #4
Rainer
19,166
Josh Holt
RE/MAX Coast To Coast~ Dedicated to You! - Berwick, ME
Southern Maine and NH Real Estate - Your Source of Info on the Berwicks

Kathy- I love that, and am going to use that. You should trademark it!

Jan 13, 2009 08:56 AM #5
Rainmaker
295,745
Martin Kalisker
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Synergy - Brookline, MA
Weichert, REALTORS - Synergy: MA Real Estate & Mor

At what point do you talk to the loss mitigation department and find out what their "bottom dollar" would be.  Most banks don't want to take a foreclosed home into inventory.  If they (or the lawyers handling the pre-foreclosure) are motivated, and they know that the home is listed for sale, they will often hold off on the foreclosure - - especially if there is some equity in the home.  In your scenario, listing it at the original $2mio with $1.9mio owed should have staved off the foreclosure proceedings.  At least this is my experience in Massachusetts. 

 So, Drs...didn't you really try to just bandage the wounds or should you have properly set the leg and schedule the client for physical therapy?

Jan 13, 2009 09:10 AM #6
Rainer
19,166
Josh Holt
RE/MAX Coast To Coast~ Dedicated to You! - Berwick, ME
Southern Maine and NH Real Estate - Your Source of Info on the Berwicks

Martin- Thanks for stopping by. Interesting thought, I think getting them out of their situation, selling before the foreclosure w/out a short sale, is setting the legs and treating them properly. The follow up, well you can prescribe it (financial counseling) but they need to make that commitment.

Jan 13, 2009 09:16 AM #7
Rainmaker
292,373
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate

Josh- First off, I didn't know that dropping Ann's name had benefit....but I will rectify that immediately :)  I found this from Ann's Twitter......now to the Post.  I just love your sense of humor, and my long comment shortened is Greed and Incompetence will always plague our industry.  I do love Anns comment (if I say her name 3 times and click my heels will something good happen )......

Fun read for a serious subject....and I agree, although we didn't break their legs, it is our duty to help help them and not harm them any more.

Jan 13, 2009 10:17 AM #8
Rainmaker
315,770
Monika McGillicuddy
Prudential Verani Realty/Hampstead - Hampstead, NH
Southern NH & the Seacoast Area

I call her Anna Banana... LOL

Seriously... I do hate when this crap happens and unfortunately it happens a lot. Does Ms Brady still have the listing?  I hope not!!!  Too bad you can't help the sellers somehow... be the knight on a white horse so to speak!

Jan 13, 2009 10:56 AM #9
Rainer
54,699
Chad Baird
Re/Max Spirit - Dayton, OH

You did your job, you saw the patient and advised a course of action.  The patient opted for a second opinion as they had no medical insurance, looking for a better alternative. 

The client is presented with the opinions of several agents.  All the agent have different pricing stratagies.  I go for the low side and quick sale as time is money each month it sits on the market.  Other agents will say go for MAX value and price high.  Sure I may not get the listing, thats OK as well.  An overpriced listing is on my books is a liability.  Ultimatley the consumer decides, they will always decide upon what benifits them (generally).  Not always the wisest choice. 

Jan 13, 2009 11:00 AM #10
Rainmaker
335,132
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Homes - Service With a Smile!

KATHY!!!  What do you mean, dropping my name doesn't do any benefit???    How'd it work for you?   ;-)

Josh - ok, ditch the sour grape smoosh, it didn't taste good anyway, did it?   Yick! Your Mountain Dew will taste INFINITELY better, I'm certain!   ;-)

Yeah, this was a crappy situation, and that agent did those sellers no good with her advice, as time has proven.  Perhaps both that agent and those sellers can learn a few things from this experience, and then again, probably not.

In any event, as Chad said, you did all you could do, which was being completely upfront and honest with them about the value of their house and what the course of action should have been back then, before they began their staring down the barrel of foreclosure.  Take solace in the fact that you're not that particular agent, now having to work with them to try to do a short sale, where she may make little to no money for all her efforts.

Keep being upfront and honest and professional and you'll come out far ahead.  There, how's that version of 'click your heels and something good will happen'?

Nice tags, by the way!
Where are you anyway?
Ann

Jan 13, 2009 11:27 AM #11
Rainmaker
335,132
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Homes - Service With a Smile!

PS - the halo I usually wear is a little more tarnished than that new one in the picture......

Jan 13, 2009 11:28 AM #12
Rainmaker
292,373
Kathy McGraw
CELLing Realty - White Water, CA
Riverside County CA Real Estate

Ann- Funny...and yes I think "being upfront and honest and professional and you'll come out far ahead." is the best destination from clicking your heels and having something good happen :)  Even with that new halo I think I like you :)  Anyone listening...I am kissing up here LOL :)

Jan 13, 2009 11:52 AM #13
Rainer
19,166
Josh Holt
RE/MAX Coast To Coast~ Dedicated to You! - Berwick, ME
Southern Maine and NH Real Estate - Your Source of Info on the Berwicks

Kathy- What happens when we don't do our duty?

Monika- Try Ann Ann. It just has this ring to it. Like the Tom Tom commercials... Ms. Brady just put the listing u/a...

Chad- Thanks for the thoughtful comment. What happens though when that opinion, first or second, is not "medically sound?"

Jan 13, 2009 12:30 PM #14
Rainer
19,166
Josh Holt
RE/MAX Coast To Coast~ Dedicated to You! - Berwick, ME
Southern Maine and NH Real Estate - Your Source of Info on the Berwicks

My Dear Ann Ann- I was half tempted to make the Halo Mt. Dew green:)... I hope they would learn, but as you pointed out, probably not.

Oh by the way, it's tarnish free for a reason.

 

 

Jan 13, 2009 12:32 PM #15
Rainer
54,699
Chad Baird
Re/Max Spirit - Dayton, OH

I do many many BPOs and list REOs.  BPOs I am asked to give my price OPINION as to value.  Banks will typically solicit the request to many agents the highest value secures the listing (Generally speaking).  I do my reports and I give my values.  Sure I see the property with a much higher sale

My wife wanted to move a few years ago.  I told her what we could expect to sell our house for.  She did not like what I told her.  So I asked another Realtor to price our home, he was higher than my pricing.  She wanted to use the other Realtors pricing model, so we hired him.  Much to my delight our house did not sell as I was not wanting to move but if the wife wants to, what are you going to do? 

Was the other agent wrong for pricing high above my price?  I don't think so in that he was confident that he could get the price my wife wanted.  He spent alot of marketing dollars to attempt to get the price that he thought he could get.  I still think he's a good agent. 

My wife gravitated to the positive side as opposed to the reality of things.  Thats fine with me, as I do not need the hassle of a client quoting what I "promised" and then having to explain why I call every other week begging for a price reduction. 

Sellers will hear what they want to hear until what they hear is not what they want to hear.  I could tell everyone that my house is on the market for 2M and that would make me feel good.  Reality is my house is worth less the 100K today. 

 

Jan 13, 2009 01:16 PM #16
Rainmaker
335,132
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Homes - Service With a Smile!

Hey Kathy - I'm thinking some people like me BECAUSE my halo is actually a bit TARNISHED and not brand spanking shiny....  ;-)    Kiss away baby!

By the way, anyone notice the 'tags'??  Way too funny!


Hmmm.........could be ripe for a good old-fashioned hijacking...  where are TLW and the hijackers when ya want 'em???

 

Josh - 'Mtn. Dew green'......that kinda sounds like 'turkey puke green' to me.  That was a color when I was in school, just the other day.

 

Jan 13, 2009 03:15 PM #17
Rainer
19,166
Josh Holt
RE/MAX Coast To Coast~ Dedicated to You! - Berwick, ME
Southern Maine and NH Real Estate - Your Source of Info on the Berwicks

Chad- Very interesting. And I agree with you, except in the case where the patient is bleeding with broken legs. I'm not talking about someone who's healthy (doesn't have to move) like you and your wife. I'm talking about someone who is in urgent need of medical attention. You'll have to let me know how you talked your wife out of moving, cause mine is all over me. Great blog by the way. If anyone is actually reading this and hasn't checked out Chad's blog, go on over. He's got a little bit of funny in him. Poor Nemo. 

Jan 13, 2009 04:57 PM #18
Rainer
54,699
Chad Baird
Re/Max Spirit - Dayton, OH

These patients have absolutly no insurance.  They called 9-1-1 who rushed over and put them on the treatment table.  One Dr (you) came in and said this is what im going to do, this is what its going to cost.  They are not comfortable with that as they have no insurance and worried about themelves and consult another Dr who happened to obtain his degree from an off shore medical school and barely passed the exam to become a DR.  He is a Dr still though.  He suggests a differnt course of action that he believes will work at a lesser price. 

All i'm suggesting is that every professional has a different view of things rather it be a Dr, Lawyer, Teacher, Police Officer, Parent, or a Realtor®. 

There are a few fields in which there is 1 and ONLY 1 correct answer.  Top of my head Chemistry, mathmatics, baking.  Real Estate is not one of them.   I recently talked to an out of state buyer who is under contract in a private purchase of a property here she is buying from an out of state group elsewhere.  She wants to get rich from it.  She knew I was not impressed that she chose me to list her soon to close property.  We talked more, I agreed to go and visit the property, but in the mean time call other agents.  My advise to her was to cancel the contract, take a hit on the deposit, and walk away or at the very least call her attorney to get her out of the deal.  Its a bad deal.  She felt I made her feel foolish for being honest as other agents were happy to list her property on her terms.  What will she decide???  I have no idea, it is her decision. 

I apoligized to her for being so blunt, but I know what her plans are.  I deal with investors, wholesalers, and banks everyday.  I see people taken advantage of everyday.  They call me, when they are in trouble.  The agents that she talked to would never venture out to the neighborhood she is buying in, it has a perception of being "bad".  She can listen to a smooth talker or she can listen to me.  I do not not a listing that bad that I know is not going to sell.  If another agent feels they can recoup her investment dollars, more power to them! 

To change your wifes mind will require work.  Start stripping away all the family photos, reminence about the fun you had in the house, go next door and talk about how much fun our kids have had together and we will really miss you.  The kicker is to remind her to go ahead and clean the tub immediatly after a bath, no dirty clothes should left out, closets need to be very organized at all time, you just never know when somebody wants to see the house.  Keeping a perfect house is exhausting!  A realtor selling a house house to be disclosed and Realtors are my piers and expect more. 

Sorry for the long post, I don't mean to monopolize it.  Thanks for the shout out though!  Life is a serious business, I try to inject humor into it as much as possible! 

Jan 14, 2009 10:02 AM #19
Rainer
19,166
Josh Holt
RE/MAX Coast To Coast~ Dedicated to You! - Berwick, ME
Southern Maine and NH Real Estate - Your Source of Info on the Berwicks

Chad-

Great points. I wish there was something that could be done to rid the world of the RE Dr's that aren't qualified, but I suppose that is impossible. Hope more people check out your site, sent a co worker of mine there as well. I like your straight forward look at things. Reminds me of someone I know... which is the reason he didn't get this sour grapes listing. Thanks for the comment Chad. Good stuff.

Jan 14, 2009 11:55 AM #20
Rainer
54,699
Chad Baird
Re/Max Spirit - Dayton, OH

I PROMISE, this will be my lost post.  I'm not trying to be difficult or undermine your post just disagree you or at the very least, look at the Big Picture. 

You will NEVER get rid or people that hold a licence to practice in any industry!  1+1=2.  There is no dipute about that, its a Fact.   I say I can fetch 1.2 M on this propety you sat its worth 750K who's wrong?  Everyone thinks they are right. 

I will admit that I have advised clients to go one way and I was actually wrong.  They were not happy with it, followed my advice, and in their mind lost money,  I was able to explain my thoughts, numbers, and conditions, and say hey, I was wrong.  I also snag clients saying "hey I told you so" in a very genle way though and tell them "this is what needs to be done".  It becomes a second round listing. 

Jan 14, 2009 01:22 PM #21
Rainer
19,166
Josh Holt
RE/MAX Coast To Coast~ Dedicated to You! - Berwick, ME
Southern Maine and NH Real Estate - Your Source of Info on the Berwicks

Hey Chad-

Comment as long as you need. I think this is a good discussion, and although I'm being unrealistic about a high standard, I think it is theortically, something we should shoot for. At this point you could pile all these comments into a post of there own (josh holt is drunk with broken legs), which would be pretty cool. We could have a post off....

My overriding point is this. If I go to the Doctor and he gives me bad advise for whatever reason, be it his Mexican Medical school degree or other, and that bad advise does me harm, I would sue him. I go in for the broken leg, and he performs the operation on my arms-whatever.  I'm not saying that the agent in you and your wife's case did harm- he had a different opinion and his opinion caused you and your wife NO harm. You could say that he helped! But in the case of the above person, that agent caused great harm.

What I'm saying is that there should be consequences for when we are wrong. If I go in to a client, who has no real estate experience and depends on my expertise and experience to make their decision, than I should be held responsible for that. The consumer looks at us, rightly or wrongly, to give them the best advise for their situation. I should be sued if that advise is bad and causes them great harm. I should lose my RE license. Time is the judge of who is right, but the result alone shouldn't be taken into account. If you list a property that is a short sale, that doesn't mean you gave bad advise. It could be that there just wasn't a buyer before time ran out. I think the distinction for me, and maybe I should have made this clearer above, is that the price suggested for this listing was so far out of reality, that it would not be the listing price made by a majority of agents. This listing price wasn't made AAA (against agents advise), which would in my opinion absolve the agent of responsibility. i.e. 'I recommend listing at a million, but you're the boss and will list wherever you want'

When I perform a BPO for a bank, I usually provide them with a few prices. Apparently, judging by the lack of REO listings I have had, they don't like my price, or maybe they just don't like me... Anyway, there is an exact price out there. The price that a buyer will pay in that market. Forget equal motivation, just enter time. Now, it is hard to predict that price, but it is predictable. You can make my prediction, and I can make mine. In time, if that property is on put on the market, we will see who made the better/correct prediction. You and I could both do a BPO on the White House, and either we would both be right, one of us would be right, or neither of us would be right, if and only if it was put up to sale in that time frame.

The medical community has a review board to review advise given to see if it is typical and standard advise and to make sure the patient was put first, we don't have the same thing, or it's not used that way. How come?

appreciate your thoughts Chad,

j

Jan 14, 2009 02:08 PM #22
Anonymous
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Rainer
19,166

Josh Holt

Southern Maine and NH Real Estate - Your Source of Info on the Berwicks
Ask me a question
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Additional Information