Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Realtor Nightmare And How Not to Get Thrown Under the Bus by Your Realtor!

I've been working the last several weeks on a few different home buying posts, as I learn and as I've had the time, for first time homebuyers. They are lengthy but it's necessary to convey the information needed to 1st time home buyers so they are not thrown under the bus by dishonest people.

As a first time homebuyer you should familiarize yourself with some basics to protect yourself from your Realtor. Don't get me wrong there are ethical people out there but because you never know if you are working with one, you should protect yourself with knowledge!


 Our Story

We started our hunt with 3 homes to choose from.

 House number 1 was a ranch house with mediterranean features.  It needed updating and minor repairs but had brick floors and
                             an acre of land with a big pond that had fish (and possibly an alligator according to my best friend, Ethel)! 

These are not the houses but are souped up versions of the original that I found on houzz. They are  there for visual effect. ;)

House number 2 was a cabin type home.
It wasn't my type of house but it had 2 acres and was so new and pristine on the inside.

Not the original cabin but he plays one on TV.

 The 3rd house was a BEAUTIFUL, 2 story, white, 1920's home, with newer wood siding and beautiful updated windows with muntins!  It was in an upscale neighborhood and was at the top of our price range. There wasn't much of a yard, however.



Our first Realtor showed us house number 2 first, aka, the mold house. As she was going through the home she smelled strong mold and continued showing my husband the home without mentioning it. It wasn't until I came out of the car (I wasn't feeling too well) and approached the house, that I realized there was a serious mold issue. I was immediately alarmed and told my husband to leave the house, there is a mold issue. At that point she decided to admit that she too had smelled it and it was bothering her. 
The fact that she was willing to risk our health so she could make a sale, should had tipped us off that she wasn't on the up and up.  However, we gave her the benefit of the doubt and continued on to house number 3, our dream home! 

The pictures I'm using to convey an image of the houses we looked at remind me of Lifetime Movie Network actors, the actors are far better looking than the actual person the movie was based on.

This home showed so beautifully online and let me say we were quite surprised to see that someone, after the home was listed, obviously wasn't too happy and had come in to this BEAUTIFUlL home and just took a sledge hammer or something to it.

 I've heard internet stories of owners who have been foreclosed upon and they will literally trash their home to get back at the bank. I'm not sure if that is what happened here but something happened!  There were holes knocked in the walls, the downstairs restroom was stripped, and the wall between the bathroom and garage was partially tore down! I could not believe what happened with the home!

Foreclosure Rage:  An act of anger and revenge. The act of chopping your home up with an ax or sledge hammer in little bitty pieces because your home was foreclosed upon.
I won't say the things that were said or unsaid by the Realtor lady that bothered me during the walk-through, but the final straw was how terrible the home looked and none of this damage was done when the home was listed nor did they bother updating the photos on the listing to show the new damage.

 She came up behind me and said, "you better hurry, there are many other offers or interest in this one." I'm not sure which it was that she said.  I felt very upset at this point because it seemed like she was being dishonest.  In hindsight, I almost wish we had went with the house and just renovated it but we decided to go on eventually to the cheapest house, house number 1, and we got rid of our Realtor.

BTW, the house sat there for a while before it was finally purchased.

Our New Realtor

second verse same as the first........

This guy seemed great. He was an investor so he would point out potential issues with the homes we were looking at. He even offered to sell us one of his properties a few times.  Take that however you want to. The problem was that weeks had gone by and we could never seem to land a house. Every time we went to look at a home it became unavailable as soon as we looked at it, including house number 1 that we settled upon.

 Well, according to our Realtor they became unavailable. Now this was may have been true, there were times the house showed under contract online, so it was confirmed sometimes. After all, the market had made a small upturn and houses where I'm at were/are selling pretty fast. However, there were other times the homes didn't seem to be under contract and I started wondering if he were in fact lying to us at times. Why? I couldn't be sure, but maybe to steer us to be desperate enough to buy a house from him. I honestly can't be sure. This is only speculation.

We finally found a cool mid-century modern home with an amazingly large solar heated swimming pool.  This home was special to me. It reminded me a lot of my childhood home and evoked comforting memories.  We started the contract process.  I told my husband to tell the Realtor to put a financing and inspection contingency in our contract. If you are a first time home buyer, this is very smart and quite common. What this does is give you an out if the house has too many issues show up during inspection, or it gives you an out if something happens and the Lender ends up not being able to finance you.

These pictures of my "houses"  remind me of the Lifetime Movie Network actors, the actors are always way more attractive than the actual person the movie was based upon.

 He told us that we could not put a financing or home inspection contingency in our contract. He stated this would cause us to lose the home because the seller would not even want to mess with us!  This is obviously a lie but also very bad advice! No contingency = the possibility of losing your earnest money deposit or forcing you to spend all of your cold hard cash on the house should financing fall through. It's very easy for financing to fall through, too!

Are there times when no contingency in the contract is good? In other words could the Realtor had made an honest mistake?  The absence of a financing and inspection contingency in the contract is for someone willing to accept the home as is and that has the money to buy it in cold hard cash, period. This will make your offer more lucrative to the seller.

Our Realtor never asked us if we had the cash to purchase this home should financing fall through. So, he risked financial ruin for us at the most or at the least he risked a small fortune in losing our earnest money deposit.

This was absolutely not his risk to take! On top of that, he outright lied and said the seller wouldn't mess with us if we wanted a contingency. He obviously thought we were too stupid to know this since we were first time home buyers. It is common knowledge that if you are buying a home you automatically ask for those 2 contingencies to be included in the contract. So much so, that our current Realtor didn't even ask us if we wanted it, he already included it.

This angered me cause I had done some of the research already and knew that no contingency in the contract was a bad thing.
I told my husband loud enough so the Realtor could hear, no contingency, no house. I won't buy one without it.

My husband took me to look at the house and while we were out we found out that the listing agent had supposedly given us 30 minutes to put in our highest bid and we missed it so we lost the house!

He may or may not have been telling us the truth about that, but I've never heard of anyone being given that time frame to bid. I was so upset with myself because I already had become emotionally attached to the home. I blamed myself for losing the house.

By this time we looked at dozens of homes and a lot of time had passed. I was exhausted by the home search.  I was so scared of the house getting taken before I could even get a bid on it.   I told my Realtor to put in a bid and get a contract ready on a house that I found online. I told him I would look at it during the inspection period. This was really stupid I guess, but I was exhausted and if you had seen how many houses we lost you might have understood.

This didn't work out because now days had gone by and the Realtor finally got back to us and told us he had been out of town for business. We tried again and this time he was out of town for pleasure.

I was kind of happy and upset at the same time. I was upset cause no matter how hard we tried to get a home they just kept slipping through our hands or our Realtor was too busy for us. I was happy cause this allowed me to find a new home that was available and it was so cute! It was in a nice neighborhood and the whole neighborhood was lined with red brick streets!

The final straw with him was when he told us we could not bid on the home. It was unavailable, and that there was a waiting period of weeks before we would be able to even put a bid on it. He said the listing agent themselves had said this to him and that he was going out of town (again) so he would not be able to help us for awhile, and thanked us for our patience! 

 I told my husband to speak with the listing agent himself and see if the home was available, just for peace of mind, and to our surprise the listing agent had quite the opposite story to tell on this home. It was very available, and it was available now! My husband asked about a waiting period, and she told him, "there is no waiting period now, nor was there ever!"

Our Realtor needed a fire extinguisher cause his PANTS WERE ON FIRE!

I was so upset. My mind was swimming with the weeks upon weeks we wasted with this man. I had wondered why he would do all of this. What could possibly be his motivation to do all of this?

We decided we would just immediately stop all contact with this man and start all over. Eventually we found a house, it wasn't any dream house, it was plain and simple, but seemed to have the least issues, so closing would be faster than most homes we looked at already. The neighborhood was awesome, so we took it. We called a Realtor, he showed it, he made a contract, we signed it. No craziness, things just got done.

By the time we were finished with 2 less than ethical Realtors, I will not lie, I was less than trusting of our new Realtor. I had wondered if he lied about there being other bids on the home so we would increase our asking price therefore increase his commission, but what can I say, the way things are done in the real-estate game there is no way to be 100 percent sure if that is being done, and unfortunately there have been Realtors who have admitted this does happen, whether on the listing agents behalf or the Realtors. Either way, it's a tricky game in buying a home.

One last piece of advice that I can offer you is to find an exclusive buyer's agent. They are suppose to work for you and you alone so that there are no conflicts of interest. You thought your Realtor was already working for you and you alone? Haven't you been reading anything I've written so far? ;)

This doesn't guarantee that you will have a 100 percent honest Realtor but it is suppose to help up your odds in getting fair representation. I think the only way to get a 100 percent fair representation is to find a trusted family or friend ,who is a Realtor, or find one that will do a flat rate fee. This way you don't have to worry they may fudge on the details about there being other bids on the home so they can increase their net worth.

Let me add that there really are honest Realtors out there, and a lot of them work a lot harder for their money than average people realize. So, you may have a harder time finding someone willing to work for a flat rate, but it's not impossible.

Linking HERE.


  1. Seriously, you need to file complaints against those two brokers who lied to you! What ever state you live in should have a commission or state board that oversees licensed real estate brokers. My advice for next time, having worked in the legal field for 40 plus years, is to spend a few hundred bucks up front and hire an attorney who does real estate law to give you advice, too. He or she will go over your Offer to Purchse before you submit it, or if you are on the selling end, go through it and point out potential problems before you accept it or let it expire without responding. Your advice for buyers to hire their own exclusive buyer broker is good -- but just keep in mind, buyers, that buyer brokers also get a cut of the commission from the selling broker, so even though they SAY they are representing you, unless you negotiate an independent fee agreement with them up front, you've got to wonder always -- are they REALLY representing you and only you, or are they pushing a sale to get that commission? Best advice as a buyer is to hire an attorney to draft your Offer to Purchase and see you through from Offer to closing. You know your attorney is only representing YOU. I haven't been in the market for a real estate attorney for a long time now, but many attorneys who specialize in this area will quote you a flat fee of say $3,000 or whatever. Well worth the cost.

    1. Jan, thank you for adding such value to the post! I have considered reporting the Realtors, especially the second one. I have wondered if it would do any good since it is basically our word against theirs.

      I may have some emails saved up from the second one that will show some of the lying, but I have nothing to prove anything on the first Realtor.

  2. Sounds like a nightmare! Not to mention an emotional roller coaster! I'm glad you finally found a home and now you can get settled in...and start designing it the way you want it to be.


    1. Thanks, Mere! I always want to call you Mere! It was a learning experience! The house needs a lot of updating, but we really like it!

  3. That is just insane. The housing market is still not back to where it was. It's just so baffling that, in this economy, so many Realtors would play games like that or be totally lazy when they clearly have serious buyers as clients!

    One tip I read is to never sign an exclusivity agreement with any Realtor. This means that if you have trouble (as you did) you can walk away from the agent free and clear. If you have an exclusivity agreement, and you go behind their back and work out a private sale, or work with a different agent to make a sale, the agent you signed with can sue you for breach of contract and may be entitiled to a commission - even if they did no work on the arrangements.

    Congrats on your new home!

  4. Sounds like a buyer nightmare to me.

  5. They are all superbly attractive. Makes me want to put my home on the market and move!
    Homes for Sale