I get a little touchy when people make gross generalizations about the sleaziness of real estate agents. I pride myself on working hard, telling the truth and going that extra mile for my clients, whether it's helping pack or declutter their homes, driving them around or babysitting their kids, if need be. Whatever it takes to make the deal go smoothly. I like to think my clients appreciate the added service.
Every once in a while I cross paths with the kinds of agents who give the rest of us a bad name. It happened this week, in fact.
I tried to make an appointment to visit a new listing with buyer clients. I texted the listing agent once, which is the usual practice. No response. I called three hours later. Voice mail. The next morning, I called again and got the listing agent's associate, who promised to call right back . . . . . . . . . . . Six hours later, she called. They had received an offer. What a surprise!!
I insisted on my clients' interest in seeing the property. Unfortunately, the vendor accepted the offer to purchase before I could get them in.
The listing agent, who had promised to call and tell me if the deal was done, did not call. I had to call her. Again. Jerk. Here's where the story gets interesting. She told me the buyers' offer was conditional on them being able to sell their property. OK, that's not unusual. How much time do they have? Two weeks, three weeks? Maybe there's still a chance my clients will be able to make an offer if that deal falls through.
The buyers have until August 30th to sell their property, she said. August 30th!!!! Today is June 20th. That means the vendor's house is tied up for the next two months and ten days. If the buyers back out, the vendor will have lost almost three months waiting.
Why the hell would any real estate agent advise their client to accept such an iffy offer, especially as her house had been on the market for less than a week? I'll tell you my theory. I bet the listing agent is working both ends of the deal and stands a chance to collect a double commission.
If it had been my vendor client, I would have called everyone who had visited the property and told them an offer was coming in. I would have tried to draw a second offer, just to be sure that the vendor was getting the best price possible. The listing agent sure as shooting did not do that. In fact, she made sure my clients could not get in. Sleazy.
I visited the house this weekend, even though I knew my clients were basically frozen out. The property was being sold without legal warranty as to quality, which made me wonder if the vendor was an elderly person, as if often the case with sales without legal warranty.
I was greeted at the door by a woman in her 50s. She had the peach fuzz hair of someone who had recently undergone cancer treatment. Her eyes were hollow. It was 28 degrees out, but she had a blanket over her shoulders. She had a hospital bed, grab bars by the toilet. She was obviously not well.
Her house was in pretty good shape, with a nice yard. I told her I was sorry that my clients had not had a chance to see her property and make an offer. "Your agent did not return my calls," I said.
She shrugged. "It all happened so fast," she said.
I wished her a good afternoon and good luck with the sale, though I added that a part of me still hoped my clients might get a second chance. She stayed in her armchair as I let myself out.
A final thought crossed my mind as I walked to my car.
What kind of real estate agent makes a vendor so obviously unwell do her own showings? The kind who gives all of us a bad name.