Question Details

Jimbo, Home Buyer in 95366

How do I report unethical behavior by a real estate agent?

Asked by Jimbo, 95366 Wed Apr 16, 2008

Help the community by answering this question:


I would like to amend my previous answer and also state that you should first discuss this with the broker for the real estate office where the agent is licensed. That broker has immediate authority over the agent, and should be your first contact concerning behavior that you consider to be unethical. If, at that time, your concerns aren't adequately addressed, take it to the state or local Association of Realtors.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
I have heard stories about buyers getting sketchy communication from banks. Search Trulia for conversations about buying from banks and you will find loads of complaints. Where was your agent in all of this? You only talk about the listing agent and the loan lady. Your agent should have been the one bugging the bank and keeping you informed. If your agent was unable to get past bank run around, you should have gone to the manager. It sounds like your problem was with the bank.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 20, 2008
I am sorry to hear of your disappointments. You jumped through hoops, thought your offer had been successfully accepted, and later learned that you had no contract.

I stand by original suggestion that you speak with the broker. Despite Mr. Hintz’s unfounded accusation that a broker does not have your interests in mind, I can assure you that is not the case. He states that because a broker is compensated via commission split, you are smart enough to predict the outcome. Every agent on this forum can take equal offense to Mr. Hintz’s ill founded accusation. Nearly every agent on this forum is paid by commission, and many agents every day advise their buyers and sellers to walk away from transactions or take positions in negotiations that might cause a transaction to fail. Agents do this every day, despite the fact nearly all agents on this forum are paid on commission and the failed transaction means they will not be paid. Agents build their business based upon gaining the trust of the client for whom they work. Brokers carry a responsibility for an office and almost every brokers will put the interests of the client and the goodwill of the office first. While there may be rare exception, the overwhelming majority of agents and brokers are passionate about protecting their clients.

My first suggestion is that you contact the broker manager of the buyers agent (your agent) and the second step, if necessary would be to contact the broker manager of the listing agent. I would have a few questions, if I were the broker. It’s not important that you come back online to answer my questions, but the broker you speak with will most likely ask: Do you have a contract that bears the signature of both the bank and buyers? Did you ever receive a bank addendum to review? Where was your buyers agent through this? You mention that lender’s loan officer and the listing agent were the individuals who communicated with you about the acceptance. Do you know what company (brokerage) represented the buyer? Did this other buyer have any information about your offer that provided them an advantage over you? Where and how did they get that information? Or, did another buyer simply come in at a higher price and better terms?

I suggest that you first reach to the broker of your buyer agent, and ask this person to research the details and find out what went awry. If the information and support your receive does not answer your questions, I suggest you take your questions to the broker of the listing agent. Once you have more details and explanation, you can evaluate whether there was wrongdoing, and if so, on the part of whom. I suggest you solicit the assistance of the brokers first in your research. If the results indicate disciplinary action is in order, discuss this with the broker(s).

You can contact the local association, if the agents were Realtors. Ask the local association what the procedure is for filing a complaint. The most serious of violations should be reported to the state. If the details suggest this is warranted, by all means, do proceed to that level.

I am unable to provide an opinion here with the information provided if your heartbreak resulted from poor communication and pure coincidence of a higher bidder or if your loss occurred as a result of intentional behavior and ill conceived actions that sabotaged your offer. Either is possible, and you are entitled to pursue and gain an understanding. Start with a phone call to the managing broker of your buyers agent, and proceed from there. Best of luck, and again, I am sorry to hear of your disappointment.

Deborah Madey - Broker
Peninsula Realty Group - New Jersey
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 17, 2008
This is exactly why realtors are glorified used car salesmen. Sleazy, unethical, and only out to serve their own interests.
Flag Tue Apr 28, 2015
Excuse me, but the realtor has an obligation to represent the SELLER's best interest. Unless you sign a contract with a buyer's broker, that's their obligation. It's hardly an "ill founded accusation" to say they're not representing the buyer in this case.
Flag Mon May 20, 2013
Excuse me, but the realtor has an obligation to represent the SELLER's best interest. Unless you sign a contract with a buyer's broker, that's their obligation. It's hardly an "ill founded accusation" to say they're not representing the buyer in this case.
Flag Mon May 20, 2013
Excuse me, but the realtor has an obligation to represent the SELLER's best interest. Unless you sign a contract with a buyer's broker, that's their obligation. It's hardly an "ill founded accusation" to say they're not representing the buyer in this case.
Flag Mon May 20, 2013
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ

There is a lot to what David Hintz has to say ..

You can trust .. but always always verify:…
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 20, 2008
I absolutely agree! Jimbo, contact the broker and if your concerns are not adequately addressed, then escalate it.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
If your agent is a Realtor, you need to report to your state Association of Realtors and also to the Real Estate Commission for your state.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
Depending upon the nature of the behavior, where I would guide you to report a problem will vary. Can you describe the situation so that you receive help? If you file a complaint with a state agency, and the issue is not handled at that office or level, your concern goes unaddressed and concurrently consumes state resources. With a bit more information, perhaps you can receive some feedback that confirms yes, it is a state regulatory issue, or perhaps it is a broker issue, or association grievance issue.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
If you suspect unethical behavior by a Realtor, contact your state Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons. If you let me know which State you are located in, I can provide you with that information.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
Confused and disappointed is my state!
Flag Sun Mar 23, 2014
simple answer the state dept of real estate, your commissioner , office of inspector genersl, attorney generals office or the FTC federal trade commision then if u live in AZ call me
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 25, 2016
simple answer the state dept of real estate, your commissioner , office of inspector genersl, attorney generals office or the FTC federal trade commision then if u live in AZ call me
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 25, 2016
the real estate agent lied to me about a repair that would be made to the property i am buying. Once the closing went through he said he never made that statement. He said it in front of my mother and friend. He even took out his phone and said he had the email right there in his phone that the deck was going to be replaced in the spring so not to worry about the railings. I have nothing in writing but I do have witnesses. Can I report him for unethical behavior?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 24, 2016
id like to report bob hoobler remaxx agent /Robert hoobler on two meeting one he came to my home with out taking pictures or placing my home on the market and then on July 7 send me to 655 north 2nd street to look at a big home need some work 4 bedrooms maybe 6 all together for $20.000 thousand dollars in Lykens pa I get a call 15mins before I leave Pete another agent said the home been sold under contract bob said it may have went under on Saturday he was not sure so on Monday he shows me the pictures said go look thru the windows see if you like it I could have been arrested for being on this land this guy Robert hoobler remaxx in pa Duncannon Harrisburg pa Lykens do not I repeat trust this salesman most of his homes are run down eye sores and he is shade and has that fake smile and hand shake too
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 11, 2015
How do I report a real estate agent for unethical behavior in Texas. Broker is trying to charge fees that are incorrect.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 8, 2014
We purchased a property in Dec. 2013 with our Real Estate agent . the whole process was awful. he was doing drugs at the time, and we had very little contact with him. his office and boss were just just as bad representing us. they would call us to find out what was going with the property. we had to use our attorney to finish the sale. it became so complicated that at the last minute befor the 1031 exchange expired we decided not to buy the property.
our agent came to our house and told us that if we bought it he would purchase it from us so we didn't have to pay the capital gains taxes.
is this ethical for an agent to do this ? we signed the contract with him under much duress.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 3, 2014
Myself and two brothers, sold our mothers house, she give the house to her children but with a lifetime membership in it. She move to a nursing home, so we but the house up for sale. Myself and brother 1 had power of attorney. Brother 2 would not sign a purpose agreement because he wanted money in hand. So after losing one sale, brother 2 wrote to brother 1 and wanted to be brought out. So I brought him out. he accepted the check and sale it. He did not sign a purpose agreement he sign his share of the house over to me. So I feel that he got his money and no longer had any thing to do with the house.
I hire the reality, he promise my brother2 who sold me his share of the house that I would pay him more money when the house got sold because the county wasn't going to get as must as the lawyer and myself and brother number1 thought the county was getting.
But once again when my brother sign his share over to me, i feel he had no interest in the house any more. He took me to court, and the reality I hire was in court with my brother. he also told him what I got for money, what my brother number 1 got and what the county got. The county got part of it because mom and dad were on the county for help.
Was he allow to go to, court with my brother, and give out how the money was diveded when I was the one that hire him?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 13, 2012
I just had an experience with this myself. I have a home/and or B&B For Sale on Maui. A couple stopped in last Fri and I gave them a brochure. She said she was an agent and wanted to move here, (Maui.) I told her to call my realtor which she did. My realtor called me on Sat and said she had just talked to a couple who said they had stopped in and talked to me. We set up a showing for today at 10 a.m . At 9 they were here, Barbara H - from San Mateo, said "you're agent never called us back, and we made other plans." I said, "are you sure, that would be very unlike her." She said, "I had a missed call but I didn't recognize the number, so I didn't call back. I have a witness," (her boyfriend, spouse?" She kept swearing up and down they didn't hear from Tracy - so how did Tracy know they stopped in Fri? I didn't tell her. I offered to show it myself if they couldn't wait. Then they said they were on the way to Hana and again said Tracy hadn't called and "I have a witness." Absurd! When I called Tracy she said they had just called her and wanted to see it Thur. morning before they leave. These are not serious buyers - been there before. Point is we stayed home yesterday, cancelled our plans for the holiday - to fluff and buff and trim plants and worked our okoles off all day. My agent says many unethical agents make appts. to see investment properties and then don't , so they have a write off for their trip. I am not only sending a letter to her broker but to the realtors assoc. Penny W
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 4, 2012
How do I report a Realtor that my fiance and I found a condo for lease on Trulia and gave her the info the week of Mar. 5-9, on that Sat we went up to see the condo and it had no key in the lock box. The Realtor Jill Sheehe who is also a flight attendant for Am. Airlines was leaving on Monday March 12 for a 3 day flight and was to get the key from the listing agent. I listing agent left the key at the front desk on Monday...well because Jill was out of town Jill asked her SON to show us the place. He did and we conversed that we liked the condo. I emailed Jill that Tuesday and told her we would take it for 1300.00 she email me back and said the owner was trying to get the full asking price of 1400. So I email Jill back and told her on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 11:18 AM that we would pay the asking price of 1400. Well I never heard back from her. I called this morning about 9:30 and we were talking and I asked her had she heard anything from the unit 407 and she told me her son got the place he showed up. I then found the listing agents name and number and called and she stated that Jill Sheehe NEVER gave her the offer I emailed her ..........I believe she didn't because she knew her son and his girlfriend wanted it. I think that is unethical and that she lied to me about the status of the condo so her son and his girlfriend could take it.............She has lied to everyone involved. VERY UNETHICAL by the Code of Ethics Realtor guide.

Thank you
Melissa McDonald
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 15, 2012
Terri, If you click on the Advice/Opinion tab at the top of the page you'll see "ask a question"

If you use that to post your question/concerns then many agents will see it and I'm sure will help you.

Just be open, provide some details and you'll get responses.

This question will soon cycle out as many will see the date it was asked and pass by.

Good luck, Dunes
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 15, 2009
i signed a contract with a realtor sells me a house contengent on me selling mine.
she has eanest money on my house but i have not been approved for a loan to get another house.
can i cancel the contract? i dont want to live on the street.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 15, 2009
Sorry for all the typos... I was watching TV and typing and forgot to spell check - oops :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 17, 2008
It's a long story.... We were bidding on an REO and the listing agent used to be our landlord (slumlord). She does like us because we paid our bills on time and didn't like having an oven door that fell off not replaced for a month and a sink backed up for 3 weeks (the previous renters dumped something in there apparently) with no repair etc.... Long story short we moved because the house was not being kept up. We had to fight to get our deposit back etc.... I think you get the idea.

This REO had a loan agent working on the other end of it as well. The loan agent on the other end told us the bank was going to accept our offer because it was the strongest all the way around (higher credit scores, asking price, etc...) if we would give them in answer in 30 minutes to a question. The question was that they couldn't go FHA loan because the deeds weren't processed for months after the bank was actually repoed and you know the FHA 90 day house flip rule. They didn't say anything to us until a week later and then she told us they were making the decision in 30 minutes and the house was ours if we could get conventional funding. Our loan agent, who is thest best, scrambled and we were able to go conventional by cashing in my retirement etc.... So we rushed and sent it over (this was after not hearing anything for a week of them know of the FHA problem and not calling and telling us). So the house was ours... or so we thought. We never got official word that we went into escrow and that everything was signed. My agent called and called and the listing agent never called back. Finally my finance lady called the finance lady for the bank and she said something isn't right here let me call the listing agent you should be in escrow right now. She calls the listing agent and then calls my loan lady back. She said that the listing agent told her someone came in with a much higher offer than ours so we were out of luck. Our agent called the listing agent and the listing agent left a message on his phone saying that the loan lady pushed for the other people and that they had a little more money for a down payment and agreed to a 20 day escrow (which we would have done no problem BTW). So someone is lying. If our offer was even given to the bank from teh listing agent is highly doubted. We know she did something like this before to some other people in the same town we live in (it's a small town where everyone knows everyone). I'm leaving out details but you get the general idea. The listing agent sabatoged us in some way. Right now I'm in the process of getting proof that the loan loady for the bank did not lie because she I'm going to report her if it turns out she lied and pulled some kind of stunt (put I would put all my money on the listing agent being the one). Hope that helps give you the basics.... The bad part is we are first time home buyers and this was my wife's dream home when we found it and now it's gone and there is nothing we can do about it. All we want to do now is stop this lady so she crush the next young couple that's looking to buy their first home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 17, 2008
In Austin we have a grievance committee at the local board of Realtors. What sort of unethical behavior has taken place? Curious minds want to know!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
I agree with Jen - who appears to be more Ethical - If you contac the Broker (who receives a split of the commission the agent brings in) well, I think you are smart enough to predict the outcome.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 16, 2008
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