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Jpiche, Home Seller in Centerville, OH

Is it alright for a realtor to forward a perspective buyers person e-mail, leave a home unlocked & tell customers his clients are in financial?

Asked by Jpiche, Centerville, OH Mon Oct 4, 2010

trouble Our realtor showed our home and left the patio door unlocked & open. We live in another city and I just happened to be in town that same weekend & notice it. He also told a perspective buyer we had financial issues that we saw through forwarding of e-mails. In forwarding those e-mails we also got the perspective buyers personal e-mail. We think these are adaquate reasons for him to let us out of our contract which only has 2 months left on it.

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You have shared your displeasure about your agent with us. Have you done the same with your agent and broker, if appropriate? If not, I think you should sit down with him/them and reach a mutual understanding about your expectations moving forward. If you cannot reach agreement on how you can work together, ask for a release from your listing contract. Many times an agreement to part ways is preferred over continuance of an acrimonious relationship.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
In my opinion this realtor is not only inconsiderate he/she is leaving himself/herself open to not only a lawsuite but an ethics committee complaint. Most REALTORS are very professional. Keep information to themselves, lock doors, turn off lights and try to leave a property as they found it. Of course there are those that can't think! Ben Rader
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 30, 2012
It is not ethical for a Realtor to disclose personal financial information to a perspective buyer without your permission. As for the open door....are you positive that it was your agent who left the door open and unlocked instead of another agent who may have been showing the house?
And regarding the forwarding of emails...not a good idea...what can I say?
It sounds like it was a good thing you happened to be in town that weekend. Have you talked to your agent about these issues? I'm sorry to hear you are having a negative experience with any Realtor. We (most Realtors) take pride in representing our clients to our fullest ability to get you the highest and best price and in the shortest amount of time. If you are unhappy with your current agent you should speak to his manager. Hope this helps some....Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
It certainly isn't ethical for your realtor to share your financial situation with a buyer. After all, you are his client. I'm not sure what his motivation was, but I certainly would contact his broker and speak with her/him about your concerns. The broker can assign another agent to work with through the rest of your listing agreement.
As for the unlocked door, that's just plain stupid.

Best of luck to you!
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
It sounds like your relationship with your agent is not all it could be. An unlocked door on a vacant listing is troubling, most of us tend to check on our vacant listings every couple of days to be sure buyer agents have locked them up properly, turned off lights, etc. And I agree that it must have been upsetting to see what the agent wrote about you - though others here have pointed out that in some contexts disclosing the seller's situation may have been a legal necessity. But at the end of the day I don't think that an unlocked door or a sloppy chain of email would be enough to put you in this position if there weren't other issues nagging at you. Ending the relationship may make sense for both you and your agent if there is a lack of trust between you. Having their sign in front of your house is not good advertising for the agent if you are dissatisfied and broadcasting it. And for your part, selling a home is too important to leave to someone you aren't sure you trust. I think you need to have a serious conversation with your agent about working on your relationship or terminating it. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
Hmmm. Are you looking for a reason to get out of your contract, Jpiche?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
Leaving the door open/unlocked it a possible accident, and I don't see that being a valid reason to cancel. If your listing agent is stating to buyers that you are having financial issues and you didn't sign anything stating he could disclose this information, or if he flat out made it up, it is grounds for cancellation because it is a violation of fiduciary duties. Forwarding a buyer's email to you is not grounds for cancellation, although it's not a common practice.

Good luck with your situation
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
Just wanted to clarify something Vanessa said... Realtors only have a duty of confidentiality to our CLIENTS not to everyone... In fact I MUST tell my client confidential info I learn about a non client that may help them in the transaction...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010

Several issues here. .. First, should he have left the door open... no but could be an honest mistake? Second, giving you the buyers personal email. .. if you are the client and the buyer is just a customer then he has no requirement to keep that private. .. if the buyer is also a client of his then he should probably have kept that private. Next, on telling them you were in financial trouble... it depends on the situation. If the sale would be a short sale then he does need to share that with prospective buyers.. BUT should have your permission to do so... I had a dorm drafted by my attorney for that purpose. Finally, getting out of your contract... you can ask but he does not have to let you out... you can always talk with the broker o the office the listing is legally with them not the agent...

Hope that helps some? Freely free to ask any follow up questions directly if you like.

Good luck,

Mark Ryan
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
This is touchy. As agents we do our best to make sure that properties are secure, however since we rely on other agents to be careful and return properties to a secure condition sometimes we have situations like this. The sharing of information is not good. "Realtors" have a duty of confidentiality. If you no longer wish to work with your agent my suggestion would be to discuss that with them. Most of us enjoy our job and want to maintain happy relationships with our clients. It is not enjoyable for anyone to work in a contentious environment.
Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
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