In reality, there are agents here and there who act unethically and don't play by the rules. Sometimes the best way to deal with them is to just walk away.
In regard to going to the agent's broker, while it might make you feel better, I find it is helpful only on a case by case basis. Some brokers will give you lip service and do nothing. Others may be of some help, but are in a position in which they need to watch what they say to you and protect their brokerage. Still others will give you the runaround and be absolutely worthless. At the end of the day, in this situation, you will be told your offer was presented to the seller and that's about it. If you want written proof, they can send you the rejection response. If it was a low ball offer as Joseph suspects, then going to the seller directly could create an awkward situation because some sellers feel insulted by offers that don't meet their expectations and then further creates potential unnecessary tension between you and the seller if you want to resubmit down the road.
Your question sheds light on another good point that it takes more than just a willing buyer and seller to make a deal work. The manner in which agents on both sides of the transaction conduct themselves can, at times, make or break a deal. That is why you want a good buyer's agent advocating for you.
Kevin has done a good job of expressing the constraints upon the Buyer's agent. However, there are a few things your agent CAN do.
The Buyer's agent can ask to be there when the listing agent presents the offer to the Seller. A variation on this is for the Buyer's agent to actually present the offer. If the Seller's agent balks at the idea of your agent being there, he/she can just explain that YOU insist on it. In either case, after the offer is presented, the Buyer's agent then leaves, so the Sellers can discuss the offer with their agent privately.
Another thing your agent can do is request that the Sellers acknowledge in writing that they have seen the offer. Even if the Sellers are not interested in accepting, or even countering your offer, they can still say in writing that they have reviewed the offer, and are rejecting it.
The Sellers' response can be brief, just a one-line statement--Many contracts have language like this pre-printed in them, so all the Sellers have to do is check a box and initial their choice.
I really don't think it's too much to ask for this. It just requires some diplomacy. You have to do it in a way that doesn't question the integrity of the listing agent, or offend the Sellers. Good luck with your purchase.
Maggie Hawk, REALTOR
Watson Realty Corp.
I've been in this situation with clients before, and while I cannot contact the homeowner or advise them to do so, I cannot control what they do in their spare time.
Call the listing broker to verify the offer was submitted. Upon his answer in the positive, ask if there are any other offers as well. If the answer doesn't meet your expectaton, call his principal broker or office manager and have them apply a bit of pressure to obtain an answer. This is not out of line and you have a right to know if there are competing offers.
You can always re-submit another offer if needed. Good Luck!
If you are not satisfied with the broker's answer, then you should consider contacting the owner directly.
But if you think the broker didn't tell the owner about your offer, then a better strategy is to go straight to the agent's boss. That person is called the Manager or the Managing Broker of the owner of the company.
You can call the office where the agent works and ask to speak to the broker in charge.
By law, all offers must be presented to the owner "immediately," no matter how low, or who they are from, unless the owner has told his or her broker something like, "Don't bring me any offers below $X, I don't want to hear them!" In that case the broker is not required to submit your offer.
The Manager is required by law to supervise the broker. If the broker violates the law, the manager will be in trouble, too.
In case there is confusion on this subject: Going to the owner won't save you any money. The owner is contractually bound to pay the real estate commission no matter how the property is sold (with relatively rare exceptions).
Karla Harby, VP
Charles Rutenberg Realty
First of all I hope you presented your offer in writing accompanied by a pre-qualification letter. Secondly I am curious as to if you submitted your offer through the listing broker or a sub/buyers agent? As per New York State law, real estate agents are required to submit all offers to the seller. There is a lot at risk to an agent who violates such legal and fiduciary responsibility, hence it is a rare occurence whereby an offer is not presented to the owner.
If the property is listed on the Brooklyn New York Multiple Listing Service, the agent submitting the offer has the right to present it directly to the owners with permission/accompaniment of the listing broker by means of a conference call or personal visit with the homeowner. Did your agent do this? If the property is not on the Brooklyn New York Multiple Listing service that is another story.
You can also request to speak with the owner, but if the owner is listed with an agent, they may not want to do that. Many times the owners desire to NOT deal directly with the buyers is the reason they list with an agent.
Not that I agree with it and there is nothing illegal about it, but I have seen times where a buyer goes to the house and rings the doorbell or mails a letter to the homeowner in an attempt to help their cause. However, many times that can backfire because usually occurs it is because the buyer is trying to do something unethical. When I list a property often times I caution the homeowner that if someone approaches them in such a fashion they should BEWARE!
I suggest you speak to the broker/owner of the office of the agent you submitted the offer through and see if he or she can help you. Then speak to your attorney about your concerns for further advice. Often times in such situations I have witnessed the buyer just shrug it off and say "the heck with it, if they do not want to sell me the house I simply go find another."
If I can be of further assistance please let me know and good luck!
Mitchell S. Feldman
Associate Broker/ Director of Sales
Madison Estates & Properties, Inc.
Office: (718) 645-1665/ Cell: (917) 805-0783
Why would listing agent not submit your offer? Only way an agents are paid at closing IF they have an offer withholds it where does that make sense.
Property owner may not respond OR forward a counter offer back ... some listing agreement have where property owner does not prefer to be bother UNLESS the offer is $$$,$$$ and above.
Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
Next time, consider getting a Realtor who is a buyer's rep and will represent your interests.