Anita D., Both Buyer and Seller in Chicago Heights, IL

Is it ethical for an agent to tell a prospect's agent that seller won't sign contract under specific $$ amt?

Asked by Anita D., Chicago Heights, IL Wed Jul 22, 2009

Help the community by answering this question:


Thats exactly the situation. She wants our place in a contract contingent on another seller's sale w/another agent. I had showings and interest but she has never aggressively followed up and is trying to scare me into signing for this contingency. I'd like to see what others are thinking of bidding and I dont know why any agent would show a place that has a contingency. There's so much else to chose from nowdays.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 24, 2009
Hello Anita and thanks for your question.

There is nothing within the Code of Ethics that prevents a seller's agent from saying this to any and all buyers or their representatives. In fact, in some cases, the seller may tell me (as the listing agent) that they cannot and will not "give their home away" and that if anyone tries to present an offer for $XXX or less, send it right back. Of course, good agents will present any and all offers and allow the seller to choose, but there are definitely sellers who tell us, upfront, that they do not wish to see or entertain any low offers.

So while this may seem harsh, often the request comes straight from the seller. If this home remains on the market for a while without offers or buyers, you might consider revisiting the property in a little while to make an offer later for I often find that time makes a seller more reasonable and a previously unacceptable offer more acceptable.

Good luck!!

Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 22, 2009

I'd put a call into her broker asap, and give him/her all the details. The broker is ultimately the responsible party for your listing. chances are they will have a solution on how to handle this, as it sounds like a HUGE PROBLEM. Maybe she is right, but a 2nd opinion from a professional involved in the transaction is worth it.

I hope things get better
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 21, 2010
I would say it's illegal because agents have a responsibility to present all offers to their seller regardless of their opinion. The code of ethics say for an agent to present all offers not all offers except.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Mar 21, 2010
Hi Anita and thanks for your follow-up information.

As the others noted, if the agent is setting a "do not cross" line in pricing for your home AND you did not ask that this be set, there is a definite miscommunication with your agent. A good listing agent should provide you with both a list of his/her job duties (often in the form of the listing agreement) and well as his/her marketing strategies for your home.

I find that agents without much experience in this tighter economy tend to use the "tactics" that were once quite prevalent in the 'salad days" of real estate. Here in California, especially back, say, in 2004-5, I would often hear agents tell me that the offers should "start at $X", and, of course, back then when offers fell from the sky like rain, one could "set" a price. Today, things are different and a seller would be foolish not to at least look at every offer that is presented.

Obviously, you originally had confidence in this agent or else you would not have hired him or her--and it sounds like this is a minor issue that can be quickly corrected. Take a few moments to sit down with your agent and make certain that you are both on the same page regarding offers and receipt of offers. Only if the matter is not satisfactorily resolved should you take this to the agent's broker or invoke the provisions of the Code of Ethics or the State's enforcement agencies.

Good luck in your home sales!!

Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 23, 2009
I gather that you are the seller and the agent in question in your Realtor.

The biggest issue that real estate clients complain about is communication.

Some general suggestions that might help you:
1. Realtors' Code of Ethics can be found below
2. Realtors are required to a fiduciary duty to their clients - meaning to protect their interests above their own.
Perhaps she thought by making that statement she was protecting your price? your net profit?

3. Unclear expectations are a big problem in any relationship. How is she doing, aside from your post?
Is she performing as agreed? Is she professional, keeping her commitments, providing you with other words, selling your home?

We receive many posts from sellers unhappy with their Realtors. I don't think that means that most Realtors are bad, Trulia is sort of like the "Dear Abby" for buyers and sellers, so mostly we see the problems.

In most cases (IMHO) the problem arises when the home is not sold, is taking longer, etc. and the seller is frustrated.

The Realtor needs to know why you are selling, when you plan to move, how much you need to net, and any other pertinent facts. The problems arise when the Realtor does not ask the questions, or the seller does not provide clear answers, that problems occur.

My question would be "how did you learn that your Realtor told a potential buyer that you would not accept an offer of $X?

Then I would sit down with your Realtor and review mutual expectations to see if you are on the same side.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 23, 2009
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
Ooooooooh, great question.

An often percieved, harmless statement such as this, could have some very serious implications.

Could it potentially get in he way of a possible offer that may lead to a successful contract? Ouch!!


Bill Eckler
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 23, 2009
I am not a Lawyer and this is not Legal Advice, but three things come to mind:

1. Speak with your Agent's Broker.

2. Bring it up before the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Bureau of Real Estate Professions.

3. See an Attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 22, 2009
the point is i'd consider a lower price and i don't know where she got that info or why she said that. I did not ever tell her to turn away any offers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 22, 2009
Most states require an Agent to "present all reasonable offers, unless otherwise instructed by the Seller."

If the Seller tells the Agent at the time of Listing, "I will not take an offer less than X dollars", or "I do not want to even see an offer that asks me to pay closing costs", etc. then the Real Estate Agent should get those statements in Writing from the Seller. The Agent should include that information in the MLS Description to the other Real Estate Agents.

* Even if you have that in writing and in the MLS, some agent is going to bring you one of those Offers anyway. In this tight market, a Listing Agent should convince the Seller to at least counter such an offer. This is not a time to throw away Buyers.

Best wishes,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 22, 2009
What if the agent provided such information and it isn't true?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 22, 2009
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