Home Selling in 78749>Question Details

Daniel Thomp…, Home Buyer in 78734

Is it normal for a buyer's agent to write disparaging comments to the seller's agent? I thought the buyers agent would want to sell, not

Asked by Daniel Thompson, 78734 Wed Aug 25, 2010

discourage. We had an offer on our home only to find out the buyer's agent is writing very disparaging comments about our home, and about the appraisal process. I understand trying to secure a good deal for your clients, but not to be insulting about the property and even the neighbors. Is this normal or does this cross some ethical boundary?

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Some of the answers you have received are misleading or just plain wrong.

The Realtor Code of Ethics OBLIGATES us to honor our commitment to our CLIENTS (the buyer is the client of this agent) and that commitment is one of undivided loyalty, obedience, honesty, accountability and confidentiality. We also have an obligation of honesty & fairness to all parties but make no mistake about it, the buyer's agent is to represent the buyer and to try to get the buyer the best possible price and terms and to OBEY all legal directives of the Buyer. We absolutely DO NOT treat all parties equally; to do so would be a direct violation of the Code of Ethics.

You don't know what the Buyer may be directing their agent to do but one thing might be to be brutally honest in their opinion of your home and it's value. The buyer agent will bring all of their knowledge and experience to bear on behalf of their buyer/client. If the buyer's agent has an issue with the house or with the appraisal it is their DUTY to communicate that. You may not like it but put yourself in the buyers shoes for a minute - wouldn't you want your agent to do the same for you? Ask yourself this question and see if this alleged "insult' was really just an honest opinion about condition, the neighborhood and/or value.

I hope this gives you some additional choices of what to think about this alleged "slight". Don't think the worst. My advice would be to work with and communicate thru your own agent. Let them do their job and represent your interests. They will counter any objections with facts or find a way to eliminate them and try to move forward, in good faith, to consummate a deal.

Good luck! Write back and let this forum know how you made out.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 2, 2010
Some people tend to be more offensive in negotiations. However I have found its better and more productive to be more cooperative. Why not help everyone to feel good about the transaction. When agents make the deal so challenging it can be uncomfortable at the closing table. Generally you see this behavior when agents have not refined their negotiation skills. I wish you the best of luck on this deal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 6, 2011
buyer's agent is most likely just trying to negotiate the price down or use certain defects to justify a low offer. though to be fair, just cause your feelings may be hurt doesn't mean that the buyer's agent is incorrect. he just may need to be a little nicer
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 6, 2011
Don't feel insulted. Sellers want to sell for the highest price and buyers want to buy for the lowest. Since both can't get what they want, this agent is just trying to get you to lower the price. They may know one another very well (or not) but appearing adversarial is a ploy to get you to lower the price. These buyers may want the home at a much lower price than offered. While I would not advise someone to be rude and disparaging to your listing agent, it may sometimes work for this buyer's agent to get what he wants in terms of price. Let you agent handle this and don't get emotional about it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 8, 2010
Without knowing specifics it is hard to judge. There is a different between unethical and illegal. The unfortanate thing is some people ethics are not up to the standard of others. They can look out for their buyer and do it with class.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 8, 2010

Not unethical, but it seems downright bad practice. If you set a tone for the transaction that is adversarial, there is little hope of gaining any good will for your client. Sounds to me like your agent has bad people skills. There isn't any benefit that I can see in taking this tact.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 8, 2010
I say consider the old saying "If you can't say something nice, zip it!" Insulting the seller is in bad form in my opinion. The seller has no control over the appraisal or appraisal process. This is a good example of why all communication should/must go through your Realtor. I wish you the best of luck!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 30, 2010
ALL real estate agents are NOT REALTORS. Would kind of defeat the designation that we as committed agents pay to be members. There are way too many judgments on this topic with too little facts. Appraisals can make or break deals. We have all seen "high" appraisals and "low" ones. Sounds like the appraiser on this property came in high. The buyer's agent thought it was wrong and said so. If the buyer's agent was defamatory about the neighbors, that could be an issue. Also, is this a "My agent told me this is what the other one said" situation?

It is important to keep in mind the desired outcome at all times in negotiations. Buyer's want lowest price, Seller's want highest. If you have an appraisal that is high, keep it. The buyer's agent can find another property for his client if the offer is not accepted. Personally, in this market, I don't care how high an appraisal comes in as it will not change what my clients are going to pay. It's not like it's the only property for sale. As a listing agent an appraisal that is high is a plus for the seller in getting higher offers approved for financing.

As an agent on either side of a deal, I prefer to let the nuances of the negotiations be expressed to the clients in a "bottom line, matter-of-fact" way and as simply as possible. "The buyer's agent thinks the appraisal is too high" is one way to say that. It is important to remain emotionally detached from the situation to have the clearest thinking and logic.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 9, 2010
As others have said this in not normal practice nor professional. REALTORS subscrice to a Code of Ethics and depending on the remarks I'd check with the Austin Board of Realtors (ABOR) to discuss this matter. It is possible depeding on the remarks you can file a formal complaint with the ABOR. Complaints are actually reviewed and acted on based on the merrit of the complaint. ABOR is one of the few who actually review and process claims against it's membership. Unfortunately all real estate agents are REALTORS, ABOR can also answer that question for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 9, 2010
Sorry, you had to deal with an agent who is not acting in a professional manner.

This should not of happened. We should treat all parties in a transaction equal.

This agent seems to have stuck her/his foot in her mouth.

Agents like this give us good agents a bad name.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 26, 2010
Agree with prior posters, no, no, no, an agent should not conduct herself this way. The buyer's agent's job is to look out for the best interests of her client, and so she can certainly guide and provide the benefit of her knowledge and experience. But writing disparaging comments is not a good thing - and you mention that included comments about the neighbors - that is really not a good thing and does cross a line.

Generally speaking, we can talk about property - but not about people.

Follow your instincts -if you feel that the agent crossed a line, then do call her manager/broker to discuss. You may be doing her a favor really.

Good luck to you - keep your focus on selling your home, price it correctly and your buyer will come right along.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 25, 2010
Dear Mr. Thompson

No it is not a normal practice -depending on what those remarks were- it may be an ethical issue. Just ask your agent to handle the matter professionally and stick to the facts. Perhaps the buyer's agent is making assumptions which are unwarranted and unnecessary

Best of luck- sorry you are having difficulty.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 25, 2010
Unfortunately not all agents are created equal. I would give the Buyer's agent broker a call or drop them a note to let them know what happened. From the sounds of it, at the very least, there was a professional boundary crossed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 25, 2010
Unfortunately there are bad apples in every profession that give the rest a bad name!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 25, 2010
It is normal for the owner's of a property to find some comments about their personal property to be indelicate or slightly offensive. Without having specifics of the comments it would be hard to judge the situation. It is personal to you and business to the professionals. What does YOUR agent think of the whole situation and what is their advice. I am sure they are "handling" it.

Warren P. Wilcox, Realtor
Classic Texas Properties
(512) 923-8161 / 609-8517
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 25, 2010
Ultimately Daniel, "professionalism" can be your own judgment. It sounds like a case scenario of an Agent being unprofessional and you caught wind of it.

If you caught wind of it through that Agent's own mistake, feel free to put that Agent in check! That's just business 101 and we are all accountable for our actions, don't you agree?

As Agents, we do have a fiduciary duty to treat all parties fairly in a transaction, while keeping our clients' best interest in mind first and foremost.

If you feel it is a case scenario of ethics being broken, advise with your Broker on recourse.
If you feel it is simply "unprofessional", then have yours as you desire.

My personal encouragement? Don't let anyone bring you down a level. Sometimes it hard to stay on higher ground, but your efforts will likely pay off elsewhere.

Sorry, on the behalf of REALTORS.
Web Reference: http://www.ShawnMon.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 25, 2010
Hello Daniel,
It is perfectly normal for flaws to be pointed out in a negotiating process. However the agent should be respectful at tall times. If you think they have crossed the line contact the agents broker.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 25, 2010

No, it is not normal. While it may not cross any ethical boundaries, it is poor business practice. It is the fiduciary duty of a buyer's agent to represent the best interest of their client - upsetting the seller is not in the buyer's best interest. While it is perfectly reasonable to comment on the condition of the property as part of the negotiating process or to take issue with the adjustments made or the comparables used in an appraisal there is no excuse for the sort of negativity that you describe.

I am sorry that you have had this experience. Best of luck with the situation.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 25, 2010
Hi Daniel - Listing agents often ask for feedback from buyer's agents and buyers. Even into the negotiating process, comments might be made regarding what is of value to a buyer and what is not regarding a particular home (i.e. my client appreciates this home, but is only willing to pay so much for this home given the size/location of the lot, etc). The trick is to try to give feedback in a respectful manner and remember that to the seller, this house is not just a product on the market, is a their home. Making comments about the neighbors is treading on very slippery ground. We absolutely have an ethical obligation to stay away from making comments regarding race, religion, familial status, etc.
That being said, when I work with a buyer, I am not looking to "sell" a house, but to work in partnership with the buyer to find a home that fits his/her needs. If the house or neighborhood doesn't fit the buyer's needs, it is time to move on. Best of luck on your offer.
Joy Downing, Realtor(R), Barton Harris Realty, Austin Texas 78748
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 25, 2010

Sorry to hear that, it is hard to say anything, if you have a problem you shoul talk with the buyers agent broker, that may help.
Good Luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 25, 2010
Without knowing the entire situation, I can't say that it crosses any ethical boundaries. The buyers agent has not revealed confidential information about his clients, defrauded anyone, etc. It is very normal for agents to point out deficiencies in a property, especially when negotiating a price because those deficiencies or issues DO matter and should play a role in price. The buyers agent does want a sale, but only if it is the right home and best deal for their client. As REALTORs and agents licensed in Texas, we are required to place our clients interests above our own - even above our own financial interests. We can't push a buyer into a bad situation just to get a paycheck. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 25, 2010
It's hard to comment on this without specifics. As an agent we have a fiduciary responsibility to represent our clients best interests over everything else but that does not give anybody the right to be disrespectful to others.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Aug 25, 2010
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