Edyta Gryc -…,  in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Why do some agents act so unethical?

Asked by Edyta Gryc - Broker-Associate, Fort Lauderdale, FL Fri Dec 17, 2010

For the last few months I noticed one trend-at least 1 REO listing a day, I won't be able to see because either the key or lockbox or both are missing, or key is broken in lock (it happened today again). I spoke to REO listing agents and buyer's agents and they confirmed that some agents do it in order to stop showings so there is less activity and their offers have less competition. Not only this practice is unethical, but how to stop them from doing it?

Help the community by answering this question:


Hello Edyta. Many agents are unethical because they are greedy and will sell their soul to the devil. However, I believe, in the end, they get paid back. I really believe that "what goes around comes around". The cream will rise to the top and everything else goes to the bottom. You just keep doing the right thing and it will pay off for you.

Nicole Marks Mason, Realtor
Web Reference: http://www.buysellboca.com
4 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 17, 2010
Interesting thought.........

It's important to keep real estate in perspective with other professions.
Politicians, lawyers, doctors, clergy, teaching are all equally capable of producing individuals with poor judgement.

We have experienced this same frustration and reported it to both the listing agent and their broker. In my opinion, this is a serious issue that should be addressed by the local board of realtors.

Mack is on the mark with regards to having proof but with today's technology, these situations should be more easily tracked and followed up on without accusing anyone initially.......in many cases, the solution of a problem is found by making people aware that there is an issue, it is being monitored, and will be dealt with.....


3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 18, 2010
I know the feeling and have noticed the same several times. In my view the only way to stop is to use Supra lock boxes since their activity can be monitored by the listing agent. I discussed the same with a few REO agents and was told they have instructions from the asset manager to use combination locks instead of electronic lock boxes... go figure.

On a positive note, lately I have seen a few electronic lock boxes on REO listings... let's hope the trend continues.

PS: I also hate when i see buyer wandering around the REOs because their 'agent' gave the combination... completely unethical.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 17, 2010
Why do some agents act unethically? Fear.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 18, 2010
It could be another agent (or another buyer's client) that is tampering with the lock or removing the key from the lockbox. To prevent other "bidders" from seeing the house.

It's idiotic that REO asset managers do not REQUIRE an electronic lockbox only accessible by Realtors. It would track who last used the box and the culprit could easily be discovered. And most importantly it would prevent unescorted access by buyers.

I have noticed that some of the manual lockboxes have a phone number (a 3rd party that the listing agent has nothing to do with) on them to call if the lockbox is missing keys or any access problems. Did you call the phone number on the lockbox to report it?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 18, 2010
This is definitely unethical and I also have run across this issue. If this happens again, do not call the agent representing the real estate agency, but call the main office of the real estate agency and ask to speak with the owner. If the broker for the property is the owner of the real estate agency, then just tell him/her that you have run into this issue with other agents and that other agents/brokers have been reported to the Real Estate Commission for not allowing other broker/agents access to the properties.

Lastly, if this is a HUD owned property, then go to the HUD site to see the Management company controlling the property and give them a call to inform them what the broker/agent is doing.

All the best!

Joe Cawley
Partners Investment Properties
Residential and Commercial Real Estate Brokerage
Web Reference: http://www.pipre.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 18, 2010
I believe that the problem is that not all real estate agents are Realtors. Realtors have ethical training and believe that the needs of the buyers and sellers, including banks deserve our best efforts on THEIR behalf, not ours.

You might consider filing a complaint with your local Board of Realtors. They can help IF the listing agent is a member.

Debbie Albert, PA
Keller Williams of the Treasure Coast
Web Reference: http://www.ronanddebbie.net
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 18, 2010
Edyta -
Your initial steps are to report this to the broker and to the local Board.
Web Reference: http://www.321property.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 18, 2010
Edyta, there's no excuse for unethical behavior. However, there is a certain ethical degree of responsibility in reporting unethical behavior - you have to have concrete knowledge, it isn't enough to say, "Well, Mack told me they were unethical."

I think we get enough undeserved flack from hobbyists who spend time on bubble blogs hating real estate agents that we don't have to bring unsubstantiated charges up among ourselves.

When we have substantiated charges, there's a question to ask ourselves - do we better resolve these over the PA system or do we report these to people who can follow through and provide appropriate discipline?

In fact, we may be treading on Realtor(r) ethics violations . . .
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 17, 2010
It seems to me that the best suited person to answer this question would be unethical agents. Anything from anyone else is just speculation. Yes, Mack maybe rubbing off on me...

1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 17, 2010
Mack-some agents like me only suspect and others know for a fact (their fellow realtors told them that they did it).

Actually today, within 30 minutes (from the time listing agent put a SUPRA and checked that everything was OK) until next agent came and reported that the key is broken in lock, somebody broke on purpose a different key-there was one agent that was able to show during that time-- they put a key to the apartment back to SUPRA) I am sorry but I won't believe that this happened accidently. I could understand if this happened once, but I see it too often to think differently. I simply find it annoying that I drive with my clients for half an hour and I cannot get inside and show the property. This happens constantly.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 17, 2010
In our MLS this would be a fineable offense. We must have a functioning keybox on a listing when it goes active. If you see this as a trend and a business strategy, talk to your local officials regarding putting a stop to it. Unethical agents may always be looking for an edge, but those of us who practice with integrity can hold them accountable to the rules, once they exist.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 17, 2010
More training needs to happen when the companies get new agents. It may not stop what is happening at the moment but it will eventually help. There has been a lack of training the past few years.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2012
Even though this is basically a commercial transaction from the listing point of view, it's likely to be a residential transaction from the buyer's point of view.

I think agents that list REOs need to step up their game. Use electronic keyboxes, photograph the house properly, market the house properly. And check in on your listings to see if the locks are being tampered with, et cetera.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2012
The solution, as far as lock boxes, could be Electronic lock boxes to be used by Realtors and combo lock boxes for handymen/service providers/non Realtors....

Meir Aloni & Team

CRS (Certified Residential Specialist)

CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert)

RECS (Real Estate Cyberspace Society)

Successfully selling Broward County since 1986!

Direct phone# 954-338-5220 http://www.WeSellBroward.com

All Star Realty Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 27, 2012
What can I do about possible unethical misconduct between realtors and Homeowner Association President? I recently went to look at one of three condos in a complex where I already own two. The president owns one or two more than me. So maybe 6-8 out of 24 units are owned and not in foreclosure with banks. So, three are not under contract, I go for a showing and conveniently afterwards I get home and all three are off the list. I do not want to buy all of them, I just think the President is corrupt and thinks I might want some expressed interest in this Association or something. I really just wanted to possibly make money off one that was low priced, for good reasoning, major crap-hole. The other is that I want to sell one of mine that is extremely nicer than the foreclosures that were listed and about the same price I originally bought mine from a standard owner, outright. All the while I was there, all of his tenants stayed outside the whole time and stared at my every move with my realtor at the showing. What could be the deal, and who can I complain to about this. Everyone knows that once an offer is made, houses stay on the MLS as contingent, and closing takes up to 30-60 days after offer is accepted.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 26, 2012
I think this question would be a nice blog, why not repost it in the blog section of Trulia, as you are truly interested in Agents responses, whereas this question and answer section of Trulia is for the buying or selling public.

I have not seen this kind of behavior, but then I have not been showing a lot of foreclosures etc., but yes I am assuming that some of these properties are not well taken care of - in general!

Take care! Happy Selling!
Edith YourREaltor4Life and Chicago, Northern Illinois Connection and Northshore Expert
Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 18, 2010
Edyta, did they confirm that they practice unethically, or did they confirm that they suspected other agents practice unethically?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 17, 2010
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