D51963, Home Seller in Bridgewater, NJ

Is it unethical for a realtor to stop by unannouced when you have a House For Sale by Owner and demand to get in the house?

Asked by D51963, Bridgewater, NJ Wed Sep 29, 2010

I had a realtor stop by my in-laws house with a House for Sale by Owner sign and get out of the car, didn't say Hi and said I'm here with clients and they want to see the house? I said that the house wasn't quite ready yet and was cut off with her grinding her teeth at me and said I'm with clients and they want to see the house. She then walked past me and headed toward the door and said By-law you have got to let me know the house. I called her work and reported her and the broker was not helpful.

Help the community by answering this question:


This agents behavior was rude, unprofessional, and yes, unethical. Please don't judge all Realtors with this one gals actions.

Very few Realtors that I know would do such a thing.

As a homeowner selling a house, YOU are the boss, and YOU make the rules as to when you will show your home, and WHEN and HOW MUCH you'll sell it for...

On a different note, if you were to get a FULL PRICE offer, you don't even have to SELL your home....this is something that many people do not understand.

Remember, this is YOUR house, your private property and YOUR RULES!

Again, apologies for the RUDE agent!!!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 3, 2010
I am shocked at the behavor of that agent. It is hard enough to approach sellers trying to sell their home without a realtor as it is, not to mention dealing with bad agents giving us bad reputaions. I as many other agents do our best not to offend future and potenial clients.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 6, 2010
As with all professions, it's a few folks like the Realtor you describe, that makes the rest of us cringe.

To answer your question, her behavior was totally unprofessional and rude and this applies to a home that is for sale by owner or one that is listed with a company. It is never professional behavior to show up unannounced with clients, or alone, and demand access...especially not in this day and time. I do not practice in New Jersey, but can't imagine a "law" that would have given anyone the right to enter your home without your consent. You were entirely correct in calling the broker and at the very least should have been offered an apology.

Good luck to your in-laws on a quick sale of their home!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
That is totally trespassing! wow!

I am also currently selling a house in NJ and I have the BEST realtor ever! Polite, avaiable 24/7, she listens, motivated etc..

Let me know if you want to relist with mine.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
Surely D51963 has sold their home by now. This issue is two years old. Its silly for people to be answering this question from 2010. Trulia can't we close old questions to new comments? Thanks!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 6, 2012
Not all Realtors are like this. If you file a written complaint with the Real Estate Commission, they are obligated to investigate the complaint.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 4, 2012
Well I have one for you Remax has an agent named Maria Zuluaga and she was told she could show my duplex at 2pm and she shows up at 1:15 with potencial buyers, I was in the shower at the time and my daughters boyfriend answers the door, we have a large dog and he told them to stay at the enternace while he got the parent and put the dog away, well as he put the dog away she decided that it was ok to walk thru the house without permission and she know there a minors, my 4 year old was there and that is not the worst part they came in my room as i was getting out of the shower no towel, no panties just me and my glory.. and didn't even annouce herself, I had to ask who the hell are you and get out of my house do we not have rights.. this totally violated me and my children this is my home i pay rent and I am taking it up with the Kansas commission.. So don't use REMAX unethical
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 26, 2012
Please don't judge all Realtors by this unprofessional, rude person. You did the right thing by calling her brokerage agency, to report her bad behavior. Visit my website to meet a professional realtor: http://www.somersetcountyexperts.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 17, 2011
To the Martinsville Seller - as an agent that does business in your area, I am so sorry to hear about your negative experiences. You remind us that we should always conduct ourselves as if "someone's watching" and/or "listening". There are all sorts - but there are good agents out there that help bring sellers and buyers together. If I can be of service along the way, don't hesitate to reach out to me.

I wish you the best of luck with your home sale.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 4, 2011
This must have been the same realtor who called my cell phone when they saw the For Sale sign in front of my home in Martinsville. This RUDE and UNPROFESSIONAL realtor had the nerve to call me and tell me that she would "never show my home." She also told me that "you have no business listing your home FSBO!" and "the real estate industry will put FSBO out of business just like they did Foxtons!" OR maybe it was the other realtor who stood in my basement telling a potential buyer lies about what was required for our well system (when she didn't know I was listening). OR maybe it was the realtor who stood in my kitchen during an Open House (thinking I was another realtor there to preview the house) and told the other realtor about a home with a defect that they weren't going to tell an interested buyer about. Or maybe it was that same realtor who told the other realtor that they were not going to show a house that they had a listing contract with because the buyer wouldn't agree to lower the price. "Let's see how long the seller will go before lowering the price like I recommend."

As you can see I've had a horrible experience with realtors and I'm hard-pressed to believe that any one of them can gain my trust to sell my home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 4, 2011
Wow!! If that is really what happened, then you most certainly did the right thing by reporting her - you may also go the the Board of Realtors if you are not happy with how the broker handled it. Although we certainly want to show our clients everything that is on the market, it is most unusual for any agent to 1) barge into a persons private home unannounced, and 2) risk not getting a commission as they did not get a signed agreement from that seller to agree to pay them if a transaction were to happen as a result of the showing. Please know that this is not the way most, if not all, agents do business - and I am going to apologize on behalf of all REALTORS® IF this in fact was one of "us". Sorry for your experience - it's certainly not the norm --Lynn

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 7, 2010
The realtor should have called first and asked if it was ok to show the house then or if not then she or he could have made an appointment when it was convenient for both parties.
That is usually the way it is done when a home is listed by a realtor. No one can barge in unannounced unless it is vacant
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 7, 2010
The fact that the Realtor would approach the FSBO is great in my book, but the technique and aggressive approach leave quite a bot to be desired. I always educate my Buyer clients to let me know if they become aware of a FSBO that may be of interest. I make the initial contact with the property owner and arrange a convenient time to view the property. I have worked successfully with many FSBO's in different capacities and find there usually can be a good relationship where they typically appreciate the professionalism and experience a Realtor brings to the table.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 6, 2010
I neglected to say that no agent should be pushey nor rude when requesting a preview. The owners should be very strict in allowing only when there might be an appointment made by the agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 6, 2010
I am an agent and I have been requested by my clients to check into a FSBO. I personally would think the seller would be excited to have a possible buyer interest. To me there is nothing wrong with that.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 6, 2010
That realtor was not only unethical but very rude. I always call any FSBO first to ask permission from the owner if I have a client that might be interested.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 6, 2010
This agent was certainly out of line regardless of what state you are in, I am sure. Very inappropriate behavior! My contact with a FSBO is always by phone first and politely ask permission and discuss how I can help, who wants to look, and how it will help the home owner. The audacity of people never ceases to amaze me...but when it is in my profession, I take it very personally. More action should be taken regarding poor personal behavior in addition to our already known ethics, guidelines and laws.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 6, 2010
It's unethical for ANYONE to demand to get in a house! FSBO's need to know that realtors are working with buyers who are pre-qualified and ready to go. We protect our buyers interests by comparing prices and considering the condition of the home. If the FSBO is willing to disclose the price and work with the agent on commission, it is to their benefit. The owner, of course, has the right to deny entry to anyone that they feel is unwelcome in their home. Ethics and Rudeness are two different issues.
Web Reference: http://www.LJNJhomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 6, 2010
I see that you are in New Jersey, I'm not sure about the laws their but here in Los Angeles we do not have any type of law where a real estate agent has the right to barge into a private home and demand to see it even if it is offer for sale by the owner. I would also imagine that New Jersey doesn't have any such law either. I would even bet my reputation as an agent (and a decent human being) that no state in the US has such a law. It sounds to me like you had an encounter with a very unprofessional, rude and possibly NEW real estate agent. As most agents on here before me have done I will do as well......I apologize for her behavior, furthermore, I apologize for her brokers behavior as well! If you choose to use a real estate agent in the future, stay away from her and her company. Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 4, 2010
A professional, period, should be courteous and make a good name for herself with her service and behavior...this one clearly did not from what you describe. As a Realtor I have had, more than once, and buyer see a sign on our outings and ask about seeing it. I'll call the owner on the spot to see if there is an option to accommodate a buyers "quick show request". 100% of the time a FSBO will let us through because of the professionalism and communication extended their way. All Realtors should do this and hopefully most of us do and you won't experience this again. A Realtor will have to inquire with the owner, prior to showing, if the owner will cooperate with a compensation agreement if the buyer likes the home and is willing to offer. it shouldn't be awkward for the owner or the buyers that have interest. Our clients depend on us to ask the right questions, treat all parties with respect, and position them for the best outcome related to their goals. Sorry for the bad experience.
Best of luck on your sale.

Laura Myers
Keller Williams Arizona Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 2, 2010
not unethical just kinds stupid , she should have asked your permission and if it was a convenient time. or asked if this was not convenient could she come back at a later time. also you don't have to show it and are not obligated to pay a commission unless you agree to it.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 2, 2010
I think she was pushy and rude to push past you into the house. It is your house and you have the right to show it or not. I am sorry this happened to you and I hope that future agents with clients that drive past and decide they want to see the house are more polite. I know a fantastic agent in NJ named Laura Gianotta in case you decide you want to use a Realtor. I think she is the best and VERY polite! Best wishes on selling your home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 2, 2010
I do not know if it is unethical but it is trespassing and you could have called the police. There is no law that makes you have to let her show the home. If she was smart which I feel safe ruleing that out she would have called or stopped by and asked if she could do a one time showing and worked out a deal that she would get paid if they buy the home but other then that you have no reasson to let her do anything.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 1, 2010
Wow, that is ridiculous! Unprofessional agents like this give the rest of us a bad name. Her behavior was completely rude and inexcusable. No law allows anyone to enter your house against your will. Realtors are required to follow the showing instructions in the listing, which normally requires a courtesy call prior to showing, or a scheduled appointment depending on what the seller requests. You may want to report her to your local Multiple Listing Service and the NJ Deptartment of Licensing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
Wow. There is no law that you needed to show her and her clients your home. Extremely rude, highly unprofessional, and I'm not surprised it left a bad taste in your mouth. If the broker wasn't of any help, you might want to try reporting her behavior to your state's Department of Real Estate. Sorry to hear that your home sale was tainted by such an experience.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
It's unethical, it's rude, and it's untrue. There is no law that mandates you let her show your house. Clearly she should have made an appointment.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
I don't know about unethical....to me it sounds like she was just plain rude. She should have asked if this was a good time to show the home, being that she had clients in the car. If not, she should have set an appointment to come back at a convenient time for all to show your in-laws home. And being that the sign said "For Sale By Owner" she should have confirmed the fact that your in-laws would be willing to cooperate with a broker, in other words, be willing to pay a selling commission to the buyers agent. I am sorry you and your family had this experience with an obviously rude agent.

Carol Taylor
Web Reference: http://www.carolataylor.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
I would say that anyone demanding to get in someone's house goes far beyond being unethical. FSBO, or not!

What ever happened to requesting to see the property, or scheduling an appointment?
Web Reference: http://www.golftobeach.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
Oh my, that was definetly unethical & unprofessional! Any FOR SALE sign only entitles those who want to see the house to call and schedule an apointment. As an owner you have a right to allow or not a showing to proceed. She was, definetly, "adjusting" the law for her convinience. Anyone who enters a house outside of OH time and w/o permission of the owner is trasspassing - and that is not in the category of a lawful act, so she needs to be straignen out either by her broker or Real Estate Board.
Web Reference: http://boc-re.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
I have to admit this is completely rude on their part. First, you are the homeowner fo the home and have the right to NOT let anyone you do nto want into your home or on your property. The realtor si completely wrong in telling you that you have to let them show the home. because even if they showe the home and their buyer wants it unless you have an agreement; you are under no obligation to pay a commission to that Realtor.

i would report that Realtor to the Real Estate commission and board. It is completely unethical and rude of the realtor to perform such an act.
Web Reference: http://www.davedicecco.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
As the home owner you do not have to let anyone in your home upon demand whether they are potential buyers or an agent. just becuase you have a for sale sign doesnt mean you are holding a 24 hour a day open house, you may want to add by appointment only to your sign to ward off other parties from doing this.

What she did may not be against the law or unethical but definately is rude. You were right to contact the broker, hopefully you did it in writing. If you told the agent no, and she pushed past you and went in, she did break the law by entering your home when you said no.

You should know all Realtors are not like this, as with any profession you get some who are very unprofessional.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
I would definitely have to say that it is extremely unprofessional, rude and obnoxious. It is one thing to see a For Sale By Owner Sign and stop to introduce yourself and offer a home owner assistance should they need it in the future, but by no means use the law and twist it to her means (she was probably referring to the Fair Housing Act). I hope that those buyers were humiliated and dropped her as their agent like a hot potatoe.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 30, 2010
D51963,What she did is unethical and completely unprofessional. It is unethical because she lied . There is no such law. Unless she was referring to the fair housing act . That law states you can not discriminate against someone who wants to buy your home.There is no law that I know of that states you have to let a Realtor see your home .
She was unprofessional because of her rude and boorish behavior
As for who to complain to. Here is the site for the Dept. of Banking and Insurance. They are the agency who licensees agents in N.J. :
Web Reference: http://robertsuarez.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Definitely unprofessional behavior by this Agent! I think though that your question highlights a larger issue for FSBO owners though -- your Inlaws may get many inquiries (both via phone and people ringing the doorbell) -- and they are not going to really know who the people are. You didn't mention whether your inlaws are elderly or not -- you may wish to advise them to use caution in letting prospective Buyers into their home. When appointments are set up in advance, you can arrange for another family member to be discreetly present to ensure that the visitors don't start wandering into rooms "unchaperoned". Also consider advising them to tuck any valuables away during showings -- cash, jewelry, cell phones, iPods, etc. -- things that can be easily pocketed. Good luck with the sale.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
How rude!!! You are in no way obligated to allow a Realtor into your private property. I personally would have asked her to please leave and if she didn't I would have called the police for tresspassing. The nerve of people Realtor or not. Specifically if you're not even offering a fee to a Realtor for bringing a buyer I can't even imagine what her motivation was. I appologize on behalf of all the "professional" Realtors out there for her completely "unprofessional" behavior.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Certainly this was an terse moment for you, but you indicated that the house was for sale. The agent may have been impolite, yet the agent was helping you in the process by bring a potential buyer. You can determine whom ever you want to see your property. Also, you could have required appointments only. By calling the her broker, she was reminded of her poor attitude, but there was not much else the broker could do for you. The negative part is, now that broker and her company are unlikely to show your property to any of their clients. The reason real estate is sold somewhat seamlessly is the cooperation between brokers and their clients, the buyers and sellers. Hope all goes well for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
What kind of help were you looking for, D51963?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
I'm appalled by your experience. You never have to let anyone into your home EVER. Realtor or otherwise! And unless she had a appointment, I would not have let her in. Thankfully you called her broker. I hope she gets reprimanded but its unlikely. If she did not have your in-laws sign a broker cooperation agreement (assuming it’s not on the MLS) she does not have the right to a commission either. I'm sorry you experienced this horrible situation and please know that not all Realtors act in this disgraceful fashion.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
How rude and unprofessional. Some agents responses have wrongly assumed that this home had an Open House sign, but I see nothing in your information to so indicate. Then they should include letting an agent show the home as well as anyone else coming to an Open House, but this does not seem to fit at all. A For Sale sign is NOT an automatic appointment to show at any time.

Now to some helpful advice. Since you did not get any satisfaction from the broker, I suggest that you call or contact the MLS office and/or the state Real Estate New Jersey Realtors Association and/or the state licensing board. You can either search for that contact information online or call the local MLS office who should provide that information to you. If no one will give you the contact information to protest this rude activity by a real estate agent, then contact me via my website below, and I will try to help you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Hi there, Jeanne Feenick back just to say - don't you feel better knowing that your gut instinct was correct - I am still shaking my head about this one - it certainly highlights the value of agents that conduct themselves like pros, but behavior like this really diminishes the image of agents overall, something we surely do not need.

You are right, you are 100% right, and the agent that bombarded into your in-laws home is in the wrong. The feedback from the agents here - from NJ and all over the country confirms it.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
I don't know about unethical, but rude for sure!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
She had no right to enter your home without your permission. The proper thing to do would have been to schedule an appointment with the owners at a time that was convenient for both parties.
There is no law that states that you have to let her know the house. That's absurd!
Unfortunately, one bad apple can spoil it for the whole bunch, but I can tell you that that is not normal behavior and most agents would never be so rude.
Web Reference: http://www.dianeglander.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
I'm appalled by your in-laws experience with the very unprofessional agent.
One of the first things I tell my sellers is; never let anyone, including real estate agents, into your home without a confirmed appointment.
Most of the other responses are correct. Her behavior was unethical and unprofessional. Since you didn't get any satisfaction from her the broker I would recommend contacting the local board of realtors and filing a complaint against the agent and the broker.

I'm truly sorry for this negative experience and I hope you won't judge all real estate agents/realtors based on the rude behavior of this one bad apple.

Good luck with the sale.

Linda Misinkavitch
Realtor/Sales Representative
Weichert Realtors
Cherry Hill Office
(609) 280-2807
(856) 424-7758 ext 132
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Even a house FSBO should only be viewed by appointment or during an open house. A sign in the yard does not give an agent permission to barge into your home. I'm not sure the term 'unethical' applies but rude sure does. The broker should have been more polite when you called. Remember good and bad news travels by word of mouth.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
You never have to let anyone into your home, even if it is FSBO. You are in charge at all times. The agent was very rude, but I do not know if unethical should be in there.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010

If the home "wasn't quite ready" for the open house it probably was not a good idea to have the open house sign out. At the time the signs are places, the general public is given the impression that "all is well" and the public is welcomed.

As for the rude conduct.....the real estate world is no different from any other profession when it comes to having a number of unethical and unprofessional people. You did the right thin by reporting the event to her broker and as Brian has pointed out, you can take this to the next level by contacting the local board of realtors for the purpose of filing a complaint.

Good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Wow that is a lot of nerve. It is not unethical for the agent to stop by unannounced however they have no right to enter your home with out your permission. It was unethical for them to say there is a by-law which mandates they let you know the house. This type of behavior is not acceptable and totally against the Realtor Code of Etthics. I would notifiy the Board of Realtors or the State Real Estate Commission for your area and file a complaint.

Any time you have a question about your listing I would encourage you to contact a Realtor in your area and "pick" their brains for helpful ideas. Most Realtors realize the benifit of helping folks sell their home and are glad to assist, with the hope of a referral down the road or just positive feedback to others.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Unethical? Maybe - plain obnoxious, definitely! As others have already said, there is no law requiring you to let her "know the house"...

Good luck with the potential sale - it's a tough market out there!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
It is unethical & YOU DON'T have to let anyone into your house without an appointment unless you have let others come in without an appointment, reason being this can be viewe as discrimination. These matters are delicate thats why its always best to have a professional realtor with as many designations to help assist you sell your home. I am sorry that you were bullied ,but you can call or e-mail the local Real estate board and file an ethic's complaint or call the state licensing board and file a complaint with them. There is no excause for this behavior and someone telling you stating.." BY-Law" might be brought up on other charges like practicing law without a license. Realtor's need to be very carefull how they quote real estate rules & regulations and refrain from using the term by law since we are not lawyers. That alone is a serious offense.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
Unbelievably bad behavior bordering on criminal tresspass. I would file a complaint with the real estate commission and the Board of Realtors for your area. It is people like this that give our profession a poor image. We need to do something to get practitioners like this out of the business.


Marc Paolella
Relocation Director/Appraiser
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
Coolest map-based home search: http://www.marcpaolella.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 29, 2010
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