Agent2Agent in New York>Question Details

Robin Lynch, Other/Just Looking in Westchester County, NY

Disclosing material facts

Asked by Robin Lynch, Westchester County, NY Thu Jan 17, 2008

When asked point blank who the buyer is, can a buyer's agent refuse to give the seller's agent that information in New York State?

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There is no law requiring the name of the buyer to be offered to the selling agent or the seller however, If the sellers requests the name of all buyers entering their property , they can refuse to allow that person in their home. More and more for security purposes, we are requesting the name of the buyer. If the buyer's agent refuses to offer the name of the buyer or just gives a first name and won't give the last, we let the seller make the decision. They usually refuse the showing. There is too much liability on the part of the listing agent if they do not request the name, especially if people live in the house.
As far as the agent, if you give a phony last name to get the appointment or refuse to give the name without consulting the buyer, you may find that the buyer will contact the listing agent direct and you will not be protected because there is no record that you showed that person the home and then they went and made an offer directly with the listing agent or another agent for that matter.
Use common sense.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 19, 2008
I have represented a buyer with a high profile who did not want her identity to be released.

We received a letter from her attorney stating he had repersented the client for x years, and the client had the capacity to buy with sincere interest. We were able to see our selected properties without any difficulty.

The bad news...she didn't buy....:-)
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 20, 2008
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
MVP'08
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sorry, JR... the question was phrased asking about the buyer's agent... i presumed robin meant buyer's agent as in buyer's agency.

you are, of course, correct.. as the listing agent, you can (and should) tell the seller, any information that you are privy to that might be relevant to the transaction.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 19, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
MVP'08
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"I am not authorized to release that information at this time", is consistent with your obligations to your clients.

As I think more about this question, I believe that your seller has no legally valid reason to ask for this information. Other than to determine the financial validity of the offer, the seller has no right to consider the buyer's ethnic background, sex, family status, age or any of the myriad of other protected classes. The only reason your seller could have for asking "who the buyer is" is to determine, in his mind, whether this person is worth of buying his home, or moving into his neighborhood.

I can foresee him using this information to state "hmmm.... that sounds like a muslim name, I don't want to sell to a Muslim, my neighbors would be angry with me"... or something to that effect. Therefore by not being able to tell him any information about the potential buyer, you are, in a way, protecting him from being accused of making a decision based on a fair-housing-issue.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 18, 2008
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
MVP'08
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I am assuming that there were no offers on the property, otherwise the buyer's name would be on the sales agreement. I do not believe they are required to tell you at that point.
Web Reference: http://GailGladstone.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 17, 2008
No, but not wise. Buyer’s agent does not have to disclose identity of buyer. Buyer has the right to purchase real estate anonymously in New York State. This occasionally happens when an investor is purchasing more than one property in an area for development. Subject properties are usually acquired by different entities to that investor. This is one example where a wise seller’s agent will pick up on the local movement and net his client, the seller, a significant higher return on the seller’s investment than a standard sale to market value.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 26, 2008
Thanks for all your answers. It turns out the buyer isn't interested anymore. Our company found out who the potential buyer was. He was one of our clients. His agent worked for our company and left recently amid controversy. For example, trying to expire our listings and taking them with her and changing dates and terms on listings. Knowing that she can be dishonest, I asked her straight out who the buyer was and she refused to tell me. My sellers like honesty and will wait for the right person to purchase their property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 26, 2008
Yes, the buyer's agent can refuse to give the buyer's name for any reason. It can be matters of privacy, fear of discrimination or any other reason. My natural reaction would be to ask the seller's agent why they wanted to know the name and then get the buyer's permission, or refusal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 20, 2008
Right Deborah, we have this happen with homes in the Hamptons, and I guess the Manhattan and LA agents have the same thing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 20, 2008
And of course, you're right, too Elvis! :)
Reading it thru the filter of NYS's rather new buyer agency relationship, I wanted to make sure.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 19, 2008
This is a high end property and my clients would like to know who is interested in purchasing their property.
As an agent, I have to display CCLOAD to my clients. CCLOAD being Care, Confidentiality, Loyalty, Obedience, Accounting and Disclosure. I deal honestly in my transactions. "I can't tell you" to me is not being honest.
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That is correct. If you are the listing agent, and you know the buyers name, you can tell the seller. If you are the selling agent working with a buyer client, you can withold that information from the listing agent. FOr the benefit of Elvis and other agents not from the NY area, buyer agency is pretty rare here.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 18, 2008
As far as i know, and I am in NYS is an agent can withold this information if they are working with the buyer as a client.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 18, 2008
Robin,

I am not familiar with New York real estate law, but I am familiar with high end sellers who want to know who will be entering their home. We have even been asked for financial statements, or a letter from the bank, prior to a showing.

At the same time, the buyer may not wish for his or her identity to be known--for several reasons. Key is the possibility that if they make an offer in their own (well known) name, they may lose negotiating power.

It is often a standoff that must be negotiated.

Good luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 18, 2008
Roberta Murp…, Real Estate Pro in San Diego, CA
MVP'08
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This is a high end property and my clients would like to know who is interested in purchasing their property.
As an agent, I have to display CCLOAD to my clients. CCLOAD being Care, Confidentiality, Loyalty, Obedience, Accounting and Disclosure. I deal honestly in my transactions. "I can't tell you" to me is not being honest.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 17, 2008
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