Home Selling in Saint Louis>Question Details

C, Home Seller in Saint Louis, MO

Help! My house was being held hostage by an unscrupulous broker and liar.

Asked by C, Saint Louis, MO Mon Jun 2, 2008

I had my home listed with an agent who I trusted and liked and when she left the company her broker kept the listing even though I told him I wanted him to release the listing since I didn't know or trust him.....well..he wouldn't release it and when i finally talked to him he lied and told me the other agent had tried to charge me a ridiculous amount of money that didn't make any sense, but because he is on the board of ethics in St.Louis I believed him at first (he likes to point that out to people) but he was lying. Apparently a lot of consumers and realtors know how sleazy he is. I've heard a lot of bad things about him now that I have had an issue with him. Can I get a lawyer and go after him? Also should I go through the board of realtors to file a complaint? A broker who is on the board of ethics should not be allowed to lie and behave so dishonorably.

Help the community by answering this question:



To say that hiring a lawyer will not do you any good is incorrect. Hiring a lawyer could expedite the broker's release of your contract if he thinks you're seriously going to pursue him. And a lawyer may find that in fact, the broker did violate fiduciary responsibilities or other terms of the contract.

That said, contact the local board and file an ethics complaint. Anyone who requires membership in the local board will hate to receive a notice that they are being investigated for an ethics complaint. And throughout this process, document every single communication you have with anyone regarding this issue. Including sending emails/letters to document any verbal discussions.

Good luck,

1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 2, 2008
If you wish to file a complaint, call the St. Louis Association of Realtors at 314-576-0033. There is no charge to file the paperwork and the complaint will be reviewed by a grievance committee. The Realtor in question will not be allowed to review a complaint against him.
Good luck to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 18, 2008
Board of ethics? Ar a Realtor, we all are accontable for a code of ethics, you don't have to e on a "board" for that. I would go straight to the Missouri Real Estate Commission and Board of Realtors. Is this a really small company or a large Corporation? Put your complaint in writing and withdraw your home from the market. Remember, if you have to tell and remind people how great a Realtor you are.....you probably are not good at all.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 10, 2008
As a Former Broker/Owner, it seldom goes well when a Broker wants to force the terms of the Listing Agreement with a Seller, when the Agent they had the relationship with in the first place, leaves the Company. In addition, typically when an Agent leaves, you want to leave on great terms, so you allow the Agent to take their listings with them. However, that doesn't always happen across the board, therefore you then need to determine your options, like possibly speaking with an attorney first if the property is still listed. Then going to the SLAR (St. Louis Association of Realtors) or MAR (Missouri Association of Realtors).
What I am not certain is if the Broker you spoke with was the actual Broker/Owner of the Company or the Broker/Manager. If not the Broker/Owner, then call the office and ask to speak with the Owner to see what you can work out, if you are still listed with them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 4, 2008
C - simple rule of thumb to follow:

If you have a question about a specific property, or the market, or market conditions - or Real Estate in general - talk to your agent.

If you have a question or concern regarding a legal question - consult a lawyer.

I don't know if it's a fear, or not wanting to allow anyone else inside thier little area of control, or what - but realtors seem to be dead set against a client ever talking to a lawyer, unless it involves something that they legally cannot help you with. I see it ALL THE TIME. Your realtor will sit there and say "trust me, i know what i'm doing - lawyers will just cost you more money". Then if you find yourself in a jam all of the sudden it's "i'm not allowed to give legal advice, i can't help you, talk to your attorney."

My advice would be to consult a lawyer, find out what your rights are, find out what you can or can't do based on your contract, and go from there. I would also reach out to the board of ethics regardless and file a complaint. A few people on here have thrown out some hypotheticals - but reality is they have no idea what your contract states, and even if they did - legally they really can't give you a whole heck of a lot of advice about it (since they're not allowed to practice law, and advising you what you can do legally would be giving legal advice).
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 3, 2008
Jeffrey. If C wants to know whether he has a valid claim against the broker, by all means, he should see an attorney. Based on the facts stated in C's question, it sounds like the listing is no longer with the broker now ("My house was being held hostage" suggests that it's no longer held hostage. Otherwise, C should have said that the house "has been" held hostage). C did not state any facts that suggest that he suffered monetary damages that he could prove. If the broker acted unethically, the ethics committee is the place to deal with that. Hiring an attorney will just cost money and it won't get the house sold. If I were C, I would shift my focus back on selling my house and let the ethics committee do its job.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 3, 2008
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in New Castle, DE
The advice given by other respondents is good advice. Start with the Board of Realtors, they (we) do take our Code of Ethics seriously and want all members to act with only the highest of ethical standards. The people at the board will tell you how to file a complaint with the Missouri Real Estate Commission. The commission will investigate any and all complaints. You should always read and understand any agreement you sign with any agent/broker. If the terms aren't clear to you, ask questions and make sure it is explained to your satisfaction. You certainly have the right to consult an attorney and a letter from the attorney might be enough to get your listing relaesed by the broker.

Often brokers will realize that a relationship of trust must exist between a client and the agent and/or broker. If that relationship does not exist, it's very difficult to bring a deal to successful closing so there's no point in trying to continue to insist on maintaining an agreement with a client that obviously is not working.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 3, 2008
Hello C. I understand that you are not happy because the broker would not release the listing and you feel he lied to you. While it is true that the listing agreement is with the brokerage not the individual agent, many brokers will not keep a listing hostage and they'll honor the client's request to release the listing. Since the broker was legally not obligated to give up the listing, hiring a lawyer would not do you any good. You can certainly file a complaint if you believe that he lied to you, but unfortunately, I don't think it will do a lot of good. You'd probably also have to drag the former agent into this to prove that he lied to you and she may not want to deal with that as she probably still doing business in the same community. Sorry you had an unpleasant experience and I hope your next experience is better and I also hope your house sells for a good price.
Best regards,
Ute Ferdig
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 2, 2008
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in New Castle, DE
OK, the contract you signed when you listed your home says that you listed with the broker, not the agent. When an agent leaves a company, the listing stays with the broker. You need to read your contract. You have the right to complain to the Board of Realtors about any Broker or Agent that is a member of their Board. They can provide instructions on how to complain to the Missouri Real Estate Commission about any Broker or Agent who is licensed with the State of Missouri.
Web Reference: http://www.yourstlhome.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 2, 2008
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