How do you report a possible unethical REO listing agent?

Asked by Wendy, Chicago, IL Wed Feb 6, 2008

I am a real estate agent in Illinois and presented an offer on a bank owned property for my clients. I won't go into to the specifics here, but I have suspicion that our offer was never presented. And now it is showing as sold at a price lower than our offer. Is there anything I can do? The agent is NEVER available and I can only reach his assistants.

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Christopher…, Agent, Hemet, CA
Sun Feb 10, 2008
Tis' frustrating. Dealing with REO's has great benefits but does take patience and persistence. Learn from this one, read all you can in the many forums relating to buying REO's and, try not to get frustrated. I had a similar situation recently but, I was the one with the client who purchased for less than other offers that were "higher". Although price offered by others was higher, their terms were not similar. Ours was a true pr-approved loan with no loan contingency (Buyer was truly pre-approved and could...and would pay cash if they had to AND had no appraisal contingency) the deposit was 10% of the selling price, our inspections had been done prior to offering (No inspection contingency) and no other conditions whatsoever. That being said, the other offers were not similar. A good majority of REO's that enter escrow do not close and lender-owners do not want to deal with re-marketing properties for any longer than they have to. Know what a lender wants to see before making an offer and you will increase your odds.

Did our ordeal stop there? Nope. An agent who thought their great offer went unseen, spent days contacting anyone and everyone they could (REO listing agents regularly employ others to field the hundreds of calls they receive and asset managers do not want to be dealing with agents directly). He contacted anyone that they could find connected to the property to lodge a complaint. When they finally found that their offer was not the best in the lender-owners eyes, the damage had been done. It delayed my clients transaction for 2 weeks (Not too big of a deal) but, more importantly, created quite a name for himself with some pretty large REO agents and asset managers. Do you think that this may cause an issue in the future? I suppose it could.

If you miss a great REO....move on and be better prepared the next time around. The lucky bird gets the worm!
(Luck is when preparation meets opportunity)
2 votes
Julie (Toon…, Agent, Hilton Head Island, SC
Wed Feb 6, 2008
Hi Wendy,

I know how frustrating this is for you and am glad your clients found another house.

If you suspect foul play and this is not the first time this has happened with this particular agent, you may want to file a complaint through the Grievance Committee at your local association of Realtors. As Realtors we live by the Code of Ethics and are under obligation to live by and enforce that Code of Ethics.

If this agent is acting this way towards you, he is probably acting this way with others. You might want to give the chairman of the Grievance Committee or your local executive officer at the Association a call to find out how you need to proceed. This type of behavior is what has given the industry a black eye in the eyes of the public. You would be doing all of us a favor by trying to eliminate this behavior.
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2 votes
Wendy, , Chicago, IL
Wed Feb 6, 2008
Thank you all for your replies, so far! I realize that there could have been other reasons, besides price that my buyer's offer was not accepted. There were just other factors during this entire transaction that leads me to feel that we may not have been represented, that and there are others in my company that have had similar things happen with this particular agent.

And it is just very difficult in that I can never reach the agent. He is always "busy" doing something. That, and both times, when I called and they told me there were multiple offers and to bring the highest and best, and when I called and they told me the bank had accepted an offer...both of these times, I was the one who called - and when I asked why I hadn't gotten a call from them, both times they said they had called me. and that was just not true. There were a few other things that just "weren't right."

I did call and leave a voicemail for the agent asking for documentation showing that the bank rejected our offer. I will find the broker's email and email him/her as well.


And we did move on - and are under contract for another home...but it just is the principal of the situation. AND I agree - OUR REPUTATION IS EVERYTHING. and when we have Realtors like this, we are in trouble! Even if it turns out our offer did get presented and all was on the up and up.....the way that my buyer's were treated in this situation was unacceptable, and I believe that the banks that this Realtor is working for should know what is going on!
1 vote
Cookie Hooper, Agent, Arvada, CO
Wed Feb 6, 2008
First, assume the best and give grace where you can. You never know when you'll be the one on the other end of someone else's assumption and as Realtors, our reputation is everything. Make your Broker aware of the situation. He/ she is there to help.

Next, try sending an e-mail to the agent (careful with your tone- it's hard to come across well in email) letting him/ her know that you would like documentation that your offer was presented. The Seller should have signed that they were rejecting your offer at the bottom of the contract. Give a reasonable time-frame of when you would like to have a response. CC the Broker and your client. (Your client will love knowing that you are doing all that you can for them)

If no response or negative response, you may contact the Real Estate Commission, but be careful that you have all of the facts before you launch a complaint. This action should be used as a last resort.

For the future, note that it is within your rights as a Buyer's Agent to be present when a contract is presented to the Seller. You may not speak or negotiate, but you may be present.
1 vote
Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Wed Jul 27, 2011
TU to Cookie and Christopher,
Exceptional sound guidance in a market segment that is most certainly frustrating.
0 votes
Illinoisucker, Home Buyer, Joliet, IL
Tue Jul 26, 2011
let me guess. Its area wide realty. I am filing a complaint with the Illinois attorney general tomorrow.
0 votes
., , Corona, CA
Tue Aug 19, 2008
Find out which bank ownes the house and try emailing the bank and telling them about the problem you are having with the Real Estate Agent and usually there is a good explanation. Sometimes if the buyer pays cash and can close fast the bank will even take a lower offer than the other offers that are presented.
0 votes
LS, Home Buyer, Dallas, TX
Wed Feb 6, 2008
Sorry I can't provide any answers Wendy but Kudos to Julie Toon! I totally agree with her- especially from the perspective of a potential first time home buyer.
0 votes
Linette Carr…, Agent, Wilmington, DE
Wed Feb 6, 2008
You can speak with his/her Broker first. I don't know how it works in Chicago but in Delaware but in Delaware a seller doesn't have to necessarily take the highest offer. There are other factors to consider. Closing date, deposit, financing, etc. Your offer may have been rejected over another offer because of one of these issues. I just move on and find another home. There are plenty out there and its not worth all of the negative feelings that you live with if you continue to stress over what isn't.
0 votes
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