Shady and Unethical Realtor- can we sue her?

Asked by Julie, Los Angeles, CA Tue Sep 16, 2008

While looking at an overpriced house in default that my husband and I LOVE, a Realtor took down a sign regarding a trustee's sale right in front of us and wouldn't allow me to finish reading it. She then lied to me when I called and asked her for the information and said she didn't know of anything going on with a Trustee's sale. I found out from title that it sold last Tuesday at the trustee's sale she claimed to know nothing about. Yesterday, she told me that she is listing it for the "new owners" for $250K over what it sold for at the Trustee's sale. Do I have any rights here? Thank you!

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Keith Sorem’s answer
Keith Sorem, Agent, Glendale, CA
Tue Sep 16, 2008
It sounds like there were some wheels in motion before you got involved. If you want to see what Realtors are responsible to, check out the Code of Ethics. If you think that she violated the code of ethics, you can file a grievance.

Just based on your post I did not see anything that would be a problem. I think that the TIMING of the sale is a good question. The Realtor's fiduciary duty is to the seller. If she was the listing agent, her duty is to the owner.

Was she representing you?
1 vote
inna ivchenko, Agent, Calabasas, CA
Mon Oct 29, 2012
I'm sorry, I must agree with other agents, if you are not that realtor client, and she represented the owner, she has no duty to disclose you any confidential information( trustee sale day, time, price, default stage, etc.). The Realtor's fiduciary duty is to the client. And guess what: if she represented the homeowner and you( dual agency) who do you think she would protect?
Think about it:
The best interest of buyers and sellers are not one the same. They are naturally an opposing force, do you know what i mean? The seller's a goal to obtain the highest price possible with the most favorable terms. The buyer's opposite goal is: to obtain the lowest price possible and the best terms in favor of the buyer.
How can one Realtor be loyal to both clients and act in the best interest of each client when the goals are clear opposites?
A lot of buyers hope that working with a listing agent they will have some advantage. They might, but do they always?
1 vote
Dyanna, , California
Tue Sep 16, 2008
The realtor didn't do anything wrong, she took down a trustee sale notice. She didn't have to disclose anything to you, you aren't her client. As far as the trustee sale most agents know nothing about the trustee sale, believe me I know nothing about the properties that are going up for sale, there are too many. And as far as listing it at $250k over the purchase price, it is not up to her to determine the price, it is up to the seller whether it be the bank or a private investor. Send me the address and I will look it up for you. I will let you
know if it is a bank or a private investor. If it is a private investor, the property can not be sold using FHA for 3 months, 90 days.

Good Luck!
1 vote
James Wiebe, Agent, Malibu, CA
Sat Mar 9, 2013
When buying property it is always highly advisable to hire your own agent to represent your interests. There are many pitfalls and ways to lose money and time during the purchase of a home. Your agent has a fiduciary duty to see that your needs and desires are represented. It is a good idea to find an agent that will put your needs in front of their own. Always use your own agent, not the sellers! Many states it is illegal for an agent to even try to represent both sides of a contract.

Lawsuits are not the answer. You can sue. It could be very expensive and you could loose all you spend.

Jim Wiebe
direct (310) 589-8469
0 votes
Nina Harris, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Mon Oct 29, 2012
The listing agent's client is the seller. This is the person whom she owes her allegiance to.
0 votes
Monica Der E…, , 90210
Thu Mar 25, 2010
You can surely sue her, but it would be costly and difficult for you to prove damages.
0 votes
., , Los Angeles, CA
Thu Feb 5, 2009
Bus - What up - Give "bus" a thumb - strong answer Outstanding!
Oh yes, Question. . . . Ouch!!!!!
Public forum. Lots of defamatory and libelous hear-say my frustrated and anxious Q& A contributor. Things sometimes happen for a reason, season sleezen!

The motivations can be sincere but misread from various perspectives.
The practice is common for a realtor dialed into a management company. They are working for the trustee and finalizing the theft and recovery of another family life that exists no more.

Likley testing the market for the anticipated trustees sale and sitting tight till confirmation of the transfer back to the trust pending reversion of the asset.

The calling back and "She dont know" part. That translates into "Go away - not now!"

Nothing really wrong as it cannot be sold anyway pending the investment trust requirements for concluding the assets removal. (I am guessing it is a non agency or GSE REO as they would not do this or realtor would not act in such accord). Peace
0 votes
Under The Bus…, , 80202
Wed Feb 4, 2009
Absolutely you can!!!

Housing crash spawns big lawsuits…

Good luck! Let us know how it turns out for you!
0 votes
Shannon, Both Buyer And Seller, Los Angeles, CA
Wed Feb 4, 2009
No. You cannot sue her. Plain and simple you did not suffer any damages.
0 votes
Ryan, , Utah
Tue Sep 16, 2008
oh wow I dont know. That sounds really shady. Im assuming she already had it listed with the bank. If it goes to trustee sale and you buy it there, there is no commission. The bank prolly just bought it back and she is re listing the property. I dont see how you can claim damages since trustee sales are listed in public papers and the court house.

Im not sure of her fiduciary responsibilities to you either. Clearly she was protecting herself and not acting in the best of her client. But that would be their lawsuit not yours. If you really wanted to know about the trustee sale why didnt you just do what the rest of the people on the world would do and call the courthouse. If the bank bought it back just call the bank and make an offer. Up to the bank if they pay her or not. The court will show who bought it. Call them directly. You are acting like something bad happend to you. And it did, the agent is slime. But what are your damages? You dont have any. Call whoever bought it most likely the bank, the court will tell you and how much they paid. And make an offer. You should have been at the trustee sale and the only person you can blame at that is staring at you in the mirror.

16 years mortgage real estate exp
0 votes
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