There are always two sides to every story, so I'm not going to assume the complete picture is in full focus for those responding. However, at the same time your passion points to the fact there is definitely an unresolved issue.
The reality is that every industry has "the good, the bad, and the ugly." I would seriously suggest you file a complaint with the Department of Real Estate if you truly feel the agent acted inappropriately or violated a fiduciary duty: http://www.dre.ca.gov/cons_complaint.html
You may want to give the Agent's Broker a stab at explaining what happened. Understand that when it comes to REOs it's the "Wild, Wild, West" out there. Did the REO Asset Manager introduce some of the conflict though a questionable action? At the very least you can document the discussion for any eventual complaint filed.
A few comments:
â€œLike I mentioned before "my offer was not submitted to the Bank" at all. Just to the listing agent.â€
The Listing Agent may have instructions from the bank to only submit offers that meet certain criteria.
â€œThe house was sold to who knows whom, for way less than I offered.â€
Price is only one aspect of an offer. REOs typically like offers with a large cash component and up-front removal of contingencies.
Here are some links that might help you direct your complaint/concern. You want to contact the agent's managing broker (perhaps he/she is the owner of the company?), you want to contact the State Department of Licensing for real estate, you want to contact the Board of Realtors for the area the agent works in (although if the agent isn't a Realtor member, they won't be involved).
Here are a couple of links that might help you (if the Board of Realtors office that I linked isn't near you, just ask them for the information of the correct one).
One of the CA Board of Realtors offices: http://www.mdbor.org/default.aspx
State of California Department of Licensing: http://www.dre.ca.gov/
Glad to hear that you contacted the bank, and that they are being responsive to the complaint. It is the right thing to do.
I'm not saying that you're necessarily wrong, but the information you've given doesn't add up.
It may be that the listing agent is trying to 'double-dip' and may be delaying his submission of your offer while he waits for a favored client to prepare their offer. In which case, you may have a case for complaint to the ethics board.
However, if the Listing Agent's client has previously instructed him to submit no less than a certain amount of offers (say 3 or 5), he may be following his client's wishes. Which is his job.
If you're shopping in the Victor Valley, I doubt you were the only offer. Most of the properties here are getting multiple offers. If the property is an REO, then usually the asset manager looks them over on a Monday and gets back to people by the following Tuesday, which leaves time for several offers to be submitted.
However, even saying all that, the bank is not under any legal obligation to accept your offer, even if it's the only one. Short sales and REO's will always respond with a counter offer and documentation that includes disclosures and waivers that are not part of our regular transaction paperwork. The only way I can even imagine a bank accepting an offer without a counter is if someone offered a full price offer in cash, with a general waiver of all liability, and offered to pay all costs involved in the transaction.
The bank is not even under an obligation to counter your offer or respond to it. You haven't said what your offer was so none of us here are able to say any more than that.
As far as agents go, there are always going to be scoundrels in any business, and membership in a professional organization is no guarantee that the person has any scruples. There are things that are considered "ethical" in the Realtors Code of Ethics, that I find questionable. I know there is a Broker going up for perjury charges in connection with the former county supervisor, and San Bernardino County is one of the most corrupt counties in the US, so hang in there and look for someone with your best interests in mind who isn't desperate for a commission.
Lastly, there are nearly one million homes in the REO pipleline, so there will be more and the economy is not recovering soon, so there will be plenty of opportunities to buy over the next 2-3 years. All the tax credits do is prop up the falling market and create artificially high prices.
It's not uncommon for listing agents representing REO properties to respond poorly. So before you hang your agent by the toes you might want to confirm if he/she is correct. With so many buyers out there trying to beat the "First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Deadline" I find it hard to beleive that only your offer was submitted on an REO. If that was the case, in most cases the agent would have taken the home off the market and re-listed it at a lower price. The idea is to generate multiple offers. That said, it sounds like you may not trust your agent anyway, so you might want to part ways without causing un-deserved punishment.
I hope this helps!
Your scenario is still not totally clear, but so far this is what I gather:
1. You like your agent and feel that your agent is properly representing you.
2. You were the only offer and you didn't get the house.
3. You can prove that there was unethical behavior - meaning that NO OTHER ALTERNATIVES for why it happen are possible.
I had a very similar scenario. I sought legal council and learned a bit. Here is what I was told:
As a broker representing only the Buyer I was not permitted to contact the Seller (bank). Even though I was unhappy with the response from the Listing Office, and even though I strongly suspected very unethical and unlawful (by DRE standards and Contract Law) acts I was not permitted to challenge this directly. As a broker I could have pursued the issue, but I would have to PROVE this. If I can't prove it then I could lose my license for breaking Agency Responsibility. If I COULD prove it then I could still suffer recourse for breaking Agency Responsibility. Catching the bad guy doesn't allow me to break the rules.
As an agent I would have to PROVE wrongdoing in order to justify contacting the seller, before making that contact. As a person that is not licensed then you can pursue what you would like.
My client on the other hand, is not bound by the same conditions. She had the ability to question and pursue wrong-doing with no regard to Agency if she wanted.
You said that you contacted the seller and by your response it sounds like the seller is responding positively. That is good! "What else can I do?" What else do you want? License revoked? That probably won't happen, even if it happened the way that you describe. While you are probably very frustrated, and unfortunately didn't get the home that you could have been very happy in for many many years, the DRE probably won't "revoke license" if it is an "isolated incident." It doesn't matter, though. I believe it would be good for you if you reported it and moved on. Don't get hung up on a bad agent's future. Help us keep ourselves accountable/responsible, and move on to the most important thing: Your needs and the needs of your family.
One of the things that will help with your complaint is to organize your thoughts.
All the best,
Good luck to you. We are all better when we do the right thing.
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Your first step should be contacting the agent's broker and present your concern to him/her. Give them the opportunity to make it right for you.
If you are still remain unsatisfied it would be appropriate to contact the agent's local real estate board to make them aware of your issue. If they feel there has been unethical or illegial behavior on the part of the agent they will investigate the situation. They will be able to outline the complaint process for you.
Should this not get the results you feel are needed, you can always contact your attorney for their input.
Accusation of this type are very serious....be sure your information is correct. You would also benefit from having as mush documentation as possible to prove you claim.
These experiences are most unfortunate....
The other Agent is the one that is "double dipping" and no, my offer was not submitted to the lender. Due in part to some bizarre shenanigans between the Bank (just one person and the steering by the agent) and this Agent.
The Banks VP is already looking into this matter. My post was about what recourse can I take against this Agent. Like I mentioned before "my offer was not submitted to the Bank" at all. Just to the listing agent.
The house was sold to who knows whom, for way less than I offered. I trust my Agent and know that my offers were submitted to the other agent. Like I mentioned before, I have solid proof or the Bank would not be investigating this.
The point of this matter is what Bonnie Scribner has mentioned in her answer. Do I keep my mouth shut and allow these people to do this to others or do I pay it forward like a good person should do?
You got it, I fight for the underdogs and pay it forward. My moral compass is intact and I don't judge, I was raised with great values and morals.
I just need to know where and how to file my complaint. I don't roll over nor do I pretend that I did not witness something occurring. Yup, I'm that person, that stops at accidents and assists.
Sorry James, I abhor injustice and greed. But we are all aware of what Karma is; it is what it is.
I will clear it up so that I may get better advice by all. To all the wonderful people that answered, I hope you will re-answer my questions.
The Agent in question IS NOT "my agent" and I was not only the highest bidder but also the only bidder. The thing is I have PROOF, as well as the fact that it was not a cash deal (by the other party(s)) and we had the highest bid in. Way over market value.
So can someone please explain to me, why this may have occurred?
Thank you all very much for reading, explaining and advice,
ps. in need of more advice please.
Good luck Jay, you'll find another great home.
Unwavering Commitment to Service