To whom is the agent accountable?

Asked by Olympia, Los Angeles, CA Sat May 26, 2012

We've been having some issues with our agent. We went to the broker because an out of state agent friend as well as our lender who also has his license recommended that course of action. When we reached the broker he seemed dazed and said that he knows nothing about what our agent does and that our agent is more like an independent contractor. This really boggles my mind. Can this be right? Where else would you look for help/answers?

This agent is with one of the big name companies not a small local company.

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Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Sat May 26, 2012
This boggles my mind! The broker is the one who is legally accountable for the agent. If this person doesn't know what he's doing, that's scary!

If you can't get help from the broker, then you should compalin to the local board of Realtors. LA most likely has an assocation - you can call or send them a complaint telling them you got nowhere with the broker.

As a last step, you can go to the department of real estate in Sacramento.

Good luck.
1 vote
Kawain Payne, Agent, Seal Beach, CA
Wed May 30, 2012
First try and inform your agent of your concerns. Maybe your agent is not even aware that he/she has done anything that upsets you.

So, let them know what issues you have and inform them of the remedies you want them to take.

If you get no results from talking directly with your agent, go to their manager. If that does not yield any results perhaps you have the wrong agent. I am not implying your agent is a BAD agent ,it could be that your style of doing things and theirs just does not mix.

Now, on the other hand if your agent has done something illegal or unethical contact their local association and the department of real estate and file a formal complaint.

Best of Luck to You!

Kawain Payne, Realtor
0 votes
Richard "RJ"…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Tue May 29, 2012
You should be able to get resolution with your agents manager. Explain your situation and see what their response is... if that is not adequate enough for you.. check with that companies corporate... If still not satisfied... hire another agent.

My first recommendation though is to communicate your issues with this agent. He/she may not even know you are displeased or would like things done a different way... many agents handle sales in a repetitive manner and sometimes do not stop to hear your specific needs. The best course is to firmly communicate your needs and desires and if this still does not work... just fire them.

I would be happy to assist you and also give a referral fee to your out of state agent friend as well.
Richard "RJ" Kas (SFR, SRES)
"Representing the finest properties from Los Angeles worldwide"
KAS Properties - Coldwell Banker Previews International - Beverly Hills South
166 N. Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310.859-5334 office - 310.488.9826 mobile - 310-273-0690 fax ATT: RJ - - DRE: 01352771
Sellers Buyers Investors Leasing Consulting
0 votes
Kathleen Bec…, Agent, Santa Monica, CA
Tue May 29, 2012
Hi Olympia:

If you try to find a solution with your agent, and then with his Broker Manager, and do not have any luck, you can go to the head or owner of the company they work for...many companies are independently owned and the Broker is the Owner, however, if the company is not independently owned and is a corporation like Coldwell Banker, RE/max, Keller WIlliams, Prudential, you can call their corporate offices and make a complaint.

Your other resource is to make a complaint to the Department of Real Estate and retain an attorney to represent you to give you legal advice in your situation.

Good luck with what ever you are aiming to resolve!

All the best,

Kat Becker, Realtor
Prudential California Realty
0 votes
Stephanie Ha…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Mon May 28, 2012
The broker is responsible for all sales agents activities. If they don't respond accordingly, move on. If you are under contract asked to be released. All realtors agree to a level of ethics that should be upheld!
Sorry your experiance has been sub-par! I hope the next Realtor you enter into a relationship with is MUCH better;)

Stephanie Hart
Forecast Realty
CA DRE 01338444
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Sun May 27, 2012
Dear Olympia,

You have some decisions to make at this point.
Considering home purchase is so important, and you are obviously not going to get the support you need to make this purchase, I would move along to a Brokerage that is more responsive and client oriented then the one you are with. To have a broker who is dazed and writing on the wall..the agents won't be in better shape then the management is.
0 votes
Sue Wylie, , California
Sat May 26, 2012
The Agent has a fiduciary responsibility to their client. If you signed a "Buyer Broker" agreement with the agent, then you hired that agent and that agent works for you and has a fiduciary responsibility to you.

A real estate agent who is hired by the Seller to market and find a buyer for their property also has a responsibility to the buyer to tell the truth, to disclose everything they know about the property and to treat the buyer fairly. But they do not owe you any allegiance. their goal is to get the job done for their employer, the Seller.

In California, an agent can represent both the Seller and the Buyer. That is called dual agency. Every agent is obligated by law to disclose who they work for as soon as possible after first meeting. The State of CA requires each agent to present an Agency Disclosure to each prospective buyer and seller explaining this.

I am concerned about a Broker who would say such a thing to you. The Broker is ultimately responsible for the actions of the agents working under his license; and has the utmost of supervisory responsibility for them and their actions.

If you'd like to email me the details of your issue with the agent , I'd be please to review and at least give you some direction.
By way of qualifying, I have been in business for 26 years, and own and run a Real Estate Transaction & Risk Management company. In short we are the people who handle the paperwork, coordinate the transaction process, making sure contracts, and disclosures are correct, etc... and keeping everybody out of jail. E Mail to:
0 votes
John Arendsen, Agent, Leucadia, CA
Sat May 26, 2012
Bottom line the broker is where the buck stops. Depending on the nature of your complaint you could always file a formal complaint with the DRE.
0 votes
Marilyn Jenne, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sat May 26, 2012
Whether the broker claims to "know nothing" is irrelevant. The broker is absolutely responsible for the agent's work (or lack thereof). This is about the third post you've made--and received reasoned responses. It is important to pin down the broker's response--are they REFUSING to step in and assist? (That would be a breach to you.) Get clear on what action you want taken. Unfortunately, especially with a short sale, not being able to get what you want does not necessarily indicate a failure on the agent/broker's part.
0 votes
Alberto Pach…, , Porter Ranch, CA
Sat May 26, 2012
The agent is responsible to you since he is representing you

Alberto pacheco
818 481 9211
0 votes
Janey Bishop, Agent, Calabasas, CA
Sat May 26, 2012
The broker is your best option. If the agent is doing something improper the broker is ultimately responsible. if agent is breaking rules you can go to the local Realtor Board or DRE but they only have authority for rule/law-breaking. If the agent is not putting in effort and attention ask the broker to have someone else step in to assist. Your explanation should be short, clear and specific. Bringing in every infraction will just cloud the issue. The Broker is the ultimate responsibility and is getting paid so convince them to do their job.
0 votes
Douglas Perez…, Home Buyer, Los Angeles, CA
Sat May 26, 2012
That broker is telling you nonsense. A sales licensee must be under the supervision of his broker at all times. A sales licensee is considered an independent contractor for California Franchise Board and the IRS, not for Department of Real Estate. Sales agent is accountable to the broker in file.
Get help / answer at
0 votes
Vicky Chrisn…, Agent, Purcellvile, VA
Sat May 26, 2012
Hmm... Real estate agents are mostly independent contractors affiliated with the brokerage. They are very rarely employees and therefore have limited accountability to their brokers. But they do have some accountability... you see your brokerage relationship is with the BROKER, not the agent. So, you can often be re-assigned by the broker to another agent without severing the legal agreement in place. Brokers are supposed to supervise their agent, but it is a fine line because they cannot dictate when an agent works or how they get their job done, so long as they are within the applicable ethical and legal confines. If the agent is a REALTOR, then there is also accountability through their association - local, state and national. If not, there is the licensing authority. So it all depends on what the agent is doing "wrong" and other specifics.
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Jane Peters, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sat May 26, 2012
If you are not under contract with this agent, i.e. signed a buyer/broker agreement and are in the process of buying or selling a property that is one thing. Once you have signed something and that paperwork shows the brokerage of record as being the company where this agent hangs their license, then that broker truly needs to be re-educated. You are now represented by the agent as an agent of the brokerage. Even if nothing has been signed, as a representative of the brokerage they should certainly care how their image is being reflected. Depending on the company each office is a franchise. In any event, if you are not getting satisfaction, your best recourse is to contact the Regional Manager of the franchise.
0 votes
Sona Gallatin, Agent, Santa Clarita, CA
Sat May 26, 2012
Your agent has an obligation to help you, it's called fiduciary duty. I'm sorry you are having trouble, I can understand the frustration, but I would need more detail to know how to help.
Contact me.
0 votes
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