Ctrlfloridam…, Home Buyer in Seminole County, FL

Will I be blacklisted by the real estate company?

Asked by Ctrlfloridaman, Seminole County, FL Tue Feb 9, 2010

I don't want to get into the details here, but a large real estate company didn't follow RESPA rules with a recent sale to me, and it ended up costing me some money. One of my options is to sue the real estate company. I have a real case, this is NOT frivolous. The problem is, I'm planning to buy more houses in the future. Will I be put into some kind of blacklist by this company if I sue them--i.e. will they refuse to deal with me as a buyer in the future if I find a house I want to buy that they're listing? I don't know whether I should pursue my rights, or not sue them to keep my buying options open in the future.

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Answers

20
My Attorney always had a saying before we got into a suit:

"How much justice can you afford?"
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 9, 2010
Good morning.

First of all, I'm sorry to hear that you had a negative experience. That is unfortunate and you certainly have the right to pursue whatever action you have available.

I would first go to the brokerage firm and discuss with them at a Broker or corporate level to discuss what you regard as the RESPA violations they committed. I'm not sure what happened to you but talking to someone first has generally (actually always) worked for me. If you've exhausted this option, then proceed if you have a case and if that's what you're inclined to do.

There's no such thing I've ever heard of as being blacklisted by a real estate company but I suppose they could not choose to work with you if they think your action was frivilous or if they think you are a difficult customer. While the customer is always right, there are times when we don't want to do business again for one reason or another. Over the last twenty years there have been a very few customers that I would choose not to work a second time.

And like any other law suit, will your claim and damages be enough to cover the attorney fees and your time and effort? Those are the things I'd consider and for me personally suing anyone would be a last, last resort after I really tried every other option to amicably settle any differences.

Best of luck to you whatever you decide. Have a great week!

Marty Hunt, Realtor®, ABR, CRS, GRI, e-PRO
Florida Home Team Realty, LLC
Direct, Anytime: (407) 869-7779
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 9, 2010
With any such dispute, as Ute suggests, you have to weight the costs and benefits of acting.

Certainly talk with a lawyer to explore your options.

My own personal suggestion is that if you truly have a case and a significant amount of money is involved--and a lawyer reaches those same conclusions--then go ahead and exercise your legal rights in court.

I don't know the company involved, so I have no idea what the repercussions will be. And I'm not sure what "blacklisted" would entail. Individual agents certainly could choose not to have you as a client. However, there might be more significant implications if the company as a whole decided to take action.

In the scenario you outlined, an agent would have a fiduciary duty to the seller. So if you saw a house you wanted to buy that the company in question had listed, the agent with the company in question would not be best representing his/her client if your offer (or interest) weren't properly and accurately represented to the buyer. I'm not a lawyer, and we're dealing with a lot of hypotheticals here. Still . . .

And all that's just hypothetical. Right now you've got a real issue. Talk to a lawyer about what your next step might be.

Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 9, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
MVP'08
Contact
It's not a decision anyone can make for you. If I were you, I'd ask myself what your potential gain is from pursuing your rights. While there are many RESPA rules, RESPA unfortunately lacks teeth. Many times the remedy is "triple damages." If the violation cost you $1,000, the most you might get is $3,000. I guess, I would do a cost benefit analysis. I am not a RESPA expert and don't know all the remedies available under RESPA. I am just saying that you may want to find out first what your potential reward would be and whether it's worth the time and effort and the possibility that it will affect your ability to buy new properties in the future. Good luck with your decision making.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 9, 2010
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in New Castle, DE
MVP'08
Contact
In situation of this nature, I'm always reminded of "this above all, to thyne own self be true......"

I don't believe a "black list" exists....and you should do what you feel is the right thing to do.

Have you considered referring your concern to the local board of realtors for their input. Each board has a review system in place that is intended to help people through the very same process you find yourself struggling with today. It's a review process that doesn't cost you anything but could save you on legal fees.

It may help with your decision and/or provide the clarity necessary to make a clear decision.

Good luck

Bill
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 10, 2014
This is an old post but seriously, there is always an agent who will represent you and attorneys as well. There is an abundance of both.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 10, 2014
Yes it is as I indicated.
Flag Fri Jan 10, 2014
This question is 4 years old
Flag Fri Jan 10, 2014
Frankly, I think they have more to worry about from your blacklisting them from the other 'way round. By now, you've probably made a few phone calls . . . where has that taken you?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 11, 2010
Pursuant to RESPA, the seller must not dictate directly or indirectly which title company the buyer chooses. While the opposite maybe common practice, it's still a RESPA violation (RESPA section 9) if a federally insured loan is involved in the transaction. In CA, the governor signed into law the so called "Buyer's Choice Act" which was intended to stop the widespread practice of dictating which title and escrow company is going to be involved in the sale of a bank owned property (1-4 unit residential). See my blog about it on Active Rain http://activerain.com/blogsview/1287479/-buyer-s-choice-act-…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 11, 2010
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in New Castle, DE
MVP'08
Contact
Normally Sellers select the title company, not the Buyer. Was your contract written so that you could select the Title company?

If your complaint is with the title company you should go after them, not the Real Estate firm.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Feb 11, 2010
I like John's response and advise from his attorney:

My Attorney always had a saying before we got into a suit:
"How much justice can you afford?"

I am a big proponent of justice when wronged, not a great lover of lawsuits and the cost to us all, but I do believe in being treated fairly. I would suggest that you talk to your attorney and get your immediate issue ironed out so that you can move on with your life and business endeavors.

We all choose who we do business with - it this firm is a major player in your market and you are concerned about the possibility of being blocked, I would sit down with the broker of record and talk with them about your concerns. I would surely hope that you would not be blocked in any way.

Talk to your attorney and the broker of record. Good luck with future deals.

Best,
Jeanne Feenick
Consistently delivering results in New Jersey
http://www.feenick.com
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 10, 2010
That does sound like a RESPA violation if the brokerage isn't disclosing their business connection (monetary) with the title company. I like to use a particular title company to handle closings, because they do exceptional work compared to others in my area. I do not however require that, and ask the buyer if they have a preference, and I don't receive any kickbacks of any kind from the title company. I don't want kickbacks from any vendors like title companies or warranty programs because it makes my referral less professional. I recommend companies because of their ability to provide goods and services.

I don't know how the title company harmed you or the degree to which they harmed you. You are still going to have to determine that. By using another brokerage for your future purchases, you shouldn't worry about being blacklisted for something as trivial as this sounds like it could be (against the brokerage). You should definitely do as many suggest and contact that broker and make them aware of the RESPA violation. You may not believe me, but not all brokerage and agents are the same. Some are professionals and keep up with the laws and rules, and some have big gaps in their knowledge and operations.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 10, 2010
"A "blacklist?" A "kickback?" Gee, I dunno.

For whatever reason, some real estate brokerages think it's a good idea to affiliate with title / escrow companies and lenders. If that relationship is disclosed, the law seems to think that's OK. "

It was not disclosed at the time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 10, 2010
A "blacklist?" A "kickback?" Gee, I dunno.

For whatever reason, some real estate brokerages think it's a good idea to affiliate with title / escrow companies and lenders. If that relationship is disclosed, the law seems to think that's OK.

But. I think that a brokerage would be in a world of hurt if they refused to pass an offer from you on to a seller because you were an annoyance about an escrow issue. Talk about digging a hole for yourself.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 9, 2010
We do not know what the error was We can't answer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 9, 2010
Blacklisting would not be ethical but think of it this way. If they are dumb enough to turn business away, that is their loss. And I would suspect that they would not wind up being a large real estate company anymore if news that they are blacklisting buyers got out.

So lets say they don't want to do business with you personally. There are ways around that if it is needed. They are not the only game in town.

Protect your interest if it is worth it. Then, let it go and move on.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 9, 2010
It was the title company that made the error. I am trying to go after the title company but they are being obstinate every step of the way and refusing to admit their error, or file an E&O claim. However the real estate co. forced us to use that title company because they get a kickback from them, which as I understand is against RESPA. So there is an alternative of trying to sue the real estate co. as well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 9, 2010
It seems like it could get complicated. Usually it is the title company that deals with issues where the rules of RESPA are involved. I'm sure a real estate brokerage and/or licensee coiuld be in violation as well. There really is no "blacklist" when it comes to real estate offices, per se. I've heard of lenders blacklisting certain condominiums for a variety of reasons.

It comes down to what do you have to gain and what could you possibly lose- in both time and money. If you feel strongly about what was done- follow your instincts and seek relief from the judicial system- or better yet- try to handle the matter directly with whom you feel voilated RESPA resulting in your loss.

♥.•*¨`*•♫.
≈≈≈ Mott Marvin Kornicki, REALTOR® ≈≈≈
Aventura | Bal Harbour | Sunny Isles Beach
≈≈≈≈≈≈ "★” This is the House “★" ≈≈≈≈≈≈
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 9, 2010
All good answers here. In this market, I don't think anyone is going to jeopadize a sale by black listing anyone. Most likely make doubly certain that all the i's are dotted and the t's crossed.
If you like a property listed by that particular office, use another realtor to put in an offer.
Talk to the Broker of the office that was in error. If you are planning to buy more property, they would probably bend over backwards to try and rectify their mistake.

Good Luck!

Genevieve Ramachandran
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 9, 2010
You have received some very good answers below. Weigh your options vs costs. I've never heard of blacklisting clients by a brokerage. However, I could see how an agent might blacklist a customer. Typically, the brokerage wouldn't even know you were the buyer for a listing, unless an agents informs the broker. There is no "red flag" system for things of that matter, or at least I've never heard of one. Most of us are wanting to make more sales, not prevent them.

There are many potential RESPA violations and they vary greatly. One that seemed to come into light in the last year were Administrative Fees charged by brokers, if the fees were not specific line item costs pertaining directly to a customer. That is an example where you might be out of pocket for $150, but is it worth going to court? That may just be one of those things where principle and costs battle it out. For something like that, you just simply refuse to pay it. Without getting into the details, none of us could really say more than you need to weigh out your options and do what is best for you. I wouldn't worry about being blacklisted as a customer, because there is always a Realtor who will be willing to work with you on the buyer side.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 9, 2010
What, there's only one company selling properties in Seminole County? I justed checked the MLS and there are 3312 listings in Seminole right now. The vast majority of brokers have less than 10 listings. There are only a few brokers that have over 100 listings and they are all giant bucket shops where thre broker has probably never even met the majority of the agents who hang their hats there. Look if you think they messed up then file a complaint with the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC). If that's too much too soon then contact the broker of record (not the lowly sales associate you worked with). The broker would probably want to know if one of his dozens or hundreds of agents has messed up big time so that they can get rid of them.

Did you go straight to the listing agent to make your offer OR did you use a buyer's agent to help you? If you used a buyer's agent and they did not catch this for you, then that's who you should be jumping all over. If you went straight to the listing agent, then sounds like you won't make that mistake again!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Feb 9, 2010
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