Is it ethical for the realtor to reduce the price of my home on MLS without notification or authorization from me (the title holder)?

Asked by Angela Newman, Walnut Creek, CA Wed Nov 4, 2009

I received a low ball offer of $900 (listed at 1,950,000) and declined. The realtor then took it open himself to lower the price to $995 on the MLS. I am deeply concerned that he does not have my interests at heart. Should this be reported to the Real Estate board?

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26
Pacita Dimac…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Wed Nov 4, 2009
According to the MLS, the original list price on Aug, 20 is $1,190,000, not $1,950,000. That's quite a difference in the list price. Or is $1,190,000 not the price you agreed to list your home for? The you have a serious problem from the get-go.

The change was made two months later on Oct. 26, 2009 down to $995K or 16% reduction --- not 50% calculated by using your $1.950M figure down to $995K.

Regardless...Angela, if you as the owner did not authorize this change via a Modification of Terms or in your original agreement, you have every right to challenge this and take the appropriate action.

Start by gathering all your signed paperwork. Call the agent for an explanation and demand immediate correction. And while doing so, review your existing relationship with the agent and determine if you are no longer confident in his ability and integrity in marketing your property.

Good luck!
2 votes
Suzanne Look…, Agent, Lafayette, CA
Mon May 7, 2012
In our office, no changes can be made on the listing, ie, dates, price, commission, terms, unless submitted on a modification of terms form with the client's signature. This prevents unauthorized changes such as yours. I suggest you start with the broker of record.
Suzanne Looker
Web Reference:  http://Www.suzannelooker.com
1 vote
Angela Newman, Home Seller, Walnut Creek, CA
Thu Nov 5, 2009
You are correct the listing price is transposed - but it does not change the basic facts. If the pice changed by 25 or 16% the answer should be the same. I apologize for the confusion but did receive a lot of useful information. Thanks
1 vote
Pacita Dimac…, Agent, Oakland, CA
Wed Nov 4, 2009
Before we make a change on a property that includes, but is not limited to price, terms, what is included in the sale, etc we have a modification of terms signed by the owner authorizing the agent to make the change on the MLS.

TERMS OF YOUR LISTING AGREEMENT

Review the terms of your agreement -- was there something in the original paperwork you signed that shows and allows price reductions over a period of time? For example, I have a listing agreement and separate form in which my sellers agreed to reduce the price to certain levels after certain periods of time.

DELIBERATE OR INADVERTENT ERROR?

Your listing agent was wrong to take it upon himself to make this change, if indeed it was him who did so. Sometimes, we have transaction coordinators who upload and modify the listings on the MLS. Did you already speak to your realtor and his broker about your concerns? It may be an inadvertent error that must be corrected immediately.
1 vote
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Mon May 7, 2012
Absolutely not...it is not ethical. I would start by reporting this to the agent's broker and then decide from there whether to report it to the Real Estate Board.
0 votes
Kevin and Ju…, Agent, Wildomar, CA
Fri Apr 20, 2012
The answer is simply that any change to the listing agreement must be communicated to, and agreed to, in writing, by the Seller.
0 votes
Craig Bosse, Agent, Walnut Creek, CA
Fri Apr 20, 2012
It is absolutely unethical for a Realtor to make any price change without your authorization.

There is a common misconception that Realtors set home prices. In reality we are only advisers on what the current market value is.

It is also a common misconception that the price you sell a short sale for does not matter to the homeowner. The agent should always seek fair market value. Depending on the client there could be serious legal and tax obligations.

I do know that recently the federal and state governments have been taking it easy on the taxation of a loss during a short sale, but you (as a homeowner) would not want the possibility of paying income tax on tens of thousands of dollars or more because your agent wanted a quick sale.

For more info about short sales take a look at our video library in the link below-
0 votes
Robin Christ…, , Suwanee, GA
Tue Dec 1, 2009
Now it all makes perfect sense. Short Sale is a totally different ballgame. My faith in realtors is restored!
0 votes
Joanna Jensen, Other Pro, Livermore, CA
Tue Dec 1, 2009
Hi Angela,
As I read further down I found out that your home is a Short Sale,
If your home is going to be sold short you can not get $1.00. so It really doesnt matter what the selling price is. Why does it bother you. You will not be responsible. I work for a broker/attorney.
Your first loan is non recourse, the lender can not come after you once the home is sold. If you have a 2nd loan and it needs to be short I hope your realtors negotiate that loan correctly so you dont owe money on that as well.

You should not have a problem. I just reduced a 2nd loan for a client who owed $331k down to $50k. now he actually has $221k in equity and everyone think loan mods dont work!!

Are you trying to sell for $1,950,000 so you will get some money?? That may not happen. You could always do a loan mod, settle or negotiatie the second if you have one then sell then you may get money. Have you tried to modify your loan?? Or do you just want out??

Either way it doesnt matter because homeowners are not allowed to get ANY proceed unless its cash for keys from the lender. When realtors send me post cards telling me they will pay me what ever I want so they can list my home I laught all the way to the mail box as I send their flyier to the Calif Dept of Real Estate because that is illegal!!! If you are facing a foreclosure date you might as well sell with a "sell price" or file a TRO" you have options.
Good Luck
JoAnna Jensen
Realtor Legal Assistan
Web Reference:  http://www.joannajensen.info
0 votes
Joanna Jensen, Other Pro, Livermore, CA
Tue Dec 1, 2009
Angela,
I hope you have asked this question to your realtor before you put it on this site??? I would hope my client asked me a question first before blogging about it it all over the internet potentially making it look like your realtor does not have your best interest at heart and assuming the worst of them professionally.

Before you report anyone to the board I would hope you first talk to them.

In life as in business in general you get out of it what you put into it..

Sincerely,

JoAnna Jensen
Web Reference:  http://www.joannajensen.info
0 votes
Bob Georgiou, Agent, Danville, CA
Thu Nov 5, 2009
Angela,

1) Talk to your agents. Ask them why they did this, I know your agents and they are experienced agents and know better. It surprises me that such an action was taken without casue, if it was deliberate, they had a reason. What did they say when you confronted them? They can correct it but due to MLS rules it may take a few days since it has to be done administratively through the board. Are you sure it wasn't an innocent mistake? Talk to them first and if they do not correct the situation to your satisfaction then see #2.

2) In the other post I recommended that you talk to their broker first.

If you are not satisfied, then at that point you should reconsider your relationship with the broker and the company.
Web Reference:  http://bob2sell.com
0 votes
Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Thu Nov 5, 2009
Hi Angela, here in NJ agents are not permitted to change the price on a listing without the approval of the seller. I only work with written approval, at a minimum an email, preferably the seller's signature on the "MLS change form". Unless things are very different in California, which I doubt they are, and the agent in fact operated without your approval, you've got a valid complaint.

Good luck to you!
Jeannie Feenick
"Unwavering Commitment to Service"
Search the MLS at http://www.feenick.com
Web Reference:  http://www.feenick.com
0 votes
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Wed Nov 4, 2009
The numbers change and the story changes......A serious accusation should be supported with accurate information/numbers........

An agent should not change the Price without your knowledge/permission but there is a vast difference between the numbers you provided (Angela) and the numbers provided by Pacita........

BTW....Now I'm thinking Pacita provided the most useful comments/advice when I look at these new numbers..

Thumbs up Pacita
0 votes
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Wed Nov 4, 2009
The listed Selling Price on MLS.....$1,950,000

Agent without Sellers knowledge (According to Angela) changes the listed selling price on the MLS to $995,000


A $955,000 Difference in the Listed Selling Price on the MLS made by the Agent without the Sellers Knowledge....(According to Angela)

Angela's Question
"I am deeply concerned that he does not have my interests at heart. Should this be reported to the Real Estate board?"

A $955,000 reduction of the Listed Sales Price on the MLS made by an Agent without the Sellers knowledge is a definite cause for concern IMO.....

Be deeply concerned and get some answers immediately from the Agent...If it was just a mistake handle however you feel is best but if it's not a mistake take immediate Action

A 50% (Million dollar) reduction is not " was there something in the original paperwork you signed that shows and allows price reductions over a period of time? " Not IMHO....

Angela whatever the situation may be, I wish you the best in getting it immediately resolved....

Dunes
0 votes
Sharon Deari…, , 94598
Wed Nov 4, 2009
Angela, Your realtor cannot make any price changes without getting written permission from you, the sell
0 votes
Pat Moyer, , West Chester, PA
Wed Nov 4, 2009
Realtors take direction from their principal--you--unless asked to do something illegal. Your instructions are required for changes--price, showing instructions, status etc. I won't repeat what has been said below--think you can see how strongly so many feel.
Web Reference:  http://www.MainLineWest.com
0 votes
Robin Christ…, , Suwanee, GA
Wed Nov 4, 2009
I would openly ask your Realtor what happened. It may have just been an imputing error. Can't imagine and true Realtor taking that action on his or her own.
0 votes
Rosemary Bue…, Agent, Sanford, FL
Wed Nov 4, 2009
Not knowing your situation or your state rules I'd say it isn't something I would do here. In my state we have to have it in writing from the seller and it's NOT my decision but rather the homeowners decision.
I would contact the brokerage firm your agent works for and speak with them as well as with your realtor. I'm sorry this has happened to you and you're right.. Your interest aren't being represented if it was a diliberate change to the purchase price without your consent.
0 votes
Gene Riemens…, Agent, Brentwood, CA
Wed Nov 4, 2009
Angela I agree 100%. The only thing I would caution her about is to make sure the offender is a Realtor. Often the general public thinks any one who buys and sells properties is a Realtor; that is not true. Some refuse to become members and/or subscribe to the code of ethics.
0 votes
Suzanne Look…, Agent, Lafayette, CA
Wed Nov 4, 2009
Not only won't I change any condition of a listing without written consent of my seller, (client), but my office won't allow it either. I hope that you have listed it with a reputable agent and brokerage firm. If not, cancel your listing and move it quickly to an office that protects and communicates effectively.
Regards,
Suzanne Looker
Web Reference:  http://www.suzannelooker.com
0 votes
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Wed Nov 4, 2009
Angela

http://www.dre.ca.gov/cons_complaint.html

File a Complaint with the State.......You can and should also complain to the Local RE Board to see if they assist you at all in correcting the problem or disciplining the Agent but absolutely let the State know about the Behavior of a State License holder...
Enforcement does not work if the problems are unreported.....Report the RE Board if they are not helpful, thank them if they are.....

What good is a Code of Ethics if the complaint process is not made easily available to those who hire the Services of a Realtor? How does the public know that the Code is more than a bunch of official sounding words used to Market NAR/Realtors?

They (the public) should just believe it's true (we at NAR have ethics) because Realtors say it is (We have a Code) or are there places a member of the public can view that show the complaint process if the Code is not followed and examples of disciplinary action actually taken....

Good luck, Dunes
0 votes
John Villaes…, , California
Wed Nov 4, 2009
Unless otherwise written in your listing agreement your agent can not make modifications without your express written consent. I would resolve this issue with him or contact the Department of Real-Estate. Visit http://www.dre.ca.gov.

John & Sarena Villaescusa
Cell- 562-818-2671
Email- Johnv@kw.com
Website- http://www.VgroupHomes.com
Web Reference:  http://www.VGroupHomes.com
0 votes
Gene Riemens…, Agent, Brentwood, CA
Wed Nov 4, 2009
Yes and the state of California too. This assumes there are not other factors involved I am unaware of. Is the agent a Realtor or a Real Estate Agent? If he is not a Realtor (an organization of member Real Estate Agents) then the Realtor Board has no control, but the MLS should be contacted. You need to get the price corrected ASAP. Is it possible it was a typo he/she made when doing other entries?

It does not matter if your price is reasonable or not, by contract it is listed at a certain price.
Web Reference:  http://www.AskGene.info
0 votes
Angela Newman, Home Seller, Walnut Creek, CA
Wed Nov 4, 2009
To the board of realtors or where?
0 votes
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Wed Nov 4, 2009
The Agent (Realtor?) works for you (You hired Services), you did not turn the decision making process over to the Agent.....Report it, find a new Agent.
0 votes
Joseph Runfo…, Agent, Staten Island, NY
Wed Nov 4, 2009
It is NOT ethical, and I believe it should be reported immediately!
Web Reference:  http://www.clovelake.com
0 votes
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