Market Wise Q&A column for the SJMN: When is it Time to Change Agents?

Pat Kapowich for the San Jose Mercury News  

Q:  After 18 months of a home search, my husband and I want to switch Agents.  We have written lots of offers that he was unable to get accepted.  He is a nice person but it seems that Sellers and their Agents easily mold him into their way of thinking. Recently, after having submitted an offer the previous day, we visited the property with our agent for a second look.  The Listing Agent, who works for the same large reputable firm, suspiciously joined us, and suggested we lower our offer by $50,000. Instead, we should apply that money in the form cash, to buy all the sellers’ furniture, which would be unknown to the Short-Selling Banks.  This way the Sellers would decide to work with us over competing Buyers and forward our offer to the banks for the Short Sale approval process.   My wife and I were slacked-jawed to listen to this proposal, especially since our Agent kept nodding his head, smiling and then announcing to us it was a “good way for you two to get into a house.” We did not sign a Buyer-Broker Agreement; so it is our understanding that we have no financial obligation to this Agent.  What is the best way to communicate we are moving-on while retrieving our large deposit check that is held in his real estate office?



A:  We, as Agents, are mandated to log a deposit check into the office as soon as possible.  When an offer is accepted, the office staff will log the check out and forward it to the designated escrow company that is handling the transaction.  If the offer is rejected, the check is promptly returned to the buyer(s).   The Agent should not handle the deposit check once his or her brokerage receives it.  It would be prudent for you to contact the front desk of his office and ask for the check to be returned.   Regardless, you need to call or write this Agent and inform him you are in fact, moving-on.  If you are also working with his Loan Officer, you should make a clean break and hire a new Agent and Loan Officer. Sadly, what you heard was not surprising.  Real Estate Attorneys and FBI Agents remind us that tough times create a new set of scams.  Colluding licensed Agents and Loan Officers who can and will drive creative ways to default federally insured banks while their Buyers or Sellers clients ride along as accomplices.  You’ve witnessed the segment of our industry that can’t compete with an incorruptible professional, or honestly sell and/or negotiate their way out of a paper bag.   The opposite jaw-dropping experience is to observe the results generated by an expert employing a deft skill-set as he/she plays by the rules.   1-7-12

Do you have a question for the Market Wise column in the  San Jose Mercury News? If so, please email your question to:

Pat Kapowich. Broker/Owner CertifiedResidential Broker ABR, CRS, GRI & SRES Home Sales Expertise and Experience (408) 245-7700