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Old 09-06-2009, 10:38 PM
 
5 posts, read 9,033 times
Reputation: 12

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I am relocating to Seattle next month. I spent 1.5 days last week with a realtor in Seattle, viewing rental properties, though ended up renting a condo that I discovered myself on craigslist (which, strangely enough, never came up on the realtor's search, though it was listed). The realtor is now asking for a $750 "relocation tour fee" for her time ($250 per half day), which we had never discussed (and to which I had never agreed, even as part of boilerplate, as I signed nothing). She says that she had not realized that I was considering other options at the time that we scheduled (though I did tell her on the first day that I was also viewing a rental house that a friend had found for me). Is this standard practice? What is fair in this situation? Thanks!
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:58 PM
 
8,291 posts, read 14,629,203 times
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Not standard practice. I believe that Redfin does charge for tours after you've viewed a certain number for free. If you never signed anything, and the realtor never specifically handed you something that said you were paying for viewing properties, you don't owe them a dime.
What's fair in this situation? How about sending her a note suggesting that you don't owe her anything, that showing properties is part of the cost of doing business as a real estate agent, and that you'd be perfectly willing to escalate this both to her broker and to the real estate commission if she chooses to pursue this. Send the note as a registered letter, that'll show that you're serious and not to be taken lightly. I think that's fair.
I show lots of properties. Sometimes things don't work out, and my clients end up renting instead of buying, or they decide they'd be more comfortable with another agent. That's just part of the business. Not everything pays. if she hadn't asked for 750 dollars, I might have offered to buy her lunch as a thank you, but if she's taking that attitude, forget that. Send that formal registered letter.
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:19 PM
 
5 posts, read 9,033 times
Reputation: 12
Thanks for your reply. I definitely was not aware of any charge, and was certainly serious about renting from this realtor. In fact, I provided her with all the necessary application materials (bank statement, pay stubs, etc.) at our last meeting while I mulled over the properties that we had seen (and before I finally decided for the condo on craigslist). It is terrible to say, but if I pay nothing, I worry that those materials might find their way into the wrong hands!
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Old 09-06-2009, 11:45 PM
 
8,291 posts, read 14,629,203 times
Reputation: 3711
Realtors are supposed to act ethically. If they do anything like allowing your bank statements and pay stubs to get into into the wrong hands, they could lose their license, so I think it's unlikely that will happen. How she's acted seems really stupid to me. What if you decide, in a couple of years, that you want to buy a condo or a house? Are you going to call this realtor? Not too likely, eh?
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX!!!!
3,738 posts, read 5,383,644 times
Reputation: 1666
This is outrageous. Don't pay as you have no contractual obligation to do so if you neither agreed to in writing or orally. I predict this realtor is new and won't be in the business for long.
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Old 09-08-2009, 09:41 AM
 
8,291 posts, read 14,629,203 times
Reputation: 3711
"I predict this realtor is new and won't be in the business for long."


Especially if you report her to her broker and/or the Washington State Real Estate Commission.
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Seattle Area
310 posts, read 566,816 times
Reputation: 66
Default This is the cost of doing business

This is not done when I work with clients. I did have a client that I spent 2 days showing her properties and she went with another agent.
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:55 AM
 
277 posts, read 464,051 times
Reputation: 111
Agreed. That is is absurd. If you signed nothing, then she has no right to expect anything. If she gives you a hard time about it, I would report her immediately.
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:05 PM
 
5 posts, read 9,033 times
Reputation: 12
I definitely did value the realtor's time and experience (and was extremely serious about renting through her), though would certainly have done things differently had I been informed of this fee; I probably would have contacted agents directly regarding particular properties, or inquired on site about vacancies in buildings. A couple of my friends/family would be inclined to compensate the realtor (e.g., $250), given the time that she spent, and her apparent expectation, though I am decreasingly inclined to do so.
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Old 09-08-2009, 03:50 PM
 
277 posts, read 464,051 times
Reputation: 111
Realtors make money by closing deals, not by charging hourly/daily rates, unless specifically noted, in writing, before hand.

The reality is that sometimes realtors make a lot of money off of very little work, other times they put in a lot of time and get little (if anything) out of it. It's just the cost of doing business.
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