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Old 11-11-2010, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Hopewell New Jersey
1,398 posts, read 7,696,361 times
Reputation: 1069

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A home owner contracts with a large well known nation wide agency. The home owner has a number of sit downs with an agent from that firm and local branch broker. The agent lives locally so is very knowledgeable of the local towns,school systems etc etc. He's one of the top selling agents in the area,well known to all in the field. Does a very impressive presentation , has already done his homework regarding comps etc. The home owner decides to list the property with this agent. Let's call him Mr. Jones.

During Mr. Jones presentation and numerous times afterwords, he speaks of one of his associates who in addition to being a Realtor is also a fully licensed "home stager" This is a service Mr. Jones provides free of charge to the homeowner. A few days later Mr. Jones introduces the home owner to Mrs. Smith, his associate and stager and sometimes assistant from the same local broker. They do their thing and everything proceeds normally. After a few weeks and a number of showings an open house is scheduled during which a number of people visit. Mr Jones elects to have Mrs. Smith support the open house function rather than himself personally.

Question #1
Obviously Mrs. Smith is acting on behalf of Mr. Jones...the agent that actually took the listing. If Mrs Smith finds a buyer during this open house is it a conflict of interest, assuming she hence forth acts as the buyers agent.



Now that you've formulated a responce to that question let me throw in one more bit of information.

The homeowner after quite a bit of internet snooping finds out that the relationship between Mr Jones and Mrs. Smith is a bit more than was presented. In actuality Mr. Jones and Mrs. Smith are long time husband and wife.

Question #2
Shouldn't Mr.Jones have divulged that information up front ? And what now of the situation when and if during an open house Mrs.Smith(Jones) locates a buyer? You have the potential for Mr Jones acting as the sellers agent and Mrs. Smith(Jones) acting as the buyers agent.


BTW I'm in New Jersey

thanks
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
15,532 posts, read 40,294,339 times
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Yes it should have been disclosed that they were married. I know one of our fiduciary duties as outlined by Oregon law is to disclose any conflicts of interest. Clearly being married to someone would be considered a conflict of interest.

So, now having said that, typically husband and wives work as teams and so if she brought in a buyer you should consider it a dual agency situation. Just as if the hubby was representing both sides of the transaction. It is totally common, at least in my area, for agents other than the listing agent to hold an open house.

So the question really is, did you sign paperwork agreeing to allow Mr. Jones to represent both sides of the transaction in the event he brought in a buyer. If you did, then I see no difference between that and his wife bringing in a buyer. If you had an agreement that he wouldn't represent both sides of the transaction, then he needed to disclose that Ms. Smith was his wife so you could exclude her from representing a buyer as well, if you so choose.
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:25 PM
 
Location: Tempe, Arizona
4,511 posts, read 13,551,250 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverfall View Post
... If you had an agreement that he wouldn't represent both sides of the transaction, then he needed to disclose that Ms. Smith was his wife so you could exclude her from representing a buyer as well, if you so choose.
Since both are working under the same broker, depending on your state requirements, it may be that any agent from the same brokerage would be acting as a dual agent regardless of any other relationship status.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Lakewood Ranch, FL
5,663 posts, read 10,703,837 times
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Brokers who are members of the National Association of Realtors, and their agents, are required to follow the 2010 Code of Ethics and Article 1 requires all Realtors to treat all parties honestly. If you feel that they have not done so, you have the option of making a complaint with the local Board/Association. I'd suggest you ask the broker first before doing anything. I'm not sure about NJ law but it may not be a problem at all and they may prefer to keep their professional lives (and names) separate from their personal lives. Your primary interest is in selling your property and it sounds like that is what they are trying to do for you.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
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The fact they are married is irrelevant in my opinion, as is the fact that it the open house was hosted by a different agent that later brought the contract. Your listing is with the managing broker and not the individual agent which is why all the previous information was irrelevant.

Is there a conflict of interest? Possibly, but not in the sense you are thinking. It becomes a designated or dual agency situation and your state has written disclosures regarding that. I don't see anything from what you've written that is unethical as long as the dual agency was disclosed. If it was disclosed, don't sweat it and be glad you got your home sold.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:41 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
15,532 posts, read 40,294,339 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjrcm View Post
Since both are working under the same broker, depending on your state requirements, it may be that any agent from the same brokerage would be acting as a dual agent regardless of any other relationship status.

Agreed, but still most people aren't sleeping with their broker. It just adds another level of conflict that has the appearance of impropriety because the listing agent wasn't forth coming with their relationship. It sounds like they have acted professionally in all other regards since they have had showings.
So instead of a client just knowing that upfront and talking about how professional they have been, they are questioning their ethics. Why not just be upfront about it?
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:52 PM
 
Location: NJ
17,574 posts, read 46,050,732 times
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That just seems wrong to me. They obviously hid the fact they were married from you on purpose. Why?

I would be doing everything possible to get out of this arrangement and would look to file a complaint against them.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:47 PM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
10,935 posts, read 21,905,849 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverfall View Post
Agreed, but still most people aren't sleeping with their broker. It just adds another level of conflict that has the appearance of impropriety because the listing agent wasn't forth coming with their relationship. It sounds like they have acted professionally in all other regards since they have had showings.
So instead of a client just knowing that upfront and talking about how professional they have been, they are questioning their ethics. Why not just be upfront about it?
I don't think that either agent was the broker, I think they were both agents. I don't know why they didn't disclose they were married. Probably foolish, but still they got the home sold. If seller is happy with price take it and go.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:54 PM
 
Location: Tempe, Arizona
4,511 posts, read 13,551,250 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Hoffman View Post
I don't think that either agent was the broker, I think they were both agents. I don't know why they didn't disclose they were married. Probably foolish, but still they got the home sold. If seller is happy with price take it and go.
"...The home owner has a number of sit downs with an agent from that firm and local branch broker...."

It's not clear if the agent is also the broker, or they met with the agent and their broker.

Brandon - the home was not sold yet, just a hypothetical if the agent holding the open house met a buyer - "...If Mrs Smith finds a buyer during this open house...."
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:20 AM
 
Location: Hopewell New Jersey
1,398 posts, read 7,696,361 times
Reputation: 1069
Default More info

RJRCM:
read my post correctly.
The home owner had an initial sit down with the agent and his broker. Neither Mr. Jones or Mrs. Smith are a broker. They are both agents that work out of the same brokers office.

The property has not been sold, in fact there have been no offers placed at this time. The property hasn't been on the market very long and it's a rather unique design which will appeal to a limited number of prospective buyers.

SilverFall:
Your comments are IMHO are dead on. Yes, I know many couples work as a team. I understand that and it's also common in NJ. No problem with that. Business cards, etc always indicate that. I also know that it is common to have another agent fill-in and host an open house. In general I have no problem with that either except in my mind at least I signed on to having my property represented by Mr. Jones ,not just anyone who has nothing else better to do that Sunday.
In this case Mr. Jones and Mrs. Smith have repeatedly and intentionally played the part (very well I might add) ,of being business associates and nothing more. I personally find the intentional and continued deception very troubling.

General:
I am aware and understand the dual agency arrangement. Note; I prefer the term "Double Agent" There is a difference between what is legal versus what perhaps might be called professionally ethical. If I am presented with the team of Mr. & Mrs. Jones and decide to list the property thru them that's quite different from this clandestine Jones/Smith arrangement. Frankly I suspect there is a subtle but significant financial benefit for them in this arrangement.

Note:
I have other issues with this agent but in the interest of not derailing my own post I'll start another thread called "Ethical II ?"

Thanks All
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