I'm re-blogging this post because it's from a lisitng agent in the Silicon Valley area, Steve Mun.
Steve discusses a verbal attack he encountered during an Open House. Not only was he accused of withholding information, but he's accused of NOT doing his job as the listing agent.
The whacko woman "Visitor A" accused Steve of withholding information that she claimed he "knew," when he said "I don't know."
Here's the reality: Steve didn't have to know what was being built across the street, down the block or around the corner. He has no duty to a consumer, unrepresented or represented. The woman was NOT a customer or a client.
Buyers and/or Buyers Agents are to conduct DUE DILIGENCE. With all due respect for Steve in his position of Listing Agent/Seller's Agent, I would not take his word for it even if he did know. Again, all due respect.
This is what happens when the general public wants to play Realtor. They think they know about real estate agency relationships, they think they know about due diligence, they think they know fiduciary duty.
Steve had no duty to inform Visitor A about anything that wasn't direclty related to the listing. He has a duty to inform of known material defects, of known conditions of the property . . . he had no duty to inform Visitor A of anything he didn't know about.
These days here in Silicon Valley, we are experiencing the return of the multiple offer. Inventory is low and demand is high due to the low interest rates. If you are looking for a nice property which is priced right, you have to expect multiple offers.
Perhaps it was the result of the Facebook IPO effect, but there is a lot of interest in buying homes and this interest is especially prevalent with investors who want to get into the rental market now that the rental market is even hotter than the purchase market. About half of the traffic coming to my open houses are seeking income properties.
The fight is on, so a buyer must do whatever it takes to get on the winning side of these multiple offers. You want to present yourself in the best light and seek out ways to befriend and build rapport with the listing agent, who can influence the sellers. Nobody cares about listing agents when there is no demand for one of our listings, but when a listing is in high demand, the rule of thumb is to get on our good side. This isn't really rocket science; it's sort of all common sense in my opinion. But once again, common sense seems not so common these days.
Here is an actual conversation that took place yesterday in front of 6 people (pretty close to verbatim conversation) at an open house I was holding. This unit is a top floor unit in a highly sought building and was full of visitors. I was talking to other visitors when a woman rudely interrupted our conversation.
Visitor A: Do you know what they will build on that empty lot across the trail?
Me: I’m sorry, but I don’t know.
Visitor A : Why don’t you know?
Visitor A : Why don’t you know what they may be building there, aren’t you the listing agent?
Me: It’s about half a mile away and even if someone built something, it will not affect the view from here. And yes, I am the listing agent but no one has ever asked me about that empty lot before.
Visitor A: If I am a buyer who wanted to work with you, then would you tell me?
Me: It would not matter if you were a buyer who wants to work with me or not, I still don't know what they intend to do on that empty lot.
Visitor A: I think you being the listing agent know that they intend to build there and are simply not telling me and with-holding information. I think you are with-holding information from me.
Visitor B: Maybe he doesn’t know, like he told you.
Me: Really, I don’t know what if they are going to build something or not. I didn't look into it because it is so far off. If you really want to know, then you or your agent (what are the chances I would work with her) can contact the city planning department and see if anyone has filed paperwork to build something there. If you are so concerned, it is public information you can check.
Visitor A: I really like this condo and want to know if someone will build something across the trail there. I think you know but are with-holding information from me.
Fortunately, Visitor B, sensing my frustration, engaged me in further conversation and took me away from this person.
The thing was, she really liked the place and spent many minutes taking photos of the property in the different rooms. It was obvious she liked the place, but there are ways to voice your concerns without accusing the listing agent of with-holding some imagined information during an open house in front of 4 other strangers who may also be interested in buying this property. Besides learning how to write up an offer so that it will not be rejected, also learn to abide by the Golden Rule. It will also make you feel better. Remember, the key is to get the listing agent to remember you, but in a good way, not a bad way.
If you do not want to be bothered with calling or visiting the planning department, then be courteous and perhaps the listing agent will make the call or even visit on your behalf. Again, common sense, which seems to be so lacking these days.....