I was recently representing a buyer for a condo and submitted an offer to this Re/Max top agent in my area. His website says he has been in business for 21 years... He indicated that he was not willing to do the counters back and forth in writing and that once the parties reached a verbal agreement we would put it to paper.
I trusted this experienced agent and started the negotiations verbally and via email. Halfway through the negotiations he informs me that they have another offer on the table and suggests we make our highest and best offer as the seller is seeking a min of $560,000. This same counter was made to the other party.
I call the listing agent later and ask if the other party has submitted their highest and best. He says yes. I submit my buyer's offer and get an email the next morning from this listing agent informing me that he will get me the signed contract back from sellers later in the day.
Later that afternoon the listing agent calls me and nonchalantly indicates that the competing buyer's agent contacted the sellers directly, bypassing him, the listing agent, and negotiated directly with sellers a higher price than our verbally accepted offer... The listing agent proceeded to say in an emotionless tone that he felt horrible but there was nothing he could do. His lack of reaction to another agent bypassing him to talk to his sellers directly made me very suspicious about this Re/Max agent.
I told him that the other agent acted unethically and he said he agreed but would not do anything about it. I informed him that I would be filing an ethic complaint with the board of Realtors. You see this "experienced" Re/Max listing agent was acting as a transaction broker and owed fairness to both seller and buyers. The fact that he is not willing to file a complaint against the other buyer's agent proves that he either acted in collusion or does not understand his duties as a Transaction Broker.
Even if his story is true, it shows poorly on the ability of this listing agent to stay in control of the transaction.
Lesson to be learned: A bad apple can be in business for 21 years, so no matter who you are dealing with, do not trust anyone who wants to deal verbally or via email... Always ask for all counters to be in writing, if the listing agent refuses, have your buyers contact the sellers directly to communicate that they are uncomfortable dealing with the listing agent and would like to submit their offer directly... It is time to clean our profession from the few slimy agents left...