Everyone and their brother...

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential

First, I have to tell you, the transaction I'm going to describe is long over.  That's an important note to this transaction... it's not ongoing.

I represented the buyer, and we had agreed on a purchase price, the contract had been ratified and "delivered".  All God's chilluns were happy.

I received an email from the seller's attorneys... with an introductory message: "Hello Mr/Mrs. Seller, we are your attorneys... please review the documents attached, which explain the process... blah, blah, blah"... and continues to give the seller the attorneys names, contact number and emails.

I figure that they've included me, the buyer's agent, on the distribution list, as a courtesy, so that I have all the attorneys names/contact information to pass along to our attorney

We conduct our inspection, and we find quite a few issues to talk about... we send our inspection request from our atorney to theirs... (I also call the agent to bring her up to speed).  I see our attorney's letter go out ... and almost immediately thereafter I see an email go from their attorney to the seller telling them "here are the inspection requests/issues from the buyer... please review... blah, blah, blah."


I have, once again, been included on the distribution list. Clearly they don't realize they are providing solace to the enemy.  Now I have a conundrum.  I am now privy to information I should not have. Negotiation information that I should not have as to their strategy.

Ethically, I should call the listing agent to tell them... "hey!..." so they can do some damage control.  But my ethical conundrum goes farther than that.  My fiduciary duty requires me to share any information I learn with my buyer".  Ruh-roh, indeed.

Fast forward... Fortunately, the sellers simply accepted our inspection request in toto.  I didn't have to bring what I had discovered to bear.  But I'll tell y'all.  I was feeling a little dirty.

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, 1710 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
847.425.3779      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email: Almay@aol.com

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



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James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

My goodness! you were in a pickle, good to hear it all turned out well.  So which way was you leaning?  Carol Williams this should be a good one.

Dec 15, 2017 05:18 PM #1
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Alan- that was a difficult position to be in and out of curiosity, what would you have done had the sellers not accepted the report!

Dec 15, 2017 05:29 PM #2
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Alan, I always tell my sellers work with the first buyer because after it we are obligated to disclose... one high net worth seller was so mad at me .... I just closed on it a couple weeks ago and he ...well never mind...Endre

Dec 15, 2017 11:52 PM #3
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Alan. That damn disclosure stuff can be a big roadblock! Lucky for you you did not need to put up the barricades! Enjoy your day!

Dec 16, 2017 04:59 AM #4
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morninf Alan. In NJ where my license is, it is customary to get all correspondence. Don't worry......be happy.

Dec 16, 2017 07:59 AM #5
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

They say what you don't know won't hurt you but this is a twist of that statement. Glad it worked out.

Dec 16, 2017 08:03 AM #6
Corey Martin
Martin Presence Group - Ruston, LA
Real Estate and Management Solutions

I'm glad it worked out. I think I might have done the same thing as you did. Thanks for sharing!

Dec 16, 2017 10:02 PM #7
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Wowzers, that is a dilemma. However, given our responsibilty to our clients you handled it quite well. In fact, I don't see what you really could have done differently.  Glad this one had a successful outcome, without the need to sling mud...and get really dirty. D 

Dec 17, 2017 12:19 PM #8
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Wow, I'm glad this turned out just fine. You would have definitely needed to share whatever you learned with your client, but wow, that's messy. I always double check the names on any email I send, but maybe I should start triple checking!

Dec 23, 2017 03:59 AM #9
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

That was quite the dilemma, Alan...someone sure goofed!! Glad it all worked out in your buyer's favor.


Dec 24, 2017 08:49 AM #10
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

That is indeed a conundrum!  Thankfully all worked out and they were none the wiser.  But that could have been a real pickle if they hadn't just agreed to the repairs.  Whew! 

Dec 25, 2017 06:49 PM #11
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Wow....what an interesting predicament!

I'm sure there are many agents out there who would have gladly used it to their advantage if given the opportunity.  

Dec 26, 2017 10:54 AM #12
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Alan May thanks for sharing your personal experience. It was a most difficult situation and you were aware of your responsibilities as an agent.

There are agents who would not be aware and could have fallen into a most dangerous trap.

Glad we can learn from each other.

Dec 28, 2017 06:50 AM #13
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I have had similar things happen to me.  Especially if a lender or attorney has more than one Karen in their contacts and they look closely and choose the first one they see.  I have often seen priveleged information and needed to let them know that I was not a party to the transaction.  Oops.  

Jan 02, 2018 06:31 PM #14
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Just goes to show no good can come of having attorneys involved.

Ethically, shouldn't they be more careful with their distribution lists?  ;-)

Jan 16, 2018 10:24 AM #15
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