Water Logged and Desperate

Real Estate Agent with Falcon Property Company

The Background

Wise with their money but naïve in life, I represented them on five transactions before they turned thirty-five. We were close like family. They consulted with me on more than real estate and I treated them like they were my kids.

Jeni's parents, well-to-do New Yorkers, wanted to visit this budding family whenever they had an opportunity. With two young children and a baby, the parents didn't want to disrupt the lives of this blossoming household when they came to visit, so they tasked me with finding a home within walking distance of their daughter and her offspring.

After setting them up with a Search on the local MLS, I went to see each house that came on the market that met their criteria. Four weeks after the search began, I received a panicked call from Adam, Jeni's husband, in a desperate state of agitation. Almost in tears, he started the conversation with, "Mimi, please forgive us. We are frantic and don't know where to turn. Can you help us?"

I like to believe that most Realtors are decent and represent their Clients and their peers in an honest and upright manner. But there are rotten apples with brilliant smiles that hide the decay in their souls, and Jeni and Adam found one. 

The Situation

Soon after we started our search, a sign went up in the yard directly across the street from them. It, of course, was not listed on the MLS. Excited because the location would be absolutely ideal for the parents, Adam contacted the Agent on the sign. The first thing he said to the Agent was, "Mimi Foster is our Realtor, but I saw the sign and want to know how much you're selling the house for." 

Mr. Slick Talker told him the price, which was well within their price range. Excited and innocent, Adam told him they had cash (ugh), and would there be any kind of discount on this 1950s, much-in-need-of-repair property if they could close within a few weeks? Smelling blood in the water, Slick said, "Well, you know, I could give you a substantial discount if you don't use your Realtor."

Adam (bless his heart) said, "But we always use Mimi. She's been our Agent for years." Seeing the weakness in this trusting young soul, Slick said, "I could take $20,000 off the price if you don't use your Agent." Jeni and Adam talked about it, and the draw was just too great. They made the offer with the less-than-reputable listing agent.

When they received the contract for signature, the price was $10,000 more than asking. Upset, they called to find out why it was $30,000 more than they had agreed. Slick told them it was a popular house with lots of offers, and they either needed to pay that price, or it would sell to someone else. (Mind you, it was a slow market with houses languishing for months, especially ones that needed a lot of work.) They thought about calling me but were afraid the price would go up, so they signed the contract.

The Morning of Closing

The frantic call from Adam came in around 9:30. Desperate and not knowing what to do, he swallowed his pride and called to tell me the entire story. Blood boiling at the duplicity of the Agent, I hadn't even heard "the good part" yet. 

They did their walk-through that morning. Getting to the lower level of the house that had been vacant for months, there was ankle-deep water that had been coming in for weeks from a broken sprinkler line. Not only was the asbestos-backed linoleum in standing water, but the walls had wicked up at least five feet, and the bases of the furnace and water heater were immersed.

"No problem!" Slick said. "I can have a guy over before closing this afternoon with a wet vac and have this sucked up in no time." Shortly thereafter was when I got the call. "Is there anyway out?" was their plea. "We put $10,000 down in Earnest Money because Slick told us if we put more down, we'd have a better chance of getting the deal." (Because the over-asking-price cash offer wasn't enough? Realtor was a gem, right? But I digress.)

Asking Adam to send me a copy of their contract, there is a section that essentially reads that if there is damage to a home that can't be repaired before closing, the Buyer can back out and get their Earnest Money back. I told Jeni and Adam they would have to hire me as their Buyer Agent and I would deal with Slick. They really were loyal clients and had definitely learned a lesson.

I called Slick, told him the Buyers had hired me to represent them, and we were terminating based on Section 18 of the contract. To say he went ballistic would be an understatement. He told me I wouldn't get a penny out of the deal. I told him there wasn't going to be a deal. 

The Resolution

He shrieked at me, "DO YOU KNOW WHO MY BEST FRIEND IS??" Wondering what that could have to do with anything, I said, "I neither know nor care."

"John Carrell and I have been best friends for years and you will not get away with this!" John owned the largest real estate franchise in town and he and I were friendly acquaintances. I told Slick to have their Earnest Money ready the following morning at 9:00 am and I would be there to pick it up. Somewhere in his screaming I understood, "Over my dead body!"

After filling out the necessary paperwork and a call to John to explain the situation, the Earnest Money was waiting at the front desk the following morning. I wanted to report Slick to the Real Estate Commission for his unethical behavior. When I found out how much would be involved for Jeni and Adam, I let it pass, but there is rancor in my heart when I hear Slick's name. 

Jeni and Adam are closing on their eighth house with me this month. Slick and his son are still a prominent real estate team in town. I suppose I have my own brand of naivete in finding it hard to believe that some Realtors can be that devious and unethical.

Comments (26)

Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Hi Mimi Foster, so glad you were able to rescue your former clients from Mr. Slick and his shady dealings with them. It's a shame there are unethical and greedy agents out there for their own selfish reasons. Apparently, that agent was not a REALTOR, who are held to higher standards by NAR's Code of Ethics. 

Mar 04, 2023 10:00 AM
Mimi Foster

Actually, Jerry Newman, he is still a very prominent Realtor in town. I just believe he has no moral or ethical standards. 

Mar 04, 2023 10:15 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

We’ve all met that Agent who is Amoral in their Business Affairs . They blatantly lie when asked crucial questions that could adversely affect the Consumer 

Mar 04, 2023 10:08 AM
Mimi Foster

It's not something I understand at all, Michael J. Perry. I wish I could put him out of business.

Mar 04, 2023 10:17 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Mimi Foster - Congratulations on your FEATURE!

Mar 04, 2023 10:44 AM
Mimi Foster

I'm trying to hit the 1M points mark, Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, so I can buy that new car I want. 🤣 This is a step in the right direction. THANK YOU!  

Mar 04, 2023 10:56 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Mimi Foster - just think! Two more entries to go for this March Challenge and you could earn 3,000 points to get you closer to your 1M points mark! You're almost there! 

Keep going! Post two more entries! Post comments! Post daily or as often as you can! I am cheering for you!

Mar 04, 2023 11:22 AM
Mimi Foster

Yeah, that's what made me think of entering this contest. Thanks for hosting, Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP and Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist. I used to comment daily but then life got in the way. I'll start posting again to make it to my goal. 

Mar 04, 2023 11:59 AM
Buzz Mackintosh
Mackintosh REALTORS - Frederick, MD
“Experience, reliable, leadership”

Your Buyers learned a good lesson to protect themselves from now on. What usually is too good to be true , usually is. Glad you were able to come to the rescue. You should have filed a complaint to the Real estate commission regarding Mr Slick. This is the only way to hold these unethical agents accountable for how they operate.

Mar 04, 2023 11:08 AM
Mimi Foster

Couldn't file a complaint without the cooperation of the clients and I didn't want to push them. I am all for policing our own, Buzz Mackintosh, but in Colorado it's the injured party who is supposed to make the complaint, and they were just too timid to do that.

Mar 04, 2023 12:39 PM
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

Wait for mold in 2025. Water in home is only good in a sin

Mar 04, 2023 11:11 AM
Mimi Foster

This happened several years ago, Edward Gilmartin. Someone else bought the house (with no disclosure from Seller of mold), and they moved out last year because of the vast amount of mold (which we don't often have in our dry climate). The fix-and-flipper had to gut the house because of the presence of so much mold. 

Mar 04, 2023 12:44 PM
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Alliance 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Alliance Cincinnati & Dayton suburbs

Why do I get the feeling Mr. Slick probably had some undisclosed ownership interest in the property too?  Slimy in actions at every opportunity wasn't he?

Mar 04, 2023 12:11 PM
Mimi Foster

This is just a tip of the iceberg on some of the stories I've heard, Liz and Bill Spear. He's always throwing John Carrell's name around. I have always wanted to (and still may) call John and ask him if he knows what his "best friend" is doing. 

Mar 04, 2023 12:48 PM
Liz and Bill Spear

I think I'd be more than a little tempted to do the same.  That whole process was sleaze from start to finish, and I doubt the John would want his reputation paired with this guy.

Mar 04, 2023 06:53 PM
Don Baker
Lane Realty - Eatonton, GA
Lake Sinclair Specialist

Slicks cousin works in my market.  No one will report to the real estate commission because it's A- very complicated and B- they are at least 3 years behind on investigations in our state.

Mar 04, 2023 02:03 PM
Mimi Foster

That makes total sense, Don Baker. When Realtors make complaints against other Realtors, it tends to be relegated to the bottom of the pile. We should be able to at least get them on probation.

Mar 04, 2023 02:30 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Oh my! These "slick" talkers don't do our entire industry any favors. Makes me ill to read this.

Mar 04, 2023 06:40 PM
Mimi Foster

I'm always so shocked at what a big deal he is in town, Dr. Paula McDonald. Wish I had been able to clip his wings.

Mar 04, 2023 08:38 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

That is a nightmare story, Mimi.  In my 40 years as a Realtor, I would come across similar slime-balls while practicing my profession.  There is one thing I noticed however.  They often came in like greased lightening, lit up the sky for a brief period of time, and then quickly faded into the past, as their unethical behavior reached the public, and professional agents refused to work with them.

Mar 04, 2023 08:35 PM
Mimi Foster

What has always been upsetting to me about this situation, Myrl Jeffcoat, is that he has been a well-respected agent in town for decades. I hear lots of stories about him, but he's still well-respected. Don't know how that happens. 

Mar 04, 2023 09:02 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Mimi, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Mar 04, 2023 08:35 PM
Mimi Foster

Thanks very much!

Mar 04, 2023 09:02 PM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

That certainly should reaffirm why they should call you for all of their real estate needs and never reach out to anyone else themselves!

Mar 05, 2023 05:38 AM
Mimi Foster

They have been amazingly loyal since then, Brian England. Can't imagine a situation that might compel them to call someone else. 😊 We are closing next week on our third transaction since this happened.

Mar 05, 2023 05:45 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

I had a similar situation. After creek flooding in downtown San Jose homes near by were flooded and people deserted.  Through a friend's acquitance a referral offered a listing opportunity.  The seller wanted a discount and high asking price.  I found the house basement had a 36" water and was flagged as uninhabitable through city permit.  I called the seller back saying it is OK to put it on the market. You need to disclose there was water damage and buyer can not get a mortgage.  Seller said oh no there was never was any damage and tenants moved out.   I said they were ordered to evacuate 2 months ago.  That was the end of our conversation.

Mar 05, 2023 09:08 AM
Mimi Foster

Sellers who won't disclose is a whole new article, Sam Shueh. As though people won't find out!

Mar 05, 2023 09:26 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

That is quite a story, Mimi. Thank goodness the buyers were able to look past their embarrassment and call you for help at the last minute...and you came through!

It's too bad Mr. Slick (a.k.a. Slimy, Sleazy) is actually still operating in the business. Hopefully at some point he will experience his comeuppance.


Mar 05, 2023 11:03 AM
Mimi Foster

Hope I'm around when it happens, Jeff Dowler, CRS. What a breach of trust.

Mar 05, 2023 11:19 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Mimi- what a story!!! And yes, I do believe that there are people on earth whose souls are dark but have the ability to keep that darkness hidden. 

Mar 05, 2023 11:31 AM
Mimi Foster

And I'm still, at my ripe old age, shocked that people can be so intentionally greedy, underhanded, Kathy Streib. Hope you're doing well

Mar 06, 2023 08:28 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

These stories make any sane person shriek.  When I hear that this or that "rich" person needs to give back, I cringe.  They have already done that in many unknown ways.  But these people - the scammers, the takers-advantage-of creeps, the low lifes - these jerks need their own special way of giving back.  I recommend road work in Arizona for an entire summer, and by summer I mean from March to September.  Then they would be paroled with stipulations.  That'll lern'em.  And if they haven't learned, the parole stipulations kick in and they have a new roommate named Tiny.  Have a nice time, Slick.

Mar 06, 2023 04:19 AM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

I know Slick. I know it would never touch his conscience what he did. It would never occur to him in his big house of luxury that he was screwing anyone. And forget all the first part, just the last part about telling them he could get a shop vac in there and have it dried out that day! Unbelievable, Jay Markanich.

Mar 06, 2023 08:37 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

My college word for him is jerk off.  But I'll have the good and polite sense not to use that moniker here ...

Let's soak his house and watch the drying magic happen.  Please send me an invite!

Mar 07, 2023 05:53 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Hello Mimi Foster - your first entry was sooooooooooo good! I hope you're busy writing two more! You always have so much to offer! You're a great writer too! My favorite line above is: 

"But there are rotten apples with brilliant smiles that hide the decay in their souls,"

Mar 07, 2023 12:19 PM
Mimi Foster

Bless your heart! I am running stories around in my head. Does the Solution have to be a positive solution, Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP? 😁

Mar 07, 2023 02:09 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP

Mimi Foster - You decide how you want to tell the story.  For educational purposes, it would be beneficial to share your positive solution. However, sometimes solutions may or may not have consequences. The story is about how you resolved the issues that could potentially get you into legal hot water. 

You're a great writer. I look forward to reading your next stories. 

Mar 08, 2023 05:32 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

OH my gosh, Mimi - what a sleaze bag that agent is! I'm so glad you got their EMD back and that you have helped them in the years to follow. As you said, they loved you before but, now and forever more, you hung the moon!

Thank you for your entry in this month's challenge - I do hope you enter two more - I LOVE your writing style!

Mar 12, 2023 08:05 PM
Scott Seaton Jr. SLS Home Insp
SLS Home Inspections-Kankakee Will Iroquois Grundy Counties - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

They really were lucky they knew you and you would be able to help. I get a call a few times a year from someone that bought a house with no agent, inspection or lawyer and there are massive issues with their home. Nothing I can do except tell them to start saving their money. 

Mar 24, 2023 06:48 AM