Agent fined $500 for asking seller why he wasn't chosen

By
Real Estate Agent with Better Properties Seattle

So you go to a listing appointment, and before hearing back from the seller, you see the listing come up in the MLS.

Some agents think they can call the seller and ask why they were not selected in order to improve their listing techniques.  Not So!

You are not permitted to contact the client of another agent, except to show the property if that is the method used in your area. 

This month an agent was fined $500 for picking up the phone and calling the seller of a listed property for any reason other than to show the property.  The agent was very nice and even sent a Thank You note to the seller for speaking with him about why he wasn't chosen.  Then Whammo!  That nice note cost him $500, as that was written proof that he had contacted another agent's client.

Be careful out there...if it's listed...it's off limits.

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Rainer
16,882
Barry Bridges
Barry Bridges Weichert Realtors Bridges & Co. - Smith Mountain Lake, VA
Lake professional

Ardell
Help me. I am getting weak between the ears in my old age.

I don't get the my blog and who was pissed off.  Did I do a no no ?  Or is the old memory getting me in trouble?  Cuz i don't want you ticked at me but now I need to know who is so I can hide.

Aug 25, 2008 07:58 AM #105
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

LOL! No need to hide, Barry.  I just don't stop until we find a happy medium to rest on.

Did you actually view this post as one that was "bashing Realtors"?  I thought I was trying to help many stay out of trouble.  Our fines are often $5,000 around here.  Pretty nasty and expensive.  With fines like that, you want to spread the word and not leavea whole lot of room for stepping over the line.

Here in the Seattle Area we have many and varied alternative business models.  Often traditional agents violate the rules against them without their reporting it.  I know this for fact.  and yet those who break the rules often report others for minor infractions like this.  It can get pretty nasty out there, and at $5,000 a potp (Redfin had fines of $50,000 to $75,000 slammed onthem) you don't want to leave a whole lot up to interpretation.

Our differences are only about blogging style, Barry.  I take blogging very seriously and I am "a comment manager" in that regard.  Just a matter of style really.  Don't take it personally.

Aug 25, 2008 08:09 AM #106
Rainer
16,882
Barry Bridges
Barry Bridges Weichert Realtors Bridges & Co. - Smith Mountain Lake, VA
Lake professional

NO I didn't take this as realtor bashing at all. You have read some of my comments on that subject I see. I hate realtor bashing especially by other realtors and especially where the public can see. It is very unprofessional and leads the public to believe that it is true.

I did not think your post was bashing. I appoligaze if I came across that way. I was just very supprised at the fine if all the agent did was call about his own performance. Again I was not there so who knows what he said.

I am going away again.

It's time for a cold OLIMPIA beer

Aug 25, 2008 08:30 AM #107
Rainmaker
534,689
Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

oh my word - how wild and crazy is that........and yet -i've contacted a 'friend' who listed with another realtor and got a very nasty-e-mail from the realtor..........so i know it happens!

Aug 25, 2008 10:05 AM #108
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Liz,

It does get pretty hairy when the seller has lots of agent friends.  I had a broker call and complain about one of our agents talking to their client and said we should tell our agent to to speak with her.  Well that was kind of hard since their children were best friends!  I can tell her not to talk about real estate...but that is hard too if you are talking with her every day.

Aug 25, 2008 12:22 PM #109
Rainer
39,589
Edward W. Lui
Mars Hill Realty Group - Georgetown, TX
Georgetown Texas Real Estate

Seems silly, but I guess they have to do it b/c there are actually agents who will solicit.  That agent, however, was just plain scared.

Aug 25, 2008 01:51 PM #110
Rainer
12,453
Paul Jones
Kansas City Regional Homes - Olathe, KS
PIC Properties - Kansas & Missouri

WOW-  Many views in this post.  I have not been the agent who was wronged on a listing, but I have been on the Buyers Agent side.  I wanted to report the person so bad, but I didn't.  After all it is the client that would make the decision to go with another agent.  We all wish every agent had the same ethics and values as we do, but that is not our world. 

Aug 25, 2008 02:20 PM #111
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Paul,

I find that almost all agents think they are right...even when they are wrong :)  The agent who didn't make an appointment first said "it didn't have an 'appointment only' rider on the yard sign"  LOL!

Aug 25, 2008 02:22 PM #112
Rainmaker
244,665
Geordie Romer
Windermere Real Estate / NCW - Leavenworth, WA
Serving Leavenworth, Lake Wenatchee, and Plain

Barry Bridges - It's OLYMPIA beer

Ardell - We are not in the same MLS. Common mistake, but I am part of REALTOR owned MLS - NCWMLS not NWMLS.

Here's an example of contact that is probably ok in my mls.

 I notice that my dentist is selling a commercial building which is listed on the mls. Next time I see him I ask him if he is moving and if he needs help selling his home. (Not soliciting the active listing, but a different listing.) Or maybe I ask him if he is interested in buying rental house when he sells his business - soliciting him as a buyer.

Also - I work in a very small town. I see lots of sellers every time I go to the grocery store or walk down the street.

Aug 26, 2008 03:01 AM #114
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Hi Geordie,

I'm remembering a real estate forum where an Exclusive Buyer's Agent was training agents to knock on the doors of listed property to offer their Buyer Agent services to those sellers.  I believe that is technically OK as they were asking the owners if they had signed a buyer agency agreement.  But still...seemed off limits to most agents.

With volume being down, I think some of the courtesies will be bypassed unless they are outright infractions.

I know what you mean about a small town.  Here in Kirkland many sellers end up at your Open House as they want to stay in the neighborhood.  But it seems odd to ask "do you have an agent" when you know their home is listed by an agent.  I would think that by definition they have an agent, unless they pursue you.  Pursuing them just doesn't seem right.

Aug 26, 2008 03:51 AM #115
Rainer
5,696
Richard Baggett
AFI Mortgage - Lake Charles, LA

wow.... talk about big brother interfering.

Aug 26, 2008 04:18 AM #116
Rainer
16,882
Barry Bridges
Barry Bridges Weichert Realtors Bridges & Co. - Smith Mountain Lake, VA
Lake professional

Geordie
Sorry.     Olympia   I was fortunate to be able to stay at the home of the VP of Olympia Brewery which was on Puget Sound. Spent 4 weekends there while stationed at Ft Lewis. I hear the brewery has been shut down.   That was my refrence to Olympia beer

Aug 26, 2008 10:14 AM #117
Rainmaker
94,274
Sharon Harris
Keller Williams Keystone Realty - Hanover, PA
Realtor

humm Maybe the agent was a bit nasty to the seller about not getting the listing. Sounds like somebody pissed off somebody... Most sellers would just move on and not worry about the call. there had to be more?

Aug 26, 2008 01:34 PM #118
Rainer
184,366
Tina Merritt
Nest Realty - Blacksburg, VA
Virginia Real Estate

I'm baffled!  What part of "not going behind the sign" are people not getting?  It's NOT EVER, EVER ok!

Tina in Virginia

Aug 26, 2008 02:33 PM #119
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Tina...it's mind boggling how agents seem to be very split on this issue.  It's listed...don't call the seller.  PERIOD!  Except to schedule a showing IF that is the custom in your area.  I don't know where everyone is seeing the gray in that.  Seems pretty black and white to me.

Aug 26, 2008 04:47 PM #120
Rainmaker
244,665
Geordie Romer
Windermere Real Estate / NCW - Leavenworth, WA
Serving Leavenworth, Lake Wenatchee, and Plain

Standard of Practice 16-3

    Article 16 does not preclude REALTORS® from contacting the client of another broker for the purpose of offering to provide, or entering into a contract to provide, a different type of real estate service unrelated to the type of service currently being provided (e.g., property management as opposed to brokerage) or from offering the same type of service for property not subject to other brokers' exclusive agreements. However, information received through a Multiple Listing Service or any other offer of cooperation may not be used to target clients of other REALTORS® to whom such offers to provide services may be made. (Amended 1/04)
    You are right, it's not very grey at all
Aug 27, 2008 12:58 AM #121
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Geordie,

So what do you think about contacting the seller to ask if you can help them find a place to move TO when their home sells?  Is that a different service?  Would you know that seller was needing to leave if not for the listing agent's sign or mls info?

How would you prove that you didn't: "However, information received through a Multiple Listing Service or any other offer of cooperation may not be used to target clients of other REALTORS® to whom such offers to provide services may be made."

Aug 27, 2008 03:19 AM #122
Rainmaker
244,665
Geordie Romer
Windermere Real Estate / NCW - Leavenworth, WA
Serving Leavenworth, Lake Wenatchee, and Plain

Ardell-

In my humble opinion.. I think that the COE does allow you to contact the sellers to offer them your services as a buyers agent.

Should you? That depends on any number of circumstances.

You are right that you probably should be able to demonstrate that you didn't "target" them from info received on the MLS.

Of course it sounds like none of this is allowed in the NWMLS, but certainly it might be allowed in other parts of the country.

I imagine a scenario like this -

I am talking to MR and MRS Seller at church, PTA meeting, soccer sideline etc.

"Hey Geordie, we decided to list our house with Another Agent since he/she lives just down the street and charges absolutely nothing to list our house."

"Oh that's great. Where are you guys headed?"

"We're thinking of moving to the Street of Dreams neighborhood"

"Oh that's great, I do a lot of business in the Street of Dreams and I know it really well. If you need help finding a house there I would be happy to help."

Aug 27, 2008 08:21 AM #123
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Geordie,

I come across it by meeting sellers of homes in my Open Houses.  The only time I can remember someone listing with me but not buying with me is when they were already in contract on new construction without an agent when I met them.

Your example of the listing agent not charging anything is a bit odd.  Was that just an off the wall hypothetical?  Or a FSBO in the mls where they pay an up front fee whether it sells or not?  Why would an agent list a home "for free"?

 

 

Aug 27, 2008 08:43 AM #124
Rainmaker
244,665
Geordie Romer
Windermere Real Estate / NCW - Leavenworth, WA
Serving Leavenworth, Lake Wenatchee, and Plain

Pure hyperbole on my part.

Agents are welcome to charge whatever they want for commission. Many in my market choose to compete using a low fee.

Another discussion entirely.

Anyhow, I rest my case.

Aug 27, 2008 08:54 AM #125
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