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So first off I have worked with about 10 real estate agents over the past year or so. I find most of them are quite horrible. You explain what you want and they either don't call you back or show you stuff that they want to sell. For example, we were looking to relocate to another part of Orlando with a larger home, and one agent "sent us" to homes in our development that were 10% bigger then our current home.

The agents are so terrible I am about ready to go get my real estate license just so I don't have to deal with these idiots.

So we signed an agreement with a buyer's agent that was only half way terrible. We found something we kind of liked and this buyer's agent showed us the house. A bit distressed, but great location and good bones. The listing price was a bit over 400K, my valuation came in around 325K. The buyers agent insisted that it would be a waste of their time to put in a bid of less then 375K. So we ended up passing, and ended up "firing" the buyers agent.

About two months later the property has been lowered to 323K, while the market has softened a bit, this put this into a home with nice profit potential. This was pointed out by a different agent who is a wife of a friend.

Can I use this second agent to purchase the home? Keep in mind that the first buyer's agent showed us the place.

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    What did your agreement/contract have to say about a situation like this? – Chris W. Rea Apr 30 '14 at 16:01
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    @PeteBelford - explain the situation to the second agent. Full disclosure. then he/dhe can tell you if this is ethical or not. – Joe Strazzere Apr 30 '14 at 16:35
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    Do you have a paper trail, i.e. a note where you offered the lower price and he refused? That's enough to negate any claim he'd have. A real estate agent is obligated to pass along all offers to his seller. I am an agent, and just had an offer accepted, just over 50% of asking. The first agent broke any agreement you had, time to move on. In any industry, there are good and bad employees. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Apr 30 '14 at 16:59
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    This question is not about personal finance and money but legality and ethics. – Dilip Sarwate May 1 '14 at 1:53
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    @JoeTaxpayer - I understand that, but just because the agent says he doesn't think will accept under $375K doesn't mean you can't offer below it. The worst that can happen is that you get a no, which will put them in the same spot as walking away. – Victor May 1 '14 at 5:33
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It starts with the document you signed. Most of the time an agent represents the seller and has to disclose this to a potential buyer during the first meeting. The seller pays a commission that their broker splits with another broker if that broker brings a buyer. So, you come to me, I disclose this, and then I'm happy to sift through the MLS listings, and alert you to a house fitting your list of wants.

Part of being licensed is the obligation to pass any and all offers to the listing broker. This is where your agent dropped the ball. I suppose, to what I believe Victor was suggesting, you could have looked up the listing broker and asked them to accept an offer from you. Either way, once the agent failed to pass along your offer, he was failing to comply with the rules agents must adhere to. In my opinion, that negates any contract you had in place, written or verbal.

My comment on multiple offers - I work for an investor who buys properties to rehab and either rent out or sell. I will place multiple offers, at well below asking price. The listing agents don't always reply. The last round of 5 resulted in one already under contract, 2 rejected, 1 accepted, and 1 ignored me. The accepted 1 was just over half the listed price. It was bank owned, and an empty house has the risk of vandalism, so it was in their best interest to take the offer. If you are looking to buy to live in the house, it's still worth it to look carefully and strategize.

Regarding Pete's 'Ideal Customer' comment - I rent apartments for the investor. When I have a 3BR in Town A to rent, my ideal client needs just that. Someone looking for a 2BR in Town B may be ready willing and able to move in, but they are not getting an apartment from me that day. I take their names and call back when one comes up. I was in your situation 20 years ago. Just married, and had a list of features of 'ideal house,' the down payment to afford it, and the income so the mortgage would be 15% of gross. The realtor wasted more of our time showing us houses that didn't come close. (Electric stove? No, I cook, and want gas, etc.) She wanted to make a sale, and didn't seem to understand the list. In the end she found a new cul-de-sac, and we got our house built to plans we provided. People are different, another realtor would take the list, and be in touch once a week with an update call or email.

  • Thank you, that was helpful. So you put in 5 bids on different properties, not one? If so I understand now. – Pete B. May 2 '14 at 13:11
  • Yes. The way I work for the investor is to offer low bids, with expected success of about 20%. Offers are time-limited (good for 48-72 hrs) and 'cash,' so no mortgage contingency. This can work for a buyer downsizing who has the ability to buy with cash from prior house. Just bid on one at a time, of course. – JTP - Apologise to Monica May 2 '14 at 13:16
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The second real estate agent, got back with me and gave me this ruling:

In the worst case scenario the second agent would pay the first agent 1%. The first agent would have to make a strong argument for it, and I am unsure who (if there is any) the arbiter would be.

However, being that the first agent never followed up, has forgotten all about me, she will probably never follow up. Therefore it is unlikely that the 1% would have to be paid.

From my sense of right and wrong, I feel the first agent would have no claim because:

  • They refused to put in an offer for the amount I was willing to pay.
  • I did not put in an offer with them.
  • They did not inform me of updates to this property (same holds true for others).
  • I am no longer working with them.

The bottom line is that there does not seem to be any law to this effect here in FL.

Either agent, would put about 10-12 hours worth of work in this project, earning about 9K in commissions. Not to many people get to earn ~$900/hour.

  • If you look at the data for average agent incomes, they are not raking it in. The good ones are earning every dime, but as you point out, there are many that don't return calls and are not responsive. That first agent lost his potential earned $9K. (Which is likely split with others in his office) – JTP - Apologise to Monica Apr 30 '14 at 20:33
  • @JoeTaxpayer in a way I think my wife and I are dream clients...we know exactly what we want and can act quickly and decisively. However, most agents seem to be looking for people that give into emotion and get "house fever". I would love for you to expound on your strategy for submitting 5 bids at once. Perhaps it would make a good blog article? – Pete B. May 1 '14 at 12:46

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