The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

A Lesson in Non-Shady Behavior

I recognize that it’s totally passive-aggressive of me to bitch on my blog about the failings of my fellow real estate agents. It would be way more mature to just call them and say, ‘Yo. That was scummy. If you do it again I’m going to report you.’ I also realize it’s against my National Association of Realtor’s ‘code of ethics’ to out another Realtor for acting in a non-ethical manner (hmm… Alanis Morrissette comes to mind. Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?).

But what good is having a blog unless you can passive-aggressively bitch in a non-specific and totally hypothetical manner? Plus, I like to think it can be a teaching moment for all of us. Let’s all come together and learn how to be a real estate agent who’s totally going to get sued if they keep this shit up:

Case Lesson 1 – How Not to do BPOs

Broker Price Opinions are decent money these days. Agents who do BPOs are hired as an objective third party by the bank that owns the note of a house attempting to be short sold. They get $50 or $100 to go out to a house that’s listed as a short sale and give the bank an opinion of value on the property. I knew a guy who used to do 8 of these a day, five days a week a few years back. He was saving up for his sexual reassignment surgery. True story (5 of the people reading this just went, ‘Oh yeah… I remember him.’).

The proper way to do a BPO is:

1.       Call and schedule the appointment to see the house.

2.       Show up at the appointed time to photograph and take notes about the house.

3.       Go home and fill out the valuation form using current comps and your newly garnered knowledge about the property.

The improper way to do a BPO:

1.       Call to set up an appointment to see the house.

2.       Half an hour before the appointed time send your husband and small child to the house with a camera. When the homeowner asks for his credentials because she was expecting a female half an hour later, tell him to huffily walk out to his car, and come back saying he doesn’t have his wife’s card with him.

3.       Fill out the valuation form without ever having viewed the property using only the information provided by your unlicensed husband and four year old daughter. Resist the urge to include your daughter’s opinion that the house was boring because it didn’t have any American Girl Dolls for her to play with.

Case Lesson 2 – The Wrong Time to Release Keys to the Buyer

I know in some states (and in most theatrical representations of real estate purchases) the buyer, seller, agents, title officers and roughly 11 attorneys all sit down together at a big mahogany table to sign documents and exchange keys and large amounts of money at the close of escrow. In Arizona this is not how it works.

Here, the sellers sign the paperwork to sell.

Then the lender sends the paperwork the buyers need to sign to the title company.

Then the buyers sign the paperwork to buy.

Then the lender reviews the paperwork and sends the wire with the large amounts of money.

Then, when the title company has received the wire, they release the file to record with the County Recorder’s Office.

FINALLY AT THIS POINT AND NOT BEFORE the property will be legally owned by the new buyer and keys can be released.

I know this is annoying and completely anticlimactic. I know all of my buyers want their keys right after they sign and think I’m a just trying to torture them by withholding their keys until the title company calls me to say we’re completely official. It’s not true, I swear. I’m not trying to be the annoying bad guy. The fact is; you don’t own the property until the money comes through and the deed is recorded. There are way too many cases where things have gone wrong in those few hours/days it takes for all of this red tape to be cleared away. They scare us with those cases when we get our license. And then our brokers hammer it home on a regular basis.

So just to be clear, if you’re the buyer’s agent and the buyer signs at 3PM on a Monday, and the listing agent shows up at the property on a Tuesday morning at 9AM to check the final condition of the property BEFORE escrow closes, BEFORE the wire has been sent from the lender to the title company, BEFORE the title company has received the wire and BEFORE the title company has released the file for recordation, and the following things have occurred:

1.       The key has been removed from the lockbox and given to the new buyers

2.       The locks on the property have been changed by the new buyers

3.       The new buyers have had a brand new washer and dryer and fridge delivered and installed

4.       The new buyers have either had a party or treated the appliance install man to about 40 beers as evidenced by the full recycling container in the kitchen

Then YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. Also, I may not be able to prove it, but I think all circumstantial evidence points to the fact that you didn’t give the buyers the keys after they signed at 3PM Monday, but likely the Friday before. I know you probably know the buyers and that they’re really nice people and maybe it’s even your sister and her husband or something, but DUDE. Just no. So much legally not at all ok. You’re lucky nothing wacky happened this time and it all closed escrow. Please don’t do it again.

I hope we all can take away something from this lesson. Even if it’s just ‘Don’t act shady when you’re doing a deal with Elizabeth Newlin because she’ll totally call you out on her blog and it will be kind of humiliating.’

7 Responses to A Lesson in Non-Shady Behavior

  1. Wow. Foolish me (or maybe naive me), I thought by now all the actual idiots would have been driven out of the business and pretty much all that remained would be “the fittest”. I guess not.

  2. Love it. Yes, I totally remember that guy. Thanks for the chuckle in bringing him back up. And I’ve had buyers’ agents get all pissy at me because I told them couldn’t take the keys from the lockbox like a week before close. Maybe they were asleep that day or just really want to get sued?

  3. @Jim – Don’t we wish that was the case!

  4. Case 1 – someone should lose their license.
    Case 2 – someone should lose their ass.

  5. My husband and my realtor actually had an affair and I filed for divorce, the agent came on to my husband and he told her no 3 times. We were having trouble in our marrige, however we were still and agreed to give each other 6moths to work on it. While he continue to find us shelter. Our realtor always seem to sale the home that I would choose for our family, however when my husband and I separated it was so easy for her to get him a home of course, BUT rent to own………………..(clueless)! I found out through email about the affair, when she sent him a picture of her through her buisness that she uses to send out information to him and I both in the pass about homes. Long story short, we are going through alot, she has now filed an injunction against me, (LIES) because I sent a letter to her buisness about this and she lost 3 agents so therefore she is upset and now retailiating with LIES. BUT I have 69 tex messages of discusting/nasty proof of her violating her code of ethics with NO REGUARDS to me nor my family. I have 4 kids no job, no sheltor, and now no husband! I trusted this woman with all of my personal information. She came to my home and she was personally intangled with my family for a year claming that it was basically impossible to find US a home! But now she got my husband a home. Smile………………..can I get some advice please?

    • Wow, Nikki. That’s pretty horrible. She sounds pretty skankalicious. She must be with Keller Williams, right? Totally kidding. I’ve never heard anything about Keller Williams agents being homewreckers. It’s totally those Coldwell Banker people. Kidding, again.

      I actually don’t know if what she did violates the Realtor code of ethics or just the code of ethics of non-horrible and non-scummy people. But if you have any indication that she might have violated the NAR COE, then you should contact your local board of Realtors. It should be pretty easy to find by Googling ‘local board of realtors for Austin, Texas’ or whatever. You can file an official complaint against her there.

      Good Luck!!!

      • LOL……………I know right! It’s been hell for me and my kids, but we will get through it. Better 13years than forever ya know? Thanks for the info!

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