Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Stealth Agents

We responded to a Craigslist listing and got a real estate agent … is that legal?

Absolutely not – it’s called a “blind ad”. Real estate agents must disclose their licensed status in all advertising – it’s the law in the State of Nevada. Further, if the agent is a Realtor they are also violating the Realtor Code of Ethics. The public has the right to know if they are being “sold” something by a licensee and not an unlicensed owner representing himself. This is a very basic law and practice, but in this challenging market some agents are desperate … and desperate people do desperate things.

It is unfortunate that some are driven to gain advantage over their fellow practitioners by what they perceive to be cleverness when in fact it is shameful. We are witnessing it with increasing frequency in our local market and we do take action. We first warn the agent out of courtesy. If they don’t change their ad and disclose their licensed status they are reported to the Board of Realtors and the State of Nevada for the appropriate policing action. There are reasons for the existing laws… consumer protection… and they must be complied with. There isn’t a place in the real estate business for scofflaws as evidenced by the widespread lending fraud recently perpetrated by unscrupulous lenders and real estate agents. That practice is substantially to blame for the current loan industry crisis.

The Internet and newspaper classifieds are good tools for buying, selling, lending and borrowing … as long as it is done in the appropriate manner. There are a lot of people trying to get in your pocket these days. Are you getting unsolicited emails? Phone calls? Everybody has a “better mousetrap” to make you money, save you money … something to do with your money. There is a catch – somebody is making money along the way. Be careful – you can make money in this market but you shouldn’t be compromised by unethical/illegal behavior in your effort to do so.

Our Advice: If you find yourself in a situation where you asked for “free” information on your home value, “free” foreclosure information, or details on an offering you thought was a private party, and you are suddenly faced with dealing with an agent … run! Even an agent offering his own property for sale is required by law to disclose his status. There is no plausible explanation for this behavior other than blatant deception against the public … you. It is not how professionals conduct themselves in their business. Stick to professional representation when you need real estate services as this is not a market for amateurs. If you experience a “stealth” agent “strafing” you to do business by all means report them to the Board of Realtors, 775.885.7200, and/or the State of Nevada Division of Real Estate, 775.687.4280. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

There is no right way to do the wrong thing. If an agent is unethical and illegal in their initial contact with you, where else are they compromising their integrity and your financial and emotional safety when it comes to buying and selling real estate?

Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, , 775-781-5472.

1 comment:

The Role of a Realtor said...

When going to buy or sell a home, your first step should be finding a honest and hard-working realtor.

When going to buy or sell a home, your first step should be finding an honest and hard-working realtor. You can find a real estate agent by keeping an eye out for advertisements, calling your local real estate broker, or through the internet.

The role of a real estate agent is to represent your best interests in a real estate transaction. They work off of a commission, normally 6% of the sales price of the home. In most cases, that commission is split equally between the realtor representing the buyer and the realtor representing the seller. For a person buying a home, the service of the real estate agent is free, because commission is paid by the seller. The buyer, however, is responsible for most of the closing costs. The closing costs will be explained to you by your realtor and will be on the documents you sign when you go to the title company. Closing costs can also be negotiated on during the contract process.

The real estate agent, through their broker, has access to all of the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) listed homes in your area of interest. If you are a home buyer, the realtor can provide you with information about homes for sale that meet your criteria. They will then bring you to these homes and let you inside to see them. If you are selling a home, the realtor will list your home in the MLS, post a "For Sale" sign in your yard, and hold open houses to attract buyers. Be wary of discount realtors that offer to list your home for a lower commission. Studies show that, in most cases, your home will stay on the market longer and you end up selling it for a lower price than what you intended.

A real estate transaction is a complicated process that involves many steps and is best done with the help of a trained, licensed professional. A realtor can save you the headache of dealing with the other party in the sale, getting together the contract, and submitting all the documents to the title company. So when you are ready to buy or sell a house, contact the local real estate agent.
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