Be very careful before you sign up with a real estate agent.
I was cold called by an agent and basically pestered into listing my property with them.
Clearly they had obtained my details from the no agent website, which clearly also stated my selling price.
the price on their authority form was well below what my listing price was.
when I questioned them about this, I was told that this would draw in buyers who would normally only look in that price range.
I again stated that I was not prepared to sell in this range and why waste time listing at that level.
The agent's reply was, that he was the professional and knew what he was doing.
Not once did he ask me what my expectations where or made a comment as to what the "market expectations" were.
I signed, the first open apparently brought in 4 offers in a fairly close listed price range but well below my selling price.
he rang late at night and verbally went through the offers, I provisionally agreed to one offer (but had not given myself time to consider it or discuss with my husband).
During that weekend, after discussion with my husband and after giving ourselves time to think about it, we decided that this was not a price I was willing to sell at.
still no written offer/sales contract had been sighted or signed.
I rang the agent early in the next week and advised him that I really could not sell at this price, it was not my intended price.
I've now been asked to pay the full commission, because property was sold "exceeding market expectation".
I feel that I was naively and trustingly trapped into something I had no intention of accepting, my husband actually never saw or signed that authority and there was never a frank discussion about "market expectations", rather a very deceitful approach to signing me up, based on false premises.
what are my consumer rights in this situation?
if you would like me to provide you with the agency's' name, email me and please avoid them at all costs.pullyMember@pullyJoin Date: 2009Post Count: 44
hi dr house. sorry you had this experience. never heard of no agent website, but i have known agents will ask private sellers to list with them.
pity you signed with them. did you sign and agree to the sale price? if it has been sold and settled then i suppose you have?
how long was the sale agreement for and which state?
was the price along way below your expectations? how much are their fees including advertising?
this is a warning to others.
regards.crjParticipant@crjJoin Date: 2004Post Count: 618
Take the documentation you have and go and see a solicitor.Scott No MatesParticipant@scott-no-matesJoin Date: 2005Post Count: 3,850
In NSW you have a 5 day cooling off period post signing the agency agreement. The Dept of Fair trading regulates the conduct of the agent and complaints can be lodged with them. The property is not sold until you sign a 'contract for sale', if it is jointly owned, then both you and your husband will need to sign this.
thanks for replies to date.
I've written back a lengthy letter to them and will wait and see their response.
That's the point, we never sighted or signed the contract of sale, but decided to not proceed, they still request payment of their commission, as having had offers exceeding market " expectations", that were never discussed with us in the first place and certainly weren't our "expectations". They tell me they are legally entitled to do this.
I've never heard of this.
the fact that my husband never signed the authority, I don't know if that makes the process "non-viable" to start with.
The sale offer price was around $20,000 below our private listing price.
if i continue to get harassed, I will take this to the Vic real estate institute, there were so many holes in their approach, i don't think they have legal grounds to make me pay.
pullyMember@pullyJoin Date: 2009Post Count: 44
so from what you say there has been no sale/settlement? it would appear commission would not have to paid.
marketing costs maybe, it would depend on the contract details.
has the time expired for the sale agreement? will you list with another?
good luck with this, i hate seeing this behaviour which seems to be common amongst some agents.
certainly do all you can, tell everyone you know to avoid them. jenman maybe interested in this, he does have an interest in advocacy against rogue agents. just google his name and lots of information will come up.
another avenue maybe the consumer affairs dept in your state, and even your member of parliment. some have an interest in stamping out this sort of thing, or can suggest other avenues.
i wonder if the agent found a buyer amongst his family/friends? it is not unknown to sell at a low price in this way. full of tricks, and often boast about it too.
you unfortunately will not be the last to be treated this way but exposure and not tolerating this needs to be done.
good luck and do keep us informed.
tulipslipMember@tulipslipJoin Date: 2009Post Count: 9
The Office of Fair Trade stipulates professional conduct that a salesperson MUST abide by or risk an $11,000 personal fine and possibly losing their certificate or license (whatever this guy has). Do his future victims a favor: go straight there and lodge a formal complaint.
You can also do it online. Not sure what state you’re in, but here is the website for NSW:
thank you all for replies.
I am very familiar with fair trading and real estate institute.
At this point I've not had a reply from the agent from my letter.
I will probably leave it be but any future sales I might undertake will not ever be in this way again.flyingyingMember@flyingyingJoin Date: 2009Post Count: 3
could you tell me the agent name pls? My email is [email protected] I am interested in knowing whether it is same agent which I am be cheated.
I have very bad experience about real estate in north melbourne too. Basically, this real estate talk a lot of lies and set up trap to cheat buyer. I buy over price property from them. Then they manage my property during that time. During one year, they use their trade man to over charge a lot of maintenance fee and have no idea about property.
I ask my property manager about the problem. His anwer always was he is not sure and he didn't know. One time, he even ask me which one is your property….
When I decide to leave this agent, they didn't tell me some law section and set me in trap. Later on, they combine with tenant to sue me in tribuanl court and get $5000 from me. They was not only get their manage fee and also so bad.
If anyone want to buy property in north of melbourne, pls avoild this agent. you can email me and I tell the detail of this real estsate and property manager name.TerrywParticipant@terrywJoin Date: 2001Post Count: 16,190
can't see how an agent could claim a commission from an offer.
Just because someone makes a verbal offer doesn't mean the person will buy the place. The person making the offer may not even have finance for all you know.
The property had apparently 4 offers all in a close range, none of which I saw.
The RE agent rang me and went through all the offers(late one night), I provisionally said yes to one without giving myself time to think about it or discuss with my husband.
After we had time to think about it over the weekend, we declined the offer(s), still sight unseen or not receiving any sales contract.
He then got quite aggressive on the phone and so did the sales persons' boss, threatening me with legal action and stating that if the property was sold at or above market expectations and per authority (which looks to have been a very standard authority) and I declined, they could still charge me the full commission.
that's the first i ever heard about this.
It didn't seem to matter that "market expectations" weren't mentioned once during the pre authority or signing up stage.
It seems that their "market expectation" was meet, ie quick sale/instant comission, but they certainly weren't our "expectations".
IbusinessglobalParticipant@businessglobalJoin Date: 2005Post Count: 118
I am unsure how an agent can ever be paid for verbal offers- nothing is signed or any agreed contract is legally in place- Id tell them to call your solicitor for any further correspondence, or ask to speak to the principal.
Thsi sort of behaviour gives agents a bad name, I pride myself in being a great principal and agent and this career has spanned me 15 years now and made me a millionaire by looking after clients correctly, and many clients I have had for over 10 years now and some Im up to the 10th or more sale or purchase. So I would just tell them put your principal on the phone, fax me the written offer and also it is a common fact- the law of offer and acceptance- you have not even seen an offer in writing so nothing exists, make sure you also put in writing to them you wish to see a fully signed up offer as you do not believe it even exists, and you cannot sell a house without sellers signatures, and initials. Stupid sales agent- needs to get out of the industry!!.LinarMember@linarJoin Date: 2004Post Count: 567
You will need to look at what the sales agency says. If the agency says that the vendor must pay commission if the agent finds a purchaser willing to pay the appraised price or higher (whether or not the vendor accepts such an offer) then it would appear that you will probably have to pay the commission. However, the agent would need to show that there was a written offer and not just a verbal offer.
You may have an out if the property is in the name of both you and your husband and your husband didn't sign the sales authority. However, you may be deemed to have had the authority to sign on his behalf. You really need to go and see a solicitor to see if there is a way out.
I know this is going to sound harsh, but you did give the agent authority to market your property and you did agree to sell your property at a price offered by a purchaser. You signed a sales agency that presumably had the appraised or expected sale range. Why did you sign it if you didn't want to sell at that price? Apart from your initial protest, did you at any time prior to telling the agent you weren't prepared to accept the offer (after previously telling him that you would) give any indication that you didn't want to proceed with having the agent sell your property?
From the agent's perspective, he actively sought out a property to sell (agents often call vendors who advertise their property privately: in fact, whenever I privately advertise one of my properties to rent, agents call me asking if I want to sell). He does sound a bit pushy given that you initially said no, but it's a tough market out there for REA's at the moment and they need to aggressively pursue listings. You agreed to sell your property through him and you signed the sales agency with his appraised price range. He then found four buyers and presented you with the offers. You accepted one. A few days later he gets a call from you telling him that the deal is off. If the sales agency says that you are liable to pay commission if an offer within range is presented and you reject that offer, then of course the REA is going to chase that commission. Expecially if you gave him no indication after you signed up that you weren't happy with the way things weren't progressing.
Just in answer to your question about consumer rights, I would think that if the sales agency stipulated that commission is payable on a written offer within range, regardless of whether you actually sold at that price, you would be liable to pay that commission. A sales agency is a contract. You would have to prove that you signed under duress for the contract to be voided, that is, you were somehow threatened or intimidated into signing the contract. Naivety and blind trust isn't enough. There is no legal obligation on a REA to discuss "market expectations" (although his failure to do so should have been a indication that he may not be someone you feel comfortable selling your property through) and despite your claim that range was not your "expectation", you signed the contract.
Now that I have said all that, there are a couple of things you should look at:
1. Does the sales agency stipulate that a written offer, without acceptance from you, is enough to trigger the payment of commission?
2. Were there actually written offers? I can't imagine that any contract would require you to pay commission based on a verbal offer, as per Terry's post above.
3. Does the fact that your husband didn't sign the agency mean that the sales agency isn't binding? You will need legal advice for this
4. Did you at any time after signing the contract but before offers were presented, tell the REA that you didn't want to proceed? If so, make notes now of exactly what you said and his response. These notes will help later if you get sued for the commission.
KTerrywParticipant@terrywJoin Date: 2001Post Count: 16,190
Did you see that agent on TV last night – today tonite or ACA.
He had a property on his books with an asking price of $300,000+. It was slow to sell and so he offered to buy it himself. He paid $240,000. The same day he resold it for $280,000 to another of his clients.
agree Linar, i guess it comes down to the fact that communication should have been much clearer.
I was also very distracted by work pressure , busy job interstate.
So I really didn't give myself time to consider everything more carefully (my fault).
In retrospect, it's surprising that there was no discussion, as there should have been about what the market is doing and what is a realistic price range. Yes, I was a bit naive also.
I assumed the agent knew, from my listing what my price was.
I think a big lesson probably for both parties to be very open in communication re prices and expectations and don't rush signing anything till it's been made very clear.