The market is turning around! Inventories are dropping and many new listings are receiving multiple offers. Savvy Realtors selling homes in the greater Fort Walton Beach area know that if a home comes on the market and is well-priced, they’d better get their clients in to see it quickly and if they like it, encourage them to make an offer immediately. It’s clearly the beginning of a seller’s market, which also means that listing agents can potentially leverage multiple offers into a sales price higher than list.
Sadly, not all listing agents do right by their sellers. We’ve recently experienced just such a circumstance in our own search for a new home. This post will outline the backstory, and in a subsequent post we will offer suggestions for sellers to help them protect their own interests.
A home came on the market late last Wednesday and we called Thursday morning to schedule a showing that day. Even when the owners are not going to be home, we always ring the doorbell, and as expected there was no answer. We let ourselves in, calling out “Realtor!” again, and heard an answering “Hello?” The owners had not received word of our appointment and were napping. The husband is bedridden and their son was sound asleep in his bedroom as he works nights, so we accepted their invitation to look around a bit but naturally we were uncomfortable with making an in-depth examination. After apologizing profusely, we left.
We were very interested in this home, and called the listing office back to schedule a second showing for Friday so we could get a better look, indicating that we would likely be making an offer once we’d had a chance to see the entire house. They advised they had two other showings and scheduled us in. Later Thursday evening we were researching comps to decide on an offer amount and realized that the listing was in Pending status. WTH??? The listing office emailed and phoned Friday morning to cancel the showing, and when we tried to dig further into the reason they did not give us a chance to make an offer despite advising them our intention to do so, they got very defensive. We inquired about making a backup offer, but we have yet to hear back. Another interesting fact is that the selling agent is part of the same brokerage office as the listing agents.
We felt strongly that we were deprived of the chance to put in an offer on a home we liked when we clearly expressed an intention to do so, but more importantly, we feel that the listing agents short-changed their sellers by not allowing time for higher offers that may have resulted from competing buyers. Sour grapes? Maybe. So, before writing this post, we consulted two more experienced colleagues to make sure our concerns were justified, and they agreed that the actions of the listing agents could be considered unethical.
Our policy here at Next Stop Paradise is that if there is immediate interest and the potential for multiple offers on a listing, we allow at least 3 days for showings and advise all parties that we will present all offers to the sellers on a particular day and time. This provides the opportunity for all interested parties to schedule a showing, then bring their highest and best, and maximizes the chances that the sellers will receive attractive offers, hopefully higher than list price.
We won’t go so far as to file a formal ethics complaint, but we’ll certainly be wary if we end up in a future transaction with the Realtors involved. Don’t forget to read Five Suggestions to Protect Your Interests in a Shifting Market.
Enjoy your weekend!