Profile picture for zuser20131015183122452

Agent feel cheated. Was it my fault?

This is in regards to a commercial lease but probably doesn't matter...

I assume this is a pretty common problem..

I found a property on craigslist that I contacted and the listing agent showed me.  Location wasn't ideal, and I wasn't really impressed with the agent. I was rather sure we would not ever take the property at that particular point. That was the extent of dealings with this agent.

So after seeing the property, I called a friend, who is a new agent and we worked other more ideal areas.  He showed me about 4 buildings.  During his search, and 4 days after I answered the craigslist ad, the original property was sent to him from the listing agent, but was not forwarded to me due to being outside of the location I said to look.

Long story short, the bean counters won and we ended up going with the original property, despite the location, due to the price being half of anything in the "good" locations. When we signed the lease, we also signed a dual representation agreement with the listing broker, which I feel was correct.

So now my friend is miffed.  He feels he deserves the commission because the listing agent sent him the property.

So is this my fault for not disclosing I saw one building before calling him? 
Does answering a craigslist ad automatically assign you the agent that answers?
Could he have done anything to make sure this didn't happen?

I feel horrible.  But at the same time I'm not an agent, I've only done one real estate deal in my life (bought my house), so part of me wants to plead ignorance.  What should I do?

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October 15 2013 - US
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Answers (40)

First off if he's a friend then why is he so bent out of shape.  If you have explained to him the situation and that you had already been shown the property by the listing broker before you ever even contacted him, then I'm not sure how he could feel he was the "procuring cause" of the transaction.  Now I would disagree with you on "signing with the listing broker".  If it were me (and realize this is coming from your own efforts) I would have figured out what the buyers broker would have gotten paid and negotiated that commission off your Offer and got the property for a little cheaper.  My suggestion is to buy this broker and beer, explain things one last time and them forget about it.  If he holds a grudge, then it's just his inexperience showing through.  And if that's the case....then you might want to think about working with a more professional broker.  You've got to have thick skin in the business and relationships are everything.  Who knows, if he had supported you and didn't make it a big deal.....and a few months from now someone asked you to recommend a broker, you might have sent him some business.  What would you do now?
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October 18 2013
Yes it used to ( I'll miss all my designated initials if I decide not to rejoin the association ;-). I tried to change it to broker_girl..seemed fitting.
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October 17 2013
- Are you being coy regarding my non-affiliation with a board Mack Mc(Coy)?

No need to be coy, G-R-Roy, I thought that the GRI referred to the Realtor® designation!

In most states, "procuring cause" is the agent who was the point of contact for showing the property to the buyer. NAR does not have a simple explanation http://realtormag.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/ethics/article/2008/05/code-ethics-6-common-misunderstandings, but in my discussions with local board officers, I have found that unless the writing agent inappropriately inserted themselves into the stream, they are likely to be considered "procuring cause."

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October 17 2013

http://realtormag.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/ethics/article/2008/05/code-ethics-6-common-misunderstandings

 

 

Are you being coy regarding my non-affiliation with a board Mack Mc(Coy)?

 

Surely there is a "procuring cause discussion" underway somewhere here on Zillow that you can direct me to if you really want to discuss/hug it out?

 

There should be plenty cut and paste sections of what is some of the least clear portions of the S of P's from all around the country.

The word "uninterrupted" will come up frequently but it seems to be word ignored the most.

Certainly there will be links to mediated/arbitrated outcomes.

 

I can tell you the story of the horrible and very excellent agents who inspired me into going into real estate (directly related to procuring cause).

 

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October 17 2013
- No, I do not agree that a listing agent showing their listing/responding to inquires should be procuring cause.

How does your Board feel about this, though?

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October 16 2013

Call The Sisters,

I understand the legal argument for procuring cause in these types of circumstances but absolutely do not agree with the position the consumer is potentially put in to accept duel agency because a listing agent insists on it (as a general statement: not implying that this applies directly to the original question in this post).

No, I do not agree that a listing agent showing their listing/responding to inquires should be procuring cause.

Yes I agree that it's disappointing when good hardworking sales people lose out on commissioned sales (even at the retail level).

 

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October 16 2013
Profile picture for zuser20131015183122452
You guys are funny.  I simply making a comment that I've never heard of a realtor asking for a retainer.  It doesn't imply I'm not going to do what he asked.  Doesn't mean I will either.  I'm simply telling you guys what he said because someone asked. Geez.

Thank you all for your input. 

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October 16 2013
The Realtor® standard for "procuring cause' is that they write up the contract, which is a stricter standard than the statute in most states.

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October 16 2013
User - pull up a chair...........

You were feeling guilty, and  asked everyone here whether it was your fault....you showed concern about losing a friend over this "miscommunication".

You asked what to do to make it better........and you decided  to simply ask your friend what would make things better.

OK......so........

HE TOLD YOU...and yet, now you're questioning whether it's something anyone else ever did or heard of.

Now you want us to tell you it's ok to ignore what your friend said would make things better..........
Well, imo, it's not a matter of what we think, or what may or may not be done in regard to retainers
.......
You asked your friend - he told you...now do what you want to do.
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October 16 2013
Profile picture for wetdawgs
Many of us have already told you that paying him would be the appropriate thing to do, therefore, you are surprised at his response?

Why did he not ask for a retainer initially?  Probably because he thought you were his friend.   Apparently he was very very  wrong.    That's a pity.   

"sorry" doesn't cut it when using friends in business relationships and then short changing them.  Man up (or woman up) and cut him a check.   You are playing more than hardball with a friendship.   In fact, I wouldn't want to do business with you even if you weren't my friend.

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October 16 2013
Profile picture for workabee
It was your fault. You screwed up so pay him a fee or forget him as a friend.
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October 16 2013
BRoker_GRI

I agree with just about everything The Sisters said except this:

Listing agents who receive inquiries on properties that they have advertised, need to stop considering that to be "procuring cause". It is called: doing your agent duty, bringing in a buyer and making the property available for showing AKA part of their job.

Clarification: 
The 1st agent did show the tenant the property and took time with the prospects.  I would not have mentioned procuring cause over a telephone conversation. 

If you bring an agent out to show you a property and then turn around and use another agent to write the deal - the 1st agent has a claim to procuring cause because of the effort they expended.

Do you agree with that or not? 
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October 16 2013
Profile picture for zuser20131015183122452
Well here is his reply to my "What can I do to make it right"...

I know it was not intentional and that there was some miscommunications between us.  As, I was briefly mentioning to you on Monday, one thing realtors do is ask buyers or lessors to sign a Buyer-Broker agreement to ensure a minimum "retainer" for the work the realtor does in searching for a property, calling agents, creating reports,  travel expenses, etc. In a  case like this a retainer is anywhere between $800 and $1000.   Any compensation of this amount should help cove the time and expenses .  

 

Are you ok with this? If so, the check should be made out to: [The broker]


I know what a retainer is, but I can't say I've ever heard of a realtor asking for one...especially after the fact....
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October 16 2013
Agency can be confusing for clients, and I'm sure you had no idea, that leasing from the first agent effectively left your friend without pay after the work he did.
The only way to avoid such confusion is for the Realtor to be very clear and  to have  meeting before working with anyone so there is no confusion
 At this meeting (friend or not) Buyer agency can be explained as well as exclusive brokerage contracts signed. This way your  friend would have gotten the compensation he worked for.
I would chalk it up to a lack of communication and just, not knowing.
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October 16 2013
Actually, probably because I am in a "commissioned" business, I am very mindful of taking up a commissioned sales person's time, and when possible , try to give them my business, no matter what that business is.... or the courtesy of a call if I won't be doing business with them.

I am currently doing the leg work and  pricing cars for my son & his wife who are moving to the suburbs, and going from zero cars to 2 in the next 2 weeks! I am always upfront with the car salesmen and let them know why I am there, but share that  IF their model  car is the one my son and his wife decide they want - they WILL come back and buy it from them since they took the time to talk with me.

That is........except for 1 salesman - he didn't listen to a thing I said (like NO MONEY down on a lease) and tried to slip in a down payment and other fees as if I wouldn't notice (like $219 to "etch the glass" - I told him to go etch his own glass!  haha that sounds funny, doesn't it!) ....anyway.....he won't see me  again - nor will that car agency.

A salesman who is out of my immediate area, and not as convenient as the "bad" one,  is the one who will get that potential sale.......he was upfront, not pushy and  answered my questions without hesitation......listened, and actually committed to a price without having to be wrestled to the floor - a price he added could be "fine tuned" when the time came.
I liked him and his approach!
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October 16 2013
Celine:

I feel the first part of that answer was mine...lol.

And this is a Contractors thing not related to the post but to the answer.
I itemize for a reason and its true that their will be some clients that only look at the bottom line.
Their mistake...you always look at what is being done, how it is going
to be done and what materials they are going to use and how they will
be installed.
It is called an offered in Job Description , I recently was working on a kitchen and removed a wall, opening up the above but below the 2nd
floor, on a 14ft span the builder (years ago) used 2 X 6 's .
I don't think I need to say more...

Buying cars or clothes is different in the fact that you are relatively
same product situation. You then can shop for the best buy.

But when you are in a Construction contract you need to read it and
understand what you are reading , an open concept contract just
maybe that area the contractor uses to make up for that low bid you
took.
I don't do this and never have...but if you don't believe me there are
quite a few posts on here to ague the fact that it does and is
happening.

Not being mean... I just wanted to let others know  some of
the things to look for and help them make more educated dessions.
When doing building or renovations read your proposals, ask questions,
no matter how intent they maybe or silly you think they are.
That way you can enter into and walk away with a good experience and
a great product to be proud of.
-Joseph-
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October 16 2013

I agree with just about everything The Sisters said except this:

Listing agents who receive inquiries on properties that they have advertised, need to stop considering that to be "procuring cause". It is called: doing your agent duty, bringing in a buyer and making the property available for showing AKA part of their job.

 

There were plenty an agent that I would not allow to represent me when buying as a consumer and certainly not in a duel agency capacity.

 

As a listing agent/broker I have been in contract with plenty buyers who suddenly have agents *translate friends/family

While that's a tough one to graciously let go of, the goal was to sell a listed property for my clients.

 

Maybe you can let the listing agent know the circumstance and your friend can represent you, though doubtful.

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October 16 2013
Profile picture for Celine F
It is not uncommon for people to shop around and end up doing business with the one who provided the least detail, but the right product at the right time. But appreciate anyone who has contributed during the process.

Buying a car, the buyers visited a number of dealerships and test drove several cars, the sales people answered every question and educated the buyers on things they did not know. At the time they ready to make the purchase, they happen to see the right car at the right price, but they don't always commit to going back to the dealership where they got the most information.

Buying clothes, people try them on while at the stores and then they order online for price difference or any other incentives. Cell phones, mortgages, buyers compare rates and terms and they get educated along the way.

I think you appreciated your friend's effort in introducing those properties for you to compare your options, and any real estate related knowledge he has shared with you.

I think you also acknowledge that other agent's effort in showing you the property and discussing the lease terms for once, twice, or more times.

And neither of the agents asked you to commit to an exclusive agency relationship the first time they provide service to you? (If one of them did, you would be legally binded to anything you signed).

I work with multiple agents in different areas and evaluate properties as they send me listings. And they are all aware that I work with others at the same time. However, I commit to the exclusive agency relationship for only the properties they brought to me. Although many of the listings we looked through were not good purchases - price, condition, etc., I would always show my appreciation to those who helped in the research process.

I've made friends with agents who I've never closed a deal with. (The deals were not good, but the agents were awsome people.) I've referred other buyers with different buying criteria to them, I've pass along credit repair resources, I've become their business reference. If I saw properties on Craiglist or other sites that may meet one of their buyer's interest, I have brought those listings to the agents' attention.

We don't always have the right answers at our fingertips when involved in a situation at the moment. But afterwards we may concern about how things were handled. Perhaps you have other business associates who have real estate needs, or you might lease or purchase other properties in the future, have enough business to pass around.



 

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October 16 2013
School of hard knocks must be a fairly large generalized institution
cause it also takes in Contractors.

If I expected my clients to know how things work completely I would not
have to itemize and fill estimations with a page of disclaimers.

I have learned this through years of mistakes, clients mistakes???
No they were my mistakes and I got over them ... and tried to learn
something from them, have they cost me friendships ... well I will say
it definitely re-defined them.
-Joseph-
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October 16 2013
My two cents: 

The listing agent advertised - you answered and toured the property.  It was the listing agents efforts which brought you to the property.  When you first toured that property the listing agent had established procuring cause.

The best case scenario would have been for your friend to contact the 1st agent and say you were his buyer/tenant and offer the 1st agent a referral fee.  That probably would have happened if either agent knew you were working with multiple agents.

Your friend as a new agent is going to learn a vital lesson we all learn - DO NOT ASSume.

The first question which should be asked to anyone asking about property is:  Have you been out to see any properties with another agent?

Answer is No...move forward  -- Answer is yes - get the details.

In most states when you first meet an agent the agent is required to explain AGENCY to you. In my state it's called a Consumer Notice. 

If either or both agents had done that perhaps you the consumer would have asked a question that gave insight into the fact you had actually seen property with another agent.

Every state is different and commercial may or may not be included where you are.  Our agency form is Buyer/Tenant with no exclusion for commercial.

We all get aggravated by consumers who don't understand our industry.  If we did our job in the very beginning and took the 10 minutes to explain agency we might avoid costly mistakes later on.
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October 16 2013
The missing link, from what I read here, is that you did not tell your friend, who acted like he was your agent, that you were going to go back to the first property.

"Friend" is a loose term, which can mean anything from a person you know from the commuter bus to someone you have been having dinner with twice a month for the past zillion years.

I'm thinking that you're not really close enough friends for you to know what this person actually does during the course of his work day, whether this is true, I think that he is only as justified at viewing this breach as a of friendship as the closeness of your friendship.

However, this is his livelihood, and while he may be rightly miffed at the lost commission check, he also has a professional right to feel blindsided by your sudden return to the first property AND engaging the listing agent as a dual agent.

And I think that's where it's going to stand. You're not going to pay him enough to repair the relationship, and he's not going to forgive you for buying a property "behind his back."

I hope I am wrong.

All the best,
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October 16 2013
"With that said, I re-approached my friend, taking full responsibility for not formally disclosing the original property up front and asked what I can do to make it right."

OK, it's clear this friendship is important to you, and you really are trying to make things right....... I also applaud you for that........

So, what did he say?
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October 15 2013

Informing your friend/agent would have been a good start and communicating that you were signing a lease could have certainly spared you both this.

Not defending your actions, understanding that you made a mistake and owning up to it will go a long way towards maintaining the friendship.

You said "his first, fairly large, commission check." So your friend is learning a tough first lesson, many agents learn and unfortunately ‘relearn' as professionals.

Don't be surprised if it takes him a "moment" to get past it.

 

Now you both get to learn something about your friendship. It sounds important to you so I hope it turns out well.

 

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October 15 2013
Profile picture for Dunes ..
Agree...Disagree?
It's a discussion, an exchange of opinions & perceptions but no matter what those opinions are you are to be commended imho for even being here sharing this because you are concerned....period

Heck we're talkin bout a friend being concerned about a relationship with a friend...and being here, responding, sharing more, shows in this fellas opinion that you are concerned and for the right reasons. Kudos
I think those talkin here would agree with that..

"What should I do?"......."I re-approached my friend"

Sounds like you're already taking care of that and I wish you the best as I'm sure all here do.....


Thanks for this...coming here
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October 15 2013
Profile picture for zuser20131015183122452
wetdawgs,
I'm going to agree with you that as a society we are way too quick to point fingers.  I already took responsibility for my actions, but you continue to harp on the blame game.  I have never said "it's not my fault", I've written several times to the contrary after hearing what people had to say.

If I go to a Dr, and he says I have a cold.  It turns out to be pneumonia. Does he turn around and tell me "well you should have known that?".  If I should have know that what do I need him for?  I am not the professional here, the agent is.  Yes, either one of us could have done things to have avoided the situation. I'm not denying it.  The big difference is that he, as the agent, having gone to school to learn about this stuff, should have known that and taken steps to avoid the situation. I am some just a programmer that knows nothing about real estate.  I know if I was an agent and my commissions were riding on making sure someone else does certain things, I'm going to make sure they do those things!

If I wasn't concerned about my personal responsibility, I wouldn't be here asking these questions in the first place. I would have shrugged it off and went on my way not caring my actions screwed someone out of his first, fairly large, commission check. I believe in learning from my mistakes.  Though usually my mistakes don't cost other people money.

With that said, I re-approached my friend, taking full responsibility for not formally disclosing the original property up front and asked what I can do to make it right.

Thank you all for your input.
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October 15 2013
Your friend is an Agent. He is professionally obliged to cover other peoples a$$es and he can't even cover his own. Take him to dinner and tell him to live and learn. If he's still PO'd, find new friends. Refer him someone if he's not.
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October 15 2013
Would you go any other professional, use their services, and then refuse to pay them? You engaged a REALTOR to show you properties, and it makes no difference whether or not that person was your friend. You used the agent's time and professional services to show you properties. It is very important that buyers be fully honest with their REALTOR from the beginning and during the entire process.
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October 15 2013
Profile picture for wetdawgs
"Sure I'm shifting some of the blame to the agents for not asking what, in hind sight, seems like obvious questions...."   Often it seems easier to address what the other party should have done so blaming and finger pointing is the easy way out, but the bottom line in life is the  more personal responsibility you take for your own actions, the better you'll get along with the world. 

I'm a greying curmudgeon and have witnessed huge changes in the culture of "blame shifting" in my decades.     Rather than asking the question "what can I do differently?"   it is "but this is what xxx did to contribute and they should have done better".      Heck, spill a cup of coffee in your lap and sue for $1,000,000 because the vendor made the coffee too hot.  It seems to be the American way, but it isn't pretty (and keeps us as laughing stock of the world).

What have you learned from this situation that involves no blame of your friend the new agent?

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October 15 2013
he could have represented you anyhow, despite the listing agent having you shown the property upfront.
but this is simply an unfortunate situation. Let's say if both of you had communicated better this would not have happened.
You could have told him that you are going with the first property, giving him the opportunity to educate you about his ability to represent you which in turn you could have happily accepted.
because you both failed to communicate he is losing out. So: TALK to each other...and tell him you are sorry but you did not know. buy him lunch and offer your hand...


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October 15 2013
Profile picture for zuser20131015183122452
I've already apologized profusely to my friend.

Sure I'm shifting some of the blame to the agents for not asking what, in hind sight, seems like obvious questions they should ask to protect themselves from ignorant idiots such as myself...  Did I do wrong here?  Seems everyone (including me) is in agreement that I did. I'm not denying it.  While ignorance is not an excuse, it is a cause.  It is clear I don't fully understand how things work and I should have disclosed things I didn't. I certainly was not hiding anything intentionally (otherwise why would I ask here, and why would I feel so bad about it).  I even turned down other agents that pressed me to let them help me saying I already had an agent (my friend).

The property WAS mentioned to my friend, but only in passing as a baseline for the pricing to beat.

I was not told he received the same property from the listing agent until today when he forwarded me an email as proof it was "his" property.  Had he sent it to me at that time, I certainly would have told him it was the same property we were using as a pricing baseline.

It's been about a month since my friend and I stopped looking as it was clear he wasn't finding anything in the price range. When the bean counters were reconsidering the original building I stopped asking my friend for more properties due to the fact that I ASSumed that he couldn't get commission for a property that I initiated contact with the listing agent and didn't want him to do more work if we were going with that property.

Thank you all for the replies. I'm off to apologize more.

At this point, is there anything I can do to rectify the situation?
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October 15 2013
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