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Rejected offer - Agent forwarded Email response

I recently received an offer for a home I was selling, The agent was acting as a dual agent so he wanted to act impartial to both sides. I sent a response of why I was rejecting the offer because it was 30k under list price with no counter. He took my email and forwarded my response onto the prospective buyer. Is this unethical - I was wanting to ask for a release of the selling contract in order to find someone else. I was wondering everyone Else's opinion. Thanks
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March 31 2012 - US
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Replies (11)

Profile picture for wetdawgs
I don't see a  problem (ethical or otherwise) with your agent forwarding your E-mail response.   What approach did you prefer?   How have you communicated this with your agent?

I would have a problem with agent representing both seller and buyer, so maybe moving forward you will need to negotiate this into your agreement.

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March 31 2012
Profile picture for user2457922
I look at it as a personal email intended for one individual, What if the buyer would have raised his offer if my agent would have told them just that I have declined this offer. I said some things in the email I did not want any one but my agent to see. I had a problem with that, but maybe there is nothing wrong with that I guess.
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March 31 2012
We do not know what you said in your email, but in the future I suggest that if you do not want it to be shared with a buyer, you may want to say FOR YOUR EYES ONLY. If you simply said that you were rejecting the offer instead of countering and the agent forward the message to the buyer, I see nothing wrong with that.   Personally, I counter every single offer when I am selling, but then that is just me.
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April 01 2012
Hi, I know it can seem unnerving if someone forwards an email you expected to be seen only by the agent.  Without seeing the email- I do not know if anything in it would have seemed unwise to share.  As you were rejecting the offer (with no counter)- sometimes buyers like to see evidence of this (as nothing in writing for a counter).  The agent may have forwarded your email as written proof the offer was being declined by you.

I would explain to the agent you do not wish any future emails to be forwarded to anyone else.

Good luck with your sale!
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April 01 2012
Profile picture for sunnyview
"I look at it as a personal email intended for one individual..."

I can why you would feel that way. I think I would feel the same. The listing agent may not have crossed an "ethical" hardline, but they certainly should have disclosed how their professional relationship with you would change once they took on the title "dual agent".

If it were me, I would speak frankly to the listing agent and tell them that you felt that they were not acting in your best interest as the seller. Also, ask them to go over the paperwork that you signed for your listing agreement and to point out their professional obligations as the sellers agent to you. If you do not feel comfortable with how they are handling the listing then I would take it to their broker to see if they can assign a different agent.
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April 01 2012
Profile picture for SoCal_Engr
Short tangent...

The "real lesson" of this experience should be "no email is ever "private". Even had the eMail not been forwarded, it now lives on multiple eMail servers - and you have zero control over what servers the eMail now lives on, nor how it will be backed up and retained.

My general policy is...If I don't want something to ever be shared with others, I don't write it down. As too many have discovered, what differentiates between "public" and "private" in the computer/internet world does not necessarily map - and, even when it does, there is no guarantee that it will not be leaked...with intent or otherwise.
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April 01 2012

I think that this is a clear violation of the Code of Ethics: "acting impartially" doesn't mean that confidential communication is to be reveal to all sides.  That as the seller's agent, he has an obligation to keep all his/her communication confidential and private unless so directed by the seller to reveal the contents of the email. I also think that a release from your listing contract is reasonable

See NAR's Standard Practice 1-9





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April 01 2012
By forwarding your email, the agent has eliminated any doubt on the buyer's behalf about the true reason for the rejection. A useful step for your agent would be to call or email you first and to ask for your permission to forward the email. Other than that - I do not see anything wrong In the future, put "Do Not Forward" in the title of your emails that you do not want sent to other parties.
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April 01 2012
As many of us agree the agent did need to provide the buyer with some written confirmation that their offer was rejected.  As we could not see what was written as to what the concern was of the forwarded email. 
Would have suggested countering in any offer.   Some people really just want to see where you are at --- as always you never get what you dont ask for.  Buyers always like to feel like they did get something by going back and forth. Best Wishes to you! 
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April 03 2012
I tend to agree with things that were already said.
Don't say it by email if you have issue with it being forwarded and that should apply to far more than real estate.   People sometimes reply back and forth with you and then forget that the beginning of the thread had communication that was for their eyes only and foward the whole thing later.  I always think of Oliver North and the Iran- Contra affair when this topic comes up (that was long ago but still applies...email is not private).

It's very likely they thought it was harmless.  if nothing else. a reply that simply says "no" or "let's discuss...call me later" is good   We should all still be careful and respectful about forward and replies, but thing happen, control your own risk first by using the phone instead.
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April 03 2012
and Oliver North was convicted of 3 felonies (lated vacated).
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April 04 2012
 
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