I told Keith I was looking for an inexpensive house and had time to browse. He was okay with that, so we proceeded. Everything was fine at first.
1. Initial Terms: Keith was pleasant and eager to help as a buyer agent. He spoke nothing of exclusive representation agreements or buyer-paid fees, however, which became an issue later.
2. Search: Keith was willing and responsive to setting up tours. No issues there. He also went to a house for me while I was out of town and gave me an assessment based on what he knew I wanted.
2. Contracts/Offers: Offers were completed reasonably quickly. They included exclusive representation documentation and an agreement between me and his brokerage. I think this should be discussed and signed up front, so all parties know the terms, but still not a big problem...yet.
My contract on a Fannie Mae HomePath property was accepted, however, the counter specified that the loan type would be HomePath Renovation. I questioned Keith about this change, and he assured me that this would not preclude me from pursuing a HomePath non-renovation loan. Au contraire, mon frère. The long story short is he reviewed the counteroffer, said that the seller changing the loan type was not an issue, I should have researched it myself, and it became a BIG issue. If Keith was operating outside of his comfort zone, he should have told me he didn't know the details of these types of purchases. Instead, he assured me everything was fine.
3. Lending/Closing Assistance: Keith recommended a lender and settlement company. The settlement company was great. The lender had far fewer scruples. It seems the lender incorrectly disclosed the taxes I would pay on their original GFE. They later attempted to redisclose a higher amount. The difference was over $1500. This was due to a stipulation in the sale contract about which party pays taxes. They overlooked it and then tried to quietly get me to sign new documents without noticing the change. When I questioned them, all of a sudden the loan fell through and they wouldn't close with me. Law states that they cannot increase the amount from the GFE, and rather than own up to the mistake and pay the difference, they claimed that the loan type was not valid for the transaction. This was not the case, but there was enough doubt for them to back out on a technicality - an out that Keith had left for them by incorrectly stating that the loan type change on the contract counteroffer would not matter.
4. Closing: Closing was a nightmare. Keith tried to charge me a $499 brokerage fee at closing that was not in our agreement. I was working with him as a Redfin partner agent, and I recently learned that Redfin does not allow their agents to charge the buyer fees. I questioned the fee, asked for it to be removed, and Keith gave me a sob story about it coming out of his commission. I felt sorry for him until I learned that Redfin doesn't allow him to charge the fee in the first place. Coupled with the fact that it wasn't in our agreement, I wasn't willing to pay it and had it removed from the settlement document. He tried to guilt me into splitting the difference with him in a very unprofessional way. He also chose that moment to tell me that the contract I had signed months earlier was not valid and tried to get me to sign a new one. None of this was an issue until I brought up the fee.
5. Beyond Closing: Redfin transactions give the buyer a kickback/rebate, 15% of the buyer agent commission. It took numerous messages and over two months to see the rebate. The amount was calculated incorrectly, shorting me $150. When asked, Keith said he'd show me the calculation and never did. I ended up contacting Redfin directly and they assured me I was due the full amount. They arranged for Keith to send me the difference. After two more months, it became apparent that the check would never arrive, and Redfin ended up terminating their partnering agreement with Keith and paying me themselves. They're a class act, and I would recommend them to anyone!
I don't doubt that Keith has handled many traditional transactions well, and that there are also some people who paid his fee without agreeing to it simply because they didn't pay attention, and thus had no reason to complain. I expect that someone who does real estate transactions for a living has a standard agreement and documentation, and that they know a heck of a lot more about the process than I do. So when I read an agreement that says no fees, I expect they know what they're agreeing to. If it was a mistake, I expect them to own up to it. This did not happen in this case, and I feel that Keith behaved in a greedy and unprofessional manner when I wanted him to honor our agreement.
I have no doubt that he sees things differently, and he's made it clear that he feels he deserved the fee, whether it was agreed to or not, yet I was left feeling berated … MoreLess