Sun Sentinel printed a very one sided article mostly about listing agents in our markets. The staff writer took one buyer, interviewed her and then presented her complaints which we will address in this post. However, with each allegation there was no interview or record of the defense or the counter. This was a very one-sided article. While there were two very small snippets from listing agents the counter to the complaints was not really addressed. And the list stands very clearn with bolded points.
So here is the counter to each of these allegations made by this buyer.
First, let me make this disclaimer- not all listing agents are good, not all listing agents are bad. Not all listing agents are ethical, not all listing agents are un-ethical. Just as it is with every single occupation and business in our world today. The same applies to buyers and to buyers agents.
This buyer says she has ALL CASH and wants to buy a condo in South Florida. She says that she has been looking for a second home for 2 years and has not found one yet.
Just that statement alone raises red flags in our book.
Here is her list of reason why she can not find a second home and then our rebuttal is directly underneath each of her excuses reasons:
1. Homeowners are testing the market and have no intention on selling. She says that they are turning down her ‘reasonable’ offers.
While this statement may be true from some sellers it is not true of the majority of the sellers. The odds of this being the case for every single condo she has seen in two years? Ah, like 100 to 1! Did the writer of the article go and talk to all the sellers in the buildings she is interested in buying in to ask they why they turned down her offers? Most of the time when a buyer says this it is because they are making what they consider to be a fair price and the seller does not think so. The seller is not under any obligation to sell the unit for any less than what it is listed for and even at full price they still can turn down offers.
2. Listing agents do not return phone calls to set up showings- they can’t find the keys- and when they do the keys don’t work.
Again, this is such a general statement and blanketing all listing agents like this is really not exploring the entire picture. How does she know if this is the listing agent or if it actually may be her buyer agent calling the listing agent the night before like at 10 p.m. and then expecting the showing to be set up for 9 a.m. Sorry, not going to happen here. If her buyers agent called me at 10 p.m. I would not even answer the phone. Then I would return her call at 9 a.m. There are those who call on a Saturday night after 10 p.m. and expect the seller to open the door for them at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning. On owner occupied properties the sellers need more notice than that.
Many sellers have tenants in their properties and tenants require 12 to 24 hours notice. We have sellers who are police officers and have firearms so they must have notice prior to showings. We have a seller who is an FBI agent and they must be at all showings for obvious reasons. There are sellers who also require 24 hours notice and that is clearly stated in the MLS under showing instructions. Our gripe in return is that buyers agents don’t read the showing instructions in the MLS. We also have automated showing desk and buyers agents can simply make an appointment through the showing assist but they still call us because they don’t want to get on the MLS to set up a showing! So the knife cuts both ways.
The writer interviewed one buyers agent who said he just goes to the seller’s home and knocks on the door and asks if he can show the home because he can’t get a return call. Well, we have that happen to our sellers and we have a phone answering system that logs all calls so if they do call us, our receptionist does return the call back. But sometimes she says that the seller can not show the house at the requested time and guess what- those buyers agents do go to our sellers’ doors and lie. They either lie and say they could not reach our office or they lie and say they set up an appointment.
3. Listing agents and sellers ask ridiculous prices and they insist that the housing market did not effect their building.
First of all, this could be true. The fact is that there are buildings that have not been effected very much by the real estate bust. Waterfront condos on the ocean in Miami are still selling for 1 Million plus with no signs of slowing down. Yet, condos inland a bit more are sitting there and you can not give them away at $25,000. I don’t think this buyer in this article is in the latter category. But there are always pockets in markets that remain insulated from recessions and downturns. She is looking at the wrong buildings if this is a problem for her.
About 60% of our closings in our markets are ALL CASH. So she is not the only one bringing cash to the table.
4. Listing agents misrepresent condo rules and regulations.
Hmmm. that is a COE violation, an NAR S&P violation and a Florida statutes violation so that is a very big accusation and I would say that the staff writer and the buyer better have some pretty good evidence that this is the case before printing this.
Florida Law requires that buyers are to have 3 days (for re-sale condos) in which to review the condo docs, rules and regulations. If they don’t like them, they can cancel their contract and get their earnest money back without penalty. We recommend that a buyer goes over the condo rules with their attorney. This is why we have in the condo rider that the listing agent is not representing anything about the condo rules. It is not the listing agents’ responsibility to explain the rules to a buyer.
5. Homeowner associations make rules that are too restrictive like they don’t allow an owner’s family to stay in the unit for more than one month without the owner present.
Now, here the writer actually spoke to a condo representative. The condo rep defended their position on rules. The rules are requested and voted on by the members of the board. So if you don’t like the rules, get on a board and start lobbying for changes to the rules. But the problem with this complaint is that these rules have always been in place in many condo developments for years and years. This is not something that just happened since the real estate market tanked.
Now, our opinion is that the reason that this buyer can not find a home based on her complaints is that she is:
Many times listing agents and buyer agents are on opposing sides of the fence. Remember sellers are people too. While they do have a product on the market ( their home) courtesy and respect should still be used. This is not a restaurant where you may be demanding on what you order. This is someone’s home and they still have a life.
Katerina Gasset is the author of http://www.wellingtonfloridashortsales.com. Katerina Gasset is the homeschool mother of 9 children and wife to Nestor Gasset. Katerina Gasset is also a writer, author, speaker, Realtor®, SEO coach, blogging coach and business entrepreneur and consultant.