by Osman Parvez

Ah, Springtime. Inventory levels are rising, sales volume is picking up, and the Realty Unique Team is busy working with clients and scheduling back to back showings. In addition to the usual signs, you also know it's Spring when the schenanigans start picking up.

Yesterday we saw a new low. To protect the less than innocent, I'll withhold names.

A certain home popped up on the market this past Monday afternoon. The system we set-up worked. Our automated listing alerts notified our clients who immediately called us and expressed strong interest in the newly listed home. We called the listing agent's office and scheduled an appointment to see the property but the showing desk told us it could not be seen by anyone until Wednesday. So we scheduled the earliest possible appointment - 8:30AM, Wednesday morning.

Arriving at the home, no lock-box was found on the front door but the owner was in the house. She informed us that she had received an offer on Tuesday and had accepted it. The buyers had come over to see the property on Tuesday night, despite the information we received from the listing agent's office about it not being available until Wednesday.

The evidence of no lock-box and the listing agent's office telling us that it simply couldn't be shown until Wednesday strongly suggested that the offer could only have come from one possible source. The listing agent and his buyers.


Pocket listings are nothing new. Some might argue they have certain advantages, although I wouldn't. Unauthorized pocket listings, where new listings are first shown to the listing agent's buyers without the permission of the seller beg the question of whose interests are being served. Would additional showings held over a week or two have resulted in a stronger offer with better qualified buyers? I know our clients are ready to pull the trigger and yes, they're very well qualified. They've been shopping for several months and might have written an offer on this one. Was the home even properly priced to begin with?

Although we won't ever know what really happened, the experience left our buyers "thoroughly disappointed." And I don't blame them. I'm disappointed and frustrated too. And I'm also convinced that the seller was taken advantage of (by her listing agent).

The take-home lesson is that if you're listing your home, beware of actions that seem too good to be true. In today's market, if you get an offer within a day of listing your home, have had only one showing, and YOUR agent is also representing the buyers... be very careful. You could be dealing with an unethical agent. You've also probably under priced your home, leaving money on the table.

Remember, there's nothing wrong with negotiating with buyers for more time. You probably should also set up your listing so that offers will only be reviewed after the home has been on the market for a week or two. Ultimately, to get the best deal, you should want your home to be shown to a number of qualified buyers before accepting an offer.

Image: guano

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The ideas and strategies described in this blog are the opinion of the writer and subject to business, economic, and competitive uncertainties.   We strongly recommend conducting rigorous due diligence and obtaining professional advice before buying or selling real estate. 

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