We started looking for homes very recently.
We’re looking for an affordable starter home that we could turn into a rental. In this area, homeowners are walking away from their homes, which is not only decimating the home values, but they are also pushing the rental market up to the point where mathematically it just doesn’t make sense to rent any more.
I contacted a real estate agent (Agent C) to help, through Zillow. More specifically, I wanted to look at a property my wife saw on Zillow.
“No problem,” she enthused. “But that home was sold in October. Zillow and Trulia don’t update very often. They are often inaccurate. I have access to the MLS, so you should deal with me. Besides, I have a another property close by for you to see.”
I agreed, and told her the price range and area where we were looking. She wanted to meet at the property and discuss the process of buying a home. Before we hung up, she commented she’d be bringing her husband. I thought that was a little odd, but assumed they were a real estate husband-wife team.
She immediately starting sending me MLS listings for properties in the price range, but outside the area we were looking for.
On Sunday, I drove over to the property to see her. We talked for a while and she gave me a folder with some property listings printed out. She gushed about her credentials, and told me about her husband (who wasn’t a real estate agent at all).
I asked her about HomePath (Fannie Mae REO program), and she responded that Trulia and Zillow aren’t accurate at all. Perhaps she didn’t hear me correctly. But before I could ask again, she told me that she had access to MLS and would setup my profile so that I could see the realtor’s remarks. It was a special setting she could enable to allow me to see this special, privileged information.
She showed me the remarks for the property – that disclosed that the FHA would not loan on the property.
I asked her why the FHA wouldn’t finance on the property and paused, and said it was probably because of the number of renters. She never would admit it might be because the HOA might be in financial trouble, even when I prodded. She wasn’t telling me the whole truth, I confirmed later with a loan officer.
As I left, she whispered, “I think you should make an offer. Offer one hundred thousand. You should offer one hundred thousand today. I’ve already gotten three calls on this property. It won’t last long.”
I paused. The real estate agent was telling me to offer $100k for a property listed for $89k, that the FHA had publically declared it won’t finance. I thanked her for her time and left, but on the way out looked at the Realtor’s sign in the front yard.
The original property I wanted to look at was sold in October, but was relisted at the beginning of the year. She should have known this because I sent her the address and asked her about it.
Her initial contact email had her real estate company’s name – and you guessed it – it was the same company that had the listing.
When I emailed her to ask if she was the listing agent, she responded that she was a Dual Agent, and attached me the required disclosure form, entitled, “Agency Relationships in Real Estate Transactions.”
I see. The agent steered me to a property where she would get a bigger commission, and she wanted me to pay $10k extra over the asking price in a decimated market, where the FHA wouldn’t loan on it.
I quickly hammered out an email and fired her on the spot.