Real Estate: California/conduct of agent
Hi CJ, I've been searching for a house in the San Diego area lately, and I have serious issues with the agent who has been assisting me. She has done a good job of finding houses in the areas I'm interested in, but in the instances when I've made offers, I don't feel well-represented. For example, I was preapproved with a lender she recommended. I put in an offer for a home, and before I had heard the seller's counter proposal from my agent, the lender called me to congratulate me on being in the final stages of the deal, based on what my agent had told him. I ultimately decided not to buy that house and clearly communicated that to my agent.Still, she continued dealing with the seller's agent and repeatedly called me with new offers AFTER I had already walked away. She blames the seller's agent for continuing to contact her, but it was my own agent leaving me messages like "I have exciting news, I think you'll like their new offer!"
I'm wondering about the ethics of a buyer's agent contacting the lender directly prior to informing the buyer of a seller's counter proposal, and the pitfalls of using an agent who doesn't seem to honor my positions, such as ending negotiations on a particular property.
Thanks so much, CJ! Looking forward to your reply.
First, I am sorry to hear about your frustration with your real estate agent. The agency relationship should ALWAYS be one of trust as there is no way the average buyer or seller can know every detail of the real estate world as well the changing real estate market. I would suggest you let your agent know how her behavior has caused issues and see if there is a way to work it out. If not, find another agent. Many times it is simply miscommunication. Every client is different and sometimes we simply make mistakes in how we handle communication.
To me, the client, their loan officer, and the agent are a team. I work together with loan officers all the time to help create options and strategies on offers my clients are writing. Some of these are simply scenarios that never come to fruition and others are unique ideas to meet our client's needs. Either way, this interaction should be based completely on trying to achieve our client's goals and not our own. That is the essence of the fiduciary relationship of the agency.
Unless you instruct your agent not to contact your loan officer, the norm is for agents to work with the loan officer for approval letters and transaction details once your offer is accepted. I communicate my intentions right away with a client on what I believe the advantages are of having an open dialogue between client, loan officer and myself. But let me be clear, the negotiation of the offer is between seller and buyer and the agent and the loan officer are simply facilitators.
From your summary, it truly sounds like communication went way off track and I believe a sit down discussion to re-establish boundaries, goals, and communicate your issues will be the best bet. If it can't be worked out, find an agent that will work the way you want as they are there to work for YOU.