Q: Is it acceptable among (buyer/seller) agents to disclose the exact dollar amount of an offer from
the first bidder to the second bidder? Have I been scammed?
I purchased a home in April. I found two (homes). I made an offer on both. While we were in his office, my Realtor called one of the listing agents (only one) to tell him an offer was coming his way. The listing agent said although the house just went on the market, an investment company has made an offer. My Realtor asked the exact amount and was told it was for $3,000 over the list price. Because the home was for a disabled vet who needed a home, and I was vulnerable, I had to go over not only the list price, but also over this so-called offer. My Realtor expected me to go $1,000 to $2,000 above the offer. I went $50 (over the offer). I got the house.
My Realtor never called the other listing agent to tell him an offer was coming his way. That house is still on the market. Is this inside trading? Is this ethical?
No doubt to get a sale, but if I had made an offer above the list price and lost out because the listing and another buyer’s agent were eager to make a bigger return, I would be upset and ready to seek legal advice.
Please advise me. (Should I) let it go, or speak to the broker (overseeing that Realtor) and file a complaint?
— Dorthy M., North Las Vegas
A: During this time of a tight local housing supply, we sometimes see additional stress created between buyers and real estate agents, especially since many buyers are seeking homes that are attracting multiple offers.
Our local housing inventory has been increasing a bit lately but is still fairly tight, with only about a three-month supply of homes available for sale. Typically, a six-month supply of homes is considered to be a balanced market.
I can’t speak to why your real estate agent called on one listing and not the other. Perhaps he or she did so later. And I’m not clear whether you formally presented an offer on the second home.
Nonetheless, any seller is bound to respond, in a written communication, to all offers that are presented to him or her. All real estate agents should make sure they respond to all offers. It’s not only required by state regulations, but it’s also the courteous thing to do.
Section 645.605 of our Nevada Administrative Code states partly: “In determining whether a licensee has been guilty of gross negligence or incompetence under paragraph (h) of subsection 1 of NRS 645.633 or conduct which constitutes deceitful, fraudulent or dishonest dealing under paragraph (i) of that subsection, the (state Real Estate) Commission will consider, among other things, whether the licensee … has breached his or her obligation of absolute fidelity to his or her principal’s interest or his or her obligation to deal fairly with all parties to a real estate transaction.”
So a real estate agent needs to be fair and treat all other agents equally and provide the same information to all agents. The agent must also have the seller’s permission for what they can disclose to buyers or their agents.
If you want to file a complaint, you should contact the state Real Estate Division.
It may not be a violation to disclose terms of other offers, but agents must have a seller’s permission and be very careful that all information is disclosed equally. Agents should talk to their clients about how to handle such offers.
Heidi Kasama is the 2014 president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors and has been a local Realtor for more than 11 years. GLVAR has more than 11,000 members. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.lasvegasrealtor.com.