Hard Times Lead Some Agents To Unethical Behavior

Many home sellers have been forced to become landlords, as they are unable to sell their properties in this down market. Many of these sellers turn to real estate agents to find them tenants and manage their properties.

While many agents are hardworking, honest people who are sincerely interested in serving their clients’ best interests… that isn’t the case for all of them.

Yesterday, I was talking with a broker who had just shown a rental property in Smyrna. She said that she could not believe the number of rental listings that were offering a ridiculous co-broke commission. This is a phenomenon I wrote about a year ago on the Bloodhound buy viagra online Blog.

As a landlord, your objective is to not only lease your property to a good tenant – it is to lease it as quickly as possible. When you enlist the services of a real estate agent, you expect that agent to use their affiliation in the Multiple Listing Service to help find a co-op agent who is working with a tenant – and that affiliation requires the offer of compensation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t require the offer of compensation to be reasonable.

A reasonable level of compensation, in my opinion, starts at 25% of the total brokerage fee  – and that is with the listing agent doing all of the paperwork.

If you are engaging the services of a real estate agent to help you lease your property, pay close attention to the item 1B in the Leasing Listing Agreement – particularly the portion I have highlighted for your review.

Sadly enough, simply having an agreement that specifies the co-op commission still does not guarantee that the agent will actually offer that level of compensation. To truly ensure it, you might consider having the co-op agents call you before they show the property… and when they call – simply ask them what the level of compensation is being offered in the MLS.

I believe that agents who offer ridiculously low co-brokes should not be in this business. They can’t be trusted. If you find your agent undermining you by offering a low co-broke – I recommend that you fire them…. and if you catch them violating their listing agreement with you by offering a lower co-broke than specified in the listing agreement – I recommend that you file a complaint with the Georgia Real Estate Commission.

2 Responses to “Landlords – Beware Of Unscrupulous Agents”

I shudder when I read about unethical behaviour in our business. We have a hard time enough with our reputations (a notch above used-car salesman) when we are honest, but some people truly bring us into disrepute as a profession by preying on people in desperate situations.

I hear you, Malcolm.

I was talking to an agent today who told me that one of the larger property management firms here in Atlanta have not returned calls for more than a week… and she has left several messages, too. The rental listing had the previous tenant’s phone number – and that tenant had asked the management company to remove their number for months… to no avail. No wonder that property hasn’t been leased.