People will do anything to make a sale. These realtors expose the craziest thing they’ve seen a homeowner do to get rid of their property.
“I was young and had wanted to break into the real estate industry since I was a baby. My dad had been an agent and my grandpa had been a house flipper. My grandpa had taught my dad everything about houses and how to fix them and flip them. Dad only had me, a girl.
Dad was undeterred and taught me everything grandpa had taught him and even brought me on showings. I also studied woodworking, metalworking, business administration, accounting, real estate, drafting, and various other housing-related things while still in school. I was ready for my career in real estate.
However, I made one heck of a bad move right out of the gate. I signed on with a broker whom I didn’t know was shady. He seemed OK to me and he was Italian like me but I was naive and blinded by my dreams of working in the housing industry. Soon it was obvious that something was wrong. My broker refused to allow me to work the front desk where agents were able to take walk-in clients. He also refused other avenues that would help grow my career. I was completely frustrated to say the least. I was basically getting nowhere fast. It was as if he was deliberately trying to stop me from growing in the business.
What my broker didn’t count on was that I was persistent. So I finally, through my own avenues, got a potential buyer and two potential sellers. I was figuring out my career path, no thanks to my lousy broker. My broker was extremely upset that I was getting anywhere and I quite frankly couldn’t understand why he wanted to destroy me so bad when he hardly knew me. What kind of threat could I possibly be to him!?
So I’m getting ready to show my buyer a house and am getting the listing sheets etc together. Suddenly my broker says, ‘Oh, that house you’re showing, you need to know that the boiler is about to blow.’ I thanked him for giving me the heads up but was stunned when he added, ‘It is our secret! The seller and I know and the agents in the office know but no potential buyer is to know about this at all!!’ Angry I responded, ‘Isn’t that illegal and immoral?’ His response, ‘They will never know until after it is sold then the buyers can replace it at their own cost!’
I was beyond livid at that point! I outright refused to lie to my buyer and was asked to part ways with the company as a result of my ‘insubordination’ to my broker. I was more than happy to do so even though it meant giving up my lifelong dreams. I was raised to be honest and forthright. I simply couldn’t bring myself down to that level no matter how much my dreams meant to me.
As I left the broker said, ‘By the way, I took you on because of your last name and then realized you couldn’t provide ‘favors’ for me afterward. So basically it was a mistake having you here at all!!’ I got what he meant, my uncle was Charles Luciano, AKA Lucky Luciano, the famous mobster. He thought I could get him some mob ties!
I looked him square in the eyes and said, ‘What are you, stupid? My uncle has been dead since before I was born! How the heck did you think I was going to pull any favors for you?’ I stormed out. A few years later his business went belly up. I cannot decide if it was due to his shady dealings with his sellers or if he was simply a victim of the real estate market crash. I’m guessing it was his shady dealings to be honest.
So what happened to me? I found the man of my dreams and it turns out he builds chimneys for a living. Suddenly I found myself back in the housing industry that I love so much, running our own chimney company. And this company is not run on ‘favors’ and shady dealings. This is one housing company that is run on honesty and integrity. And yes, I use all the education my dad handed down to me and all the schooling I took, on a daily basis, to run this company. The best part? I’m happy.”
DIY or DIE!
“I was buying a home for myself so I acted as my own realtor, etc.
I wanted to be in an exclusive neighborhood close to an airport, but with no airport air traffic as I like to travel and wanted the airport within a few miles of my home, but don’t want air traffic noise, and congestion.
So I found the perfect neighborhood with all my ‘wants.’ I located a 4 bedroom 4½ bath plus fully finished basement as well as a large inground pool and entertaining area outdoors.
The house was also on a dead-end street, and the back end of the property bordered a protected area so no one could build, or develop there. Great piece of property for the asking price of $702K. I toured the house and found an odd smell, but thought it could be the pool and thought nothing of it except that the inspection would uncover whatever it was.
I put a very low bid in with the contingency the house had to pass inspection and I had to be able to get a mortgage on the property. My low bid was accepted and I hired my brother-in-law who is a builder and certified inspector for properties in the state where the house was located to inspect, provide a report, and advice on purchasing the property. He ordered an independent mold/mildew air quality tester to provide this part of the report to him.
The house air quality report came back so bad that we advised the homeowner to move out immediately.
The current homeowner indicated that he was staying with a friend and his wife and two children were living out of state while the house went up for sale.
His wife and two children had become deathly ill from something and they still didn’t know what it was.
Seems the husband was doing his own HVAC maintenance without knowing what he was doing and had adjusted the air conditioning temp so that mold and mildew were growing for several years inside the house. He had turned off the dehumidifier as well.
I withdrew my bid and advised the owner to confer with a lawyer before he attempted to sell the house and to make sure he disclosed the mold/mildew issue to potential buyers. He was under state law to do this now that he knew what the problem was.
A year later, I found another great house in this neighborhood and purchased it. The mold/mildewed house was bought by someone else, but they were not notified of the mold/mildew problem.
I ran into the couple at a neighborhood picnic and told them about the mold/mildew report and later gave them a copy of it. They ended up suing the realtor and seller and moved to another house in the neighborhood while this mold/mildew house was again up for sale.
The house was finally gutted and rebuilt at a substantial cost to the original owner as his insurance company went after him and the realtor for fraud. The realtor lost their license and the homeowner is now bankrupt with nothing.”
Looks Like They Cleaned Out!
“My wife was the buyer’s realtor…and she arranged for us to buy a house in conjunction with, obviously, a seller’s agent.
Great. We loved it. We bought it. All was well. We held the walk-through inspection on the morning of closing. All was good – check, check, check! Until….
We arrived at the house after closing (with a break of a few hours) and determined the seller had KEPT a copy of the keys because….
All of the light bulbs, used that very morning, were gone. ALL of the TP, not used that morning but seen, was gone. The fireplace log was gone. The plants on the patio, which did indeed convey with the house, were gone.
The DR/Breakfast nook chandeliers were replaced with cheap plastic fixtures. The alarm system panels were gone. The stereo system receiver, which we bought separately but conveyed with the house, was gone
A much longer list.
We had, of course, already closed. We, the regal We, this time, did indeed telephone the police who advised us title did NOT transfer until the end of the business day. Well…it already was. Interestingly, the former owner telephoned us a few days later to ask ‘how things were going.’ Our answer was strangled, to say the least.”
Now That’s Cheap.
“Here’s a good one.
So I bought a house, and it closed on a Monday. We gave the owners two days of free rent to move their stuff. They have their crew of high schoolers ready, but can’t move till Saturday or Sunday, so they would have to pay rent Thursday through Sunday.
They called their buddy who happens to be a contractor to register a mechanics’ LIEN on the property the DAY BEFORE so the closing would be delayed until the escrow company could clear the lien.
So basically do a $25 filing of the document, plus the time to go to the courthouse, and waste 1/2 day (How much is a contractor’s time worth?)
When my realtor got wind of this nonsense she told the other realtor ‘YOU DO THAT and I’ll sue you to the way to the moon and back….AND I’ll OWN YOUR COMPANY!!!!’
They had to pay RENT for THREE days, and almost killed them! TOO bad, it didn’t!
Cheapskates! All that work just so they couldn’t pay an extra day of rent?! Morons.”
“I’m not a realtor, this was told me by a friend about his neighbour.
His neighbour was a bit of a DIY fanatic. He just wasn’t very good at it. In fact, by all accounts, he was pretty terrible. Pete would tell us his latest exploits at our lunchtime drinking sessions and they could have made a TV comedy series about this guy.
Pete decided to have the chimney knocked out to enlarge his living room. A team of builders came in and did the job. Cost Pete a pretty penny but it improved the space. Neighbour saw it and decided to do the same. He decided to do it himself.
Some weeks went by, the noise next door was bearable, didn’t go on too long and a pile of rubble appeared in the garden. Then it went quiet. Pete went next door for some reason and used the opportunity to find out what kind of job he’d made of it.
Nothing appeared to have been done. The fireplace was still there, the chimney was still in place. Pete asked about the alterations and the neighbour brushed it off, said the job was too much so he changed his mind.
Fast forward two years, neighbour sells house, new neighbour moves in.
Pete gets a knock on the door. New neighbour asks about previous neighbour’s DIY skills with particular reference to the chimney. Pete explains that he’d intended to knock it out, there was activity and a pile of rubble in the back garden then it all went quiet.
‘Come and have a look’ says new neighbour.
The guy had knocked the centre of the chimney clean out, realised (or been told!) that knocking the sides out without adequate support would bring the house down, was unsure of how to proceed, and so covered the gap with wallpaper. New neighbour, deciding to redecorate tried to strip the wallpaper discovered that’s all there was. It cost a pretty penny to put right.
On a slightly different note…
Another work colleague moved into a property he’d bought. First night in, daughter complains her bedside lamp wasn’t working. Replace bulb, still no joy. Plugs another appliance into socket, no joy. Get multi-meter and measures output, socket’s dead. Unscrews socket from wall, no wire. Checks other sockets in room, all the same.
The agency had advertised the house as ‘electrical sockets in every room’ which was true enough, but the ones in his daughter’s room were just connected to the wall, not wired in. The previous owner had done this to enhance the value.
He sued. The agency settled out of court for the cost of the wiring job. Being an electrician, he did it himself and pocketed the difference.
He also found out later that the agency had sent reps out to every property on their books to check the electrical sockets and fittings.”
Hey Gotta Pay The Bills Somehow.
“During the last foreclosure crisis I was super busy showing property in the Bay Area to multiple clients (most of them investors)
These would typically be bank owned vacant houses and some were occupied as they were short sales.
I showed cockroach infested houses ( movie-like with thousands of them moving along the walls) I saw unclothed people ( squatters coming out from a shower and teenagers getting it on in properties that have been vacant for a while)
But the one that I remember the most was an older house in downtown San Jose. I was showing it to a young couple:
This particular house was still occupied but nobody was home at the time (a shortsale). As we walked through the messy rooms. I mentioned this type of houses typically have finished basements and the husband said, ‘That’s cool, can we look at the basement?’
So I started looking for the access and found the door. We walked down the stairs and we were surprised to find that it was fully finished, brightly lit and it was the least messy room in the whole house.
We found a covered mattress in a corner, professional lighting equipment directed toward the corner, several chairs around it, one of them a higher director-type chair, some left over drinks and boxes of meds and multiple props: ropes, bondage accessories and some other weird items. No cameras were there but everything else looked like a movie set. My clients and myself just stared around motionless. We then decided to leave the room in silence. After a long pause one of us said something along the lines of ‘ it looks like the current occupants are looking for other sources of income’
I didn’t leave a business card behind as customary and My clients really liked the house, but decided to buy another property.”
They Were In CAHOOTS.
“I was a potential buyer, and was disgusted that the real estate agent was in cahoots with someone to NOT sell the property.
The property was in the country in rural Alberta (Canada), in 2015. A mobile home plus the small piece of land it was on off a rural road. The home was no prize, but a couple of fixes would make it nice again. I liked the fact that it was in the country.
The realtor bad-mouthed the property a lot. He had nothing good to say about any of it. He had almost no information about the heating (‘I think there’s a propane tank outside’, he said). He seemed to be trying to convince me that I didn’t want the property, and he seemed put-out about having to show it to me.
He evidently was not very intelligent, because he told me a lot of things that explained his attitude.
- The owner was an older woman who had lost her job and had trouble getting another one, thus was almost penniless. She was planning to move into town and rent somewhere after the property sold.
- The farmer and owner of the land surrounding this little parcel, wanted to buy the parcel back.
- The farmer and the seller disliked each other intensely. There was a history of disagreements.
- The farmer was a politician (on the county council).
- The realtor admired this politician and they were sort-of friends.
- If the parcel could not sell normally, the Councillor/Farmer would give the seller a low-ball offer.
It was clear to me that this realtor wanted to help the politician by not getting the property sold, so the politician could scoop up the property for a pittance, at the expense of a women was down on her luck.
I was very stressed-out and depressed at the time because of my search for a new home (in a quiet, stress-free area). Even if the price had not been too high (probably artificially high due to the realtor), it was clear that whoever bought the property was going to have problems with this farmer/politician. Given the behaviour of the Realtor, I figured that he would also cause problems for anyone trying to buy the property.
The next day I did research on the Internet to learn how to report this realtor to whatever authorities were appropriate. I learned about the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA). I did more research and learned through news articles that Alberta Real Estate agents were rarely disciplined, that investigations usually cleared them.
I had enough problems with stress already. The thought of trying to go through the complaint process, with the low probability of a good outcome, stopped me from going any further.
I couldn’t even warn the seller, since I had no idea who she was. I felt sorry for her and the position she was in, and I felt awful to not be able to help her.”
A Raw Deal.
“I was moving from Charleston SC to Atlanta GA. We found a house we liked and the price was better than anything comparable. So we put in a full price offer, offered to pay for the refrigerator if they left it, and rent until closing. The husband was already relocated to his new job in Ohio and the wife and kids were stranded in Atlanta until they could sell the house. So they jumped on the offer – a good deal for all of everybody.
So I went back to my house in Charleston and packed all my stuff in a U-Haul and then closed on my house. Then I went back to the old house for one final walk through to make sure I had everything before the new owners got there. As I was walking out, I realized I hadn’t packed the phone – it was ringing. It was our realtor in Atlanta calling to tell me that the seller had rescinded his acceptance of our offer. Apparently his realtor had miscalculated and at the offer price, the sellers were upside down and didn’t have the cash to cover it. The selling realtor had forgot to include his fee when setting the price with the owner. We were supposed to move in that night!
There were no hotel rooms available in Charleston as construction was in full swing after a hurricane. So we drove to Atlanta and got a hotel. Luckily we found a house in three days and were able to rent to closing.
That one included take over the mortgage. That is leaves you with a little uncertainty on how much you will pay, but only within a couple hundred dollars if done right. The seller’s realtor was off by $1,500 to my detriment, which I had to cover. This was on an $80K house (early 90′s).
And yes, I tried to go after both realtors, For the first I needed the selling realtor to enforce his fee against the seller. He wouldn’t do it, because it would look bad. My realtor wouldn’t help. I went to the state board on the second. But apparently she was the top selling realtor in Georgia, and they wouldn’t touch her. Her company was Prudential. Later, I got a solicitation from Prudential investments. I wrote back with describing what was done to me and that I would never do business with any Prudential company. They wrote me back thanking me for my interest and asking how they could help me with my investments. Sigh.”
The “Amazing Self-Healing Septic System.”
“Oh, where do I begin? I am going to avoid outright fraud. Let’s leave that for real estate commissions and courts.
Let’s instead talk about THE AMAZING SELF-HEALING SEPTIC SYSTEM, okay?
I represented a seller, and Agent ABC represented the buyer who brought an acceptable contract. We went under agreement and after two weeks Agent ABC delivered us a septic engineer’s report that called the system failed. It said that there was notable danger of polluting the drinking water drawn from the well and other wells in the neighborhood.
Note that I say ‘engineer’ – the real authority on this stuff.
My seller compensated the Buyer for approximately 2/3 the cost of a new system and we went to closing. There was other drama but it did close.
About 4–5 years later the buyer’s agent (Agent ABC) listed the house for sale and this time I had an interested buyer client. Same house, same agents — but our roles were now reversed. That meant we had nearly identical (hard copy) files from the prior transaction, right?
So I looked at the new Seller Disclosure and there was a ‘NO’ answer to the question about ‘any known problems with the septic system’. I asked Agent ABC for a printout of the scope of work that his buyer (now the seller) had done with the money they were credited in the last transaction.
Silence. Silence. And then…’Um, she didn’t have any problems with it so she didn’t do anything.’ Are you kidding me? The engineer’s report and the MANY thousands of dollars she was given and then nothing? No repair at all?
But the fault is not with this seller. The fault was with Agent ABC for allowing that seller to answer the very clear question in that way. Because that agent was not free to tell all prospective purchasers/agents that the system was called ‘failed’ by an engineer 4–5 years ago without contradicting the seller’s response, they should have walked away from the listing!
And that, my friends, is the story of THE AMAZING SELF-HEALING SEPTIC SYSTEM.”