Are All Realtors Created Equal?

March 9, 2014 BY 

Short answer is of course Yes, we are all created equal. But that is where the equality ends. What distinguishes one realtor from the next is a complex weave of knowledge, integrity, ethics, moral compass and personality. Buying and Selling Real estate involves huge sums of money, most typically other peoples money, and for the vast majority of consumers Real Property is the largest single purchase or sale they will make in their lifetime. The commissions paid to the realtor are often in the tens of thousands, here in Southern California where prices easily soar in the multi millions, commissions can reach six figures. That being said, aligning yourself with a realtor that has unquestionable moral principles and truly has your best interest in mind is paramount. When you are dealing with large sums of money that are not yours the opportunity to stray from the moral high road is everywhere. A quick story will show that I can attest to this having first hand experience.

A friend referred me to a client that was about to self surrender to Federal Prison. The potential client had already been convicted of Insider Trading and was awaiting sentencing. He needed to sell his $2 Million home to raise money for his mounting legal fees. When I met him he was wearing an ankle bracelet and was on home confinement. As with any client We spoke about the value of his home, how long it would take to sell, how I would go about the marketing, selling and closing of the deal. After reaching terms on those business points the conversation turned personal. It became clear that he was in distress, he needed money. His home confinement agreement was complex and beyond my area of knowledge, but short version is that He was not allowed to touch any of the proceeds from the sale. I was told that they were to be placed directly from escrow into the hands of his attorney. He then looked me straight in the face and said “I want to sell it under market and get cash under the table from the buyer”. I sat back in one of his big comfy leather chairs, looked out the enormous picture window onto the twinkling valley lights, collected myself for a moment, and said, “I absolutely cannot participate in structuring any type of under the table deal”. He looked at me like I was from another planet, you see the commission on that sale would have been $60K in my pocket. We discussed the reasons why I could not participate and he proposed another option, Rebate me commission after the close in cash. I again responded with an unwillingness to participate. We shook hands and I parted. I am sure he found someone to take the bait but I could not justify risking my reputation and career for any commission, no matter how large.

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