Fraud, breach of duty and breach of contract – these are the top three complaints against real estate agents.
Before you file a formal complaint against a real estate, decide whether any misconduct has really occurred. Difficulties in relationship with a real estate agent often stem from a simple breakdown in communication; re-establishing communication may clear up any misunderstandings. However, if you feel that your agent has deliberately lied or misled you about anything you consider material (i.e. the condition of a piece of property, the willingness of a seller or buyer or the costs of services), you should move forward with filing a complaint.
Fraud, breach of duty and breach of contract – these are the top three complaints made against real estate agents. Fraud complaints usually stem from a real estate agent’s intentional non-disclosure of problems with the property. Breach of duty is when the agent’s action proved that he or she did not have the client’s best interest at heart. Finally, a breach of contract is when the agent willfully or consciously fails to perform any part of the contract.
Prior to filing a complaint against a real estate agent, you should compile the relevant information and documentation needed to support your claim in order to save yourself from any further hassle, additional expenses or headache. Be prepared to provide a factual description of the incident to include with your report.
The first step is calling the real estate agent’s office. Ask to speak directly to the managing broker – the person who is responsible for all the transactions and actions of your real estate agent. By law, the broker is the one who owes you a fiduciary duty to handle any complaints you serve against the agent.
Most of the time, a calm and sincere discussion with the broker can resolve any grievances you may have, which can save you a lot of time and energy when debating taking further legal action.
During your scheduled meeting with the agent’s managing broker, be mindful not to sound bitter and hard to reason with. Present all the facts without letting emotions get in the way. Include the names of witnesses, if you have any, as well as their contact details. Presenting yourself as a patient and competent individual will help you to support your claim against the real estate agent.
Before setting up the meeting, it is best to practice explaining your complaint. You’ll want to be precise, clear and firm. Making your complaints known in a professional manner will help you get the resolution you feel you deserve right away.
Request a resolution. Apart from merely making a complaint against a real estate agent, you can ask the managing broker to resolve your problem. For example, if the agent did not disclose a defect in the house, you could ask for an offsetting reduction in agent fees.
Be open to settlement. Accepting less than you want does not mean that you cannot still file a complaint with your state’s licensing board.
If you have strong evidence that the real estate agent has violated their association’s ethical standards, contact the local real estate board. The local real estate board has the authority to impose disciplinary actions to the erring agent.
Situations that merit due punishment include the following: the agent’s deliberate misleading of the home’s real value, non-disclosure of dual agency (the agent representing both the buyer and the seller) and failure to provide all suitable offers to the homeowner as per instructed in the contract of agreement.
You must understand that no monetary compensation can be given to you by the local real estate board. However, filing a complaint about a real estate can prevent the agent from doing the same thing to another innocent homebuyer/seller in the future.
You can file a complaint against your real estate agent with the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org). All you have to do is provide them with your zip code and you’ll be redirected to the website for your local chapter. Go to the ‘For Consumers’ page and then click on the ‘File a Complaint’ button. You will be taken to a new page that says ‘Start your complaint’ where you can report in detail all the information pertaining to your complaint.
The bureau will then proceed to make an investigation regarding the agent in question as soon as you file the complaint and will take the necessary actions for the offense.
If considerable monetary loses were obtained during your transaction with the unscrupulous real estate agent, it is wise to seek legal counsel.
If considerable monetary losses occurred during your transaction with the unscrupulous real estate agent, it would be wise to seek legal counsel to learn more about your options.