Feedback on Tips for Dealing With Real Estate Agents

A Florida realtor takes issue with an article on buying land that painted an unfavorable picture of real estate agents.


| September/October 1974



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A reader insists unscrupulous practitioners like this one are the exception rather than the rule among real estate agents.


ILLUSTRATION: DRAGONETTE/FOTOLIA

I've just finished reading "Tips for Dealing with Real Estate Agents "—excerpted from a chapter from Les Scher's Finding and Buying Your Place in the Country. After allowing myself a lengthy and anguished "Arrggh!" over the author's numerous mistakes, misconceptions, and obvious unfamiliarity with the entire field, I now set out to write a rebuttal.

First of all, I am a realtor. I'm not a "swamp-peddler," as they used to be known in this neck of the Florida woods, nor do I stay awake nights dreaming of ways to defraud the innocent of their hard-earned dollars. Actually, those Mr. Scher would have us believe are skulking around every corner—waiting to lie, misrepresent facts, and deceive us about our little plot of earth—are few in number and becoming fewer still. This state publishes a monthly list of those who have had their licenses suspended or revoked for all sorts of malpractices. To condemn an entire profession on the strength of isolated examples is absurd.

The realtor has labored long and hard to obtain his professional status. To blow it by stating to some poor soul that a babbling brook runs through the land the "victim" intends to buy—when, in fact, that brook is on a neighbor's property—is not only insane, it's fraud and misrepresentation. Know what can happen when you pull a cute trick like that? You can lose your license, period.

And what if the seller told the salesman that the brook was on his property, and the salesman passed on the information? The salesman can lose his license—zip—because he didn't check the statement to make sure it was fact ... and the broker can lose his license because he's responsible for the dummy who was too lazy to do his job right.

Failure to mention to a prospective buyer that the six-lane Interstate just might be passing through the downstairs john of that nice little house this time next year doesn't exactly net you a slap on the wrist, either. Drop by your local Board of Realtors for confirmation, if you like, or write the National Association of Real Estate Brokers and ask about some recent court decisions. Do you honestly think any responsible broker in his right mind is going to risk his career for one illegal commission? Forget it!

Another point: The average individual doesn't buy real estate every day, and is obviously going to be unfamiliar with the proceedings. If you have questions, ask —and keep on asking—before you sign anything. If the salesman you're dealing with can't give you an answer, see the broker, and if he doesn't know, and makes no effort to find out, then you've got one of the type Les Scher was writing about. Immediately switch agents. A reliable member of the profession will not automatically shrug off all questions as unimportant or merely secondary to the deal, as Les describes.





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