Friday, October 12, 2007

Consumers....Watch Out- Would Your Realtor® Jeopardize Their Real Estate License with this deal?

Ok is todays scenario of an offer I received about a week ago. Now just to let you know...this offer was presented and rejected by the seller offering no reason other than a chuckle. You see...I have this listing which is an REO and the sellers basically own the mortgage because the property went into foreclosure and an asset holding company now is the holder of the current mortgage.

It really doesn't have anything to do with the deal or the offer so here is how the story went.
I came into my office and see a 12 page fax. Before I can look at it further I started to get excited because when I receive a fax with that amount of pages my sixth sense tells me it is an offer on one of my listings! But this was becoming more unusual as it went along. First of agent ever called me to let me know they were faxing me an offer and usually we get some sort of contact just confirm it...that didn't happen on this one.

So I start reading the contract and by the time I was half way down the first page the big red light went off. I continue to read and as I browse through it I noticed many things that I did not like to see. I'm just going to give you the basic facts and not the entire contract...only the important stuff. Just to let you know...this property is a 3 BR 2.5 Bth 1 car Gar. on a small lot in need of some TLC. Most foreclosed properties need work but this one was actually in pretty good shape from what I usually see in this situation with no upgrades and it is listed at 299,000.

At fair market value from my BPO it is generally worth between 330,000 to 360,000 in average shape. But because of lack of activity we priced low enough to attract buyers and out of 90 homes available on the market in this neighborhood it is the cheapest one. I know this because I lived there and have farmed the area for many years. But let's now get back to the offer.
The offer reads as follows...
Purchase price------------ $350,000
escrow deposit -------------- $2,000
other-gift of equity---------$87,500
financing------------------- $262,500
cash to close------------ - $2,000 minus.."yes that is a minus sign"

AS-IS with right to inspect .
Purchase price based on 260K net after these costs...buyer would pay any sellers closing costs above the 260K purchase price. Pre-approval letter for 260K.

It gets even more mysterious. The agents name is on the contract and there was a fax cover sheet that stated "Neal...if you have any questions please contact me (agents name)."
So now just like a good little Realtor®....I call my client and let him know I was faxing him this offer and that we needed to discuss it as it was a bit unusual. In the mean time while he has this offer in hand I call the agent and she made it like she didn't know who or what I was talking about.
You would think in this market that the agent would know what offer I was calling on. Of course as we went on she still sounded as if she was not aware of it and I said "are you the person who sent me this?"...She said maybe it was one of her agents and they put her name on it. Well now that makes sense...I think.
Why did the agent fax me an offer with another agents name on it? Apparently she is the broker and she has her agents put her name on contracts. My question is why? Does this agent have a valid Real Estate license and if so then why didn't they put their name on it? I never did a straight answer to that question and she said she would go and find out who it was and get back to me.

Now one day goes by and I receive a call from someone who claims to be the agent and from what she told me she never even took the client to the house. I never had any record for the showing and the agent sent the offer from a mortgage company who's name was on the top of this fax. She gave me some story that she called me and left me a message (yeah right)..never got one and that the reason for the other name was because she was rushing to this important meeting so she just faxed it and called me later. Hummm I wonder.

In the mean client sent me an email declining this offer. I call the agent back and she questioned my response "Does this rejection by your client have anything to do with the gift of equity?" I told her that there were other factors such as the price and the rest of the terms.I also told her by jacking up a price higher that it didn't seem like that would make my client comfortable and she said she did a pencil search and it was assured to appraise at $350,000. Gee...isn't a pencil search appraisal illegal in Florida? She responded by saying with a hint of emotion "well I guess your client will never get there price or ever sell the property." I kindly told her that I would be more than happy to submit another offer by them at any time...she said thanks and hung up and I never did hear back from her.

That is the story and if I was to use a little common sense and some basic Real Estate knowledge.... this deal sounds like mortgage fraud along with some sort of Realtor® misrepresentation and my client also felt that way. Of course some deals are structured this way to help with closing costs but this was a bit too much. From what the agent told me was the reason for the gift of equity was because the buyer didn't qualify for the whole loan amount...that is not my problem.

A gift of equity is generally done with a family member and not strangers. I explained to my client that this deal is not so uncommon but if the buyer were to close and in a few years from now defaulted on the loan and some how the FBI or FREC investigated this ...who do you think they would be asking questions to? You guessed it ...the Realtors® and I will not jeopardise my license for a crazy deal like this. So you know where that deal is going.

Just to make sure I was right I asked a few other people in the mortgage industry as well as 2 respected people right her on Activerain. They know who I am talking about and if they wish to jump in then I would appreciate it.

I would love to hear from Realtors® pro's and appraisers with their opinions on this.


Kaye Thomas said...

The market must be getting ready to turn upward as this is usually when the bottom feeders come out.

NickM said...

Just like you said Neal,.. it's fraud. anything over a max of 6% (normally 3%) back is not cool.

and the part about using the brokers name instead of the agent.. well that stink of fraud fish!

Nealb63 said...

I thought I was dreaming and did not want to accuse but it had fraud written all over it.

Thanks for an appraisers point of view.

Ann Cummings said...

Neal - this whole thing smacks of fraud all the way through it. The over-inflated price and the 'gift of equity' really raised HUGE red flags! I'm glad this didn't go anywhere.

Nealb63 said...

I am glad my instincts were to make sure my client understood what this offer could be.

Randy Prothero said...

Neal - I agree completely with you on this one. This one has a real bad odor on it. The fact she hung up tells you where she is coming from.

MissyCaulk said...

Fraud and weird. Glad they turned it down, not worth you being caught up in this.

Jim Crawford said...

Neal it is fraud pure and simple. Report it.
Jim Crawford

Nealb63 said...

I'm glad you have common sense as well as great knowledge in RE to understand this would have been a dozzy!

It didn't matter how big or small the deal would have been ...our livelyhood is too important to gamble with and our duty to our clients as well.

I was thinking of it but didn't want to waste my time...I have better things to do and I'm sure it will catch up to them.

Thanks for your comments!

Anonymous said...

Fraud is the next step from the bottom,it just goes to show that we must be nearing it now,hopefully our industry will perk up and all of these fly by nighters and unscrupulous operators will soon disappear.

Nealb63 said...

You are absolutely right.

Anonymous said...

Neal - happens all the time - even now. Davie sees more than it's fair share in the $1Million+ market.

Nealb63 said...

It is state wide

Midori Miller said...

Neal-Yup...I would have run! I think you are going to see more and more of this "CREATIVE" structuring of real estate deals. I learned a long time's not creative... its fraud...and believe will catch up to people. One of my good friends...can no longer do title work...for similiar reasons to this...

Nealb63 said...

Although I can't actually acuse someone without evidence I can stop a potential crime that could have been client is too smart to think otherwise as well.