Problems With Real Estate Agent

Q: I am having a problem with the agent I used to sell my home and am preparing a complaint against him. I’m just not sure how the complaint process works. Do I just file a complaint against the agent or is it like the Better Business Bureau where you file a complaint and get a refund?

Also, I sold my house because I was getting a divorce, a fact I did not disclose to the agent. Did I do anything wrong by not disclosing that? When he asked why we were moving I simply said the house was not suitable and that my husband wanted something closer to work which were both true.

The agent now knows that we went through a divorce and I am wondering if that is why he isn’t responding to our calls.

A: Let’s take the second question first. You are not required to disclose to a real estate agent that you are getting a divorce. While the agent technically represents you, as a seller, personal financial information is just that — personal. It should not matter to the agent whether you have one husband, two boyfriends, three children or none.

That said, working with an agent is like being in a short-term, intense relationship. It’s possible the agent found out the truth about your impending divorce and felt left out of the picture. If so, too bad. On the other hand, perhaps this is one reason why the agent now is not returning your phone calls.

But given the first part of your question, it sounds like there is plenty of bad blood in this deal. And I’m sure there is more to the story than you simply keeping an impending divorce out of the mix.

Assuming your agent did something wrong, you can file a complaint by calling or writing the real estate commission or department of real estate that oversees and licenses real estate agents and brokers in your state. I’d copy the managing broker or owner of the real estate company on the letter, so he or she is aware of what happened to you.

You can also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

In terms of getting a refund, is the agent sold your home, then he has successfully completed his end of the deal and you would receive no refund. If the agent did something wrong in your transaction, he could lose his license.

If you feel as though you overpaid for the service the agent provided, you should consult with an attorney who can guide you as to the legal options that may be available.

November 4, 2003


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