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lb321
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎12-21-2012
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Accountability of Listing Agents for Accuracy

After a long search, we finally found the house we wanted and got a contract in place.  One thing we noticed was that the listing contained a blatant misrepresentation.  While this didn't stop us from buying the house, I still think that this type of behaviour is shady.  I am curious as to what responsiblity/accountability a listing agent has for their property.  I get that a listing might not be 100% accurate, but this seems kind of hard to make a mistake on.

 

Quote off the MLS:  "Rear deck offers walk-down to fenced yard."

In acutality:  The neighbor behind has a fence in his yard.  The neighbors to either side do not have a fence.

 

I'm pretty sure that 1 neighbor's fence doesn't constitue a fenced yard.  There were also a few other things that were listed on the MLS that turned up not to exist in the house either.

 

This listing is from one of the bigger agents in the area and I've noticed that other houses he has listed had similar discrepancies.  Once we close on the house, I'd love to file a complaint with the appropriate regulatory body.  The listing is in Howard County, MD.  Thanks!

Redfin Senior Agent
philip-gvinter
Posts: 553
Registered: ‎05-18-2010
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Re: Accountability of Listing Agents for Accuracy

I think that your original statement is true, small mistakes are one thing, as are marketing terms like "quaint" or "charming" but blatantly trying to pass of 1/3 of a fence as a fenced yard crosses a line and is highly unprofessional. I've seen agents call a glorified shed which backs to an unpaved alley a garage and make other statements which sadly stretch the truth. It is these kinds of misrepresentations that give all agents a bad name.

Philip Gvinter | Redfin | Listings DC Team Lead
See all my deals and reviews
Super Contributor
FranklyRealty
Posts: 252
Registered: ‎02-26-2008

Re: Accountability of Listing Agents for Accuracy

[ Edited ]

To answer your question, the Realtor Code of Ethics includes a Truth in Advertising clause. You can file a complaint with the Howard Associations of Realtors. You can also go to the Maryland Real Estate Board, but I would say the Assoc should work best.


Frank LLosa Esq.

 

Contributor
lb321
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎12-21-2012
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Re: Accountability of Listing Agents for Accuracy

Thanks for the starting point, Frank.  I'll look into it.

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RetiredGamer
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎02-01-2011
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Re: Accountability of Listing Agents for Accuracy

I've tried reporting realtors before. It doesn't seem to help. The system seems to be more or less self-regulated. In places where realtors collectively have weak ethics, it shows in the listings. 

However, if you end up victim to realtor fraud of one form or another, there are probably a wealth of potential recourse options. Best to talk to a lawyer if that happens, though. 

Back when I was renting, the listings posted by agencies were generally the least accurate. I would have sued a few if I'd moved in blindly from out of town. Some were absurd. Local DC agencies listing 1 bedroom apartments as 4 bedroom apartments (one agency did... most aren't SO dramatic), claiming more rooms than existed in the house, listing dangerous properties that were clearly not up to code, and renting illegal unregistered units (check craigslist for english basements and I'd bet that the vast majority would be illegal). 

Anyway, I sent off a few complaints to the local licencing people, but they never wrote back. In DC, it's best to assume that nothing's true until you've checked it out yourself. 

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lb321
Posts: 32
Registered: ‎12-21-2012
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Re: Accountability of Listing Agents for Accuracy

Yeah, I'm kind of thinking it would be pointless.  Since this realtor is one of the big players, I'm sure nothing will happen.  I actually met some of my future neighbors this weekend.  They were telling me how much the sellers hated this guy.

 

You're right about the rentals.  The accuracy on those is way worse than the purchases.  Pretty sure the place we're in has a lot of code violations.  Glad to be moving soon!

Regular Contributor
Brookworld
Posts: 88
Registered: ‎01-19-2011
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Re: Accountability of Listing Agents for Accuracy

[ Edited ]

From the software world:  "It's not a bug (defect), it's a feature !."

 

It would be fun to compile a Letterman "Top 10 List."

 

I'll start:

"Bring your imagination and create your own style."   True meaning  -  house hasn't been updated in 30 years and the geezer is firm on price.

 

"Enhanced with high-quality upgrades."  True meaning (50% of the time) - seller spent $200,000 in 1980 installing mauve built-ins and lush pink carpeting and doesn't recognize style & physical depreciation.   Other 50% of the time -  seller/flipper bought whatever was on sale at Home Depot that week, and DIY installed without permits, and will last about 2 years before leaks & cracks appear.  

  

Redfin Senior Agent
philip-gvinter
Posts: 553
Registered: ‎05-18-2010
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Re: Accountability of Listing Agents for Accuracy

Here are a few more:

 

Charming = REALLY small

Potential = Needs tons of work

 

Lovingly maintained = Incredibly dated

Motivated seller = overpriced property that's not moving

Philip Gvinter | Redfin | Listings DC Team Lead
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