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Illegal or Unethical Broker?

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I'm not sure the answer to this, but interested in the community's view (particularly that of any lawyers):

 

I'm in the process of selling a condo in NYC. (Please note, these aren't actual prices, but are on the same scale as the actual ones.) The broker representing me also was representing other sellers in our building. I'd gone with him because he is a resident of the building and has successfully sold a number of other units in prior years. He also has a bit of a mixed reputation, but I decided to work with him nonetheless.

 

My apartment was listed at $1.1 million. Via the broker, I got an offer for $950,000. I asked him his advice on whether or not to accept it and his response was that it was too low and, in fact, didn't warrant a counter because it was so low. His advice was to go back to the buyer and say that I'm willing to negotiate, but they have to make a higher, good faith offer. I took his advice and did so. 

 

One week later, the person who made the $950,000 offer went into contract on another of our broker's apartments, at $950,000. That seems really shady to me. It's been about 6 months since then, and the real estate market has slowed way down and now I'm looking at offers closer to $900,000.

 

Does anyone think what he did is illegal, or was he just being highly unethical? I'd love to sue him for the difference in price as well as for what I had to continue to pay for the ensuing months the apartment has been languishing on the market. I feel like there probably are emails that would be discoverable in court if I pursued litigation, but of course, that's a roll of the dice and I'm not wealthy enough to go into protracted litigation. 

 

Grateful for any thoughts, thank you!

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Just based on what you posted I'm not seeing anything illegal or even necessarily unethical. Was the other apartment exactly the same as yours? If yours was better in some way then he may well have thought yours warranted a higher price. The buyer may simply not have had more to spend.

 

As for the real estate market slowing since, that is difficult to predict. The market in many of the world's largest cities like London, NY, and Paris has started to slow from what I've read, which is an indicator of a potential wider slow down to spread to smaller markets in the months ahead. Real estate has gone through that boom and bust cycle a number of times during my lifetime, and everytime people thing the boom will never end they end up being wrong. The challenge is in accurately predicting when the bust cycle will start, and few people are reliably good at that. 

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The other seller may have been significantly more motivated to sell than you were and the broker knew that. The broker is required to tell a buyer an offer. He may have told the other seller and the buyer accepted without asking or accepting the broker's price advice.

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3 hours ago, PayrollHRGuy said:

The other seller may have been significantly more motivated to sell than you were and the broker knew that. The broker is required to tell a buyer an offer. He may have told the other seller and the buyer accepted without asking or accepting the broker's price advice.

 

That's another possibility — the broker may have given the same advice to the other seller that he gave you but the other buyer rejected that and took the offer on the table to get the deal done fast. 

 

In the end, the broker is interested in trying to get the max price possible for all his/her sales; that's how he makes the most money. He'd have no logical reason to delibrately frustrate your sale. If your sale doesn't happen, he makes no money. 

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13 hours ago, Tax_Counsel said:

 

That's another possibility — the broker may have given the same advice to the other seller that he gave you but the other buyer rejected that and took the offer on the table to get the deal done fast. 

 

In the end, the broker is interested in trying to get the max price possible for all his/her sales; that's how he makes the most money. He'd have no logical reason to delibrately frustrate your sale. If your sale doesn't happen, he makes no money. 

 

I think you got your quotes mixed up, because that is pretty much what I wrote.  "He may have told the other seller and the buyer accepted without asking or accepting the broker's price advice."

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