Misrepresentation by Coldwell Banker Sacramento

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My boyfriend and I recently undertook the challenging pursuit of buying our first house. Mainly because I was so indecisive we decided to simply look at houses first so we could get a better idea of what area, price, particulars, etc. We thought this would be a good way to go so that we were not sending our eventual agent on wild goose chases and when we were finally ready they would know we were serious and devote time appropriately to our cause.

What we found was a myriad of agents who, although they were the "listing" agents, did not want to show us their houses. Most of the agents would have a "buyers" agent call us back and instead of focus on trying to show us the house, try to manipulate and coerce us into using them as our agent.

After two months of sheer frustration, we stumbled across a lovely house located at 2005 Ione Street in Sacramento, California. The house was listed by a Coldwell Banker agent by the name of Karen Saenz. We left a message for her on the afternoon of Saturday, May 6, 2000. The next morning a "buyers" agent from her office called us back to show us the house - again trying to get us to have her as our agent. We went through the course of the day trading phone calls, each time the buyers agent put us off and changed the time.

Finally, at about 4:00 that day Ms. Saenz called us and informed us that if we did not have an agent, "her time was valuable" and she really could not show us the house. I questioned her about her responsibility to the sellers and asked that she also consider that she was wasting my time as well. It was not a pleasant conversation. She also told us that there was two offers on the table already.

Through the representation from her that there were other offers pending, we felt compelled and even forced to find an agent immediately. We found a friend of a friend who was an agent, she showed us the house that evening and wrote up the offer for us. Ms. Saenz was aware that I was the one who presented the offer and remember our conversation from the previous day. When our agent presented the offer she informed our agent that she "was not sure whether there were any offers on the house of not as she has not been in the office." As it turns out there were none.

The house was listed at $169,900 and we offered $165,000. The offer was presented to Ms. Saenz on Monday, May 8, 2000. She advised our agent that the sellers did not accept the offer and that we need not counter because the sellers had informed her that they would not sell the house to us for any reason.

I am doubtful that Ms. Saenz even presented the offer to the sellers in the first place. Whether there were any breach of ethics involved here or not, I would suffice to say that Ms. Saenz has something to learn about customer service.

-- Joanne Hall (JHall@Sia-Jpa.org), May 11, 2000


No offense, but your desire to have the listing agent also be the "buying" agent is sort of off track. That is a perfect way to set yourself up to be screwed. It is always best to find an agent first that you are comfortable with and then have them deal with each listing agent. But you NEVER want to trust your agent, their best interest is always for the seller...means more cash in their pocket if they sell the house for more!

-- Corinne C. (Corinne_towson@yahoo.com), March 18, 2002.

Dear Joanne, I understand the stress and confusion that comes from finding and buying your home, especially if it is your first home. I have recently returned to the real estate lending field after several years in commercial construction, so I've seen and delt with a lot of real estate agents in my day. I'd like to tell you about my and my wife's home buying experience. About two years ago, prior to my returning to the lending field my wife and I purchased our home near the med center. With a little preperation, and my knowledge of real estate we were able to have a very smooth buying transaction.The first step that we took was to find a lender who would pre-approve us (do a full loan with documentation)prior to us finding a home. During the loan process we found some areas of Sacramento that we were interested in. Once we had a firm commitment from a lender for the money we then contacted a selling agent and told him what we wanted, where we wanted it, and how much we wanted to pay.The pre-approval was the key, it turned us from an interested party into what was basically cash buyers thus insuring that we represented a commision once the agent found the right house. Some of the added benifits to buying this way were, once we picked the house we wanted all of the loan work was done, we had the leverage of a cash offer, and our escow was very short. I hope this can assist you in some way. Good Luck, Matt Hellam

-- Matt Hellam (dashellam@aol.com), October 27, 2003.

Hi I just wanted to say that I had the same experience with Karen and all she wants is to make two commissions. It is sad that things are the way they are but you should have reported her to the Real Estae Commissioner

-- heather brown (heather@yahoo.ca), March 04, 2005.

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