This Made Me So Angry!
I love helping people. It’s one of the reasons why I enjoy being a real estate agent. And if you are a current or past client of mine, you fall into a special category. I care about you and want the best for you. Even if the best for you means no transaction for me.
Someone who holds an especially dear place in my heart is Delia (not her real name). She was my very first client. She purchased a condominium in lower Deer Valley from me in December, 2003. Delia is a smart lady, but she is slowing down at 70 years old and hasn’t spent much time in her condo the past few years. She uses a property manager who she is very loyal to. Although I know most of the property managers in Park City, I’ve never seen or met Delia’s. She knows that Delia purchased the condo through me and that Delia intends to use me when she sells it.
About 2 months ago the property manager called me and told me a renter wanted to buy the condo for $750,000. I told the property manager that was a “ridiculous price” since the condo is worth at least $900,000-$1,000,000. I also told the property manager that if she wanted to write up an offer, I would present it to Delia. That was the last I heard, until a few days ago.
Delia called to tell me the property manager presented her with an offer. Delia trusts me and asked for my advice. I said “Don’t tell me it’s that offer for $750,000! I already told your property manager that was a ridiculous price!” Delia told me it was indeed the offer for $750,000 and the property manager offered to handle the transaction for 1.5%. I said to Delia, “Who is the property manager representing in the sale, you or the buyer?” Delia didn’t know.
I said, “Delia, if you want to sell the property, why wouldn’t you list it on the open market? Even paying 6% commission, in the worst case scenario you would get $100,000 more than what these people are offering you.” And then I told her that it made me very angry that her property manager, who she has been loyal to for over 10 years, is trying to take advantage of her. I was shocked that the property manager decided to go around me and present the offer to Delia directly. She clearly did not have our mutual client’s best interests in mind.
Delia and I spoke a long time. I told her it was her decision to make. She then asked me about the market. I told her I thought it would stabilize this year (see last week’s blog) but Deer Valley Resort condos, like beach front property, will always be valuable because of their location. Delia told me she really doesn’t want to sell the property. She can afford to keep it and wants it to stay in her family. I told her to let the property manager know.
This incident infuriated me on multiple levels.
- The property manager was acting in her own interests, not the client’s.
- Because the property manager deliberately went around me, it makes me even more suspicious about her motives.
- Someone who has owned a property for a number of years may not have an understanding of the property’s true value and must rely on professionals for advice. Sadly, not all professionals act in the client’s best interest. In this instance, Delia was smart enough to get a second opinion by contacting me.
- Why is someone who specializes in property management even offering to act outside her own area of expertise?
- Delia was also suspicious about the logistics of a potential transaction. She asked me “How will I know I will get my money once I sign the deed?” This is a legitimate concern.
- It’s not clear if the property manager was representing Delia or the buyer. Since she asked Delia to pay her 1.5% commission, it would appear that she was representing Delia. However, her actions did not reflect this.
I’m glad Delia called to ask for my advice. It would have upset me to see someone I care about leave hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table. As Harvey Mackay once said, “Beware of the naked man who offers you his shirt.”