I was at a luncheon the other day when a Realtor shared her story of a short sale listing she has. It had received multiple offers and one of the buyers agents had offered to pay her seller $5000 if her seller would take their offer (of course, AFTER close of escrow). She had told the story because she was surprised that in this day of regulation upon regulation, someone would still think it was okay to offer this.
However, when we asked her what she did, her response surprised me. Now, I can think of a multitude of answers to this buyers agent (notice I did not use the term “Realtor”).
1. Fine, as long as it is on the HUD statement and so, transparent. (We all know this wouldn’t happen!)
2. While I am sure my seller could use the extra $5000, this is fraud and I will not recommend to my seller that they proceed with your offer.
3. I am not willing to risk my license in order to sell a house…and believe me, it can happen.
4. Speaking to the seller…”If you do this, and the lender finds out, you could be in serious financial jeopardy.”
She told us that she was concerned that she primarily represent her seller’s interest, which would be to take the $5000. However, understanding that this was fraud and her seller would be at risk, she would let her know about fraud and then let the seller decide. She said she didn’t want to appear to be the expert in this situation.
I just couldn’t restrain myself. I told her that she IS the expert in this situation. Her seller hired her for her expertise and was expecting her to guide her through the short sale process. Of course you tell her that this is fraud and that you will have nothing to do with it. Not only does it put the seller in jeopardy, but it puts the agents license in jeopardy as well.
I wouldn’t hesitate to put my own livelihood before knowingly committing fraud. But then, that’s just me!