Tony and Suzanne Marriott's Phoenix Arizona Real Estate Blog

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Lesson Learned - Always Get It In Writing!

Long ago and far far away....wait....that's a different story.

 

More than 5 years ago, we were handling (almost) exclusively Short Sales.

 

We were at a Brokerage who had asked us to move to them and help them handle their Short Sales (such as they were - few and far between).

 

We very carefully discussed and defined our business structure and processes in our ICA before joining this brokerage.

 

We had Co-List Agents for each Short Sale.

 

The selection of which agent within the brokerage would be the Co-List Agent depended on a variety of factors, including:

 

 

1. Did they bring in the Short Sale, and if so did they want to work it - or just receive a referral fee?

 

2. Were they committed to being fully available to "work" the Short Sale - regardless of personal time?

 

3. Were they competent (have experience) to work the Short Sale?

and the list goes on...

 

 

 

 

As we approached the December Holiday Season in 2010, an agent (who shall remain nameless), brought in a Short Sale Seller, indicated they wanted to "work" it, and had previous experience working Short Sales with me.

 

They were, therefore, selected as the Co-List Agent.

 

It became quickly apparent that the Short Sale Sellers would be "difficult".

 

Time dragged on and on, without them completing their Short Sale Seller's Homework, so the Listing Documents could not be created, and the Listing could not move forward (at least not with us).

 

Around December 24 if I recall correctly, an email arrived from the Sellers.

 

They had finally submitted their Seller's homework, the Listing Documents had been created and signed, with yours truly as the listing agent, so they were now our Clients.

 

The Co-List Agent headed out of town, and indicated since they were "unavailable due to personal commitments, they expected me to cover for them".

 

No.

 

I had Co-List Agents for a reason.

 

Not so I personally could cover for them.

 

I emailed the Co-List Agent and advised them of several options.

 

1. They would need to find the time to talk with the Sellers.

 

2. I could re-assign the Listing to another qualified Agent who was available.

 

3. They could make their own arrangements with another qualified Agent to "cover for them".

 

Crickets!

 

When it became clear they were playing ostrich, for whatever reason, I selected "Door #2" and re-assigned the listing to another Co-List Agent.

 

Things proceeded - albeit slowly due to the Seller's "behavior".

 

Co-List Agent #1 returned to the office after the 1st of the year.

 

 

They were argumentative about how things had transpired.

 

Not being much interested in arguments, I sent them an email a few days later advising them that we would not be working together on future short sales, and committed in writing to the usual referral fee for this listing.

 

I received an email from them which apparently crossed with mine, where they indicated they thought it was best to not continue working short sales with our team, and that all they wanted for this listing was the "usual" referral fee.

 

Fair enough.

 

Case closed.

 

Or was it?

 

A full price offer came in.

 

The Sellers remained silent - unresponsive - crickets!

 

The Co-List Agent did their best to contact them - email, phone, smoke signal, semaphore, carrier pigeon - you get the idea.

 

Crickets!

 

The offer expired.

 

No additional offers were forthcoming prior to the scheduled list price adjustment authorized by the Sellers in the Listing Agreement.

 

The adjustment was made.

 

The Sellers were advised.

 

All of a sudden - they sprang to life!

 

"How can dost thou (seriously) do x,y,z?"

 

"Please refer to Page x Para y of the Listing Agreement."

 

Crickets!


Fast forward about a week and the Co-List Agent and I were reviewing the status of the 22 or thereabouts Short Sales we had in progress.

 

Strange - one missing in the MLS!

 

No - there it is!

 

It now has the recalcitrant Co-List Agent #1 assigned to it!?!?!

 

Call the Designated Broker, who had the MLS access to do this.

 

"Who, what, where, why and how" asks the Co-List Agent #2.

 

"Oh, it's your fault - the Sellers came into the office and complained that you never communicated with them, so I reassigned the listing to Co-List Agent #1 since he brought it in as a Listing" said the DB.

 

Seriously??!!

 

"And why didn't you ask for my side of the story first?" says Co-List Agent #2.

 

"It's irrelevant and water under the bridge.  I spoke with Co-List Agent #1 a couple of days ago about this - they should have told you" said the DB.

 

Co-List Agent #2 attempts to contact Co-List Agent #1 by phone, email and text.

 

You guessed it...Crickets!

 

Finally, later that day, Co-List Agent #2 receives a text from Co-List Agent #1 "It's the first I have heard about this"

 

Really!?!

 

Without boring you with all the gory details of how the following results unfolded:

 

We moved the team back to our previous brokerage, much to the dismay of Co-List Agent #1 and the Designated Broker, taking all our listings with us because that is what our agreement with the brokerage provided for.

 

The amount of potential revenue lost due to the re-assignment of the listing in question, I "set off" against other sums due to the brokerage - they still "owe" us for the difference.

 

The Designated Broker left that brokerage shortly after that event, after I had various "pointed" discussions with the owners.

 

So what is the Lesson Learned?  Several.

 

Co-List Agent #1 had been friends with both Co-List Agent#2 and with me - or so we thought.  Kiss those "friendships" goodbye.

 

Designated Broker got to "kiss their job goodbye" - although their behavior with regards to this situation was but one of a myriad of reasons the owners were anxious to part ways with them, but it was the "straw that broke the camel's back".

 

Owners got to "kiss their revenue goodbye" due to the move of the listings when we left, and the "set off" I made against the amount that would have resulted from the Short Sale.

 

The biggest lesson learned?? Make that "Confirmed".

 

Always get it in writing!

 

Without the carefully worded ICA that covered such eventualities, the dollar consequence to us could have been HUGE!

 

So, I say again:

 

Always get it in writing!

 

Always get it in writing!

 

Always get it in writing!

 

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About the Authors - Updated 2018

If you are considering a Traditional or Short Sale of your home in Phoenix, Scottsdale or any location in Maricopa County Arizona, you owe it to yourself to talk with the BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty to determine whether Tony and Suzanne Marriott are the best real estate Brokers in the Phoenix and Scottsdale metropolitan area to help you with the Successful Sale of your home.

Tony and Suzanne have personally Listed, Sold and Closed more than a hundred Short Sales with the highest list to close rate in the Phoenix Metro Area!

Tony Marriott - Chief Operating Officer - BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

Suzanne Marriott - Chief Learning Officer - BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

Associate Brokers, REALTORS
BVO Luxury Group
Keller Williams Arizona Realty

Comments

I got a bit confused, not sure as a co-list agent why you couldn't communicate with sellers.  And not sure how you can assign a listing you didn't bring unless you did have something in writing or were the DB.  But I do agree... it always needs to be in writing.  Everything about responsibility by all parties in a multiple agent working together situation needs to be in writing.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) about 3 years ago

I wasn't the Co-List Agent Tammy Lankford, - I was the Listing Agent.  In this case - the Co-Listing Agent had the relationship with the Sellers (I had never spoken with them) and our roles were clearly delineated in writing.  They bailed on their responsibility and "expected" others (me) who also had personal plans - to pick up their slack because they were "out of town".  Last I checked - phones are just as effective when you are "out of town" as when your are "in town"! Thanks for stopping by with a comment! 

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) about 3 years ago

All I can say, Tony Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers There is no substitute for working for yourself.

All "deals" have a way of falling apart when and if the parties have a mind to "unwind" the deal.

Bill Roberts

Posted by Bill Roberts, "Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner (Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate) about 3 years ago

Hi Tony & Suzanne - That's the kind of story that is uncomfortably common, and you certainly showed some foresight in preparing for all possible outcomes.

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) about 3 years ago

Tony that kind of situation pops up to often and you're absolutley right - get it in writing.  That was a very strange decision of the DB's without even talking with you first. Not smart at all.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) about 3 years ago

Tony and Suzanne getting it in writing is a great practice no matter what the transaction or agreement is.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) about 3 years ago

Tony and Suzanne

Get it in writing is a smart idea . . . . and giant step in the direction of achieving greater success.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) about 3 years ago

Agreed Bill Roberts - one more "i" to dot and "t" to cross - which was done in the subsequent ICA!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) about 3 years ago

Thanks for stopping by Dick Greenberg - we missed an unlikely event - but have that covered now!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) about 3 years ago

Agreed Anna Banana Kruchten - unfortunately it was part of an unusual pattern of behavior - and - once the ownership realized the extent of it - took - albeit tardy - steps to rectify the situation...

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) about 3 years ago

We're with you George Souto !  Thanks for stopping by with a comment!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) about 3 years ago

Thank you Lou Ludwig - always a pleasure to hear from you!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) about 3 years ago

Yes, yes, yes. Always get it in writing. You are so right. Thank you for sharing your frustrations with us, so we are reminded to do so as well!

Posted by Marney Kirk, Towson, Maryland Real Estate (Cummings & Co. Realtors) about 3 years ago

If it ain't it writing, it ain't.  When it is important it is well worth the ink!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) about 3 years ago

Tony and Suzanne: Sounds like you had your bases covered even though the transaction did not go as expected. Sometimes even when you get in in writing, the unscrupulous can find a way to circumvent that which they did and got the ok with the DB. What goes around comes around.  You also write a great story, could not wait to get to the punch line.   Understand you had an agreement with the brokerage before moving over intially, what does ICA stand for?

Posted by Janice Zaltman Realtor, LEED AP (United Realty Group) about 3 years ago

Thanks for stopping by with a comment Marney Kirk - and for your support!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) about 3 years ago

Absolutely Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC !

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) about 3 years ago

Thanks for the kind words Janice Zaltman, LEED AP, GREEN Hollywood Beach Florida - we are now following you!  ICA = Independent Contractor Agreement aka the "Rules of the Road'.  Ours covered most - but obviously not all - possibilites!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) about 3 years ago

Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers Sounds like a nightmare!  You learned a valuable lesson that day.

Posted by Elyse Berman, PA, Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR (Best Connections Realty, Inc.) about 3 years ago

I did indeed Elyse Berman - and also made "improvements" to our ICA!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) about 3 years ago

Thank you for sharing your lesson learned. You closed some of those gaps in your ICA so it wouldn't happen again.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) about 3 years ago

We did indeed Debbie Reynolds - thanks for stopping by with a comment!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) almost 3 years ago

Tony, that sounds just profoundly unpleasant!  There were virtually no short sales in DC during that crazy time - due to a foreclosure moratorium in the District.  We missed out on all the fun!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 3 years ago

Always get it in writing. Too soon old and too late smart!

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) almost 3 years ago

Absolutely, it's always best to get agreements in writing, so you can go back to reference in case there's ever a disagreement.  Even if you have it email, it's better than nothing.  People seem to have short-term memories at times.  Sorry, that you had to experience this, but the positive side is you protected yourself and it is a lesson-learned experience.

Posted by Mike Bjork (CMG Financial) almost 3 years ago

Always get it in writing and make darn sure all the holes are plugged. In other words, nowhere to run to ... all bases are covered! 

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) almost 3 years ago

What a story! You're right, get it all in writing!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) almost 3 years ago

Hey what is a semaphore?  Don't think I have ever tried that one.

 

Posted by Scott Thompson, Commerical Finance - Blue Springs, MO (Columbia Mortgage Plus) almost 3 years ago

It's not worth the paper it's not written on!

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) almost 3 years ago

It was Patricia Kennedy - but careful planning paid off! Thanks for stopping by with a comment!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) almost 3 years ago

Agreed Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland - thanks for stopping by with a comment!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) almost 3 years ago

It was an interesting ride Kat Palmiotti - thanks for stopping by with a comment!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) almost 3 years ago

Good morning Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers ,

Wow..that story was a nightmare! A valuable lesson learn..always get it in writing!!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) almost 3 years ago

Semaphore involves flags primarily Scott Thompson - thanks for stopping by with a comment!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) almost 3 years ago

That's one way to put it Margaret Goss - thanks for stopping by with a comment!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) almost 3 years ago

Hi Dorie Dillard - it's been my mantra for years - thanks for stopping by with a comment!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) almost 3 years ago

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