Agent and Lender Fraud?

Agent and Lender Fraud?
Dear Monty: We are suspicious of our home sale. We found out our agent (No. 2) and the buyer were friends at the closing. The lender also had close ties to the buyer. Our home was listed with agent No. 1 for seven months with no results. We switched agents and received an offer from a buyer using agent No. 2, who was also friends with our old agent No. 1. We had lots of pressure to accept the offer. We got them up, but we were still low. A similar house two doors down sold for 15k more. We think agent No. 1 and agent No. 2 conspired to hold our house on the market so a friend could buy it for less. Should we be going to the state regulators to file a complaint?
Monty’s Answer: Is there anything else you have heard, seen or read that creates your suspicion? Did you overhear a conversation or see an email -- something that seems like the proverbial smoking gun? Anything besides what you have shared that might have triggered this concern?

Everything you have written in your question does not appear suspicious on its face. It is not unusual for people to change real estate agents. It is not uncommon for a home to take many months to sell. It is not unique for a buyer to make an offer well below the listed price. It is not unusual for an agent to be involved with a friend or even a relative. If it were a relative, they would have informed you of that fact. It is not required to inform a seller that a buyer is a friend.

Here is a link to an article about what a real estate agent does all day. I cannot think of why a real estate agent would try to discourage a sale or keep a home from selling deliberately.

They have many responsibilities, and the less time they invest and the sooner they can find a buyer the more profitable a transaction is for them. They know if they were involved in a conspiracy for a small percentage of $15,000, it would be very little money for the loss of their livelihood.

Real estate values for every home are a range of value, not an exact price. The definition of a range of value is the lowest price you should expect and the highest price you can expect. Here is a link to an article that describes home valuations. It is also possible that it took time for your home to find the market-incorrect initial pricing.

It could well be that agent No. 2 leaning hard on you helped you.

If you had not accepted the offer, you would’ve extended the marketing time even longer. Was it in your best interest to continue to wait? And had you waited, there was no assurance that the next offer would be higher in a future sale. It may have been lower.

Your suspicions may be true. But, based on what you have written, it is unlikely. If sometime in the next year the home is sold to an LLC owned by the agents and/or the lender, it would be time to go to the regulators. Here is a Department of Justice list to file a complaint.

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Richard Montgomery is the founder of PropBox, the first advertising platform to bring home sellers and buyers directly together to negotiate online. He offers readers unbiased real estate advice. Follow him on Twitter at @dearmonty or
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