Who is Selling This Hoboken Property?
I was out with some buyers yesterday looking at condos. As usual, I searched the MLS, printed out the properties we were to see, made appointments with each agency and picked up keys at the various offices. Midway through the morning, we were on our way to a particular property on the list, when my buyer noticed this sign in front of the building (I blurred out the address):
What was so strange about it was that it looked like a “For Sale By Owner” sign. Yet I had in my hand the MLS sheet for a listing from a reputable agency in town for the very same property. The sign was clearly hand written, and lacked an agency name (as required by the real estate commission for agents). There were no identifying names, no phone number, no agency logo, none of the usual trappings. I thought perhaps the sign was for a different unit in the same building than the listing for which I had made the appointment. It wasn’t.
Upon entering, we found the unit door unlocked and 3 men inside. They welcomed us and invited us in. I immediately identified myself as a realtor with my customers. I called the agency and asked if they were holding an open house. They said no. While I was on the phone, one of the men picked up a stack of flyers from the kitchen counter, which I could see were property flyers, and shoved them in the kitchen cabinet. I asked if one of them was a realtor but they said they were the owners. Two of the three promptly left the premises.
We looked around the unit. I opened the cabinet and saw that the flyer was indeed a “fsbo” style property flyer with no identifying real estate agency info and, this was even more strange, no price!
Now, every owner is certainly entitled to try to sell his or her own property without using a realtor. My understanding, however, is that once an owner signs a listing agreement with an agency the agency typically handles the sale. The agency does the marketing, makes the appointments and hosts the open houses. The listing agreement specifies that even for a number of days after the agreement expires, the seller is obligated to pay the agency the agreed upon commission even if the seller finds his or her own buyer (unless a named party has specifically been excluded from the listing agreement when it was originally entered int0).
I wonder if the listing agent knew that these owners were holding their own open house with their own materials. Why would they have their own sign and flyers (without a price) rather than use the agency’s? What if they had found a buyer? So what exactly was going on here? Very strange indeed!