You got 30 anonymous offers on your home? Yeah, right


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Dear Real Estate Adviser,
I’ve been told by two Realtors that I need to sell my home in Portland, Oregon, “as is.”

The exterior is vinyl and still looks OK. The interior needs some work, but nothing major, and it has a new roof and was completely rewired. 

I’ve received at least 30 offers from unknown buyers to buy it “outright,” no questions asked, but no money offers either. It’s on a big corner lot so a developer could build two or three houses there!

What’s going on and what can I do?
— Jim S.

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Dear Jim,
It’s called collusion; that’s what’s going on. Your first step, in my opinion, is to immediately fire your “Realtor” for cause. And feel free to do so with prejudice, too.

Portland is one of the top real estate markets in the country, with homes soaring 20 percent in price in August of this year alone, and those double-dealing agents are conspiring to flood you with bad advice and vague offers from shady industry consorts to convince you to dump your increasingly valuable property at rock-bottom price. Then they can resell or redevelop it for an enormous profit.

I can just picture one of the agents spouting a version of the old Seinfeld quote: “There’s enough juice here to keep us all fat and giggly.”

What 30 anonymous calls?

The fact your agent says you have received 30 anonymous offers with no monetary attachments only reinforces this. Those offers, I’m certain, are mostly from straw buyers who bird-dog properties for “buy your unsightly home for cash” businesses that tend to only pay 60 to 65 cents on the dollar.

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Your agent likely brought in that second agent as a shill to reinforce the notion that your house is a piece of junk. But you’re in luck because there are as-is investors out there who will kindly take it off your hands.

How generous they are, huh?

Fire your agent

Call the head of your Realtor’s brokerage and say you are firing the agent for failure to represent your best interests and for a conflict of interest, in which “your” agent was working behind the scenes to beat you out of tens of thousands of dollars.

If the agency says your listing contract isn’t expired yet and you’re subject to a lawsuit, feel free to mention recent reports in Portland media about this very same scheme, and that you’re now considering filing a complaint with the state attorney general’s office and maybe even going to the media yourself. Mention you suspect that the real estate agent withheld several legitimate offers to perpetuate this ruse.

You can also threaten to file a complaint with the Oregon Association of Realtors, but these types of organizations typically have little to no enforcement authority.

Regardless. I’d be stunned beyond belief if the agent threaten to sue. The agent and agency haven’t a leg to stand on.

Do your homework

Next course of business for you is to do your online homework and interview several reputable agents. Tell them the problem with the previous real estate agent and ask what inexpensive things you can do to enhance the appeal and marketability of the place, and how they would market it.

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Also ask if you should relist the place. While this typically sends a negative signal to buyers and buyer agents, the Portland market is so strong that any decent deal will be jumped on by legitimate home seekers. And of course, tell the agent to hire “no investors.”

Yes, there is a place in the world for real estate bottom feeders but not in your case. Make the money that those agents, middlemen and middle women were hoping to split all yours.

Good luck! Or perhaps I should say, better luck.

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