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VOL. 40 | NO. 6 | Friday, February 5, 2016

This Flipper more like Jaws waiting to strike

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Each year those in leadership roles of the various Realtor associations are required to take a class on the Realtor Code of Ethics. By taking this class, the association is protected somehow should the leader ever do anything inappropriate.

The irony is that the leaders of the association are usually ethical, but that’s probably what the Republican caucus thought in the General Assembly. So perhaps the class is a good idea.

These classes feature case studies based on actual events that occurred around the country. Here is a story strange but true (names, genders, addresses, and other details have been changed to protect the guilty), and against the rules of the Realtor code of ethics, but it happens.

One Realtor, we will call her Madge, had an agency relationship with a person who had relocated to Knoxville from New York.

Unfortunately for most Realtors in the United States, this story is not uncommon. It happens everywhere there are properties being bought and sold with real estate agents who, for the most part, are a scrupulous, hardworking brood of sound moral and ethical composition. Not this one.

Madge and her client Amanda had become good friends. Their children played together, were in the same rock band, and Amanda entrusted Madge with handling the real estate needs of many of her new employees.

Over time, Amanda missed the vibe of her New York apartment and decided to move into an upper-end condo. But alas, it is 2016 and there were no upper-end condos listed.

Try as she might, Madge was unable to find the right place.

Enter the Wicked Witch of the Southwest; a Realtor who is no stranger to lawsuits and the like, and who knows relatively little about upper-end downtown condos. But a “pocket listing” has fallen into her green, slimy lap. Her name is Flipper.

Flipper catches wind of Amanda and her dilemma, and in spite of the fact that Amanda has known Madge for decades, decides that this sale is more important than her reputation and calls Amanda to sell her the pocket listing.

In fairness, Flipper’s reputation was shot anyway, but she, like the catfish she is, knows there is enough scum floating around for her to continue her bottom-feeding ways.

When contacted by Flipper, Amanda tells her that Madge is her agent and for Flipper to call Madge. But Flipper will have none of it, knowing that she will receive twice the commission if she sells the house without Madge’s involvement.

Luckily for Madge, Amanda is a loyal person with morals that run as deep as pond in which Flipper resides. Amanda calls Madge for advice and tells her Flipper is unwavering in her position that Madge is not invited to the party.

They decide that Amanda should swim with the shark – or eel, in this case – and that Madge will steer clear as this is a good property and Amanda should have it.

During the transaction, Amanda – the buyer – joins the growing legions of past clients who feel Flipper might have a screw loose, maybe a few screws. But she goes along, and they close.

Madge could have filed a grievance against Flipper, the swine, and prevailed.

So all’s well that ends well.

Madge was able to list Amanda’s house, and it sold quickly.

Flipper is out pounding the pavement in search of her next victim. She is a serial client thief and relies on that for her business.

Most Realtors live on business from referrals provided by past clients, but Flipper’s past clients are known better as past plaintiffs.

Flippers are out there. If approached, find your Madge and let her coach from the sidelines.

Sale of the Week

This week’s sale is the sale of a lifetime for Steve Myers, who represented buyers paying $55 million in a recent closing.

Myers, with Fridrich and Clark, has thrilled all who know him with this transaction. He also is a shoo-in for the “It Couldn’t Happen to a Nicer Guy” award.

The properties consists of 10 apartment complexes totaling 1,160 units from Springfield to Knoxville.

His buyer was Middle Farm Capital, which Myers says is experienced in “repositioning properties.”

By repositioning, Myers means taking properties from the B and C classifications and improving them to As and Bs.

Myers says his clients chose the area due to the low vacancy rates and their feeling that future demand far exceeds the current focus on high-end construction.

Richard Courtney is a real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney and Associates and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.

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