Elderly seller doesn’t feel protected


Dear David,

I recently needed to downsize and sell my home. I am elderly and live alone. I feel that my real estate agent did not represent my best interests and worked supportively of the buyers. He subjected me to bullying and intimidation, even yelling at me. I feel like he was determined to make a quick sale and I was in his way. What can I do about this? Where can I turn for assistance? – LET DOWN

DEAR LET DOWN: I am sorry to hear you were treated in such an appalling manner. A downsizing move can be challenging at the best of times, especially for a single person living alone. Grown children, relatives and friends can be excellent sounding boards when it comes to making major decisions. I welcome the chance to have them on the journey, so a support system is readily available.

When an agent lists a house for sale, their loyalty lies one hundred percent with the seller. It’s horrifying to hear the words “bullying” and “intimidation” related to any transaction. A listing agent’s role is to get clients through this stressful process without ever subjecting them to the type of treatment you describe. Realtors are governed by provincial legislation that dictates their duties, behaviours and responsibilities. They have a fiduciary duty to follow their client’s instructions and protect their client’s best interests. It sounds like the person who represented you let you down in every possible way.

If a client does not feel they are being represented or treated properly by their Realtor, their first course of action should be to have a frank discussion with the agent as soon as they feel mistreated or misrepresented. The client may also consider reaching out to the brokerage if that seems warranted, since their listing agreement is with the brokerage, not the individual agent. Hearing these types of details, any Broker of Record would (or should) take immediate action to ensure their client is getting the best representation possible. 

In your case, it sounds like the house is already sold and you’re picking up the pieces. There is nothing that can be done after the fact to unwind a transaction, since it’s a contractual obligation. I suggest you report your agent’s behaviour to our industry governing body, RECO (the Real Estate Council of Ontario), to your local real estate board, and also to the agent’s Broker of Record for appropriate disciplinary action or any sanctions that may be deemed necessary.

PRO TIP: A large portion of my practice involves mature clients who are downsizing. When I’m working with a client who doesn’t have a significant other, I think it’s important to keep the lines of communication open with their support group (family, friends and advisors). The seller remains the ultimate decision maker, but their sphere of support can provide comfort and peace of mind throughout the process. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.