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Oops! Wrong House!
Several incidents of agents going to the wrong house have been reported to the GMAR. This usually occurs when there is more than one listing on the same street with SentriLock boxes. Sellers have been home during these mistaken entries and have become very upset. On other occasions, alarms have also been set off.

These incidents could be catastrophic because many people have firearms in their homes and could mistake the agent and buyers as intruders.
As per the SentriLock user agreement and the GMAR’s citation policy, a fine in the amount of $5,000 could be levied for these actions. Agents need to pay special attention and exercise a three-point process:

  1. Verify the address of the home
  2. Verify the photo of the home
  3. Verify the sign in front of the home
Case Interpretation:
Listing Property at Excessive Price
Mr. A was about to retire and move to a warmer climate, and had discussed the sale of his house with a number of brokers. He dropped in on REALTOR® B to discuss the matter and said that various brokers had told him he should expect to sell the property at from $150,000 to $158,000. “Oh, that sounds low to me,” said REALTOR® B, “property moves well in that neighborhood and I recall that your house is in good shape and well landscaped. Give us an exclusive on it at $168,000 and we’ll make a strong effort to get you what your property is really worth.” REALTOR® B got the listing.

He advertised the property, held it open on weekends, had many inquiries about it, and showed numerous prospective buyers through it for a few weeks, but received no offers. When activity slowed, and the client became concerned, REALTOR® B was reassuring. “We’ll just keep plugging till the right buyer comes along,” he said. When the 90-day exclusive expired, REALTOR® B asked for a renewal. He told the client that new houses coming on the market were adversely affecting the market on resales of existing houses, and recommended lowering the price to $158,900. Client A ruefully agreed, but the lowered price did not materially increase buyer interest in the property. As the term of the 90-day extension of the listing neared, REALTOR® B brought Client A an offer of $150,000 and strongly recommended that it be accepted. But the client objected. “You told me it was worth about $168,000 and sooner or later the right buyer would pay that price. Meanwhile similar houses in the neighborhood have been selling within 30 to 60 days at around $156,000.”

"I know,” REALTOR® B said, “but six months ago we had a stronger market and were at the most favorable time of the year and $168,000 was not an out-of-line price at that time. But now we’re in the slow time of the year and the market is off. All things considered, I think the $150,000 offer in hand is a good one. I doubt that a better one will come along.”

Client A accepted the offer and complained against REALTOR® B to the local Board of REALTORS®, charging REALTOR® B with misinforming him as to fair market value apparently as a means of obtaining the listing of his property.

At the hearing, the facts as set out above were not disputed. Questioning developed the additional fact that at the time of the original listing REALTOR® B had not gone through the house to make a systematic appraisal of opinion of value, and that his recommended offering price was not based on a systematic review of sales in the neighborhood. Members of the Hearing Panel pointed out that the neighborhood in question was a development of houses, basically the same in size and quality, that had been put on the market about 10 years earlier at prices varying from $145,000 to $150,000; that good location and land development practices had maintained a good market for resales, but there was no indication that any property in the immediate neighborhood had been resold for as high as $160,000. When told that circumstances tended to bear out the complainant’s charge that REALTOR® B’s recommended price was a stratagem to obtain the listing, REALTOR® B’s defense was that he felt he had a right to take an optimistic view of the market.

It was concluded that REALTOR® B was in violation of Article 1 of the Code of Ethics.

We hope you enjoyed Issue #7 of Ethics Exchange 2020 brought to you by the Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS ® (GMAR). The GMAR created this newsletter, each issue dedicated to a unique issue, because the REALTOR ® Code of Ethics, on which our industry is built, is the foundation of what it means to be a REALTOR ® .
Your proactive support of the Code of Ethics will assure your fellow REALTORS ® , as well as members of the public, that every member of GMAR operates under the highest ethical standards.
Questions, comments or concerns regarding this issue can be directed to
Scott Bush at the GMAR Office (414-778-4929 or