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Would-Be Buyers Lose Their Dream House

November 04, 2001

My husband and I moved to Redondo Beach in 1992 from Connecticut. This year, we decided to make the plunge into owning our own home in Manhattan Beach, and we went to a real estate agent with a major local firm.

After exhaustively laying out to our agent all the qualities my husband and I were looking for in our dream house, we were subjected to homes that were nowhere near what we had told her we wanted. So, after seven weeks of viewing homes that were just plain wrong for us, we started looking around on our own. We took to the streets on Sunday afternoons to check out open houses, something our agent declared "a waste of time."

During one of these Sunday afternoons, we came across an amazing house in the exact area of Manhattan Beach that we had been looking for, at about the right price and with just about every amenity that we were looking for.

When I asked the agent at the open house if it was a new listing, he said that it had been on the market for about two weeks. We wondered why our agent had not shown us this house. I called our agent and her only response was, "Oh, that property isn't right for you. I'm working on finding you a house that works better for you."

It just didn't make any sense....That house couldn't be any more perfect for us. So I called the agent for the house the next morning and inquired what was really wrong with the house.

I found out that the problem was not the house but the lower commission that went with the sale of the house. The company with that listing offers sellers a lower commission to list their homes.

The next day my husband called our agent and confronted her with the lower-commission issue, asking her point-blank if this was the reason the house was never shown to us. After our agent stammered out an unintelligible string of excuses, my husband fired her.

By the time that I called to make an offer on our dream house, it was already in escrow to be sold.

My husband and I since have continued our quest in finding our dream home, but now we are doing it on our own.

Every homeowner or potential buyer needs to know that real estate commissions are not set by law (as we were led to believe). Commissions are flexible and negotiable. I only wish that I had had this information before losing the house of my dreams.

N.B. KELLEY

Redondo Beach

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