Tuesday September 16, 2014 I went to a Coldwell Banker training seminar. This one was good for three hours of credit for contract law. Each license period Arizona Realtors® are required to take 24 hours of continuing education courses. This was free for Coldwell Banker Agents so why not. It started at 9 AM which meant, I for one had to drive across the valley to Scottsdale during rush hour to the Chaparral Suites where the seminar was. Then sit there on a very uncomfortable chair for the entire time, four hours minus a break. It was a real pain in the butt but it was worth it and a good refresher on the real estate contract.
When I was studying at the Graduate Realtor® Institute for my GRI Designation we went through the nine page real estate contract line by line. It took two days. Not only that but when I first started at Coldwell Banker I went to their Fast Start program and they kept pounding it in our heads to read it and read it again. You can take a look at the contract here. Keep in mind that that is just the contract. There are a multitude of other forms that Realtors® have to know about, as well as when and how to use them to protect their clients. There’s a link to some of them under the “Sell A Home/Sample Forms” tab on the left menu.
Why am I posting this you might ask? Well I have heard that some folks compare Realtors® to car sales people. Now I have to take exception to that because of obvious reasons. For one I just leased a new vehicle. It took us about 6 to 7 hours just to get to the finance part. At the end of the negotiating, which by the way I almost got up and walked out on at least twice, they take us to the friendly finance guy. This was a freaking joke but we really wanted this vehicle and after seven hours of bull shit (sorry I don’t know what else to call it) we were hungry and exhausted. Anyway, the contract was one page 25 inches long with all kinds of different numbers, sections and with the back side all fine print. Not one attempt was made to explain any of it. Just sign here here, and here. I looked at the payment line just to make sure that it was what we agreed on and signed so we could get out of there.
After a day or two we get a call from the dealer and they said, oh we’re sorry but can you come back and re-sign as we made a mistake. None of the terms or amounts changed we just had to move some stuff around they said. So what did I do? Why I pulled out my copy and started studying it. I found buried in there that they have what they call a “Disposition Charge” which means that at the end of lease you have to pay $400 just to turn it in. So I look at my old lease from my old car and dealer and they have a line for that charge too but the amount due was a big FAT ZERO.
So we go back to the dealer as they requested and I ran into our salesman. I said to him that if I had seen that charge I would never had signed. He shined it on as nothing and said flippantly that we can return the vehicle now and then hustled us to the finance department. I brought it up again with them and they said there was nothing they could do about it. The thing that got me was that the Finance Manager wasn’t aware of it either and said that nobody has ever asked about it. (Well excuse me.) After all they are only a paper mill I guess.
Wait it goes on.
A few days later we get a third call this time from the Director of Finance. He says I have good news for you, your payment is going down. My first thought was woo hoo and I said by how much. He said $7.00 a month but you need to come in and re-sign the lease, again. He said it’s because you had a credit of several hundred dollars and we spread it out over the length of the lease. I asked why not just apply it to the disposition charge? Nope can’t do that. I said OK for some reason and that we’d be in. When we did go back the Director of Finance, the Finance Manager AND the salesman were nowhere to be found. So we hook up with the rookie finance guy and he had it right there in his in basket, at this point I can only chuckle at the entire situation which quite frankly wasn’t at all funny. When I asked him about the disposition charge he said don’t worry about it as it’s factored in with your payment. Yeah right, but I doubt it.
Now if I pulled those kinds of shenanigans as a Realtor® with a client I doubt that I would be holding on to my real estate license for long.
So let me just say that Realtors® are licensed by the state and are bound by ethics and the law. We must be knowledgeable in our jobs in order to protect our clients as well as ourselves.
That is something car sales people could care less about. There may be lax laws for car dealers but their ethics suck. Please note that I left out dealer names as well as models but in order to protect the innocent against shady baloney contact me and I’ll tell you who they are. One guy was really helpful but I’ll leave him out too.