From my email from last week (see below), Joan writes:

I love it, love it when the bad guys get caught. Bad guys have multiplied.

This statement is so true. That one article I referenced last week, nearly 100 brokerages are under investigation for violating federal law. Average 50 agents per brokerage, that’s 5,000 agents that may be complicit.

Joan further writes:

There is a certain frustration that comes from being unable to do anything about the creeps so keep up the good work. I’m rooting for you!

That means the world to me. It really does.

I’ve seen a lot of unethical stuff in this industry. And I would prefer if I didn’t. At times, it would always feel like I was the lone voice among millions, shouting out what I see only to be drowned out by the Unethicals. Agents who are completely comfortable with bending their ethics just to get that commission check.

I didn’t think I could do anything until I finally connected with this rock-star group of professionals. Entrepreneurs, real estate innovators from around the country who feel as I do. Who said “Enough is enough!” and took a stand.

Maybe I’m a fool for writing this. But I believe people and good families should not be the victims of unethical agents. Maybe I’m a fool for writing this. But I believe unethical agents should not profit at your expense, simply because they know how to play the game and you don’t. Like I said, Maybe I’m a fool for writing this. But I believe that the words that I write can actually make a difference in the lives of people.

Let me tell you about my first encounter with a real estate agent.

It was over 10 years ago. I woke up with a start and looked around my bedroom. My apartment cost me an obscene amount of money every month. My days of stuffing my landlord’s pocket with money are over! It was time to buy my own place.

I didn’t know any real estate agents. Yelp and Google didn’t exist. So I had to go old school. The Yellow Pages. I called the first real estate brokerage I found. I announced that I wanted to buy a duplex. The agent said no problem.

That Friday, we’re out looking at condos. He convinced me that I can’t afford a duplex. I’d have to settle for a condo. I really didn’t want a condo. I wanted my own yard. My own space.

But, he’s the expert. He’s looking out for my best interest.

He wanted to show me this brand new condo. Actually it’s not “brand brand” new. An apartment owner converted his 12-unit building into a condo complex. The conversion was complete. The condo units were for sale.

The agent led me to the top floor, the third floor, and to the corner unit. Now the place was huge. Vaulted ceilings. It’s a 2 bedroom, 1 bath. What I really wanted was a 3 bedroom, 2 bath.

I made a comment about the kitchen being too small. The agent dismissed that. You can renovate. Make it bigger. I really wanted hardwood floors. The agent dismissed that. You can get hardwood floors installed.

I asked to see another unit. He told me that of the 12 units, ten were already in escrow. There’s only two units available. The one we were standing in. The other was in the basement.

Who wants to live in the basement?

He proceeded to tell me that this unit really is a good deal. It’s perfect for a single guy such as myself. In a few years, I can sell it and move up to a house if I so choose. He recommended making an offer that day. He was pretty sure competing offers were coming in.

When I ask what the price is, he told me. There’s a lot of condos for sale in Long Beach and I wanted to negotiate. Even if it’s only a little bit. The agent warned me against it. Someone would surely offer more. I’d been pre-approved so I should use all of the money I’ve been approved for.

I think about it. It’s only a few thousand dollars. Maybe he’s right. Maybe I’m being too analytical about this. He’s the expert. He’s looking out for my best interest.

We submit the offer.

The next day, Saturday, I drove around Long Beach. My excitement bubbled as I told my friend about my impending offer on a condo. Magically, we just happened to drive by the building where my future home is. An “Open House” sign in front of the building caught my eye.

My curiosity got the better of me. Maybe that basement unit was some really super sweet bachelor pad.

We walked into the complex. The first thing I noticed was that all the open house signs point up. That’s weird. I know I went to a public school but I’m pretty sure basements are down. Not up.

The signs led us to the third floor, middle unit.

Why would they have an open house for a property that had already been sold?

The agent holding the open house greeted us. She’s super sweet. I decided not to tell her I put an offer down on the other unit. Maybe I could get some juicy info out of her.

We chit chat back and forth. I told her that I was under the impression that all of the units had already been sold.

Oh no, not at all. None of the units had been sold. Except the corner unit. Someone put down an offer on that unit yesterday. She thought the seller was going to accept the offer.

The agent was a liar. He’s looking out for his best interests.

I remained cool. Like Fonzie. I bid the agent good day. As I walk back to my car, my blood boiled.  It was hard to see straight.  Everything was red.

Once we return to my abode, I called him. He’s all happy and said he has great news. Shove that news where the sun don’t shine. I throw his lies in his face. Rather than man-up, he blamed his manager. His manager told him that all the units had been sold.

Either he lied again. Or his entire company is untrustworthy. He didn’t accept responsibility for his actions. He never apologized.

I told the agent that I want out. I wanted my escrow deposit returned immediately. Just tell me what I have to sign.

Fast forward a year, I got my duplex. You know what? I really like it. The entire process. Purchasing. Negotiation. Renovation. All of it.

My friends ask me how I did it. I always tell them “Start with a good agent.” They always ask how do they find one. I never had a real answer for that. I always felt dirty. Slimy. Because I know I’m just sending them like sheep into the lion’s den.

Over coffee, I share my dilemma with a real good friend. He suggests that rather than stress about it, why not do something about it. I already love real estate. I know the process inside and out. All I need to do is take that next step.

One day I approach my wife. I tell her my idea about tackling real estate. About how I couldn’t let what happened to me happen to others. Her response to me?

“It’s about time.”

That’s why I do what I do. Why I created this movement. To expose the unethical tactics agents use just to get a commission. To protect people by giving them knowledge about how the game is really played. The rules unethical agents want to keep hidden are the rules I expose.

The fight is just beginning. Thank you for being a part of it.

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