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Harold H. Horstmann


Dear Editor:

I'm writing to question the ethics of some of the apparent local real estate sales agencies' methods. As one who years ago held a broker's license, I cannot speak to any recent rules or procedures that would affect the process of a property purchase. I do feel, however, as one who recently attempted to purchase a home, I was treated unfairly, and an excuse was given that the current real estate market is crazy and that's just the way it is.

The reason for my letter is to question the normal process for initiating and acceptance of a contract to purchase. From my past experience, a contract had the date and time on it for the purpose of the process of presenting the seller the contract in the order they were written and addressed to finality in that order. This was to be fair to the buyer and to allow them an immediate response in order to release them from the contract to pursue another contract or to expect a counteroffer giving them a fair opportunity for negotiation of a final sale. After the first contract was finally deemed unacceptable then the next contract received was presented and the process was repeated.

My recent experience has made me aware that the real estate sale process seems actually now to be a silent auction. I presented a contract with a stipulation I would have a response from the sellers agent by 7 p.m. that evening. I was notified by my agent at 7 p.m. that my contract was in the running and was asked if I wanted to raise my contract offer. I declined and heard nothing further until two days later that my offer was finally deemed unacceptable to the seller.

This process put me in a position of not being allowed to initiate another contract for fear of having two contracts open and thereby holding off on offering a contract to purchase another home. I clearly understand the reason for this manipulation of prospective buyers to get the best price for the seller and to maximize their commission(s). I feel this is wrong to take advantage of the present sellers' market wherein it's not unusual for homes to be selling for more than the asking price, which sets the stage for this type of price manipulation.

There can be no better example of the old adage "let the buyer beware!"

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