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Sellers Agent Making Threats To Sue Me

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Grace

Thread Starter
Sophomore Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
California
I appraised a home and came in $30,000 under the contract price. I think my appraisal is a good one and will stand by it.

The sellers agent called me and literally yelled (I had to hold the phone away from my ear) stating I didn't know what I was doing and that I disregarded comparables more similar to the subject. He stated every other appraiser would have no problem, and he named most of the appraisers in the county.

He said, "Do you know who I am?" I do know who he is because we had met before when I worked for another appraiser. He stated that he has been in business in this county for a lot of years and he would make it his mission to call every lender and real estate agent to make sure they don't hire me. He stated he would spend "twenty grand" of his own money making sure I don't get work. I think he means it.

He said "If your looking for trouble lady, you got it." Believe me, I am not looking for trouble. He stated he will tell the owner of the property to sue me and that he hopes my E and O insurance is current (it is).

It was a long phone call--about 15 minutes and he made a lot of threats. He would not listen to me and was irrational...really, it was awful. I hate to blow anyones deal, I know how hard it is to make a living in real estate.

Ordinarily, I wouln't be upset, but he is well known in the county, which is relatively small, and I believe he could do me a lot of professional harm. He said he's already sold more property than I'll ever appraise in my lifetime.

I would like to document his remarks with the appropriate authority, not to cause any problems, but just so it is on record in the event he follows through on his threats and damages my reputation. Who should I contact for Northern California? What process should I follow?

He did say one thing I agreed with. He said that I should have called and told him I couldn't reach value, as a professional courtesy. I feel bad about that but I don't think it would have made a difference in this case because he would have been extremely upset that I couldn't reach value.

I need all the advice I can get so I can sleep.

Sorry this is so long, I wish I felt better for writing it but I still feel sick.

Thanks in advance.
 

airphoto

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Pennsylvania
Grace,

First you don't communicate with this bird AT ALL! He's not your client, and you have confidentiality to deal with .. you only commune with your client.

Go to Radio Shack and purchase the lil switch that goes on your phone line .. connect it to a tape recorder. Comes on when you pick up the phone. Not a bad idea to tape all conversations .. you can erase any you don't wish to retain, but gives you a record(ing) of all phone conversations, so that you don't have to wish (after the fact) that you had a record(ing) of the conversation.

Finally .. relax .. if this clown is that obnoxious, your community already knows about him and will respect you all the more for holding firm in the face of his bluster.

Lastly, having done your work correctly you have nothing to fear. Insure that you retain your file in a safe place. It'll cost him to harass you ..
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
I agree with Bill. You have NO obligation to call the listing agent to let them know you are coming in low. You ONLY call your client. I would start to tape EVERYTHING. Remember that if anything derogatory is said about you in a personal or non-professional way, YOU may have a law suit against him. Ask your attorney if need be.

When I get these calls (eventually all of us get them) in the nicest, but most stern way I say: If you have true market data to offer, I will consider it. But if all you want to do is scream and shout personal threats or degradations to me, this phone call is over. I wait a second and hang up if they continue to carry the conversation (screaming) in a non-business manner. Usually they will calm down, but I have had a case where they didn't. Nothing came about it other than people in the real estate business saying, man, that guy is a nut case.

If you are right, hold your head up and stick to your guns :!:

Mell.
 

Oregon Doug

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
Oregon
Grace - 1st, don't talk to the agent, he's not your client (read USPAP Confidentiality section). 2nd - if your appraisal is USPAP compliant, get a good nite's sleep. Remember that here in America, everyone has the right to publically display his stupidity and fools like that do more damage to themselves.

Pleasant dreams, Oregon Doug
 

Tim Hicks (Texas)

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
Grace, don't discuss it with the agent. You could get into more trouble doing that than anything else you have done. Remember an appraisal is an opinion of value, your opinion. If he doesn't like your opinion, tough. The only thing I would have said is, "if you have some comps that you think I might have missed, give them to the lender and have them give them to me." You have done your job. If they don't like the job you have done, they can "buy" another opinion. They are probably worried that you have "planted the seed" with the borrower that they are overpaying. Tough! You could tell the lender you could re-consider the value if they have comps they want you to consider, but they had better be more similar, more recent and more reliable than the ones you used in your report. I would also consult a lawyer and then forward on the type of damages that agent would have to pay for slandering you to business clients. Good Luck!
 

Dee Dee

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Colorado
Grace,
Don't let this guy intimidate you. If you know you're right, and this realtor can't supply any additional information (in a helpful manner) to sway you, then put on your brass-toed high heels and stick to your guns.
From one female appraiser to another, don't let the chest-pounding tactics scare you. If you haven't seen this kind of behavior before then you'd better get used to it. Trust me, after awhile you'll find it kind of humorous. :roll: :roll: :lol:
And DO be sure to pursue this man legally if he bad-mouths you. Sounds like he could use a big wedge of humble pie strategically crammed into the orifice of your choice.
Best of luck to you,
Dee Dee
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
Grace,

I've printed this thread so I can formulate a complete reply later.

#1 question is, are you also a member of your Realtors Association? If so, you need to read the ethics rules right away. He's gone way, way beyond them!
 

Dan Leggett

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Mississippi
If the agent thinks he has you rattled he will do his best to deliver on his threats. Whether he is right or not he now has an image to protect and it will be at your expense. If you are 100% convinced you delivered a USPAP compliant report then screw him! (That's a figure of speech! Don't physically screw him!) Turn your phone off for the weekend, answering machine included, and turn you the appraiser off for the weekend. Don't even peak back at this forum until sometime late Monday. You & yours go for a rewarding dinner on Saturday night and have a do-as-you-please Sunday afternoon after church. When you get up on Monday morning step into your standard issue bulletproof appraiser thick skin suit and go about business as usual. The main objectives are shake it off, recharge your batteries, and maintain your self confidence at it's peak level.

Now that I'm through preaching I have to say ditto to what the other posters have said. As crusty as most of these folks are, there is wisdom in their words. Keep us posted.
 

xmrdfghap

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
General Public
State
Florida
<span style='color:brown'>Grace, In addition to the above posts, one thing you must remember. All he can do is complain that you killed his sale. Any reputable lender is going to ignore any complaints he may have about you simply because THEY know who and what he is, and THEY know they would rather have an honest appraisal any day instead of one that is inflated. It is THEIR money they are putting on the line, not this guy's commissions.

Next thing to remember is that he is the SELLERS agent. He is biased. The Buyers agent should be looking at your appraisal with thanksgiving....if he had allowed his client to pay $30,000 too much, HIS E&O would be making up the difference.

Third is a matter for civil court. In a small community you will hear about any effort this guys makes to "run you out of business." This is a serious violation of the Realtors ethics (as mentioned above) as well as slander/libel. This CAN cause him to lose a license. He CAN be made to prove any allegations. He CAN be made to pay for any damages his unfounded allegations casues you. In many jurisdictions you can claim treble damages.....other areas you can sue not only for damages, but can get punative damages. It is simply against the law to spread rumors to the extent that they cause harm (including damage to your reputation).

And let me share a bit of a secret. This is not the first time he has done this. Guys who do this sort of thing are like wife beaters.......it is a behavior pattern that he has had for a long time. LO's in your area know it. Realtors in your area know it. And I would be willing to bet that when he makes a pronouncement of this sort, EVERY one of the guys he talks to (except for his closest "yes men" associates.......guys like that don't have real friends) will take note of you and it WILL ENHANCE your reputation. You will gain the respect of people you don't know because you refused to submit to a bully. This may, in fact, be some of the best advertising you can get. LO's who want to knowthe "real" value will call you because they know you tell it like it is, and honest LO's want that.

Sleep well, knowing you are right, that bluster is not fatal, and that, just like a dog that barks all night long that no one listens to, after a while anyone who is serious about their business will ignore his slander and will respect you for your integrity.

Greg</span>
 

William Harmon

Freshman Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Grace all above is good advice, keep your spine, I have been doing this for ten years, this is only your first grumpy realtor , trust me your going to hear a bunch more of these calls , stand tall and know you did right
 
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