We responded to a Craigslist listing and got a real estate agent ... is that legal?
Absolutely not - it's called a "blind ad". Real estate agents must disclose their licensed status in all advertising - it's the law in the State of Nevada. Further, if the agent is a Realtor they are also violating the Realtor Code of Ethics. The public has the right to know if they are being "sold" something by a licensee and not an unlicensed owner representing himself. This is a very basic law and practice, but in this challenging market some agents are desperate ... and desperate people do desperate things.
It is unfortunate that some are driven to gain advantage over their fellow practitioners by what they perceive to be cleverness when in fact it is shameful. We are witnessing it with increasing frequency in our local market and we do take action. We first warn the agent out of courtesy. If they don't change their ad and disclose their licensed status they are reported to the Board of Realtors and the State of Nevada for the appropriate policing action. There are reasons for the existing laws... consumer protection... and they must be complied with. There isn't a place in the real estate business for scofflaws as evidenced by the widespread lending fraud recently perpetrated by unscrupulous lenders and real estate agents. That practice is substantially to blame for the current loan industry crisis.
The Internet and newspaper classifieds are good tools for buying, selling, lending and borrowing ... as long as it is done in the appropriate manner. There are a lot of people trying to get in your pocket these days. Are you getting unsolicited emails? Phone calls? Everybody has a "better mousetrap" to make you money, save you money ... something to do with your money. There is a catch - somebody is making money along the way. Be careful - you can make money in this market but you shouldn't be compromised by unethical/illegal behavior in your effort to do so.
Our Advice: If you find yourself in a situation where you asked for "free" information on your home value, "free" foreclosure information, or details on an offering you thought was a private party, and you are suddenly faced with dealing with an agent ... run! Even an agent offering his own property for sale is required by law to disclose his status. There is no plausible explanation for this behavior other than blatant deception against the public ... you. It is not how professionals conduct themselves in their business. Stick to professional representation when you need real estate services as this is not a market for amateurs. If you experience a "stealth" agent "strafing" you to do business by all means report them to the Board of Realtors, 775.885.7200, and/or the State of Nevada Division of Real Estate, 775.687.4280. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.
There is no right way to do the wrong thing. If an agent is unethical and illegal in their initial contact with you, where else are they compromising their integrity and your financial and emotional safety when it comes to buying and selling real estate?
Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, http://www.carsonvalleyland.com/ , 775-781-5472.