This is one of the most common anomaly in the real estate industry and I will tell you how I first discovered it when I was still a young broker in 1999.
One time I had a ready buyer with a budget of P10M and engaged me as Exclusive Buyer's Agent at P50,000 professional fee for one month work to find and negotiate a purchase of a house and lot. So I checked out some possible listing in the Buy and Sell Free-Ads Magazine. On that day, I decided to contact properties sold over P10M to meet the demand of the buyer. There was this Ad that says “Xavierville, House and Lot, Near Ateneo, P12M, Brokers Welcome, Contact Name, Tel#”.
When I called the telephone number, I was immediately able to talk to the advertiser. Let us call her Agent X. I asked Agent X if the property is hers. She said she is the owner now because she is a real estate dealer who is in the active business of buying from the left hand and smoothly selling it to the right hand. I asked her if she is okay to have the transaction handled by a Broker like me and she YES, but quickly added that it is a Net Listing and that it is up to me to sell it at a higher price for profit because she is not willing to pay any commission and taxes out of the P12M that she wants to get out of her real estate investment.
In the routine interest of full-disclosure, I asked Agent X a number of times if I can visit her to check on the documents, so I can come up with a Property Folder. She would always say that she is busy and have no time for it. I told her that I am representing a Buyer and I have in my possession an Intent to Buy signed by the Buyer, and that the property being sought exactly fits the budget and location.
Agent X asked me to come over her place so she can see the Intent to Buy. So I went. She was about 55 years old and looks rich and full of jewelry all over her neck. I presented to her my ID as broker and the Intent to Buy. She smiled, looked very happy, and offered me tea and biscuits. I then asked her to show the documents of the property, but she said the documents are not with her right now and asked me to come back next week.
I told her that she must not deal directly with the Buyer because the Intent to Buy clearly states that all transaction and offers should be handled by me. Although I always put my contact number in the Intent to Buy document, I also always put the email address of the owner, the email account is created by me and all incoming emails are automatically forwarded to me.
The following day, Agent X emailed the Buyer directly, and the email message landed to my account. I responded to her, pretending that I am the owner, saying that I called the Broker (me) but he is not around, and I would like to see the property this afternoon, and that I would like to meet her right outside the property. So she gave me the address of the property. That was how I was able to get the address of the property. I did not show up that afternoon and she emailed me in the evening.
The following day, I went to the village and asked the guard who owns the property. I also went to the City Hall to check out who the owner is. Then I contacted the owner. The owner said he is selling the property at P10M at 5% commission for the agent who will find the buyer. I asked him if he knows Agent X, and he said YES. I asked him about his relationship with Agent X about this property being offered for sale.
The owner said that the Agent X introduced herself to him sometime three months ago as a real estate dealer and also a real estate broker. So I called up Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to verify if Agent X is licensed, and it turned out that she is a colorum.
I immediately offered my broker services and asked the owner of the property to sign a Listing Agreement, net listing at P9.5M. He signed and I had it Notarized. Then immediately thereafter, I presented the Intent to Buy at P10M to register the Buyer to the Seller. He accepted it.
The following day, the Seller called me up to inform me that Agent X came to him a while ago and presented an Intent to Buy that is almost similar to mine, but with an erased name of buyer and my name is also erased. Agent X also told him that the buyer is only willing to buy at P9M, and Agent X did not disclose that she is advertising it at 12M. Seller also did not inform Agent X about me (the buyer's agent). After weighing the information on the table, Seller realized that Agent X is a crook.
Two weeks after, I closed the sale at P9.5M. Buyer and Seller are both happy with my swift service. The Seller got the price that he wants. I really pulled down the price for the Buyer from P10M to P9.5M, no overprice because I am already on contract as Exclusive Buyer Agent as P50,000. Without my service as EBA, the buyer could have paid out P10M, but because he engaged me, he only paid out P9.55M.
Agent X emailed me a number of times, but I did not reply. She even found a way to reach the Buyer using the PLDT Telephone Directory. I have never encountered her again. She is that kind of anomaly that pretends she is a Property Owner or Dealer just to capture a lead to potential buyer. In my 11 years as a broker, I encountered many cases like this and I always outsmart them.