Luxury Waterfront Real Estate
Dealing With Balistreri Realty in Lighthouse Point, Florida Has Been A Nightmare
The listing agreement shall remain in full force and effect and Balistreri Realty is prepared to fully-enforce its rights
Jul. 2, 2009 05:00 PM
South Florida Real Estate Journal
When we decided to sell our home last December we made the mistake of picking a realtor closest to our home, rather than doing a comprehensive research, interviews, and reference checks.
I thought if a buyer wants to see the house, they could just come and show it very conveniently. We learned the hard way that there is more to listing a house for sale than just picking a realtor out of a hat.
The second mistake we made was signing a listing contract with the realtor without an attorney review.
The realtor I am talking about is Balistreri Realty in Lighthouse Point, Florida, and a nightmare we have been living in since we signed an agreement with this firm on December 19, 2008.
We provided 30 photos of our home to Balistreri Realty to be used in online listings of the property. Two months into the listing, I discovered all photos but one were removed from Realtor.com and other online listing websites. The only photo representing the house was a bathroom image, in the center of the picture you see my used tooth brush and a tube of squeezed tooth paste.
As soon as I saw the shape of our listing on Realtor.com with this photo and several typos on the property description, I immediately called Jim Balistreri and left a message that "we no longer want him to list our property due to their incompetency as a listing agent."
I did not realize our nightmares were only about to begin.
He never returned my call but I heard back from his attorney Bill Epstein saying: "the terms of my letter stand. You have no right to terminate the listing agreement, for cause or otherwise. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if you would like to calmly and reasonably discuss your complaints with Mr. Balistreri and attempt to resolve same, or if you would like to negotiate a mutual termination of the listing agreement, Mr. Balistreri and I remain willing to discuss this with you. Otherwise, the listing agreement shall remain in full force and effect and Balistreri Realty is prepared to fully-enforce its rights thereunder."
Balistreri Realty would only talk to me via their attorney.
I looked at the agreement we signed with this firm. What we agreed on and entered the agreement for was a six month listing contract starting on December 19, 2008 and expiring on June 19, 2009.
When I looked at the signed contract closely I realized that Balistreri Realty first entered a twelve moth "exclusive right of sale" which would last through December 30, 2009. When I reminded them that we agreed on a six month term, then they changed another random date, July 31, 2009, which is still not six months we agreed on.
For the past four months we are dealing with this realtor which does not want the contract end on June 19, 2009 as it is agreed on.
Never Sign an Exclusive Right of Sale Contract with a Realtor Without Your Attorney Review
Furthermore, since our nightmare dealing with Balistreri Realty started, I also started to do research of my own by driving around and visiting open houses in Lighthouse Point.
Here is what I found out.
Most realtors will work with you without a preset term to represent your property. Many realtors I met with told me "you can hire us until you fire us, no exclusive terms we will press you with through our lawyers."
Since then I now have another listing agreement for a different sale which simply says something like: "this listing agreement expires when you tell us we are no longer needed."
Never Sign a Six Month Or One Year Exclusive Contract
With Any Realtor
Balistreri Realty is fighting with us for the past four months not to release the listing. What they do not understand is I will never let them sell our home and what they are doing is conducting business which I would never dare to do to run my own business.
In addition to what I described above, here are four important tips for any home owner who is about the hire a realtor or a listing agent.
1) Check the references of the realtor you were about to hire.
2) How many homes did they sell in the past 12 months in the price range your home is listed at?
3) How do they rank in town in sales they closed as compared to other realtors?
4) How do they rank by Better Business Bureau as compared to other realtors?
Yesterday morning I removed they signs from our from lawn and from our dock. Dealing with Balistreri Realty has been a nightmare for us since December 2008. The problem is by the time we take them to court (which we are in the process of doing) their listing contract will expire. Two weeks ago they change the price of our home based on an email correspondence and without my signature and formal request of the "price change form."
I would like to hear from others in Lighthouse Point, Florida who have done business with this realtor and their experiences.
Regarding the problems you had with your agent, rather than pursue legal matters, try filing ethics violations with Florida's Real Estate Commission or whatever it's called in your state. They have the power to revoke his license or suspend it and put him out of business. This could be your greatest option especially if he has a pitbull of a lawyer. I guess his lack of service is made up for with an abundance of law bullying.
You can also contact the state to see if he has any ethics violations against him and discover other info too. Good luck and you may want to send your story to www.outrageousagents.com.