ATLANTIC CITY — There can be many pitfalls out there for real estate agents trying to sell homes, and continuing education courses at the real estate convention this past week taught Realtors to avoid many of them.
One case involved “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
A state real estate official recounted the story on Thursday during the annual Triple Play Realtor Convention & Trade Expo in Atlantic City.
Denise Illes, special assistant to the director at the New Jersey Real Estate Commission, highlighted the bizarre example of an ethics lapse regarding a 55-acre, multimillion-dollar estate.
The property, which she did not identify, was not for sale but had been listed previously.
Potential buyers contacted the agent to see the house immediately.
The owner was hesitant about showing the house, noting unsecured guns and valuables were inside, but the agent convinced him, she said.
“He said, ‘I have very interested buyers, they’re definitely financially qualified,’” she said.
The potential buyers turned out to be a camera crew.
“Those potential buyers were filming a demo tape to submit to the ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey,’ and they were not truly interested in purchasing the house,” she said.
Security cameras captured the bizarre encounter, which lasted for several hours.
“We could see the whole entourage of cars and people come into the house,” she said.
The agent was fined $7,500, and his license revoked for six months, she said.
She concluded, “These things do happen out there.”
The New Jersey Real Estate Commission is a division of the state Department of Banking and Insurance, which enforces real estate licensing law.
In 2011, 548 complaints — both justified and unjustified — were filed with the commission, she said.
In many cases, the brokers or salespeople did nothing wrong, but some issues could have been resolved proactively, she said.
“One way we think could help avoid some complaints is to spend some time explaining the process. On short sales, we get a lot of complaints,” she said. “Explain the process. Explain it’s the owner that decides but the bank has to approve.” Agents also should talk about how long the process can take, and keep the client up-to-date on developments, she said.
The Triple Play Realtor Convention & Trade Expo was held at the Atlantic City Convention Center from Tuesday through Thursday.
It included New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania associations of Realtors.
New Jersey Association of Realtors 2013 President Tina Banasiak’s early estimates suggested about 8,000 people attended the conference, which is a popular place for those in the industry to obtain required continuing education credits.
By June of next year, all licensed real estate brokers and salespeople in New Jersey will be required to finish 12 hours of continuing education credits. June 30 is the end of the first two-year cycle for mandatory credits.
The continuing education credits are a good thing for New Jersey real estate, said Jarrod Grasso, CEO of the New Jersey Association of Realtors.
“It means you’re getting an education to make sure you’re up to date with current laws so consumers are better protected,” Grasso said.
Realtors are required to take six hours on core topics, including ethics.
Courses offered at the convention included “Oddballs: Pricing and Valuing Unusual Properties,” “Dealing with Distressed Property Reality,” and “When Geek Meets Greek … When the Law and Social Media Collide.”
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