The following story intentionally leaves out details of the parties involved due to the fact that my knowledge of the story is indirect and thus I don’t know all the facts.
Today I heard a story about an agent & seller that reduced a property’s price by more than 50% in an effort to drum up tons of buyer interest and get a crush of offers via sealed bid due in a couple weeks. The agent telling the story to me said at least 3 agents in his office had buyers inquire on this property and the overall reaction was frustration/anger as apparently there was zero intent by the parties involved for an offer to be accepted anywhere near the unrealistically low asking price. Effectively the agent and seller were gaming the system.
The REALTOR Code of Ethics sets forth the minimum standards by which members of the National Association of REALTORS must adhere to, which in many cases go well beyond the standards required by state real estate licensing requirements.
In this case, I believe there could be violations of Articles 1, 2 and 12 and also potentially violations of state law as well, all stemming from the fact that the price at which the home is advertised for sale is not in fact a price the seller will accept. This is therefore dishonest and a misrepresentation of the situation. If the property was advertised as an auction property, and thus not advertised at as for sale at a specific price, then that would be a different story. Unfortunately that is not the case in this situation.
This kind of gaming of the system hurts the people who are directly connected to the situation and also affects the integrity of the system – consumer and agent trust in the cooperative MLS system is based on the accuracy of the information presented. Egregious acts like this can have a lasting effect on the perception of REALTORS by the public.