November 20, 2017 11:14 pm

B.C. couple accuses realtor of double-dealing, secretly representing both buyer and seller

WATCH: Next year, B.C. realtors will no longer be able to represent both the buyer and the seller in a deal. As John Hua reports, one couple claims that rule change comes too late for them.

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Lina Marinelli says when she listed her Burnaby home five months ago there appeared to be no shortage of interested buyers.

“I had people knocking on my door begging, ‘Please let me inside your house, I want to see it,'” she said.

“Our first open house we had 50 groups come through. The traffic was incredible.”

But when all that foot traffic translated into just one offer below asking price with a six-month close, Marinelli became suspicious.

“A lady knocked on my door, she said that her realtor was trying to get a hold of our realtor that they wanted to make an appointment to come and see our house and there was no response.”

WATCH: New real estate regulations will ban dual agency

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She eventually accepted the sole offer but also filed a complaint with the Real Estate Council of B.C.

She said she believes her selling agents were secretly representing the buyer as well.

“They used the words ‘their investors’ a lot when I kept asking about the buyers,” she said.

“I said, ‘Are you their agent?’ She said no. I asked again and she said no.”

READ MORE: Whistler employees being squeezed by real estate boom: Report

The selling agent got the full commission for the sale and the contract listed the buyers as unrepresented, so on paper, it wasn’t a ‘dual-agency deal’ where an agent represents both sides of a home sale, a claim that Marinelli disputes.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said if proper disclosure rules are followed, there shouldn’t be any confusion.

WATCH: Calls for more MLS real estate transparency

“It shouldn’t be hard for a seller to know because… realtors must thoroughly disclose their relationship. If they are working for a seller and they bring a buyer to the property, they must disclose it,” Jill Oudil of Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said.

To deal with some of the issues with dual-agency deals, B.C.’s superintendent of real estate last week that the practice of dual agency will be prohibited as of March 15.

“We want to make sure that we engage with our members so it’s extremely clear by March 15th of the new scenarios they’re working under,” Oudil said.

READ MORE: Starting next year, a B.C. realtor can’t represent both buyer and seller on one deal

Marinelli’s listing agent told Global News she never represented the buyers.

But Marinelli said, “it’s obvious to us that they were not working for us.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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