Buyers Broker of Florida
How getting cheated in a Real Estate Transaction changed our life and brought Buyer Agency to Florida...
In 1990, Mike and I got cheated in our first investment property purchase.
In those days, every broker worked only for the seller as there was no category for buyer representation, but we were not aware of that.
The broker we were working with acted like our best friend so we naively trusted him, only to later learn that he was actually one of the owners of the property!!
We ended up paying a higher price than we should have, with condo assessments and closing costs that should have been the sellers' costs, not ours.
After closing we felt deflated...we should have known better. We were shocked at how easy it was to deceive or cheat the buyer! It was not going to happen again...at least not to us.
Our desire to learn the Real Estate Game...
We started our journey by obtaining a Real Estate License. I then bartered for a Brokers License, a Mortgage Broker License, and Appraising Certification.
Mike was a big shot with Eastern Airlines at the time, and I had a different business, so becoming real estate agents had never crossed our minds. We had no intention of changing careers...we just wanted to be smarter for our next investment, so that we don’t get ripped off again.
Then Eastern Airlines went bust...
With two kids in college and one still at home, we decided to go into business representing the best interest of homebuyers...it sounded simple.
In 1992, Mike and I opened the first Buyer Brokerage office in South Florida. We knew buyer representation was badly needed, but we did not expect that the traditional brokers would be so determined to put us out of business.
To make things worse, homebuyers did not know we even existed so we weren't even doing any business. We survived by selling our primary residence and our extras like the horses and corvette. We moved into a one-bedroom condo in order to pay the office overhead and bills.
Meanwhile... five other Buyer Brokerage Offices opened in the area. They quickly became ostracized with false complaints, unwarranted investigations, threats, vandalism and pure hate.
It is rare that any real estate office has even one investigation in a lifetime; we were investigated by the state 3 times in 2 years for “anonymous” broker complaints.
Not only was every piece of paper in our files scrutinized, our bank accounts were audited three times...they even called our bank to make sure that we did not have two sets of books...we didn’t.
Each time the investigators discovered that we were squeaky clean without a single infraction...they didn’t come back a fourth time.
Things got worse...
We were spit on, cussed out and had our tires slashed while attending a class at the Board of Realtors. Our requests to show property or present offers were routinely refused.
It became impossible for any Buyer Broker to do real business, but no one important cared...not the Florida Real Estate Commission, not the Local Board of Realtors and not even the National Association of Realtors.
One big player in our area added an addendum to their listing contracts which had the sellers agree that they would not accept any offers from Buyers Brokers.
We filed an ethics complaint against the broker. He got a slap on the wrist from the hearing panel and we got a $100,000 lawsuit from him for filing the complaint.
The lawsuit fizzled out when his attorney dropped him for non-payment of his legal fee.
To make matters worse, there was a conspiracy of Traditional Brokers to create bogus procuring cause demands on our commission, claiming that they deserved our money, not us.
One time, even two different offices tried to take our money in the same hearing, for the same transaction...that was unheard of! After the 5th bogus claim for another “kangaroo court” hearing to again try to take our hard earned money, we refused to participate...
Our class action lawsuit...
I found an attorney who was willing to file a class action lawsuit for “restraint of trade”...I do believe we would have won that.
A Buyer Brokerage Real Estate Office in Sarasota was firebombed!!!
Each of the five other Buyer Brokerage offices closed almost instantly...they were scared off. They switched to either operate as a Traditional Listing Office or they simply quit the business.
So that was the end of our “class action” lawsuit, because we were the only office left...not enough for “class action”.
Did we give into the bullies?
Nope. We chose to stay...and fight.
Fighting back means learning everything you can so that you know more than the other side. We were on a mission to get “extra” educated...we debated opinions with experts all over the country...we read books and took every advanced class available so that we would be prepared to win the fight.
After all, what was our crime? Home buyers have the legal right to be fully represented and we simply dared to represent them.
- We ended up suing our local Board of Realtors. We fought for our right to show property, present offers, freely represent the best interest of the home buyers and keep our earned commission…the law was on our side...we won!
- Thanks to us, custom and ethics did change. So much so that I was asked to teach the Code of Ethics, Contracts, Fair Housing, Negotiations, and that misunderstood thing called “Agency” aka “Buyer Representation”. I was even recognized by the courts as an expert witness in consumer lawsuits against their broker.
- Today, Buyer Brokers are treated as equals with the same rights and inclusion. There is no more animosity...there are no more fake investigations and no more bogus hearings to steal our commission. That's the way it should be...that's the way it should always have been.
Our Brokerage Grows...
We grew the business to be the #1 largest Buyer Brokerage Office in the state of Florida and the 2nd largest in the country.
In 1994, we joined “The Buyer Agent” Franchise where we were voted “Franchise of the Year” and we received the highest awards for saving homebuyers money.
In 2000 we sold the office and moved to Central Florida where we decided to stay a small family run business. We wanted to maintain the highest quality of top notch service. We also preferred advocating for buyers instead of managing agents.
Tough times don’t last, but tough people do...
In hindsight, Mike and I have no regrets…
The pushback we received early on only made us stronger. It forced us to become Real Estate savvy while we learned to practice real estate under adversity. It also pushed us to learn the law and understand everyone’s rights and limitations...the knowledge and experience we gained was priceless.
Our Buyer Brokerage Office today...
We are still dedicated only to the best interest of our buyer clients except now it is easy...informed buyers actually seek out our services of Exclusive Buyer Representation.
Buyers Broker of Florida is a family owned and operated Buyer Brokerage Real Estate Office licensed in the state of Florida.
The great thing about our family business is that each one of us is competent and willing to jump in to help one another. As a 4-person “Alexander Family Team”, Buyers Broker of Florida has almost 100 years of combined experience in representing people...not properties.
It just doesn't get any better than that...
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete”. R. Buckminster Fuller