Thursday, August 29, 2013

Real Estate Broker Fired, Client Thought It Was HGTV

Local real estate broker Trish Benedetti says her former clients unfairly fired her after learning they were not starring in an HGTV episode of House Hunters.

"Ashley and Mitchell told me their budget was a home in the $850,000 range," Benedetti said. "Ashley had to have a big, updated kitchen, and Mitchell needed space for all four of his cars."

Ashley and Mitchell Fournier, Benedetti's clients, said they found Benedetti online. "Her website at High Point Realty clearly stated she would find us 'the home of our dreams', Ms. Fournier said, "and I'd always dreamed of a three-bedroom home on a huge lot with a big kitchen and Wolff range, granite counters, cherry hardwood floors and all that."

"A house with a four-car garage isn't all that hard to find," Mr. Fournier added. When asked if he owned four cars, he said not yet, but that he'd been thinking about it.

Benedetti said she held the customary meeting she generally conducts with new clients, making sure they understood such basics as earnest money, title and escrow and trust deeds. "They seemed pretty knowledgeable," Benedetti said. "I began searching Multiple Listing for homes right away."

Benedetti said she suspected problems when, after a week had passed, she received a copy of the Fourniers' pre-approval letter from their lender. "They could barely afford a $250,000 starter home," Benedetti said.

Ms. Fournier said she was pleased at the first few homes Benedetti showed but that she became suspicious when the broker began sending listings with none of the criteria she and her husband wanted. "I was, like, 'What is this, we never asked for anything like these', and she was all, 'well, you know, I got your lender's letter and this is what you should be looking at'."

"They definitely weren't the homes of our dreams," Mr. Fournier said.

Benedetti said she made several telephone calls and sent a dozen emails to the Fourniers over the next ten days or so, sending them listings and offering to make appointments. She finally received a text message from Mr. Fournier, saying it was time to make a choice of homes.

Ms. Fournier described what happened at their meeting. "She (Benedetti) was supposed to go, 'Well, do you like the Southern plantation-style home in Belmont that has a new kitchen but needs the appliances replaced, or the updated Craftsman that only has a three-car garage but it's a 4,000-foot home, or the Tudor one out in the country that you loved but was $50,000 over your $850,000 budget'. She didn't do any of that."

Benedetti confirmed the meeting. "They told me what they wanted, and I finally said, 'What do you think this is, HGTV'?" They just kind of looked at each other and left. Ten minutes later, I get a text message telling me I'm fired."

Her feelings were hurt, Benedetti said, but she realized she was a professional and shouldn't take the incident personally. "I sent their contact information to a friend over at Remax," she said. "You never know, huh?"