Who you work with matters

Barry Cohen and his wife were positive the waterfront home on West Royal Flamingo Drive in Sarasota was their dream house, and they were willing to pay for it. But when their offer of $500,000 over the $4.5 million list price was rejected, they were so surprised that Cohen went looking for answers from the owner.

As they shared their stories, Cohen and Davenport concluded Cohen’s offer was the best and highest but was not presented as such by Pettingell.

Cohen was obviously outraged by the behaviour. Cohen and Davenport are suing Pettingell and Coldwell Banker, alleging all the offers were not presented fairly and Pettingell “denigrated the other four offers, including the Cohen contract, stating they were inferior.”

Documents indicate the winning bid was $400,000 less than the one from Cohen who, like the winning bidder, waived the inspection period.

Pettingell “advocated” for the offer from the winning bidder and claimed it was the cleanest. Pettingell did not advise the Davenports that Cohen agreed to waive the inspection period in their original offer. Pettingell told the seller about the offers over the phone and did not present the written versions to Davenport.

Since Pettingell was the transaction broker for the winning bidder and the seller, they were entitled to double the commission,  he and Coldwell Banker collected the entire six percent commission of about $276,000.

Cohen said after he realized what happened, he complained to Coldwell Banker but no one seemed to care. What was very disappointing to us as we went through the process is there was no oversight.

It's advisable that sellers make sure they see everything in writing, especially during the current market that has involved so many multiple offers. Everything has to be presented to the seller. Nothing can be hidden from the seller.

Cohen, who ended up buying another multi-million-dollar Sarasota home through Pettingell, is seeking damages but says he also came forward to alert other sellers and buyers.

In real estate, trust is important. 

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