The first day I met John Cusato of Keller Williams from Bethany Beach, Delaware I advised him of my situation and that I was looking to make a profit or break even from the sale of my home. I was put into contact with John Cusato using the Homes for Heroes program for police officers. He asked what my payoff would be and I provided him my payoff. After coming up with the price of the home, John stated it was a good price and I shouldn’t have a problem getting full price due to the location and upgrades to home. Once I received an offer which the buyer requested $5,000 in seller assist, I was advised by John that this would be great deal because I would still profit from the sale. So due to John misleading me, I accepted the offer thinking I would profit from the sale. My settlement date was 6/8/2017 and I was notified on 6/7/2018 by the Conaty law office that I owe $4,500. I contacted John in reference to this because on 6/6/2018 when speaking with him on the phone he told me I did not need to bring anything to settlement. Then on Thursday I hear otherwise. Prior to this, John agreed to pay the pet deposit of $750 for the new rental agreement on the property so I wouldn’t come out of pocket. After I asked him how did I all of a sudden owe $4,500, he tells me that he was unaware of the equity situation and that Keller Williams doesn’t provide net profit sheets. I never asked for a net profit sheet, I was just under the impression that I would make a profit off the home from what he told me. I would not have accepted the offer and given $5000 in seller assist if I knew I was going owe with the price of the home being 232,000 and the principal at 214,000. He said the only thing he could do was give me the $750 for pet deposit.
Due to John misleading me, I accepted an offer that I would have not accepted if he did not misinform me. I was not expecting to pay $4,500 at settlement because I am currently purchasing a home and just had a newborn. Now I have to come up with money for my new home.
Then I am given 24 hour notice that I need the funds for settlement. The purpose of me having a realtor was to have someone look out in my best interest, and he neglected to his duty to make a sale. I have a text message from John on Thursday, May 10, 2018 which stated the following: "Hello Duane, buyer would like to settle sooner if agreeable to you? What do you think? You could possibly have your settlement end of May. Who knows what the Middle East will look like by the end of June. Money in the Bank is Peace of Mind. Something to think about." John saying Money in the bank led me to believe once again I was going to profit from this sale. If I knew I would have to owe at settlement, I would have never accepted the offer. John stated this was a great deal when the offer came in. John stated he was unaware of the situation, and that I owed on my home. If John was unsure of whether or not I owed on the home, then how can he take it upon himself to tell me that I am going to profit from the sale. If he was so unsure, he should not have mislead me to believe I was going to profit from the offer. I am not a real estate professional and trusted that John was a real estate professional and would look out for my best interest. Once I reminded John that I did advise him that I still owed on the home he stated he did remember, but at this point there wasn’t much he could do. He stated his offer still stood for him to cover the $750 for pet security deposit which was not from Home for Heroes or Keller Williams, but him personally.
This has been a complete nightmare for myself and my family due to John's negligence and a breach of duty because he did not act in my best interest and tricked me into accepting an offer to make a sale. Now my wife and I have to figure out how we are going to come up with the money to pay for our new house since we were not planning on paying $4,500 at settlement because of being mislead by John so that he could make a sale.
Article 1 states: When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, or other client as an agent, REALTORS pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve REALTORS of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other party in a non-agency capacity, REALTORS remain obligated to treat all parties honestly.
Standard of Practice 1-1 states: REALTORS, when acting as principals in a real estate transaction, remain obligated by the duties imposed by the Code of Ethics.
John Cusato failed to protect and promote by interest as his client. John Cusato was advised of the loan payoff on my property and told that I wanted to break even or make a profit from the sale. John Cusato stated that with the price of the home at 232,000, I would profit from the sale. I received an offer on 5/5/2018 at 1808 hours by email for $226,000 purchase price, $5,000 in settlement assistance, and 500 towards home warranty. John Cusato advised me that it was not a good offer and I declined. On 5/7/2018 at 1546 hour I received a counter offer of $232,000 purchase price, $5,000 in settlement assistance, and 500 towards home warranty. John Cusato advised this was a good deal and I would profit from the sale. Since I told John I would like to break even or profit on the home, I believed John took that into consideration when he received the offer from the buyer and told me it was a good deal. Due to John misleading me, I accepted the offer. On 5/7/2018, I was advised by Conaty Law Office that I needed to bring $4,519.16 to settlement. This is not what my understanding what would happen at settlement from the time I accepted the offer. If I was aware of this situation I would not have given the buyer settlement help or the home warranty, but John told me that this was a good offer. I will provide text message from John telling me I would have peace of mind after settlement because I would have money in the bank.
Article 12 states: Realtors shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations. REALTORS shall ensure that their status as real estate professionals is readily apparent in their advertising, marketing, and other representations, and that the recipients of all real estate communications are, or have been, notified that those communications are from a real estate professional.
Standard of Practice 12-3 states: The offering of premiums, prizes, merchandise discounts, or other inducements to list, sell, purchase, or lease is not, in itself, unethical even if receipt of the benefit is contingent on listing, selling, purchasing, or leasing through the REALTOR making the offer. However, REALTORS must exercise care and candor in any such advertising or other public or private representations so that any party interested in receiving or otherwise benefiting from the REALTOR’S offer will have clear, thorough, advance understanding of all the terms and conditions of the offer. The offering of any inducements to do business is subject to the limitations and restrictions of state law and the ethical obligations established by any applicable Standard of Practice.
Upon receiving the counter offer from the buyer, I advised John to request the buyer to remove the $750 pet deposit, since I was giving the $5,000 in settlement assistance. John insisted that this was too good of a deal, and that he didn’t want to lose this buyer because it was such a great offer. John stated that he personally pay the $750 pet deposit, so that we did not lose the buyer. I told John that I would accept the offer because he was advising me that this would be in my best interest and he would cover the $750 pet deposit. In the end this was not in my best interest because my final settlement payment was $4,344.16, when John told me by accepting this offer I would make a profit.
I was contacted by the broker on 6/20/2018 at he stated to me that he was aware that his agent text me saying I would have money in the bank at settlement. The broker stated it was just a figure of speech, and there was nothing he could do. The broker stated his realtor thought it was the best offer at the time, but I do not believe it was because I would have not accepted the offer if I had not been mislead.
On 6/20/2018, I was contacted by Walter Taralia, who is the broker for that Keller Williams firm. The broker stated that John Cusato was just using a figure of speech when he told me I would have peace of mind at settlement and money in the bank. I asked him how was he using that figure of speech because now I have no money in the bank because of this transaction. I have no peace of mind now because now my family has been displaced out of a home and lost our money towards our down payment for a new home. I asked the broker why he tell me that I would have money in the bank at settlement and he stated it was just a miscommunication and there was nothing he can do.
Now my wife and I are trying to figure out where to go now with our family and Keller Williams realtor mislead us into accepting a bad offer.
The broker called the following day, and stated he felt bad about the situation and would be willing to represent me on the purchase of another home and cut his fees. I told him I have no money now to purchase a home for him to even represent me, and why would I want to use them when I can’t trust them.
Product or Service Mentioned: Keller Williams Realty Home Selling.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Monetary Loss: $4335.
Preferred solution: Full refund.
I didn't like: Manipulative tactics and deceitfulness, Way they conduct business, Agents, Treated like their mistake was my problem, Unprofessional and neglecting.