Realtor being investigated over $20,000 commission fee on $243,000 condo
Ross McLaughlin and Sandra Hermiston , CTV Vancouver
Published Tuesday, August 15, 2017 6:00AM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 15, 2017 7:00PM PDT
When you buy a home you normally wouldn't pay your real estate agent any commission or fees because it's usually the seller who pays. But a woman who bought a condo in Delta ended up paying a huge sum of money to her agent on the deal and now she wants it back.
Navjib Lalli says she thought she was adding $20,000 to the down payment for her $243,000 condo when she was actually signing over the money to her agent, Ismail Jinnah.
“I really trusted him a lot,” she said, “Because I was referred to him by a co-worker. I thought he was taking my best interests in me.”
The listing for her $243,000 condo offered the typical commission which would have been $4,673 to Jinnah. But he never accepted it.
Instead, she had signed a remuneration document giving him $20,000 in fees, money she thought was going towards a down payment on the property.
“I didn’t know that word, I didn’t know how to read that word. I have dyslexia,” she explained.
She also has a learning disorder, both of which were acknowledged by a doctor's note provided to CTV News.
"He was explaining everything verbally to me and I trusted him," Lalli said.
Jinnah also brokered her mortgage. While the remuneration paperwork is legal, it's highly unusual.
"It's ridiculous. I think it’s really high," said real estate agent Antonio Vargas.
The McLaughlin on Your Side team surveyed 10 real estate agents who reacted with words like ‘wow’ and ‘shock’ when we explained what had happened. Most said the only time they would use reumuneration documents for a someone buying a property would be in a private sale or when dealing with sellers who are only offering one per cent commission. All were appalled by the $20,000 charge.
When Ross McLaughlin went to talk to Ismail Jinnah about it he was coming out of his Surrey office.
"I want to talk to you," said McLaughlin.
"No I don't want to talk to you," replied Jinnah as he walked away down stairs.
Jinnah told McLaughlin to talk to his managing broker who is now investigating. The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board is also investigating the situation.
"Obviously we have a concern based on the story so far," said Dennis Wilson, professional standards, Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.
The board also wants to hear from Jinnah.
"[Realtors’] number one responsibility is to look after the interests of that client," explained Wilson.
After numerous attempts to get Ismail Jinnah's response, McLaughlin finally got him on the phone to ask about his fee.
“Understood you will have to talk to my attorney,” said Jinnah.
“Why?" asked McLaughlin.
"Because that's what advice he has given me," he replied.
"If [Jinnah] had explained it to me that I'm giving him $20,000, I would have refused. I wouldn't even have bought this property," said Lalli.
CTV News talked to Jinnah's lawyer. There won't be any official comment until official investigations have been completed. Right now questions are being asked but no one has determined that Jinnah did anything wrong. However, Lalli has asked for her money back.
Real estate fees and commissions are always negotiable. In this case, Lalli says Jinnah worked for her for about a month and showed her seven condos before she bought the one in question.
To put it in perspective, $20,000 would represent the typical commission he would have been paid by the seller for a $1.5 million property.