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OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Daily Real Estate News  |  September 21, 2004  |   N.H.: Complaint Says Site Acts as Broker The New Hampshire Association of REALTORSŪ has filed a complaint with the New Hampshire Real Estate Commission, asking that ISoldMyHouse.com, a FSBO site, be sanctioned for allegedly acting as a broker without a license, according to John Sullivan, NHAR’s legal counsel. ISoldMyHouse.com is an affiliate of East West Mortgage, whose principal owner is Commerce Bank and Trust of Worcester, Mass. NHAR’s complaint was prompted by NHAR members who made the association aware of consumer problems against the company. In its complaint, NHAR alleges that ISMH is clearly acting as a broker because it “(i) holds itself out as selling real estate, (ii) lists real estate for sale, (iii) lists real estate for rent, (iv) procures prospects for the sale and lease of real estate, (v) assists in the negotiations, and (vi) accepts advance fees in connection with the listing, advertising, and referral of real estate.” The complaint also alleges ISMH “uses scare tactics, telling sellers they can’t trust some real estate agents who just want their money. Through the use of these tactics, ISMH causes confusion among consumers and discourages consumers from getting competent advice regarding the real estate marketplace.” In addition, the complaint alleges ISMH “openly provides advice to sellers and buyers without any advance disclosure about ISMH’s role or loyalties in a transaction.” John F.Gallagher, general manager of IsoldMyHouse.com and East West Mortgage, denies NHAR’s allegations. He contends that IsoldMyHouse.com is nothing more than an advertising platform for people who don’t want to pay a commission to a real estate broker to sell their house. “We see ourselves the same as a newspaper,” he says. “We charge a listing fee of $95. That’s no different than a newspaper charging for a classified ad. We don’t charge the buyer. We have no interest in whether the property is sold. We don’t show property. We don’t work on commission. We don’t provide legal advice—only advertising advice—and you could get that at a cocktail party. We encourage people to hire a real estate attorney.” Sullivan says NHAR wants the real estate commission to sanction ISMH and require the company to repay all fees collected from New Hampshire residents. The commission has assigned an investigator to review the facts of NHAR’s complaint, he says, and expects that by the end of the year, the commission will review the investigator’s report and hopefully take action. Sullivan says ISMH has been in operation in New Hampshire since 2000. —By Pat Taylor for REALTORŪ Magazine Online

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