Shapiro and Sher — conspiring with the seller's realtor to hold up the price by working against us
I'd like to register a complaint against William (aka Bill) Hargraves, Ivan Sher and their attorney Jerome of Shapiro/Sher.
My wife Kathleen and I looked for a new home for several months, and we located a home that we had some interest in. We called Bill, who had been providing access to properties that we found, and invited him to see this one, which was an open house, to provide us with his opinion.
It had been on the market for 9 months, sitting empty except for a few staged pieces of furniture, and in need of quite a bit of work. It was an open house on Easter Sunday 2017 so there were several people viewing the property, which had been vacant for months.
When Bill arrived, he looked at the house and immediately advised us to put in a bid for the full $750K asking price. I've been a businessman for 40 years and I immediately disagreed. His response was that any of these people who are looking may be able to write a check for $750K. His exact words were: "I'm going home and I'm sending you an offer for $750K. If you don't want to sign it, don't sign it."
Needless to say, my wife didn't want to risk losing the house, and Bill said that when the appraisal comes back, it will be considerably lower than the $750K at which time we will renegotiate as negotiating is what he does best.
The Lender's appraisal came back at $740K, which was shocking to us as the home needed a lot of work and was formerly involved in litigation from a valley-wide plumbing issue. At this point, we decided to obtain a second appraisal, and this appraisal came in at $636K. The second appraiser said that there's a 5% +/- and that $680K should be the maximum that we should pay. He also said that the first appraisal utilized properties that were not relevant to the subject property, and was way overstated. He said that there’s no way that the subject property is a $700, 000 house.
The Lender’s appraisal included the Casita in the square footage of the home, and stated that the Casita included a kitchen and a bedroom. The Casita had neither a kitchen nor a bedroom. The homes used for comparison on the Lender’s appraisal were two story homes on smaller properties that had no correlation to the subject property. In fact, the second appraiser made the comment that the appraiser who did the Lender’s appraisal should lose his license.
At this point, I advised Bill to provide the second appraisal only along with a bid for $650K. Bill wanted to provide both the lender's appraisal and this second appraisal, and at that point I asked him WHY we would want to provide a $740K appraisal to the seller when we had no legal obligation to do so. Bill advised that we were not allowed to represent that the second appraisal was the Lender's appraisal, and I agreed that I had no intention doing so. What I simply wanted was for him to submit the second appraisal with the offer for $650K, and if the seller's realtor asked if this was the lender's appraisal, or if the seller's realtor saw that the second appraisal was ordered by us, and not by the Lender, we would then say that we are not comfortable with the Lender's appraisal and we're basing our offer on the second appraisal. The seller would have then had the option to accept our offer, counter our offer, reject our offer, or obtain their own appraisal.
Instead, after telling us he was going to present the offer for $650K along with the second appraisal, Bill called me on my cell phone with Ivan Sher and their attorney Jerome to tell me that they can't submit this offer without also providing the seller's realtor with the information that this is not the Lender's appraisal, or furnishing both appraisals. I said that's ridiculous, because you just finished telling me that the seller's agent is going to see that this is not the Lender's appraisal because the Lender didn't order it, and if and when the seller's agent asks about the Lender's appraisal, I want them to respond by stating that we lack confidence in the Lender's appraisal so we've chosen not to use it, and instead we're using this second appraisal and offering $650K.
The attorney tried to tell me that this constituted "fraud" at which point I asked him to provide any NRS that says that there's anything the least bit wrong with what I'm asking them to do. Ivan then suggested that we tell the seller’s realtor that the Lender’s appraisal came in too low, which is why we chose not to use it. Kathey and I both said that not only would we not lie, but that particular lie made no sense at all!
After this conversation, neither Bill nor Ivan would communicate with us, present an offer, or withdraw as our agent. As a result, I went directly to the seller's agent, who told us that he was not allowed to deal with us directly. Eventually, because we liked the house, and because both the realtor, Bill Hargraves, and the broker Ivan Sher, stood directly in our way and prevented us from presenting an offer, we were forced to authorize the release of the Lender's appraisal, in violation of our legal right not to have to do so.
Once the seller's agent received the Lender's appraisal, we lost all negotiating strength, and as a result we ended up paying $720K for the house, where in reality, at the most, we firmly believe that we should have paid $680K at the most, which is the average of the 2 appraisals.
This house required a lot of work, and to date we have invested $250, 000. The result is that we have a beautiful home that we paid at least $40K more for than we would have had if our realtor had been working FOR US instead of CONSPIRING WITH THE SELLER'S REALTOR to hold up the price by working AGAINST US.
I have tons of texts and emails for supporting documentation, but the one from Bill that says "I was finally able to get the buyer to do the right thing and release the Lender's appraisal" is the single biggest complaint that I have, as it is the stonewalling, maneuvering, and coercing us into providing the Lender's appraisal in violation of our legal right not to have to provide it that cost us at least $40K and perhaps considerably more, since the owner of the home was out of state, it was a hardship situation, and she was desperate to sell. We may very well have been able to purchase this home for $650K had we had an agent that was not working AGAINST US.
To compound the damage, no one from Shapiro Sher showed up for our Closing. The lender, Brian Esposito, was the only one who did show. When we had a question, we called Shapiro's office, and were told that they were all in a meeting and no one was available to speak with us. It was only after I said, "Okay, tell them that we're passing on the home and we want our deposit refunded" that Lindsey Presswood then called Brian on his cell, and actually refused to be put on speaker.
After the paperwork was signed, we were told that we would not be able to have our keys until it recorded. It recorded the following day, 6/15/17 at 1:11 pm, but it wasn't until 4:30pm, after numerous calls, that I was told that if I wanted the keys I'd have to drive approximately 10 miles and I had until 5pm when the seller's office would promptly close. I made it at 4:55pm so I was able to obtain the keys to a home that I believe I should have paid between $650K and $680L for, that I paid $720K for, and then had no representation at closing, and had to fight like hell for my keys.
The unprofessional nature of Bill Hargraves should be mentioned here, because he was never able to successfully set up a search for any properties, as he has extremely limited computer skills, by his own admission. So it was up to my wife and I to find properties to view. The constant use of the "F" word was absolutely horrific, and I told him several times to watch his language in front of my wife, to which he continued and acted like a child at times making faces when her back was turned. We had to endure endless stories about his divorce from his husband, his abandonment by his birth mother, his abuse by his adopted mother, and so much more than I care to mention or relive. In short, dealing with Bill was a horrific experience, but I expected more of Ivan, and was extremely disappointed in the manner in which he chose to handle our representation, which resulted in what we believe to be a loss of $40K to $70K. There's NO REASON why we EVER should have paid $720K for this home, nor why we should EVER have had our OWN REALTOR work AGAINST us, not why we EVER should have had NO REPRESENTATION at Closing, nor why we should have had to FIGHT for our KEYS, only to be made to drive across town with 5 minutes to spare so that we had the keys which we needed since we had appointments in the morning for workers to start the renovation, of which they were fully aware.
In closing, I'd like to say that I knew Florence Shapiro for many years, and I truly believe that she would have been APPALLED to see how Bill Hargraves and Ivan Sher treated our negotiation, purchase, and service.
I would like for Bill Hargraves to lose his license to sell Real Estate, and I would like for Shapiro/Sher to reimburse us for damages incurred, which include $70K based on a sales price of $650, 000 plus emotional distress and other sanctions as determined by the board.
Shapiro and Sher
1215 S Fort Apache Rd #210 89117