Realtor who deceived buyer into displaying New Coast Realty “sold” sign for a year fined $2,000

By ThinkPol Staff

A realtor who deceived a buyer into displaying her brokerage’s “sold” sign has been fined $2,000 by British Columbia’s real estate watchdog.

Real Estate Council of British Columbia’s disciplinary panel found that Richmond realtor Xinwei (Sylvie) Zhao, who belongs to the controversial brokerage New Coast Realty, told the buyer’s agent that the seller would only accept the buyer’s offer if the buyer agreed to put a New Coast Realty sold sign on the property for one year[1]

The panel determined that the Zhao informed the buyer’s agent of this condition without the seller’s consent or knowledge, and on the instructions of her team leader.

The watchdog launched its investigation into Zhao’s conduct in February 2016, after neighbours complained about the “sold” sign being left on the property for eight months.

The Council ordered Zhao to pay enforcement expenses of $1,500.00 to the Council in addition to the fine.

The panel also ordered the realtor to review with her managing broker the relevant rules, submit to the Council a certification signed by her managing broker that she has completed this review, and prepare and submit to the Chair of the Council a statement which demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the Chair, what she has learned from this incident and from the review and how it will guide her practice in the future.

The Council also reprimanded the licence of Sylvie Zhao Personal Real Estate Corporation, and ruled that it is equally responsible for paying the discipline penalty and enforcement expenses.

In March 2016, The Globe and Mail published an exposé by investigative reporter Kathy Tomlinson on New Coast Realty’s questionable business practices including shadow flipping, where realtors trick clients into selling properties below market price, and then re-selling the contract of sale multiple times for a higher price before the initial deal closes[2]

Tomlinson reported how New Coast Ze Yu Wu instructed the brokerage’s realtors to lie to the clients that the best offer they will get is the first one.

To date, the Real Estate Council has yet to hold a hearing against New Coast Realty based on the journalist’s findings.

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