Sotheby's auctions has branched into real estate, but for such a fine name, it ain't nearly as pretty or as fine as one would expect, given the history. I'll tell you, after our experiences with Sotheby's International Real Estate, I have to say we can't say anything positive because they're not particularly people friendly, they're not responsive and in my opinion, from my experience, they're not in the least honest.
Lets be frank, buying and selling a home is about as stressful as it can get and it's important to hire professionals that are people friendly and HONEST and forthcoming. Not elitist shysters, coasting on a name and history.
Last summer I wrote a number of blogs, one of them about a house we had wanted to buy that turned out to have far too many headaches showing up in the inspection. CLICK HERE TO READ THAT BLOG. When we thought we wanted it, we recognized it was a fixer upper - the kitchen was older, needed upgrading and some work here and there but the price allowed for it.
Only our house and pest inspectors found numerous very expensive repairs that needed addressing immediately, starting with carpenter ant infestation and extensive damage from it, plenty of bad DIY fixes, softened rotted wood, terrible coverups and neglect which added to a mindboggling amount of too many, too expensive problems along with a suddenly too busy to answer calls seller agent.
We tried in good faith to contact the seller's agent and his army of assistants but he was in a state of perpetually unavailable, not returning calls, attending conventions and being so scarce, he wasn't negotiating for his client either. In the end, it seemed to be a take it or leave it situation and on their side, they weren't especially happy we were in the midst of selling our house and needed a contingency for our sale. So after nearly two weeks of no answers and being on a tight timeframe, both sides agreed to terminate the contract.
Except this agent - Michael Mathieu, Sotheby's agent in this area of MA, refused to return the deposit. He still refuses. And that's because he can.
We put down a good faith $1000 deposit which turns out - needs his approval to be returned to us and for some unspecified, unfathomable reason, Mr Mathieu doesn't believe we should get our deposit back. As it stands, no one can touch this thousand dollars and in the end, it will probably end up in some invisible fund where it can sit and molder.
Malicious, spitefulness from Mr. Mathieu.
When I tried to contact Sotheby's legal department, I found Sotheby's keeps their legal dept a big secret. They have a real estate division legal department, but it can't be contacted, and I dived down through deep (and circular) multiples layers of webness, and could find no names, no phone numbers, no emails or contact information. But the legal division is out there somewhere.
Our agent has spoken with Michael Mathieu numerous times and he blithely refuses to return our full deposit and won't explain why either.
A few months ago, he offered half of it which I thought was ridiculous. I still don't know why he believes he is entitled to the other half.
I have tried a number of times to contact Sothebys and at one point, I actually spoke to some unidentified employees! Haven't a clue who because they don't identify themselves and don't answer questions and are big on putting you on INSTANT hold.
Sotheby's legal dept. Except you don't laugh.
Kinda like the Joe Pesce ha ha/clown thing.
Their contact process is just like the old Laugh In set, with windows opening and closing except this is with phones and forwarding and being put on hold and and finding yourself disconnected and/or leaving messages no one bothers to respond to.
Last call I ended up speaking with an employee in New Jersey, who promised she'd contact Sotheby's Real Estate Legal dept and....yada yada, lots of yada but of course, nothing came of it. No call backs, no emails - nothing.
Well that's that.
So as of right now we're putting Sotheby's on notice.
Following up and filing paperwork and going to court will be difficult for the next year - post surgery walking is painful. But I'm up to it if need be.
I'm holding Sotheby's accountable as well as Mr. Mathieu being he works under their auspices - they sponsor this miserable human being with their good name fancy graphics aren't we Oh So UPSCALE respectable website presence.
I've tried to get answers, I've tried to encourage fair resolution and all I've gotten is bupkis.
SO - if you have found your way to this blog looking for a real estate broker and you've been searching for advice, references, past experiences - here's mine -
AVOID SOTHEBY'S International Real Estate at all cost!
particularly MICHAEL MATHIEU
and Mathieu Newton Sotheby's International!
My guess is, the invisible Sotheby legal situation could be the result of a lot more of what I have recounted here - perhaps there are scores of us out there who had problems big or small and tried to contact Sotheby's, hoping for intervention after having had the misfortune of doing business with a Sotheby's agent!