A woman who bought a condominium in Delta ended up paying $20,000 in commission fees to her real estate agent. She alleges she was misled about the nature of the payment and now wants her money back.

The buyer, Navjib Lalli, thought she was adding the $20,000 to the down payment for her $243,000 condo. In reality, she was actually signing over the money to her agent, Ismail Jinnah, who also brokered the mortgage.

The listing for the condo offered the typical commission, which was $4,673, but Jinnah did not accept this. Instead, Lalli was asked to sign a remuneration document giving Jinnah $20,000 in fees.  

“I didn’t know that word. I didn’t know how to read that word. I have dyslexia,” Lalli said. She also has a learning disorder, both of which were acknowledged by a doctor’s note.

“He was explaining everything verbally to me and I trusted him,” she added.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) is currently investigating the situation and wants to hear from Jinnah.

“[A realtors’] number one responsibility is to look after the interests of [the] client,” said Dennis Wilson, professional standards manager at FVREB. “Obviously we have a concern based on the story so far.”

There won’t be any official comment until official investigations have been completed, and while questions are still being asked, no one has been able to determine that Jinnah did anything wrong.

Property buyers normally don’t have to pay their real estate agents any commissions or fees because it’s usually the sellers who settle these charges. And while real estate fees and commissions are always negotiable, the $20,000 fee Lalli paid was decidedly exorbitant, as a $20,000 fee represents the typical commission a seller would have paid for a $1.5m property.

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