One couple was shocked to discover that their real estate broker allegedly got intimate at their residence just after it hit the market, eventually prompting a lawsuit.
The Real Deal reported that James and Laura Glen listed their three-bedroom condo in the Hamptons last spring through the real estate company Brown Harris Stevens, headquartered in New York City with offices and properties in the Hamptons, Hudson Valley, Connecticut, New Jersey, Palm Beach and Miami.
The real estate market has caused plenty of headaches, especially for buyers, in the past few months. As homes were scarce even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, demand still cannot be met as the U.S. Census Bureau indicated that sales of new single-family homes in November of 2021 were 12.4 percent above the revised rate for October of 2021.
A lawsuit filed in December led to a settlement in February involving all parties signing a non-disclosure agreement.
The complaint reportedly showed that the couple gave exclusive selling rights to listing agent Christopher Burnside on May 15, 2021, for what was allegedly said to “be an easy sell” due to the waterfront property complete with a private dock.
After hiring Burnside, the Glens reportedly traveled to Florida, around the same time as a May 25 brokers’ open house followed by a May 27 public open house.
But instead of a brokers’ open house, there was reportedly a “sex-capade,” according to the complaint. Home surveillance cameras allegedly caught a shirtless Burnside and licensed real estate salesperson Aubri Peele entering the Glens’ bedroom and not departing until about 39 minutes later.
The lawsuit reportedly confirmed that the couple had sex, according to Burnside’s own admission. He then offered to fulfill his duties already under contract, continuing the listing for zero commission.
Plaintiff Laura Glen reportedly felt “violated” by the intimate encounter in her home, according to the complaint, later saying she wanted “nothing to do with the property.”
In September, or about three months before the lawsuit was officially filed, the couple reportedly expressed their “total frustration” to Brown Harris Stevens CEO Bess Freeman—including a mention that their condo unit had received zero offers of purchase while a neighboring unit reportedly received three offers in the same timespan.
Homes are reportedly spending only 61 days on the market while typical home prices of about $381,000 are up approximately 26 percent when compared to 2020 listings.
Buyers are channeling different methods to hit the right home, and fast. While one real estate broker said about 70 percent of home purchases are financed, those 30-some percent of buyers making all-cash offers are actually driving up housing prices.
The National Association of Realtors reported that the national qualifying income needed for a home purchase is $66,978 with a 10 percent down payment, or $59,536 with a 20 percent deposit.
Burnside told Newsweek that neither he or Peele could comment on the allegations since the case was mutually dismissed.
“The Hamptons real estate market has been insanely busy with only two weeks before the summer kickoff,” Burnside said. “We are focusing our attention on finding realistically priced homes in an inflated market with no inventory.”
The Brown Harris Stevens website still includes individual pages for Burnside and Peele, both of whom work out of the company’s Bridgehampton office.
Burnside, an Arizona native, has been in the profession over 25 years and, according to his webpage, “has well over a billion dollars of transactions under his belt.” Per Wall Street Journal Real Trends, he is said to be a top-10 sales broker by volume in the Hamptons.
Peele’s page still indicates she works alongside Burnside. Her work ethic, honesty and communication are described as “hallmarks” of her character.