The Washington State Department of Licensing Real estate division Suspended/Revoked the real estate licenses of the owners and firm, located in Pierce County last week for dishonest conduct in the course of their business.

The 44 page report details the Department of Licensing investigation over the past 18 months.  It includes 12 specific complaints made by consumers/agents about the business practices of Michael and Tara Hellickson.

Their real estate licenses have been reinstated … the investigation continues.


The summary of complaints includes:

  • Not providing copies of executed listing documents
  • Stating that they would purchase the listing if not sold in 30 days
  • Telling sellers to stop making mortgage payments
  • Assuring homeowners that they would have no deficiency judgment
  • Listings homes at artificially reduced rices in order to generate multiple low-ball offers
  • Misrepresenting listings with sellers by having them sign blank listing addenda
  • Stating that the seller requested the buyer to obtain specific approval from certain specified lenders
  • Listing the homes at prices not authorized by the homeowner
  • negligent dilatory communication with homeowners, buyers and lenders
  • Listing properties for over 3 years and telling the owners they would owe commission if they sold in that time

In addition, the Department of Licensing found that the firm generated false and misleading advertising. Statements on websites say that they are licensed in Oregon and Hawaii and they are lenders… there are no licenses for any of those.  Other statements say that they are the #1 agent in Washington, Oregon and Hawaii.

The Hellickson’s had a number of other websites and firms all under the same company.  Including one at the same address with a listing agent that was paid commission.

The firm has been featured on television including interviews with Michael Hellickson as a short sale expert.  The Hellickson’s are represented by Douglas Tingvall.

The Department of Licensing does not get money for the complainants/victims.  They can suspend or revoke a license and require fines.  The Hellickson’s have already been fined by NWMLS in 3 of the 12 cases investigated as high as $10,000.

There is so much fraud in our industry.  Because people don’t always file complaints or the fraud is not very obvious, it seems that much of it goes unreported.  I found bloggers writing about this firm and the problems with listings back a couple years ago.  It appears that the Hellickson’s will have to spend the earnings from their fraudulent business practices on fighting the complaints.

These are the kind of stories I discuss when teaching Real Estate Scams and White Collar Crime 3 hour classes.  Contact Natalie if you are interested in having a class in your office!