Monday, October 29, 2012

From the "Better Late Than Never" File

I just came across a heated email I sent off to CBC Radio's morning show, Daybreak, last spring. It was in response to a story that their breathless reporter Shawn Apel did about people who sell their homes themselves and can't believe that actual real estate agents dare phone them to try to persuade them to give them the listings.

The tone of the story was a little bit heated and indignant, in the vein of  "Pushy Realtors Won't Take No For an Answer."

Needless to say, it irritated the hell out of me. So I sat down and fired off this email. The reporter sent me a brief response but as far as I know, my comments were not read on the air or published on the Daybreak web page.

I am reminded of that snarky email, because I was just contacted by someone who found my name on the web and wanted me to recommend a building inspector. Strange, I thought. Why wouldn't she ask he own agent for some names?

I emailed her back and wouldn't you know it, she doesn't have an agent. She's buying directly from the seller.  She doesn't need an agent. BUT SHE NEEDS AN AGENT TO RECOMMEND A BUILDING INSPECTOR. Is it me, or is this the height of irony?

Here's the email I sent CBC. Note how high up on my hind legs I managed to get. I've used asterisks in place of the company's full name. They will get no cheap publicity from me. 

"Hello Shawn and CBC Daybreak

I listened with interest to your segment on D* P**p*o and the agents who "pester" homeowners who list with D* P**p*o. The word pestered is an interesting one. Is that like how reporters (I used to be one) "pester" people who might not want to speak to them. Isn't that just a matter of doing the job?

I am a real estate agent. I do not solicit people who choose to list with D* P**p*o. I have, however, had clients who listed with D* P*op*o and then asked me to represent them in the purchase of the next home. Interesting. They don't want to pay an agent to sell their house but they want an agent to advise them in the purchase their next home. Why?  The vast majority of properties are listed on the MLS system. Real estate agents have access to market information and the expertise to negotiate. Ironically, Nicholas Bouchard, D* P*op*o's co-founder, the guy heard chuckling in your report, uses a real estate agent when it comes time to sell his own property.*P*op*o+founder+listed+with+broker/6438622/story.html

(Note: This link, no longer live, is from an Allison Lampert story in The Gazette about Bouchard listing his cottage with an agent on the MLS. It went with another one about D* P*o*o's celebrity spokesthingy using an agent to sell her home, too.)

Hypocrisy, much?

Whenever I have a client selling through D* P*op*o I end up advising them on how to negotiate when it comes time to sell. It is not unusual to have to handhold them through negotiations, financing and inspection. I don't get paid to do it, you understand. I do it out of self preservation. If the sale of their house falls through, the purchase of their next house is put in jeopardy.

I wish people understood that once D*P*op*o puts up the sign and takes the pretty pictures, they leave the seller to sink or swim. You end up getting less money for your house because most people are not good at selling real estate. It is harder than it looks. I wish people would stop pretending that any fool can sell their own house.

By the way, you are soft selling when you describe D*P*op*o as a company "that helps people sell houses". They sell a range of advertising services, that's it. D*P*op*o is a wholly owned part of Power Corp. The same Power Corp that owns La Presse and makes lots of money selling real estate ads every week. Kind of a win-win situation for Power Corp., if you ask me. Not necessarily for sellers, buyers or real estate professionals but I'm sure Paul Desmarais sleeps just fine at night.

P.S.  I know your story had its genesis in the press release D* P*op*o put out May 25th about how real estate agents bother people who list with them. The company issued a retraction on June 1 for some of the more inflammatory things in that press release. "

I feel much better for having shared that with you all. Good night.