Wednesday, August 16, 2006

DROdio Real Estate Inc. Uses Lies, Deception, and Scare Tactics

Since this post was originally posted DROdio Real Estate Inc. has removed all pages that contain the price counter.

Lies, deception, and scare tactics are being used by some Realtors to sell houses. DROdio Real Estate Inc. is guilty of such practices. DROdio Real Estate Inc located in Northern Virginia (Washington, DC suburbs) has a website where there is a counter 'showing' (it has since been removed off of their front page) what the "average home in the Metro DC area currently sells for"
The counter continues to show rising prices. If you click on the price it takes you to a webpage where it states:
That is the average estimated sale price of a home in the DC Metro / Northern Virginia area!

According to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR):

"Average sales prices continued to rise through December [2005] in Northern Virginia, despite a decrease in sales and sizeable increase in inventory. The average sales price [in Northern Virginia] rose to $552,621, a 16% increase over December 2004's average of $476,941."

A 16% rise in home prices annually means a 1.3% rise monthly. This translates to a rise of $239.47 increase in value daily, or $9.97 per hour!

Become a home owner and have this $9.97/hour work for you, instead of against you!
Every hour you wait is costing you $9.97 in equity!

The counter is a lie for multiple reasons. Here are some reasons:

Reason 1: On the front page of the website where the counter is located it says the counter reflects the "average home in the Metro DC area," but when you click on the link it take you to a webpage which references number for Northern Virginia. Northern Virginia and the 'Metro DC area' are not interchangable. [Update: The counter has been removed from the front page]

Reason 2: Their price counter is based on outdated statistics from December 2005 for Northern Virginia from the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors which takes their numbers from the MRIS. The price counter assumes evenly distributed price appreciation throughout the entire year which is fictitious. As of 9:25pm on 8/15/06 the price counter showed a average price of $607,705. If we check with the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors (NVAR), they show an "average sales price of $537,731 in July 2005. This represents a 3.94 percent decrease from July 2005's average of $559,790." According to the NVAR average sales prices are actually decreasing, not increasing. The price counter is thus going the wrong way. Currently, the counter shows an average price of 607,000 which is 13% above what the average sales price was in July 2006.

DROdio Real Estate Inc use lies, deception, and scare tactics to sell housing units. The price counter must be removed. Additionally, DROdio owes an apology for its despicable practices.

If you are so inclined to take on the lies, please contact them and tell them to remove their price counter. Call Us: 1-800-705-2782 or email from their contact page or go to their directory page.

Update: I just recieved this email from
Daniel R. Odio. It was recieved less then an hour after my post:

David,

I agree with you in that the figures are outdated. I've removed them from our site.

I'm very sorry to see such a negative posting. You should just realize that we're a very hard working group of people trying our best to fairly represent clients and their interests. Using words like "lies, deception and scare tactics" to describe us is not at all a fair representation, and marginalizes the many, many satisfied customers we have, and the years of work I have put into building our company. I hope you reconsider your position.

Regards,

DROdio
Owner & Managing Broker, DROdio Real Estate, Inc.
My Response: I am glad you have indeed removed the price counter from your front page. It is still on other webpages as of 12:15am 8/16/06. The price counter must be removed from all webpages. You still owe a public apologize for keeping the price counter up for so long. You are obviously very aware of it being there because the company has a very savy website, including a blog. The fact that you were able to repond to my post within 30 minutes of it being posted speaks to the sophistication of your web operation. I demand a full apology and a commitment to represent reality when dealing with clients. If the price counter is not removed by 5:30pm on 8/17/06 EST, I will be using my contacts at the local media to report DROdio Real Estate Inc. and will also file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

Update 10:20am 8/16/06: DRODio Real Estate Inc has removed all the price counters from their website. They now have "
We've removed our house clock while we recalibrate it for the changing market conditions. Look for it in the next few weeks!" Thank you for doing the right thing and removing it. Bubble Meter will continue to monitor your website.

65 comments:

  1. "The price counter is thus going the wrong way."

    It reminds me of the scene from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles when John Candy and Steve Martin's characters have fallen asleep while driving and they end up going the wrong way on the freeway. A car traveling in the oncoming lane pulls even with them and the people inside shout, "You're going the wrong way!" John Candy's character says, "Yeah right. How does he know which way we're going?"

    NAR and could care less which way is the "wrong way" for housing data they discuss, whether it has any bearing on reality at all.

    For a Realtor, it's never, ever, the wrong time to buy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Its so Evil. Unless you are taking your home to market, in which case you want your representation (realtors) to market your house aggressively.

    If you don't own, this is a horrible, despicable thing. If you down own, this is one of those things that makes you shrug your shoulders and then get on with your day.

    ReplyDelete
  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCDpl4wm7aQ

    Man, this scene is full of parallels to today's housing market. Great recall, tower.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, I guess we now know that realtors read this blog.

    ReplyDelete
  5. $607,747.836 and counting..buy now or miss the boat. There's no more land being made. Typical RE crud!

    ReplyDelete
  6. A dispicable act by the agent, let me know if they don't apologize so I can publicize them further on my site globalhousepricecrash.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great job, David.

    Actually, maybe a backwards-moving counter would help them just as much, though, as a way to convince sellers to sell! LOL.

    A Redskins fan

    ReplyDelete
  8. Bubble Meter will continue fighting the good fight! Despicable tactics like this must be challenged.

    Thanks for your support!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Can you personally demand a full apology? You may have been a little hard on them after Daniel Odio showed that he was willing to take down the outdated figures.

    ReplyDelete
  10. mari,

    "You may have been a little hard on them after Daniel Odio showed that he was willing to take down the outdated figures."

    I am not hard on them. In fact, I am easy on them as I didn't go straight to the media and the Better Business Bureau. The deceptive counter never should have been there in the first place. In the past 4 months the price counter represents a lie. They run a sophisticated web operation and at the very least should have removed it months ago.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I often lurk on this blog because it is so entertaining. When I saw this recent posting last night, I went to the realty website in question to check it out. Sure enough, there was the counter that makes David so angry.

    I used the "contact us" function on the realty web site to alert them to David's mention of them here. That was around 11pm last night (Tues the 15th)

    No, I'm not a realtor, nor do I know the people at DROdio RE Inc.

    Have a great day.

    ReplyDelete
  12. They should remove it ASAP!

    ReplyDelete
  13. DROdio says "using words like...scare tactics to describe us is not at all a fair representation," yet they had a had a home value clock whose sole purpose was to encourage people to buy before they get priced out forever. If that isn't a scare tactic, I don't know what is.

    ReplyDelete
  14. They are probably having a panic meeting at the headquarters in bubblicious Northern Virginia!

    ReplyDelete
  15. DAVID IS MENACING REAL ESTATE BROKERS TO FURTHER HIS OWN FINANCIAL PURPOSES

    ReplyDelete
  16. DAVID IS MENACING REAL ESTATE BROKERS TO FURTHER HIS OWN FINANCIAL PURPOSES

    ReplyDelete
  17. I just checked their website again and it says:

    "We've removed our house clock while we recalibrate it for the changing market conditions. Look for it in the next few weeks!"

    I assume this means they are going to make it tick downward now that prices are falling on a YoY basis.

    The true test of DROdio's claim that they want to "fairly represent the interests of our clients" (which include buyers) will be if they actually put the home value clock back up with current average values and a downward ticking price to represent falling prices.

    Since the upward ticking clock said "Every hour you wait is costing you $9.97 in equity!", the new downward ticking clock should say "Every hour you wait is SAVING you $X.XX in equity!"

    If they fail to do either of these, then I will forever doubt the integrity of their realty firm.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Neil,

    From another post you wrote:

    "And don't forget, we have the largest overhang of completed homes (with a CO) ever!"

    Where does that info come from?

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hmm, can we sense a little bitterness here?

    FACT: David missed out on the huge amount of money that was made in the housing market around many parts of the country.

    FACT: He has no way to take out his aggression except for asking for ridiculous 'public apologies' from people who owe him nothing.

    FACT: I am not a realtor, and I do own in the DC Metro area, and I am fully aware of the severe downturn in the market, so I AM fully objective, unlike others here (Hint, Hint).

    David: I am sorry you did not make any money while many others did. In the meantime, you are lucky to get such a polite response from the owner. Have you considered approaching things like this in a gentle, polite manner? You are lucky he did not trash you on your own blog. You know, if you could lose some of your aggression, and try to address things in a sophisticated, professional way, you may get more supporters to your 'cause'.

    What a great man - David - Looking out for the little guy! (Where was he looking out for the little guy during the boom of 2000-2005)?

    Things that make you go Hmmmmmm...

    --Prem

    ReplyDelete
  20. "(Where was he looking out for the little guy during the boom of 2000-2005)?"

    I started blogging in 2005, before that I was unaware of the housing bubble.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Good sleuthing David.

    But I think you went a little too far in demanding a personal apology. They absolutely should take the counter down, and you should report them to the Better Business Bureau.

    But demanding a personal apology kind of makes you like an ass.

    ReplyDelete
  22. David is a 20-something resident of a rental group house. He's angry. Give him time to develop the maturity and sophistication you are asking for. I was angry and relatively unsophisticated when I was living in a tiny rental in my 20's. I can empathize. (but I didn't take my anger out on realtors and homeowners)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Catalyst:

    That is all I am saying. Thanks for the confirmation.

    David - I agree with your cause -

    People should be aware of what is happening in this market. Just go about in a way with good character, nice words, and a gentle approach, and you will probably will get even farther with everything you desire to illustrate to the people.

    Thanks for sharing the 'other side' of the equation which the media and big money like NAR is able to manipulate to their own desires.

    --Prem

    ReplyDelete
  24. "But I think you went a little too far in demanding a personal apology."

    It is not a personal apology but rather a general apology. It is not about me, as I am not fooled by the lie, deception and scare tactics that is the price counter.

    ReplyDelete
  25. "Just go about in a way with good character, nice words, and a gentle approach"

    These people do not deserve a gentle approach.

    ReplyDelete
  26. FACT: He has no way to take out his aggression except for asking for ridiculous 'public apologies' from people who owe him nothing.

    Ummm. I can think of numerous ways for people to take out their aggressions. I am sure David could think of other ways too so this FACT is just dumb.

    As for him 'missing out' on the huge amount of $ made - when will this be clear? Unless you sold your home and took your cash off the table (by renting, moving to a cheaper area, etc. also known as 'exiting your position') money has not truly been made. And I would venture to guess that this is true for most people who bought during the run up.

    People who have been patiently saving by renting don't feel like they missed anything.

    ReplyDelete
  27. David said in his posting: "I demand a full apology and a commitment to represent reality when dealing with clients."

    OK, so the counter was either a gaffe or a blatant attempt to deceive.

    But who are you to " demand " a "full apology" and to receive a "commitment to represent reality"?

    These words are both foolish and revealing.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I think you guys are getting a little out of hand, I mean come on. It's obviously outdated, but any person with half a brain who reads the newspaper would figure that out. It's not like people are going to the website and saying, "Oh my I can get $600K or more for my house b/c the counter says so! Let's list with this guy!" or "that overpriced dump in Logan Circle that's selling for $500K must be worth it!" People still have the ability to think for themselves. I think you should contact the Better Business Bureau so they have the opportunity to laugh in your face. If you really want to prevent public deception and abuse, try taking on a cause that's actually worth while like attacking tow truck companies.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Haha, David is humiliating himself. Group home piece of shit!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Haha, David is humiliating himself. Group home piece of shit!

    ReplyDelete
  31. David:

    You're doing a great job. And the more angry comments you get, the better job I think you're doing.

    ReplyDelete
  32. What is revealing is the broker's response. They were publicly called liars (among other things) in their business dealings. If false, those statements would be actionable as libel. Instead of defending themselves, they folded & changed their website faster than you can say "HTML".

    ReplyDelete
  33. David's gonna save the stupid from themselves! Honestly, anyone so stupid as to buy a house based on an outdated counter on a blog deserves what they get. And I hope David gets sued for libel due to his scare tactics and misrepresentations.

    ReplyDelete
  34. While this is an example of bad or foolish realtor behavior, I generally disagree with David on blaming realtors for any housing bubble.

    Realtors are just salespeople. They aren't evil geniuses. In our society, we always have people overstatising benefits of this or that to sell us something. And realtors were selling and overstating long before any housing price runup, during both up years and down years in real estate. That's their job. And, like many salesfolks, they can have good information; you just have to discount it properly.

    ReplyDelete
  35. " I generally disagree with David on blaming realtors for any housing bubble."

    They are only partially to blame.

    "And, like many salesfolks, they can have good information; you just have to discount it properly."

    They should not lie, decieve, or use scare tactics. [Only some Realtors do]

    ReplyDelete
  36. Keith - I agree that people 'should' realize that realtors are just salespeople willing to do anything to make a transaction happen. But the reality is that realtors hold themselves out as experts in real estate and in providing 'sound' advice while at the same time publicizing in commercials the 'strict code of ethics' that they supposedly adhere to.

    It is not ethical of realtors to use scare tactics like home value clocks, when they are supposed to represent the best interests of their home buying clients. If anything, realtors should be strongly warning all of their homebuying clients of the serious risks involved in overpaying for real estate at this time, not encouraging them to buy now before they 'miss out.' The fact that realtors encourage buying at any cost and don't ever discourage or warn their homebuying clients about the risk of overpaying demonstrates that the code of ethics is really a load of BS.

    DROdio's home value clock is just one small example of the lack of ethics displayed by realtors.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Suggest looking into the real estate practices in many other nations, and you'll see that the RE industry in the US is relatively tightly regulated.

    Try getting a fair deal with an avenue of recourse through the fed government in Italy, for example. For that matter, try looking into the Italian government's protection of its citizens when it comes to food, drugs, and highway safety. It is abysmal.

    ReplyDelete
  38. keith said,

    "And, like many salesfolks, they can have good information; you just have to discount it properly."

    And how would the average person be able to do this were it not for observers/critics like david, who is taking his own time and money to publish this informational blog?

    ReplyDelete
  39. "And how would the average person be able to do this were it not for observers/critics like david, who is taking his own time and money to publish this informational blog? "

    If by "average person" you mean "imbecile," you make a good point.

    ReplyDelete
  40. "But who are you to 'demand' a 'full apology' and to receive a 'commitment to represent reality'?"

    The last I checked, an ordinary citizen that is capable of filing a civil lawsuit for fraud, deceptive business practices and/or false advertising. Alternatively, such citizen can report these practices to the state Attorney General.

    I say forget the Better Business Bureau and go straight to the Attorney General.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Excellent post David! Welcome back to paradise (DC). Ha.

    ReplyDelete
  42. I am now totally committed to doing something about this: Whine and squeel with faux moral outrage before having a snack and taking a nap.

    ReplyDelete
  43. "The last I checked, an ordinary citizen that is capable of filing a civil lawsuit for fraud, deceptive business practices and/or false advertising."

    Ah, filing a frivolous law suit that will get kicked out of court and your lawyer disciplined by the bar! Good idea!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Yeah, they should make it start rolling backwards.

    Quick, buy now before properties get CHEAPER!

    ReplyDelete
  45. John said:

    "If anything, realtors should be strongly warning all of their homebuying clients of the serious risks involved in overpaying for real estate at this time"


    Based on what? David's blog? And what serious risks are those anyway ... That they'll end up with a place to live where they can't get kicked out? Really now, just because you believe in this foolishness doesn't mean others should and expecting someone to make a prediction based on an unknown is absolutely rediculous. Past experience has shown that over the long term it is always cheaper to buy than to rent and house price always go up. THESE are facts, and not beliefs like what you are saying the Realtor should be held responsible for. If anything, posting your pie-in-the-sky doom and gloom fantasies would be the real misrepresentation based on actual historic trends.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Anon said "For that matter, try looking into the Italian government's protection of its citizens when it comes to food, drugs, and highway safety. It is abysmal."

    My recollection is that the EU's regulations in these areas are on par with the US's. In some instances, such as drugs, they use the US's very own regs and standards. You may be correct in regards to some non-first world countries, but placing the EU --- the place where these very regulations and safety measures originated --- is an inaccuracy. And I guess you hadn't heard about the controversy involving the EU not wanting to permit importation of hormone-treated beef into the EU from the US based on safety concerns? You are correct as to the relatively high standards of the US real estate industry, but please don't succomb to the same selfless bashing that David's blog engages in. It doesn't help your overall credibility.

    ReplyDelete
  47. David:

    You're doing a great job. And the more angry comments you get, the better job I think you're doing.


    I couldn't agree more. The more negative postings the better. It simply shows that the truth is finally starting to sting.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Past experience has shown that over the long term it is always cheaper to buy than to rent and house price always go up.

    Quick - somebody tell homeowners in Japan that they have just been imagining the declines of the last _15_ years.

    ReplyDelete

  49. You're doing a great job. And the more angry comments you get, the better job I think you're doing.


    They really show the mentality of the people who disagree with your point. I suppose if they had cogent refutations of your postings they wouldn't be resorting to this "group home" nonsense. Good lord.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Past experience has shown that over the long term it is always cheaper to buy than to rent and house price always go up.

    Was this supposed to be sarcasm? House prices do not always go up. The national median price of homes has not decreased - but give it a few more years and then even that won't be true.

    ReplyDelete
  51. "My recollection is that the EU's regulations in these areas are on par with the US's."

    Not at all; there is no par If you've ever spent time driving in the French or the Italian Alpine regions, you'd know that their road safety practices are abysmal.

    Try driving through the US Rockies for comparison.

    ReplyDelete
  52. david -

    agree with the last few posters. It's really funny how sociology really does apply. We are obviously entering the "Anger" phase of dealing with loss, when those affected lash out at David and the other watchdogs of the world as being "the problem", or better yet use the old straw-man argument "He's just a bitter renter" or "a dumb kid".

    The louder and more frequent the dissent gets, the closer we will move past anger on to acceptance, and the U.S.A. can get on with normal life, instead of being obsessed with the value of homes.

    ReplyDelete
  53. "about the controversy involving the EU not wanting to permit importation of hormone-treated beef into the EU from the US"

    I guess if you eat red meat, this is a big deal. (?)

    ReplyDelete
  54. Part of the information given by the Real Estate Industrial Complex- as well as Karl Rove, David Lereah and their underlings .....

    ReplyDelete
  55. hey this is the company that hosts birdseyesearch.com, where i recently found my new RENTAL property. so, they arent that dispicable as they support renters, unlike ziprealty where you cant find anything on rentals listed on the mls

    ReplyDelete
  56. i dont get it, they could easily put a price counter, like mentioned, with prices going down, thus instead of encouraging buyers, it would encourage sellers...hey you better list way below that, you're losing $10 an hour!

    ReplyDelete
  57. If a stockbroker used such a tactic, his license would be revoked, and he would face possible prison time. A realtor gets to say, "dude, aren't you being a bit harsh?"

    I can't wait until after the bubble, only because the real estate industry will be regulated as tightly as the securities industry.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Daniel Odio was on the show Double Agents that used to come on the Discovery Channel. He represented a couple from Atlanta that were looking to buy a home in Northern VA.

    He's a nerd, but he's a cute nerd!

    ReplyDelete
  59. "Can you personally demand a full apology? You may have been a little hard on them after Daniel Odio showed that he was willing to take down the outdated figures."

    I agree. David went a bit overboard.

    Sure the counter unintentionally deceived the gullible, but the gullible want to be deceived.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Honda Motors is holding a nationwide automobile clearance sale this week, touting: "now is the best time to buy."

    You'd better jump on those despicable liars at Honda before helpless people are victimized by their decietful practices.

    ReplyDelete
  61. In 2 months Dan Odio will be selling Sofas at Hechts.

    No, wait a minute, Macy's is taking over Hechts and does not sell furniture, so he will then be fied and will resort to selling cell phone accessories in a kiosk in Potomac Mills Mall.

    ReplyDelete
  62. "DAVID IS MENACING REAL ESTATE BROKERS TO FURTHER HIS OWN FINANCIAL PURPOSES"

    As he should. So, what's your point?

    ReplyDelete
  63. Hurry, hurry, hurry! Step right up! Putcha money in a house and get rich quick! Ya can't miss! Everybody wins! Like shootin' fish in a barrel! Land is scarce, and they ain't makin' any more! Real estate can't go nowhere but up! Buy now while you still can! They'll all be gone tomorrow! No credit? No problem! Hurry, hurry, hurry!

    ReplyDelete
  64. Once again, for those that missed civics, David is not the federal, state, or local government, or any agency or official thereof. Therefore, he cannot engage in censorship. You are complaining about his editorial philosphy, for which ther is a simple and free remedy. It may be exercised by clicking the little blue "Sign up here" link and starting your own blog.

    David: please do not hesitate to delete this post for any or no reason.

    ReplyDelete
  65. "Ah, filing a frivolous law suit that will get kicked out of court and your lawyer disciplined by the bar! Good idea!"

    Are you high? Corporations file suits against one another all the time for false advertising, false product claims and/or unsubstantiated claims. Attorneys General (at least in NY) are always taking on businesses for deceptive and/or misleading business practices- just ask the Bon-Ton Department Store who seemed to have a "sale" on the same products every week such that there was effectively never really any "sales."

    ReplyDelete