Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Another 'Honest' Realtor

"Archie Harders, a veteran real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, is resorting to sales tactics that would have been unnecessary a year ago. A key, he said, is to get homes viewed by as many buyers' agents as possible; to that end, he frequently updates listings in the database of homes that agent use."

"If you change a comma, or a period, your listing pops up as having been edited," he said. "It's another way of keeping it in front of their face." (Washington Post 4/2/04)

What happened to all those ethical Realtors we keep on hearing about from the National Association of Realtors (NAR)?


  1. Seriously. He could post an updated picture of curb appeal. Show recent improvements. Make meaningful changes and actually work to market the house. But no, instead he edits the punctuation to have the appearance of new information when he's really providing no new value...

  2. Yeah, heaven forbid that a realtor actively market his client's product by keeping it in view of the buying public.

    What next? Is Coca-Cola Corporation going to start running advertisements on television during primetime?!! Gasp!

  3. mytwocents

    Under normal circumstances showing better pictures and adding more info would be a good idea. However I bet this guy is trying to sell a alot of property and he has only enough time to add or subtract a comma. He is probably busy trying to find buyers (abeit few and far between.

  4. "He is probably busy trying to find buyers"

    That is his job, right?

  5. Bryce
    "That is his job, right?"

    That is correct Bryce, you are on the ball! But now he has to work probably 10 times harder to get a buyer. He probably is pursing any person with a pulse who would have any slight interest in living in a condo.

  6. "He probably is pursing any person with a pulse who would have any slight interest in living in a condo."

    And again.... that is his job, right? So when times are good for realtors, you hate them. When times are bad for realtors, you hate them.

    Farmers have good and bad spells too. I bet you still eat the food they put on your table. And you probably hate them all the while for owning those farm houses, don't you?

    (WVU is bad news, by the way. At least you're proud of going to a weak school. Perhaps if you had made the choice to go to a good school, you'd own your own home by now? Just a thought...)

  7. bryce,

    "(WVU is bad news, by the way. At least you're proud of going to a weak school. Perhaps if you had made the choice to go to a good school, you'd own your own home by now? Just a thought)"

    No personal insults to other commentators. This is a warning (deleting is an option for me).

  8. Speaking of advertisements.

    Advertisers haven't been content to merely have their pitch viewed in exchange for some consumer value added service such as free programming. That's no longer good enough for 'em.

    To try to get increased attention, like a child, they blast the ads at full volume lowering the music at microsecond intervals only for the announcer's voice. This requires me to keep the remote handy to lower the volume.

    Next, to make the ads more memorable, they show disgusting or traumatizing videos such as ads for cough medicine with people coughing up phlegm on the screen or horrible, grisly auto accidents to emphasize their product's safety (if only they had their ad execs riding in the thing at the time.)

    I have a CD with old 50's advertisements and they seem quaint, but charming by comparison. It seems though that most of them are for cigarette brands. Winston tastes good like a cigarette should!

  9. I think it's terrible that all these external forces are conspiring against the "everything is SUPER TERRIFIC in DC!!!!" meme. It's lewd, lascivious, salacious, outrageous!


  10. I'll agree halfway with Bryce: Realtors are salesmen and they're supposed to aggressively pursue leads. This means that they are now obligated to work for a living rather than just cash easy commission checks. (Which is neither good or bad, just an observation which is what wvu_84 probably was saying.)

    That said, the saavy realtor is probably going to switch loyalties don't you all think? Rather than looking to screw over buyers, when there was an easy supply of them, they'll instead need to work over their seller to get them to reduce their price so they won't get stuck with an unsellable property.

    Imagine the realtors who haven't yet had this epiphany putting in months trying to sell $400K 1br's in Alexandria at open houses. The wine and cheese are on me!

    I predict that in the very near future, we'll see these parties with lots of free giveaways similar to timeshares. David, how about setting a time and date for one of the better ones?

  11. wvu_84

    So what's your point? So he's busy and working hard? Have you noticed that as housing prices have doubled over the last 5 years, so have real estate commissions? And during that time it was actually easier to sell? Granted, people flocked in droves to become agents to cash in on this but I have no sympathy for an agent actually having to do his job for a commission that is twice what it was just a few years ago.

    Furthermore, if you're being interviewed for an article, and you're a sales agent, wouldn't you rather be quoted about how you go above and beyond to market homes and not how you cut corners to market a home? I can tell you that based upon that interview, if I was looking for an agent, I would quickly pass him by.

  12. I can tell you that based upon that interview, if I was looking for an agent, I would quickly pass him by.

    I dunno. I'd hire him if he used semicolons and exclamation points, instead of tired old periods and commas. Like this!
    -- sglover

  13. This is nothing. I've heard of realtors actually changing the format of the address to get the DOM counter to reset. I think this mostly works with condo unit numbers. For example, realtor relists unit 310 as unit #310 and then they are no longer plagued with the 100+ days on the market.

  14. I'd be wary of ANY loyalty (buyer-agent, seller-agent) as the commissions dry up. I've rarely trusted any of them.

    I find my own property and give the agent 1% (I get 2% at closing) to write the contract.

  15. Bryce
    "(WVU is bad news, by the way. At least you're proud of going to a weak school. Perhaps if you had made the choice to go to a good school, you'd own your own home by now? Just a thought)"

    Me going to WVU had nothing to do with not owning a home. I owned a townhouse and had to sell it in 2003 because of a job loss. The job loss was of not fault of my own(if you suspect WVU ill prepared me for the real world). I was not able to get a stable job until 2005, which by then the prices went ballistic.

    I felt WVU was a good choice as an engineering school and resulted in a productive 22 year engineering career.

    If you want to continue believing that WVU caused me to loose a job and not get a stable job until 2005 then I see no point in aurging with you.

  16. polishknight

    "This means that they are now obligated to work for a living rather than just cash easy commission checks. (Which is neither good or bad, just an observation which is what wvu_84 probably was saying.)"

    Thank you polishknight that is exactly what I'm was trying to say.

  17. all (but definitely va_investor):

    have you found the realtor profession to be teetering on the edge of obsolescence?

    are lawyers and appraisers the only "must haves" for transactions nowadays?

  18. Real Estate Agents are not economically productive. They are in effect middlemen, who drain resources from the productive economy. Bryce is the group historian. Let's ask him how "middlemen" have been treated throughout history.

    A student of bubbles should also be aware, that the top is often marked by anger and denounciation directed at the doubters, by the participants, as the latter realize that trouble is on the horizon, financially speaking. It always works that way, always.

    We have seen each, well documented stage of a true financial mania, save one. And that is panic. They always end in panic. That will be the real test. Stay tuned.

  19. Anon 2:15

    Realtors are the last true monopoly. They are superfluous. Look at the raise they have had in the last 5 years. Why is the commission a % of sales price? There is no correlation between the work performed and the compensation.

    Lawyers are not necessary unless an issue, a contractual issue, comes up. Title companies can handle the closings.

    Appraisers will probably become more important - although not necessary in many cases because of Zillow type businesses. Just like credit scores eliminated a large part of the underwriting process.

  20. realtors should
    a) get a flat rate (say $20/hr with say maximum of 100 hrs per transaction)
    b) get more restricted on licensing
    c) there should be 75%-90% less of them

    all three will happen I guess in couple years.

  21. It must be a terrible feeling to have bought at the top of the market like Bryce. The seething anguish and anger leads you to lash out at anyone in shoutng distance ("You went to a lousy college...you're too poor, no, wait, you're too rich and too entitled...the market is going the way *I* tell it to...my sister...my daughter...my sister...my daughter...").


  22. I think that perhaps he should stop focusing on adding or subtracting commas... and perhaps consider subtracting a zero or perhaps even 100k or so... I bet that will get his ad some attention.

  23. Spongeworthy,

    I accurately reported my precise financial position here; including when and where I purchased my home (I am not an 'investor' or flipper) I am not a bubble participant, I'm in my home for the long-term, I have positive cash-flow, and I am not a realtor. All of these things have been stated previously.

    I'm clearly under your skin, which is your problem, not mine.

  24. Sure thing, buddy. Your insults to a number of people on this board clearly illustrate a self-hatred borne from your unfortunate position. Your investment is not worth what it once was. It hurts; we get it.


  25. I have positive cash-flow, and I am not a realtor.

    Hello! Please define that exactly. What do you mean by "positive cash flow?" If you're "in the home" how are you getting "positive cash flow?" Do you rent out half the unit to someone else? If so, is the rent covering your mortgage payments and taxes?

    I was watching an interesting show on HGTV about a student who had bought a home in his college town and was renting it out to a bunch of other students to cover his mortgage. He anticipated selling it after he graduated.

    Under ordinary circumstances, that's a great idea: Instead of "wasting money on rent", let the fellow students pick up the tab for housing. However, if the real estate market goes down, even just a bit, he's out in 4 years with the closing costs and depreciation.

  26. Polish Knight;

    I visited friends last weekend who are living in the town where we went to college together. One house down the block from them was bought by a student's parents, thinking they would not waste money on dorms/rent, build equity, have student's roomates pick up the tab.

    Except now, 3-4 years later:
    * the market has stalled, half a dozen houses on the same block are for sale, even more in the larger subdivision;

    * the same builder can't sell out the next development adjacent to theirs;

    * to top it all off, the student, her roomates and their college friends have completely trashed the house - on condition alone, the best they could expect is sub-market sales price, wherever the market happens to be.


  27. I'm not an agent, and I am not going to defend them, but in the business world there are others you can point to that are more ethically challenged than the McEearney agent. I'm thinking about the Ken Lays, Bernie Ebbers, Dennis Koslowskis etc. Not to mention the people that worked for them and saw those companies (and their employer supported pensions) be run into the ground. Moving a comma or period here and there doesn't look all that bad.

  28. Anonymous,

    To a certain extent though, the Ken Lays and Bernie Ebbers of the world were defrauding a faceless market. Despicable, but the victim is more nameless, possibly even "the man."

    When you look someone in the eye, and tell them they can afford something they can't, and then work the numbers to convince them, I find that to be more dispicable. More dishonest.

    Granted, with the former, the end result is a lot broader and more damaging, but it's not personal.

    Having said that, moving a few commas around is far from damning as I may have implied with earlier comments. I just think it's a dumb thing to point out from a marketing/sales point of view when you're getting free press.

    My $0.02.

  29. I found all of the above conversations helpful...(except for the insults)...you see I am a realtor and have been for 3 years. I believe you are correct for informing us that our commissions have virtually doubled in the past couple of years. I'm not sure if some of you are aware that when an agent works with a buyer, it's the seller that actually pays BOTH agents commissions. When I work with buyers I always, especially since "our commissions have doubled", give back to my clients. As for Sellers, advertising in general can be expensive, not to mention time consuming, agents tend to cover ALL of those advertisement cost for the Seller and spend their time doing it, "it's their job."
    I understand some should get paid a flat fee, for doing their job, once complete. On the other hand those individuals who go above and beyond to add value to services while finding or selling a home for their clients, should be compensated more for their actions........I guess what I'm saying is you get what you pay for, and this is the same for honesty, intergrity, and professionalism.