Friday, April 18, 2014

Hypocrisy / Deceptive Advertising

Everyone in the real estate business is always looking for an edge -- something that will differentiate you from the competition.

We've seen brokerages try all sorts of things from commission discounts with reduced service, flashy web sites, focus on high-end properties, free estimates, balloons on for-sale signs, spot advertising on web sites -- it's all out there.

At the end of the day, our business relies mostly on personal relationships.  Successful transactions for both sellers and buyers depend on the trust developed between the principal and their agent.

Key to developing that trust is for each party to do what they say they will do, when they say they will do it.

So how do you trust a brokerage that prominently promises on its web site:
What Makes Us Better? We Will Not Cheat On You.  Could you imagine going to court and having the same lawyer represent you and the other side? How silly would that be? At XXXXXX, our agents will only represent either a buyer or a seller in an agreement, never both.

Yet, in the last six months this brokerage has seven transactions recorded in the MLS, two of which they represented both buyer and seller!

Let's be clear.  In California there's nothing illegal about what's called "dual agency" in which the same brokerage represents both buyer and seller as long as it's disclosed to all parties and agreed to and I have no reason to think this brokerage did not obtain the necessary consent from both buyer and seller in these transaction to act as a dual agent.

But if you're going to promise in your advertising that you will never represent both sides in the same transaction (and by inference suggest that your level of integrity is higher than your competition) and then turn around and do exactly what you promised not to do, what does that say about how you're going to handle your responsibilities in a real estate transaction.

Most buyers and seller don't have the ability to check claims like this since this information isn't readily available to the public. Unfortunately, it's just another due diligence step for buyers and sellers when selecting an agent.

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