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There’s always something to howl about

Which home is the right one for you? Coldwell Banker says it’s the property for which Coldwell Banker will get paid double.

Is this home the right one for you and your family?

No, sorry. That’s an exclusive listing. Your trusty, ever-faithful Coldwell Banker broker won’t get paid if you buy that house.

So is this the perfect home for you?

Oh, no! This home has serious systemic defects, the worst of which is… it’s a fizzbo… Not only will there be no doughnuts at the closing table, your trusty, ever-faithful Coldwell Banker broker won’t get paid if you buy that house.

But this — this is the ideal home for you and your family:

Why? Because your trusty, ever-faithful Coldwell Banker broker will not only get paid, she’ll get paid double, once for suckering the seller into listing with Coldwell Banker and once more for suckering you into a dual agency.

Here’s the full clip:

When you say “yeah” you are conceding my argument. When you say “but” you are contradicting yourself. If this commercial is not a sleazy hustle, what is it?

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  • The first one is free

  • 13 comments

    13 Comments so far

    1. Mark Green May 6th, 2011 10:07 am

      I don’t see the relationship between that ad and suckering anyone into dual listing but then again I am not analyzing it too deeply. In fact, I think most consumers won’t even notice the RE signage outside each home in the spot. It’s a clever commercial – most likely too clever for the average consumer.

      Your point, though, is well taken. It’s an interesting & thought provoking angle.

      The web has dramatically diminished the value in a buyer’s agent… and here Coldwell Banker resorts to scare tactics.

      IMHO, the ultimate solution will come once a RE firm revolutionizes the way agents are paid.

      And I’m not talking about Redfin here. They’re really more of the same.

      I think we’ll see something in the next 24 months most agents would call “radical”.

      How about getting paid for the work you do and not so much on the end result?

    2. Greg Swann May 6th, 2011 10:25 am

      > The web has dramatically diminished the value in a buyer’s agent

      Wow. I totally disagree with that. The web has enabled buyers to research a lot of things in the abstract, but there is no substitute for seeing hundreds of houses a month. One of my favorite questions for buyers is this one: “Shall I tell you why we can’t buy this house?” I see right away systemic defects that I have to go to great pains to show to the buyers.

      > and here Coldwell Banker resorts to scare tactics.

      Actually, the above-ground argument in the commercial is valid. It’s the subterranean argument — the betrayal of the fiduciary duty to the buyer in pursuit of lucre — that I object to.

      > I think we’ll see something in the next 24 months most agents would call “radical”.

      Do you have something specific in mind? I’m all ears…

    3. Mike Mullin May 6th, 2011 11:21 am

      I think it’s the scare tactics that is “wrong” with the ad. The right home for the client is the right home…regardless of what sign is out front.

      Mark, I think your perspective might be a little different if you were involved with real estate transactions on a regular basis. I can tell you from my perspective as a lender there are MANY benefits a buyer’s agent brings to the client, and conversely I’ve seen disasters caused when a client is working with a lame agent.

      Yes, the internet has really helped with the upfront home search function. After that the buyer definitely needs a professional agent who will negotiate like a bull dog(I don’t see nearly enough of that), uncover obvious defects (no, they are not a home inspector), and help provide unemotional advice the client needs.

      The buyer’s agent is incredibly valuable to the client.

    4. Jeff D May 6th, 2011 12:32 pm

      I think paying for the actual services provided is great. But as long as wishy/washy Buyers and Sellers have the option of working with Realtors at no cost unless a sale materializes, there would be no incentive for them to pay for services up front.

      But if you sell your client’s home in a 1 day, they want to pay you less…

    5. Kelly May 6th, 2011 12:40 pm

      So – and I’m going out on a limb here – you’re not a fan? ;)

    6. deborah May 6th, 2011 3:47 pm

      Buyers agent can be a valuable asset in a transaction. If they know what they are doing. I like to do the right thing for the client at all times whether getting paid for both sides or only one side.

    7. Mike Mullin May 6th, 2011 3:52 pm

      Wow! This article just came through my Inbox from a title company. I really wasn’t aware consumers thought so little of buyer representation – at least judging by the facts quoted. I’m disappointed.

      http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/real-estate/do-you-need-a-buyers-agent-1304523622290/

    8. Erion Shehaj May 6th, 2011 4:57 pm

      But Mark, delivering the end result is ALL that matters to the client in the end. If that weren’t the case, discounters would have killed the Coldwell Bankers long ago.

      I don’t believe a pay for task model would work and we need to stop trying to convert ourselves into marketing clerks that get paid by the task. What happens if selling the home is taking longer than expected – is it fair for the Seller to pay more since you’re doing “more work”?

    9. Jim Klein May 6th, 2011 8:55 pm

      FWIW, I’d enlist a buyer’s agent before I’d enlist a seller’s agent.

      In some ways I like seeing sleazy hustles, cuz that means competition is open. Plus, in the case at hand, there is a reasonable target demographic that could be swayed to Coldwell even with a full understanding of everything in your post.

      There are lots of people with lots of money who rank “easy” above everything else. That’s not to say they get it, but it is what Coldwell is marketing. Rule No. 2: “Make ‘em lazy.”

    10. Robert Worthington May 7th, 2011 7:13 pm

      When Greg Swann attacks, look out! Good job Greg.

    11. Mark Green May 9th, 2011 8:08 am

      Dang it, I forgot to click the box to have follow up comments delivered to my inbox. Sorry for my delay in jumping back into the fray.

      1) Greg, I actually do have something in mind. I’ll try to call you this week & bend your ear.

      1a) I know I’m not the typical buyer, but I prefer paying a fair price for services rendered whether I ultimately consumate the sale or not. I feel like today’s RE commission model is inherently flawed and incentivizes the wrong activities.

      2) For those who disagree with my take regarding the diminished value of a buyer’s side agent… it’s a healthy debate and I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong. The big difference today vs. 10 years ago is the indisputable fact that Realtors are no longer the exclusive keepers of home listing data.

      3) We’re conditioned to pay most professionals in other industries for services rendered – why not real estate? Instead of me running you ragged for 90+ days and suddenly deciding I don’t want to buy a house after all, why shouldn’t I be willing to pay as I go for the time, knowledge and energy you invest?

      One of the common quandries I’ve read about on this blog relates to the agent’s difficulty in identifying “serious” buyers. Well, this becomes a moot point when you’re charging for your time, energy and knowledge up front. You’ll know almost immediately which prospects are serious and which are not. Let the commission-only folks battle for the fence sitters, I’d take the buyer who knows I’m going to invest, on average, _____ hours into their transaction… and will ultimately charge $_____ at the end of the day for services rendered. If I’m more efficient and have a better pulse on my buyer’s objectives, both parties are rewarded…

      I’ve got to get back to work here LOL. Greg I’ll call you this week.

    12. Mike Mullin May 9th, 2011 9:11 am

      Mark, I think you are really talking about two different subjects.

      The home search function is one small part of the entire transaction. I don’t think the web has diminished the need for a great buyer’s agent.

      How we pay agents for their services, and I think lenders fall into the same bucket in this regard, is an entirely different matter. I’d love to get paid for every scenario I run or pre-qualification I process. But I have a hard time seeing how the consumer decides to pay a buyer’s agent upfront when the rest of the industry is willing to work for “free” until the deal closes.

      Having said all that – great ideas are often found when someone smart like you challenges the status quo. I sincerely hope you’ve cooked up some great twist that will spring forth into a new business model. Can’t wait to hear it!

    13. Greg Swann May 11th, 2011 5:55 am

      > I feel like today’s RE commission model is inherently flawed and incentivizes the wrong activities.

      I agree, particularly on the buy side. Residential real estate is the most astoundingly unprofessional profession in the marketplace.

      > The big difference today vs. 10 years ago is the indisputable fact that Realtors are no longer the exclusive keepers of home listing data.

      That’s not a bug, that’s a feature. The bug is that brokers thought forever that holding a chokepoint on the listings was better than developing and marketing an actual value proposition. Data is cheap. Expertise is worth paying for.

      > Instead of me running you ragged for 90+ days and suddenly deciding I don’t want to buy a house after all, why shouldn’t I be willing to pay as I go for the time, knowledge and energy you invest?

      I’m sold. ;)

      I’ll be interested to hear what you’re thinking.