Marc Davison suggested here that we re-brand the word ‘realtor’:
He was met with the usual drivel from agents, some of whom mentioned the big difference between a real estate licensee and a Realtor is that we subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics.
But if we’re going to re-brand the name Realtor, then let’s stop the charade about ethics. Realtors have stood by idly while their fellow agents have fleeced the banking industry with fraudulent short sales. We intentionally deceive consumers by re-inputting our listings to make them appear like hot new offerings. We make off-market deals and boast about them in the MLS that they were ‘sold before processing’, when every realtor has signed an agreement to share their listings with each other.
None of that is ethical, and if you participate – or stand by and watch others participate and do nothing about it – then you’re not an ethical agent.
Let’s put an end to it.
Either be ethical, or let’s stop saying we’re ethical, when we’re not.
Because the industry is so fragmented and independent, we’re not going to get a million agents to be ethical when you can double your commission by telling sweet little lies.
But we could educate sellers on the truth, and save our jobs.
The auction format would help to drain the murky cesspool of home selling. Buyers and sellers would enjoy full transparency, and everyone would have a shot at paying what they think a property is worth.
Auctions would invigorate the marketplace!
But sellers are leery of the idea, and they don’t want to give it away.
Here’s my idea:
The MLS is a dinosaur, and has been complicit in the fraud. Instead, let’s take this idea straight to Zillow – they already have different categories of listings on their website: Pre-foreclosures, Coming Soons, Make Me Move, etc.
Let’s add a new category: Market-Rate Sellers.
First, we properly educate a seller by having them read and understand the definition of a property’s value. We give them this disclosure:
A property’s value is defined by how much a ready, willing, and able buyer will pay for it. After proper marketing, I am willing to sell my property for what the market will bear. Signed, Seller.
Why don’t we already have this piece of education? Because sellers think they determine the value, and agents do nothing to convince them otherwise. Instead, we encourage the idea just to get the listing. Is that ethical?
If a seller is stuck on his price, then they go into the Make Me Move category. No problem, I take listings like that – and I might get lucky some day.
But for the sellers who want to control the entire process and move promptly, we will have a solid game plan to get them top dollar now:
The Slow-Motion Auction:
- Tune-up house.
- Open house for 5-10 days.
- Buyers engage in open bidding at the house on X date.
Sellers and buyers deserve to have this full transparency, and the ethics it would impose on agents will save our jobs.