REALTOR® arrested for hosting sexy time in her listing

Oh, boy!

A Texas real estate agent apparently thought is was cool to bring her date over to one of her vacant listings at 5:00 am in the morning for what ABC News described as a “passionate rendezvous.”

Alerted by roving flashlights, a neighbour called 911 naturally assuming something untoward was going on in this vacant home. Man! He had no idea!

Police arrived to find REALTOR® Kayla Seloff and her companion doing the horizontal bop on the living room floor. The lovers tried to pass themselves off as newlyweds christening their new home but the whole gig began to fall apart when the cops searched their car and turned up weed.

As it happens, the two entered the recently sold home without permission (no doubt!) and were charged with criminal trespass.

Oops.

This will be a hard lesson for this young couple to learn but having access to someone’s property is obviously a position of great trust. As a home seller, you have the right to expect your home to be accessed only on your terms.

In Canada, I believe the crime would be “unlawful entry”. No, I’m serious now.

Have a great weekend,

Norm

Sorry about your deceased wife, but we’re here for you when you’re ready to sell the family home!

 

Nobody likes real estate agents!

We probably all know an agent whom we like, sure, but when they think about this business as a whole, real estate agents are not well liked and there are some pretty good reasons for that. This story is a perfect illustration.

Just when you thought the real estate industry couldn’t earn a lower reputation than it already has, this happens.

The headline reads, “Grieving family approached by realtors after funeral”.

A man loses his 72-year old wife and shortly after her death he receives what “looked like a card expressing condolences…”.  In it, two business cards and a note that reads, “We’re sorry to hear of your wife’s passing…please let us know if we can help in any way with your real estate needs when the time is right”.

I mean, WTF? Right?

Truly cringe worthy.

But is it shocking?

Hardly, and that’s unfortunate in itself.

I doubt that too many people will actually be surprised to hear that a real estate agent would do such a thing, seemingly oblivious to the fact that this could not possibly be seen as anything but selfishness, masquerading as kindness.

I’m certainly embarrassed by it, but shocked? No, not really.

Unfortunately, a culture that focuses primarily on getting the sale does little to help agents develop business acumen. Pretty much every bit of training offered in this business is focused on one thing, closing the sale. Present, close, use your scripts kids.

Earlier this year, our national association’s own commissioned study found, “A growing number of incompetent, poorly trained, or part-time salespeople destroy industry credibility,” as one of it’s largest concerns.

I bet that’s not news to you, though, right? It’s a problem that’s been hounding us for years with little progress. Perhaps studies like this one will move our industry to address these shortcomings. The public deserves better.

We’ll talk about this problem more in the weeks ahead.

Norm

Home buyer beware: Your private home viewing may not be so private

It’s only been a few years since I first saw a serious home surveillance system installed in a Saskatoon home I’d been hired to market and sell. It was an impressive and sophisticated system that enabled the home owner to look in and listen to what was happening in their home while they were away. They used it regularly to monitor the home.  I later learned that they used it to look in on buyers who were viewing the home.

At the time, systems like this were rare because they did cost a lot of money. The value of this particular system was in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Just a few years later, surveillance systems are a dime a dozen. In fact, a $5.00 iPhone app can monitor up to a dozen audio and video feeds using simple equipment like webcams. Small cameras and microphones can easily and inexpensively be used to monitor activity in the home.

The same equipment can be used to look and listen in on your “private home viewing.”

When viewing homes as a prospective buyer it’s best to behave as if you’re being watched. Avoid judgmental comments about the home owner’s lack of taste. Try not to get too excited. Put on your poker face. Save your negotiating strategy discussions for the car ride home.  Behave as you would if the home owner were right there with you. They just might be.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS® listings represented by all real estate brands, presented with more detail than you’ll find anywhere else. Check it out here.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Verbal contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on

I’m a bit disturbed by the increasing occurrences of verbal negotiations in the real estate business in Saskatoon.

Verbal proposals are most often brought forward at the counter offer stage with comments like, “We really don’t want to waste your time, so would you speak with your client and find out if X is acceptable to them?”

Recently, an agent tried to sell me on the idea of presenting a complete verbal offer to purchase on one of our listings. She said, “My client has to leave town right away. Would you check with your seller to find out if they would take X?”

To her credit, at least she was clear and honest that she was concerned about wasting her time, and her clients, and not trying to convince me that a verbal offer was a courtesy she was extending to us, so as not to waste our time. Still, my reply was, “No, I won’t, but if you’d be kind enough to put it in writing I’d be happy to present it to them immediately.”

Why? Verbal negotiations are reckless and unprofessional. Where a real estate agent is involved, they’re actually illegal.

Section 58 (1) of Saskatchewan’s Real Estate Act

An offer to purchase obtained by a registrant:

(a) is to be in writing, dated and signed by the buyer in the presence of a
witness; and
(b) is to clearly show, prior to execution by the buyer:
(i) the date on which the offer is made;
(ii) the names and addresses of the buyer and seller;
(iii) the street address or legal description of the real estate;
(iv) the price offered by the buyer and the terms and conditions of the
offer;
(v) the amount of deposit, if any, made at the time of the offer and
whether or not that deposit is to form part of the price;
(vi) a brief description and list of any chattels that are to be included in
the price;
(vii) the date of possession by the buyer and whether possession is to be
vacant or otherwise;
(viii) the date of adjustments;
(ix) the time and date by which the offer is to be accepted;
(x) the name, address and telephone number of the brokerage; and
(xi) any other information prescribed in the bylaws.

We get paid good money to represent our clients and to protect their interests. Creating binding agreements, and avoiding misunderstanding and the squabbles that arise from them is part of that. With the standard forms that are provided for us it literally takes ten minutes to complete an offer to purchase. Web based forms can be tweaked and resubmitted for presentation in seconds. Surely, doing it right can’t be considered “a waste if time.” This is, in part, what agents are paid for. Trying to bridge the gap that exists between a willing buyer and seller is never a waste of time when the proper procedures are followed, even if the time spent only makes us aware of what isn’t presently possible.

If your agent is suggesting a verbal negotiation he or she either lacks respect for, or knowledge of the laws that govern our business. Either way, that should get you thinking.

Samuel Goldwyn said, “A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”

Samuel Goldwyn was right!

Let’s do this right. Let’s do it in writing.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions. All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS listings represented by all real estate brands, presented with more detail than you’ll find anywhere else. Check it out here.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Is your real estate agent about to sell you out?

The Multiple Listing Service® is a system that real estate brokerages use to share information with each other about properties that are for sale. It provides us with opportunities to quickly share details about our listings with all local agents who participate and it also provides us with a large inventory of homes that we can introduce our buyer clients to.

One of the characteristics of an MLS® listing is an “offer of compensation.” The listing brokerage agrees to share the negotiated commission with any other brokerage that might bring a buyer who agrees to purchase the property. That offer of compensation is published with the listing data on the member based MLS® system.  In most cases, the compensation offered gets lower as the price of the home goes up. Most commonly, we’ll see something like what you see below.

3% on the first $100,000, 2% on the second $100,000 and 1% on the balance of the sale price.

Recently, I noticed an MLS listing priced at $399,900 with the following compensation offer.

0% on the first $350,000, 25% on the next $50,000 and 3% on the balance of the sale price.

If you were about to make an offer on this house would you want to know that your agent could be earning nearly two times the commission available on most listings in this price range? Would you want to know that your agent would earn an extra $250 for every additional $1,000 you agreed to pay?

Should you be entitled to full disclosure on this extraordinary and unusual compensation offer?

I think most buyers would want to know and I’m also of the opinion that they’d be entitled to know. Don’t be afraid to ask your buyer’s agent how he or she is paid and instruct them to advise you if you’re about to make an offer on a property that has any selling incentives or extraordinary compensation offers available on it. Better yet, understand that you’re really paying the fee and agree up front on how much it will be.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Real estate geeks can follow our daily updates on Twitter @norm_fisher.

Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS listings represented by all real estate brands, presented with more detail than you’ll find anywhere else. Check it out here.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate