Neanderthal Realtors and the Damage Done

On occasion I feel that I have to inform buyers and sellers of some the Neanderthals who work in my industry – no disrespect to our long distant cousins. During the fall I was selling a home in Toronto’s east end and like I always so I was delivering about 200 open house cards to all the surrounding homes (I like the exercise). Walking up a driveway I was greeted by the owner and as I handed my open house invite to him, he informed me he was selling his home. Great, however I did notice there was no sign on the property. And here is the story get better as unfortunately he and elderly mother hooked up with Slick Sid and his son who worked for a brokerage which specialize in hiring shady realtors.

It seems Slick Sid and Slick Junior told them it was Toronto board policy that listings had to be for 6 months. Their selling plan was to put a sign on the lawn and load the listing on mls.ca. So once signed they promised “This house will sell” and off they trotted back to their cave. Weeks went by and like attracts like, it seems that the only other shady realtors and cave dwellers came a knocking. After two months, no offers, no contact, no more showings add all they had was a sign on the lawn.

The sellers even made a trip to Shady Sid’s brokerage to cancel the listing, but alas no cancellations or refunds…they were stuck. The best they could do was have it suspended but that meant for the next 4 months they could not hire another agent to sell their home. So everything else around them, even my listing around the corner in 17 days, and they unfortunately were locked into a contract.

The good news is we got to know each other and once their contract expired we put together a strategy to sell their home in 2013. So here are a couple of things to help avoid these cavemen/cavewomen:

  • If you have never heard of the real estate brokerage most likely no one else has
  • Don’t sign a six month contract, in Toronto the minimum is 60 days
  • Before signing any contract ask what is their marketing strategy…a sign on the lawn, a mls listing is not enough
  • Ask how do they plan on protecting your home during open houses, showings as well as buyer inquiries? Saying I am putting on a lock box is an incomplete answer
  • What is their communication strategy? There is one guy who once he signs you up he loans you a FAX machine that way he does not have to ever come back for a face to face with the sellers
  • Do they have a cancellation policy?

This won’t put an end to the Slick Sids who troll Toronto neighbourhoods, but maybe this will help cull the herd.