• How Shear Panic, Helplessness, and Murderous Thoughts Shaped My Life’s Mission to be a Protector

    As I walked to school, the smell of smoke was in the air. I looked up and saw a grayish-black cloud rising in the sky. The hair stood up on the back of my neck. I turned and started to run as fast as I could back towards our city row home. My stomach twisted itself into a knot – I felt sick. I saw it as I rounded the corner. My lungs were bursting, but I knew I had to run faster – my brother was home in bed and our house was on fire.

    Sheer Panic

     I ran into the house screaming, “DARREN, DARREN!!” The heat hit me and sweat poured down my forehead. I skipped the stairs 2 and 3 at a time. I threw my body against the door, still screaming my brother’s name. The rest was a blur – fuzzy – smoky. Somehow my brother and I made it outside. The sirens were blaring all around us as the trucks screeched to a halt. Firemen were everywhere, hoses out, spraying our home.

    Someone must have called my parents. They rushed to my brother and me and held us. There we stood, the four of us, watching our home burn to the ground.

     Helplessness

     I looked at my Mom – tears were streaming down her face. Slowly at first. She sniffled, then sobbed. She was gasping for air, shoulders hunched over, her whole body shaking. She covered her face with her hands.   My Dad held her.

    I stared at her, feeling tears well up in my eyes. Not because of the fire, but because my Mom was in pain and there was nothing I could do. Helplessness. I remember the feeling to this day, I was utterly helpless. My mind went blank and my body numb. I was a fixer, but this was beyond my control.

    After what seemed like a lifetime, my Mom stopped crying. My parents – ever the optimists – reassured my brother and me that everything would be okay. They owned our home, no mortgage, and they faithfully paid the homeowners insurance. It would be okay.

    I woke up the next day in a hotel room. Two double beds, one for my parents and one for my brother and me. My mother was on the phone, her voice was rising. She looked like a ghost. Her face was white. Again, tears ran down her face. She slammed the phone down, slam, slam, slam. She began sobbing and she literally fell to her knees. I wasn’t sure what to do. I felt helpless AGAIN!

    “Mom!” I did the only thing I could think of. I went over to her, dropped to my knees and put my arms around her. “Mom?”

    Murderous Thoughts

    She finally calmed down enough to explain, “We paid our insurance agent every year for our homeowners insurance. It was always right on time. I just don’t understand. How could he do that to us? He never turned our payments in to the agency. He kept the money. How could anyone do that?”

    “What do you mean?” I was shocked. It hit me! He took my parents’ money. We have NO insurance. The realization of what happened flooded my body. I was furious. This man’s greed just took away everything my parents had ever worked for, a home they owned and all the belongings in it. There was nothing left. He ruined our lives!

    I love my Mom. Watching her cry and hurting was killing me. I became so furious that my entire body shook. I was going to find this dirt bag and put my hands around his neck and squeeze as hard as I could until he couldn’t breathe anymore. His greed, selfishness, unethical, illegal behavior took everything away from us.

    For what? A couple thousand dollars over the years? We lost everything because of this slime ball. I was going to hurt him and I was going to make him suffer like he was making my Mom suffer.

    I was sick. I was pissed. And I knew I couldn’t do any of the things I wanted to do. I knew I would never stoop to his level. But somehow, just allowing the thoughts to run through my head was therapeutic.

    I couldn’t protect my Mom from what happened, and that haunts me. But I swore to myself, from that day forward I would do everything in my power to never let another unethical, dirt bag harm another Mother, Father, child, family again.

    I was 17 at the time of the fire. I hardly knew what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life. But I knew my life’s mission. I would protect people. I would expose unethical, illegal behavior and educate and warn people, so they couldn’t be taken advantage of, like my parents were.

    The Other Millers

    Holly & Jeff Miller – Mom and Dad –

    two of the most optimistic, and happy

    people I know.

     

     

    My Mission, my passion – to show people how to protect themselves

    Through the 15 years of being in the Real Estate business, I have made it my mission to protect my clients.

    A few years ago I got a call from Keith and Judy Miller (no they are not related). Theywanted to sell their home and had already interviewed an agent.   A friend of theirs recommended that they call me and interview me as well.

    They walked me through their home that they had lived in for 20 years. They wanted to move out of the city and into the suburbs. Their home was mostly paid for, they just had a small mortgage on it. All the profit they received from the sale would go towards the down payment of their next home.

    They explained to me that the first agent they interviewed said he believed their home was worth $80,000. He also told them if they agreed to that price, HE would buy it from them. He would settle on it quickly so they could move on to a home in the suburbs. (Now I knew this agent. He had a reputation for doing this. Once he purchased the home, he would rehab it and would make more money on the resale.)

    The home was older and in need of updating in several areas. I thought they could sell it as is, for approximately $90,000. Then I explained to them how they could improve their home’s value by doing some repairs and updating it. We sat down and made a list of the items that needed to be done. It took them over 4 months to complete their to do list, as it was rather extensive. The finished product was amazing. The home sold for $140,000. They made an extra $50,000 profit, which was more money than either of them made in a year. They had more money to use towards their next home and were able to purchase a much nicer home in the suburbs than they ever thought they could afford.

    Had they chosen the first agent, they would not have had the extra money to purchase the home they love and live in now. AND the agent would have rehabbed their home, and in addition to making the commission on the sale, he would have put all the extra profit right into his own pocket!

    For a while I was satisfied protecting one customer or client at a time. As time went on I wanted to do more.

    When the idea of writing a book was proposed to me I knew that was the answer. I could potentially reach thousands and thousands of people. I could warn them, educate and protect them. I co-authored the book “The Warren Buffett Approach to Sell Real Estate”.

    I devoted the entire first chapter to educating people on the dangers of Real Estate Greed. I talk about “Mini Madolf”, a man who stole money from over 4,000 people and ruined their lives. I go on to say, “I feel for those people. I do. But it’s a drop in the bucket compared to how many homeowners, like you, like our clients prior to finding us, that are victimized every single day by incompetent or unethical agents in this industry.  The only difference is that these crimes aren’t highly publicized. They don’t make front-page news. …And since there is not just one person doing damage to 4,000 families at once, but many people committing smaller, insidious frauds, there is no “big” news story to cover. There is no one person to target or to investigate. This is why when a family loses $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000 in their home sale-stolen from them, due to negligence or bad advice, or the result of an unethical agent – you never hear about it, and, why it’s never covered by the local news outlet.

    But for many families, that money that was lost (or should I say, stolen from them) could have been directed toward a new car, their child or children’s college education, a vacation for the family, or toward their retirement nest egg. And while it’s not front page news, it certainly doesn’t go unnoticed by us, and it doesn’t go unnoticed to our clients who have suffered this type of loss.

    …Call it a mission or a calling, or call it whatever you wish, but it is what drives me.

    It’s this passion to want to show my clients how to protect themselves, that is the reason, homeowners that utilize our approach, are banking bigger profit.”

    Yes, the entire first chapter is devoted to my life’s mission. Protecting people from greed. It ruined my family’s life for a while. It hurt my family deeply and still does.

    Just last month Cheryl and I were building a “family wall” in our home. When it came time to put up old photos of my family, the pain came back. There are no photos. They are gone. Up in flames as they say.

    The memories still drive me. They always will. Protector – my life’s mission.

    Sean

     

  • Now, It’s Public!

    Now, It’s Public!

    When the country’s largest real estate trade group bares some of its innermost worries, should owners, sellers and buyers of homes pay attention?

    That is the question columnist Kenneth Harney asked, in his article published in the Washington Post. He went on to say, “Absolutely, if you want valuable insights into current issues and problems with the housing marketplace. You might even save some money or avoid a bad experience with an agent or broker.”

    It’s that last statement though, that I think deserves the most attention. Let’s face it, most consumers don’t care much about the housing market from a business perspective. Agents, and the National Association of Realtors®, who commissioned the D.A.N.G.E.R Report, care about the housing market from a business perspective. The consumer, though, he cares about real estate from the retail and investment perspective, which means, working with the wrong agent, like choosing the wrong plastic surgeon, can have negative and lasting consequences.

    And see, here’s the telling thing about the National Association of Realtors®, and the industry as a whole. I don’t know how much it cost to commission this Report. Maybe $100,000 or

    $500,000, or maybe a million or more. But, while the Report looked at the dangers impacting agents and brokers, and the dangers impacting NAR, and the state and local associations, and the dangers impacting the MLS, it did nothing to identify the dangers [of all of this] to/on the consumer—you, the people who hire agents.

            Picture5

    I’ve long said, “Real estate is a dog eat dog industry” and, from the top down, “Not enough eyes are focused on serving the consumer.”

    Instead of worrying about the value delivered to the consumer, the Reports cites “A variety of powerful forces exert significant downward pressure on real estate commissions,” as one of the greatest dangers. Yeah, but what about you? Is that a concern of yours, paying lower commissions? Obviously, consumers want to pay less to real estate agents. And I get, I know why consumers [as a whole] want to pay less. It’s due to a truth that NAR [and the industry] refuses to confront.

    Below are quotes straight from the findings of the Report. These are not my opinions. I did not make these up. These are based on the facts and data:

    “The real estate industry is saddled with a large number of part-time, untrained, unethical and/or incompetent agents. This knowledge gap threatens the credibility of the industry.”

    “Most professions (doctors, lawyers, accountants, and engineers) require thousands of hours of study, beginning with a bachelors degree. Even becoming an earth driller requires an average of 704 hours of instruction, and becoming a cosmetologist requires an average of 372 hours. But to become a licensed real estate agent requires an average of only 70 hours with the lowest state requirement being 13 hours. The delta between great real estate service and poor real estate service has simply become too large, due to the unacceptably low entry requirements to become a real estate agent.”

    So why doesn’t NAR just lobby to just raise the bar of entry? Because, it’s about money. The National Association of Realtors®—the nation’s largest lobbying group—is, in essence, a government. Just like the federal and state governments, NAR makes its money through membership dues. In a way, members are like taxpayers. The more members, the more money. So, to raise the bar for entry, to make it harder to be a  real estate agent—would decrease the total number of members nationwide. Thus, decreasing the revenues paid [by members] to the national, state and local associations.

    Does the government ever want fewer taxpayers?
    Neither does NAR!

    And the saddest part is, the leaders of the real estate industry preach to no end, “serve the consumer.” But then, by their actions, demonstrate their true intention [to line their pockets] by not making licensing requirements more stringent. And see, personally, I think it’s common sense. If you allow a cockroach infestation to exist, by doing nothing to eradicate the bugs, then by inaction you’re condoning the cockroaches, their filth and behavior, by allowing more to take root and multiply.

    This is why, for publishing articles like this, someone the other day called me, “The Voice against a broken industry.” Because unlike those who just talk about better-serving clients, I actually do. The book I authored, The Warren Buffett Approach To Sell Real Estate. A practical guide to protect yourself from REAL ESTATE GREED & bank an extra $30,000 in profit by taking a VALUE-DRIVEN APPROACH, is a testament to that. In fact, much of what is exposed in the D.A.N.G.E.R Report, I talk about in Chapter 1. But more important, unlike the D.A.N.G.E.R. Report, I also provide the solutions. I, frankly, couldn’t care less how brokers, NAR, the state and local associations, and the MLS is being [negatively] impacted, by their own doing, due to the inferior foundation they built when they chose to build on low morals, ethics and insatiable greed.

    You, the consumer—my readers—are my focus. Not them, nor their problems.

    If the real estate industry is truly “dog eat dog,” then I choose to be in the bunker with you. Leaving those in the ‘good ol’ boys club’ to fight amongst themselves. They deserve each other. They can lie and stab each other in the back. They can cheat and steal from one another. I want no part of it.

    Picture4

    As the report states, and I quote, “Professional, hardworking agents increasingly understand that the “not so good” agents are bringing the entire industry down.” There is much truth in that statement. The problem remains, though, there may still be more of them—the “not so good” ones—than there are of us. So, despite articles like this, publishing the truth and fighting the status quo to protect clients, consumers must still do their due diligence. If you’d like a complete copy of the 160-page D.A.N.G.E.R Report, just holler. I’ll provide you one, along with, if you’d like, a complimentary copy of my book, as a blueprint to a greater return on your investment.

     

     

     

  • Self Doubt, Determination, and Sores – What a 100 Mile Bike Ride Taught Me about Getting Clients the Most Profit Possible

    Self Doubt, Determination, and Sores – What a 100 Mile Bike Ride Taught Me about Getting Clients the Most Profit Possible

    Picture6

    I was riddled with self-doubt.  I can’t do it!  Make the trek from Key Largo to Key West on a bicycle!  When our friends proposed the idea, I thought they were crazy…

    Friday Happy Hour is a tradition.  I slip into the Adirondack chair.   I feel the breeze coming off the river across the street, the sound of the palm trees swaying in the wind.  I can smell the oaky flavored wine as I take my first sip. My body immediately relaxes and sinks further into the chair.  Sean is next to me, sipping on an ice cold beer.  The phone rings, the high pitched ring of face time.  Our tradition with friends, Scott and Laura.  Their faces appear on the screen, cheers everyone!  I take a second sip of wine, my muscles relax.

    Five minutes into our happy hour conversation I jump off the chair.  Muscles tensed, pacing back and forth.

    “Are you crazy?”  “There is no way we can do that!”   “I’m not strong enough.”  “We only have four months to prepare!”

    The excuses, the doubts flooded my head. I didn’t think I could pull it off. But we trained and we trained.  Then one day my mind shifted.  I’m not sure what happened that day, but self-doubt turned to sheer determination.  I am going to do this!  I will not quit!  A decision that allowed me to have one of the most incredible journeys of my life.

    The Florida Keys has the most beautiful ocean water.  I love the smell of the salt water.  I love the sun beating down on me.  The high humidity causes beads of sweat to run down my back.  The 15 mph wind slams me in the face as I push down hard on the peddles to reach the top of the 12th of the 42 bridges I have to cross.  The bicycle I am riding makes it over the top and I begin coasting down the other half of the bridge, the gorgeous aquamarine blue ocean water to my right, cars andtrucks and RV’s with huge side mirrors, just missing my head, race by me on my left.

    Have you ever been to the Keys?  The 113 mile ride on US 1 is the most breathtaking ride you can ever take. Do it! Take the ride however you like, car, motorcycle, bike – just do it!

    Riding 113 miles on a bike doesn’t come without pain.  You develop sores in places you can’t even imagine!  Just dismounting our bikes at the Southernmost Point to snap this picture was difficult.  Our legs wobbled.  Backs ached.  We swayed back and forth a bit until we regained our walking ability. Despite the pain, we made it.

    Now a days, Sean and I take a 24 mile bike ride for pleasure.  Just the other day we rode from the Sanibel light house to blind pass.  Have you heard of Blind Pass?  The bridge between Sanibel and Captiva?  A few days prior to our ride it became famous.  A fisherman in a kayak caught a 522 pound fish, yes 522 pounds! Right at the bridge.  The whole thing was caught on video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6gQbJiSGNA. Fisherman or not, take a pause in reading this to go watch it, it is amazing.

    Sipping water and taking a short break from our ride we stood on the bridge at blind pass looking into the crystal clear water.  The aqua marine color reminded me of the keys, the ride, and the lessons I learned.

    Going through periods of self-doubt and painful training, really gave me a better understanding of what it is like for our clients selling their homes.

    It would be great to work only with completely confident sellers. But let’s face it.  It is stressful to sell your home.  In most cases it is the  biggest investment you have.  Many clients are naturally consumed with self-doubt.

    The 100 mile bike ride taught me that with enough encouragement, self doubt will turn into determination.  We encourage our clients to read the approach taught in The Warren Buffett Approach to Sell Real Estate. When they read it you can see their self-doubt turn into sheer determination.

    The ride also taught me that training will bring me a big reward.  Like doing the necessary repairs, cleaning and staging of a home, will bring a big reward.  For the bike ride it was the journey, and for our clients it is the extra profit.

    Going on the 100 mile bike ride the same day, or even the same week we first thought about it would have been disastrous.  We weren’t ready.  We would not have made it.  We had to train.  And we had to train for 4 months.  Had we tried the ride without the proper training we may have given up or quit.  Or at best we would have made it part of the way. But we would have never made it all the way to the end, the ultimate destination – the Southernmost Point.

    It’s the same for selling your home.  Listing your home the first day or week you think about it usually brings disastrous results.  The home has to be prepared, repairs made, fresh paint, landscaping trimmed, the interior staged and thoroughly cleaned.  To put your home on the market without preparing will get you inferior results.  The results will be frustrating, causing you to quit and take it off the market.  Or worse, settle for a lower sales price and less profit.  Without proper preparation, you will not make it all the way to the ultimate reward – The Most Profit Possible!

    Winners never quit.  Quitters never win.  We love that saying, we live by that saying, and we form our business practices and relationships around it.  Our clients are winners!  We never quit.  They never quit.  And by taking The Warren Buffett Approach to Sell Real Estate, our clients are able to extract up to an extra $30,000 profit from the sale of their home.

    To learn how to extract up to an extra $30,000 profit from the sale of your home, go to: www.YourFreeBookforCharity.com.

     

     

     

  • WHAT!?! ZILLOW IS WRONG!?!

    NewsletterBatman

    WHAT!?!
    Zillow’s Much Talked About & Famous Home Value Estmates-known as Zestimates—Are Incorrect & Inaccurate? This is Brand New* Information…

    *Yes, sarcasm intended.

    When something is popular, it is hard to convince people “that popular thing” could be wrong. After all, “everyone is doing it.” And, “everyone” believes in it. Hopefully, knowing what you know about the masses, peer pressure, especially if you are a contrarian, you see how this Zillow’s “popularity” could be misconstrued for accuracy. In fact, according to the LA Times, “When ‘CBS This Morning’ co-host Norah O’Donnell asked the CEO of Zillow about the accuracy of the websites automated (red flag: automated) property value estimates—known as Zestimates—she touched on one of the most sensitive perception gaps in American real estate.

    First off, it’s only “sensitive,” her question, because there is the perception (by the mass number of homeowners) that Zestimates are an accurate and legitimate means to determine a homeowners’ property valuation and it is not. So now, Mrs. O’Donnell’s question becomes, not a question, but an expose. In essence, “What do you mean Zestimates are not accurate? Zillow is the most popular online real estate information site in the world. It’s been billed as the most comprehensive real estate information site too. Buyers and sellers depend on Zillow to make smart and informed decisions. Now you’re telling me, and everyone else in America, Mr. CEO, that your Zestimates are not accurate and may in fact be wrong by vast margins?”

    “We believed, we (the pubic) could trust Zillow, and now you’re telling us that we can’t. So what’s the real truth?”

    Here’s what Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff had to say, they’re “a good starting point” but that nationwide… Zestimates have a “median error rate” of about 8%. Again, you have to pay attention to certain words and phrases to accurately decipher, 1) starting point, 2) median and, 3) error rate. Let’s start with the first. “Starting point.” Translated, you should not depend on this information outright. You should not make any critical decisions based on this information. At best, Zestimates are a starting point. At worst, could be terribly misleading.
    And yet many homeowners, according to the article, take Zestimates “as gospel.” Often quoting them as justification for making a low offer when buying a home, or when listing a home for sale, to justify a price that is far beyond the home’s actual value.

    What most consumer’s don’t understand, though, something I’ve said repeatedly, is that Zestimates for Zillow are nothing more than a marketing ploy to generate leads for real estate agents. This is how Zillow makes its money.

    According to a recent Inman News column, Zillow collects money from 57,000 real estate agents nationwide.
    In other words, when a homeowner visits Zillow.com and submits their property information, it’s this information that is used to determine which real estate agent in Zillow’s database, that has paid to advertise on Zillow, is displayed and recommended to you.

    So to say Zillow is a consumer-focused site, when they’re in bed with real estate agents and agents are their paying customers, is likely a stretch, perhaps even dishonest.

    The second point of question, that a homeowner must consider, is the “median error rate.” Nationwide, CEO Rascoff admitted it is about 8%. But what is omitted from that statement is the fact that, in one part of the country error rates could be as high as 40%, while in others maybe only 2%. Said differently, locally, for your property and specific situation, you have no clue how accurate or inaccurate Zillow’s Zestimates really are without digging in and doing a lot more research. According to the LA Times article:

    “So what do you do now that you’ve got the scoop on Zestimate accuracy? Most important, take Rascoff’s advice: Look at them as no more than starting point in pricing discussions with the real authorities on local real estate values—experienced agents and appraisers. Zestimates are hardly gospel—often far from it.

    All that being said though, the real tragedy here is the inferior approach.

    Zestimates, the reason they are so inaccurate is because they depend too heavily on the data of other comparable sales. They only take into account the most basic information.

    This is one of the fundamental mistakes that we talk about in our book, “The Warren Buffett Approach To Sell Real Estate: A Practical Guide To Protect Yourself From REAL ESTATE GREED & Bank An Extra $30,000 by Taking A VALUE-DRIVEN APPROACH.
    To be fair, in some cookie-cutter neighborhoods, that “price-driven” approach used by Zillow and most agents, just looking at recent home sales and finding the average can be effective. But more often it is used, not because it is the most comprehensive approach, but because it is the easiest, quickest and simplest. And frankly, this inferior price-driven approach (oppose to the more comprehensive value-driven approach) doesn’t require that the person or company doing the valuation have much knowledge about the actual home.

    Nor does it require much knowledge (from the agent or Zillow) about the actual building or construction

    process, or about how different materials, upgrades, layouts, etc. can positively or negatively impact the functional value of a specific property.

    Think of it this way, if one house has a standard kitchen and yours has an upgraded kitchen, how does

    Zillow know? Or what about the smell of cat urine or cigarette smoke? How does Zillow know? Or what about tile vs. marble vs. travertine? Or what about seller concessions built into the final sales price resulting in, technically, inaccurate data. How does Zillow know about that? Or what if the property was sold to a son or daughter, by their parents, at a price significantly reduced from market value? Or what if the home was sold as part of a financial hardship, resulting in a below-market sale?

    My point is, the price-driven approach used by Zillow, where the Zestimate is based entirely on the data that can be found by a computer, and in public records, is not an accurate or comprehensive analysis.

    From pages 54 and 55 in our book, here is what homeowners must understand before they begin the process of determining their home’s true market value:
    Price is what it is, but value can be manipulated. Value is what dictates price and determines what someone is willing to pay for a certain product, service, or in this case, your home. By manipulating value, as long as it’s done correctly, a good agent can substantially increase the profit of a home sale.
    The technical name for Warren Buffett’s investment style is Value-Driven Investing. As a value-driven investor, he will pay more for a company’s stock if he perceives it to be a good value. If he doesn’t perceive the value to be strong enough, but still feels he can make something of that value, he’ll pay less.
    This introduces a very important point, to be successful, one must understand this element to Buffett’s investment style: Not all companies are the same. Just because two companies both rent furniture, for example, does not mean those two companies are the same. It does not mean both companies have the same value. It does not mean their stock will sell for the same price.
    Buffett might buy one company’s stock for $30 a share, but for the other company, he might pay $40 a share.
    Why pay the higher price for Company B, when Company B does the exact same thing as Company A? Because they’re not the same company and the value of Company B, unlike Company A, supports the investment and the higher price point.
    Maybe Company B has a better marketing system for acquiring new clientele, a better management system, or a stronger sales department. Maybe their operation procedure is more efficient, or is run by a world-class leader, a CEO like Lee Iacocca when he was at the head of Chrysler.
    The point is that Buffett invests his money based on value. If the value is there, he’ll pay more for a company’s stock. If not, he won’t.

    So, bringing this back to my point…

    If you want buyers to buy your home, your investment, at a higher price point, meaning, put more of their money into the “stock” of your company, your home, then it’s simple: You must manipulate the value of your home (in a positive manner) to justify that higher price point. And sorry, but Zillow’s Zestimates, as good of a marketing ploy that they are, they are not capable of showing any homeowner how to do that.
    Therefore, by the smartest homeowners, those committed to increasing value and maximizing return, they should be ignored. In reality, Zestimates are of little value to the consumer, and in many cases, the false information provided can have detrimental impact to buyers and sellers.

  • BEWARE!!! Unethical Agents

    BEWARE!!!

    Unethical Agents are all around you and you may not even know it!

    Right here in Fort Myers!

    Several weeks ago one of our sellers called us to ask if we would withdraw their listing from the MLS.

    We knew the history…they bought a home in Sarasota and were dreaming of moving there as soon as “Carol” retired at the end of 2015.  They visit their dream home on the weekends and come back to Fort Myers so Carol can finish out her last year.  “John” was already retired.  Shortly after listing their home with us, John got severely ill and was diagnosed with cancer.  He became quite ill and it became more and more difficult to show their home to prospective buyers.  Carol and Sean talked about it and they decided that they would withdraw the listing for several months. They were hoping things would be better and they could concentrate on showing their home and getting it sold at that time.

    What in the world is a withdrawn listing?

     When a listing is withdrawn the seller is still under contract with the broker.  It is just a way for the showings to stop.

    Several days after the listing was withdrawn Sean received a phone call from another agent asking Sean to terminate “Carol and Johns” listing.  When Sean asked why, the agent said,

    “because I am going to list it.”

    Unbelievable!!

     This is is a direct violation of the CODE OF ETHICS.  As REALTORS® we are forbidden to initiate contact with clients who are in a binding contract with another brokerage (ie a Listing Contract).  Sean was furious!

    Of course this is not the first time an agent contacted one of our sellers to try to steal our listing.

    Sean called the agent back and asked him how he came into contact with our Sellers.  The agent could tell Sean was pissed.  This agent actually went on to brag that he got the listing and Sean lost it.  WOW!!!! 

    This agent was bragging about being unethical!  He was proud of himself!

    Na..Na..NaNaNa!!  I took your listing!! It’s as if he thinks he is above the law!

    Now we know that the Code of Ethics is not the same as breaking the law, but it is the one thing that we as REALTORS® have to use to as a means of keeping us in line.  The worst part of it is—it is self-governed.  So if one agent is unethical another agent would have to go through the “hassle” of filing a complaint, providing proof, and then attend a hearing.  All that for what?  A little slap on the wrist?  A warning?  So the ethical agent now spends hours and hours going after the unethical agent so that the “unethical” can  get gently slapped on the wrist!

    Public Beware—

    And now to make matters worse, even if the unethical agent is found guilty, some of the states associations are rallying and saying that this information needs to be kept from the public!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Why?  Because we certainly don’t want to embarrass the unethical agent, he/she has a right to privacy!!  Un be freaking leavable!! (Don’t worry I know those are not words, but it was the nicest way I could figure out how to write my opinion).

    Question of the Day—

    What about the rights of the unknowing, unsuspecting buyers and sellers out there? Doesn’t the consumer have the right to know if the agent they want to work with or are working with have committed violations?  Who as REALTORS® are we supposed to be advocates for?  Ourselves or our customers?  We take an oath that says we have fiduciary responsibilities to our clients.  In fact this oath is written by the state.  So then why, if someone breaks that fiduciary responsibility, does the state want to protect them and keep it quiet?

    No wonder this industry is so screwed up!!  For the first time in our Real Estate careers, we have decided to file an ethics complaint.  This sort of behavior goes on, no action is taken, and it is hidden from the public.  We have come to realize that the behavior needs to have consequences and the public needs to be protected.  Someone has to take a stand, and we are rising to the occasion.  This story is to be continued…

     

  • The Housing Market Has Hit Bottom, Now What?

    In June, headlines were all over the National Newspapers stating that according to economists the housing market has hit bottom, including Fort Myers, Florida!

    That’s great news, now what do we do? Well with the interest rates near record lows, and housing prices at their low, isn’t it obvious? BUY, BUY, BUY!!

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