Commission estate agent valuations are often like free cheese – their quality can be dubious, and they’re usually on offer for other reasons. And there’s that recurring real estate industry problem of the conflict of interests.
A Taste Of “Free” Cheese
This internet service advertises to consumers who want to know the “price” of their home, and offers:
“Simple, FREE comparable house prices over the net in three easy steps. You will receive information on what comparable homes have sold for in your neighbourhood recently… Totally FREE.”
But the service is described differently to commission estate agents. By clicking on a small link titled “agent info”, access could be gained to the following information:
Here’s How Any Real Estate
Agent Can Trade-InTheir
80-Hour-A-Week Job, and instead …
Work Only 25 Hours A Week
Sitting On Their Bum (At Home
Or On Holiday) … And Still Pull In
$200,000-$300,000 A Year
– no hassle at all.
What’s more, you are the only agent in your area that they have given this exclusive information to. They have contacted YOU for one reason only…
… You were smarter than the agent down the road because you put into action a KILLER lead-generation system that delivers bucket-loads of leads for little cost or effort”
“At this stage, generally their only loyalty is to the best promotion or offer – not to you. And so it is critically important to get past their defences the passive way. Marketing by stealth, you might call it.”
“Without doubt, the most profitable, turn-key, lead-generating system for real estate agents in Australia … if not the world. Designed by a real estate agent FOR real estate agents”
“Here’s how it works: This unique lead-generation system is the starting point for all Aussies and Kiwi’s thinking about selling their home. It connects prospective home sellers directly with YOU. And upon joining this amazing program, you get EXCLUSIVE access to your chosen postcodes. So that you can dominate your area, and the leads are solely yours. Isn’t that a good little concept? No competition.
Imagine that the webpage at Whatpricemyhouse.com.au is your huge lead-generation funnel.
A funnel that potential home sellers from all around Australia and New Zealand come through. And once any of those people (from your chosen postcodes) identify themselves for a FREE evaluation of their home, their details are forwarded directly to you…
Once they leave their details, you simply send them a Comparable Properties Form.
And it doesn’t cost you a thing, because it’s all done electronically.
In return you have their full details with which to follow-up. What a gift!
But you may be wondering… “How do these people find the site in the first place?”
Good question. And there are many ways this happens. Firstly,we know that more and more people are turning to the internet to obtain information about selling their home. And when they do, we have implemented some cunning search engine techniques that lead the majority of prospects to Whatpricemyhouse.com.au”
The website carries a disclaimer, stating “the information on this site should never be relied on as a basis for doing or failing to do something.” The site also confirms in its FAQ section that a valuation is the role of a “registered valuer”.
The lesson taught to consumers by Whatpricemyhouse.com.au is quite obvious: There’s always free cheese in the mousetrap.
Baiting Consumers For The “Listing”
The commission estate agent provides the “FREE appraisal“, tells the vendor that the property will fetch more than the vendor ever believed possible, then has the vendor sign an Exclusive Sale Authority which states that the vendor will pay the commission estate agent a proportion of the value of the property if the property sells for the amount quoted or for a lower amount if the vendor is prepared to accept a lower amount.
It then happens that the market “falls” or “deflates” or “softens”, and the commission estate agent is there to advise the vendor of this. The vendor is told that she really should consider accepting a lower amount. What lower amount should the vendor accept? The commission estate agent has the answer in the form of a fresh (free-of-charge) “appraisal“.
(Perhaps it’s time to have another quick look at that term “conflict of interests“.)