more bad / agent

and we wonder why the public holds us in such … esteem
Real estate agents get a lot of bad press. I sometimes think that one reason that is true in Manhattan is that so many people have their first experience with a real estate agent when they rent an apartment, and rental agents are (in the view of some) more prone to advertise apartments that don’t exist, more likely to imply they have the renter’s best interests in mind (though they represent the landlord), and are more often the source of complaints to the Department of State.
More than agents who handle sales, I mean. But it ain’t necessarily so. And REBNY ain’t necessarily able to be ethics cop.
the case of the missing listing
I recently had a client I had been working with for a while send me a link to a listing. We worked together long enough for me to be confident I knew what they wanted as far as price, size, light, finishes, amenities – at least 8.5 of 9 yards. So when they sent me the link I wondered if I had missed something. (It bothers me if someone I am working with finds something of interest I have not sent them.)
I was confident enough to reply that I would find out about the listing, but that I believed it was either bogus or a new development not found in our inter-firm data base.
When I reached the agent on his cell phone, he explained that it was a listing that ‘had just gone into contract’ at a building I knew had its own in-house sales staff. In other words, it was – at best – an ‘open listing’ that he could have brought buyers to, if only it was not in contract.
Lots of firms permit agents to advertise open listings in order to attract buyers who might be persuaded to buy something else. Not my way to do business, but nothing too wrong with that if done right. An expensive way to attract buyers, but that is the firms’ decision.
But this one bugged me because it appeared to me (and perhaps to my clients) that I may have missed something that they could have bought that suited them.
So I checked the past listing data for that building.
can you spell bait-and-switch?
Turns out the ad was for (a) a 29th floor unit with terrace in a 40-story building (not a “penthouse”) (b) in a former office building (not a “warehouse”), (c) the asking price was $300k more than the ad said (although it actually did close at close to the ad’s price, and the common charges were very close).
If this sounds like quibbling about a February 2007 web ad, consider that the unit closed on August 8, 2006. Oops – forgot to pull the ad.
In other words, they advertised an apartment for sale that had been unavailable for half a year because somebody else bought it.
Just in case I mis-understood the guy on the phone – and somehow found an eerily parallel listing that had closed – I sent him an email asking if I had the facts straight. That was 2 weeks ago, so I don’t think I made any mistake.
And the ad is no longer on
One small step for mankind….
© Sandy Mattingly 2007
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