experts: real estate column Monday, February 15, 1999


When in doubt for a column topic, to follow the David Letterman success formula, reach into the mailbag or do a top ten list.

By Marty Douglas

When in doubt for a column topic, to follow the David Letterman success formula, reach into the mailbag or do a top ten list. Since numbers and I do not cohabit, first we'll look at what the fax machine has recently disgorged.

The one hot topic in the last six columns has been agency. Since I received comments from all sides of the debate, captious and laudatory, I must have been pretty much on target. At least in identifying agency as "the issue" in Canadian real estate as we scoot into the millennium.

"I hope you will continue to speak out on the agency issue. If the industry has an Achilles heel, and I believe it does, that fatal flaw is our lack of understanding or caring about our agency relationships." writes Pat Moore from the West Coast.

Ray Anderson, a broker in Auburn, California, wrote "Your article is great. May I use it on paper or a page on my website?" California? How did REM get that far south? Turns out an emailer named Chris Newell ( sent the whole article over his network with this introduction, "In the December issue of REM (a Cdn real estate rag), there is a great article on Agency. It gave me a chuckle and I used it on some of the reluctant ones in the office who can't seem to grasp the fact that these laws aren't new." The reference to REM is meant, I'm sure, as a compliment.

Al Majauskas, criticizing RECO's proposal for assumed buyer agency, strikes a familiar note, "It's as if we're drawing up our own versions of agency law. How can we continue to practice real estate like this? . . . Mandatory buyer agency agreements are the only way to represent the buyer."

Gary -"There's a conspiracy around here somewhere!"- Robinson insists "that Realtors generally know not what they do and have escaped unscathed primarily because of the 'industry's' monopoly position." He then suggests that in my sleeping moments, I sustain my "long standing dream of finally controlling purchasers as well as sellers."

Little does Gary know . . . . let's just leave it at that. Actually, my goal is to control the FSBO market, those fifteen percent or less of the market who do not use organized real estate to buy or sell. Actually, I don't need to do their deals, they could just send me the money. Sort of like the government's tax plan - something for nothing. I'm just kidding. About the FSBO market.

Joe Van Bergen, from the left side of Vancouver Island, enjoyed the positive tone of a column on BC's other economy, the one never in the news because it is actually getting results. "Excellent upbeat article . . . Would you allow me to send it to our Alberni Valley Times newspaper for reproduction?"

Dave Verwoerd in the Fraser Valley town of Abbotsford added "Just wanted to say what a refreshing article you wrote in the recent issue of REM . . . . other Realtors across Canada will see . . . . we're not all washed up in BC . . . . let's make the best of it and be good news ambassadors."

And every time I ask for a raise, REM's editor Jim Adair shows me a letter from Louis Pereira "I appreciate the high caliber of your writing, your keen analysis of current events and fact situations, the incisiveness of your wording, and, of course your wit. . . . you are the best and most interesting writer in REM." Thank you Louis. Please return the affidavit avowing we are not related by blood or employment.

Finally, the top ten reasons I didn't quote from those holding opposing points of view on my writing skills:

10. lost in the mail
9. way too wordy
8. filled with unprintable language
7. addressed to someone named "Idiot"
6. missed the Christmas mailing deadline
5. recognized my mother's handwriting
4. my therapist says I should avoid reality
3. they're wrong
2. insufficient postage, and,
the number one reason there are no negative quotes - it's my column.


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Recent Articles by this columnist:

Surviving in a slower market
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The downside of teams
Saturday, October 02, 2010

Thank you, FINTRAC
Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Snapshot of Alberta
Thursday, January 03, 2008

No song and dance for weighty housing issues
Monday, October 29, 2007

All articles by Marty Douglas

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