experts: real estate column Thursday, August 01, 2002

Advertising other brokers' listings

Reader's comments on a recent column - advertising other brokers' listings.

By Marty Douglas

As published in REM - independent news and opinion for Canada's real estate industry.

After nine years (seems like a decade to me too) I am forgoing my annual letter to the Minister of Finance. For two reasons. I rather liked the sound of "Dear Paul" - a bit like writing to a disciple. "Dear John" has an unnatural ring to it, reminding me of the calls a manager gets from time to time from sales staff, "Nothing personal Marty, but I've decided to make a change."

For those of you who are new to REM or have lost whatever short term memory you had before the last toke, I wrote to the Minister of Finance each year at the time I sent in my annual rent for living in Canada. This leads to the second reason for canceling my correspondence. I have had only one reply in nine years, the year I sent in the most money. As anyone who has been in real estate since 1993 knows, remittances have declined to the point where my total income tax last year wouldn't be a good pot at a jackpot bingo.

However, as St. Paul's Epistles segue to the Gospel of St. John, I thought - why draw attention to myself in a year where real estate fortunes appear to have turned, management bonuses look enviable, and taxation rates are low(er). And that left me one brick short of a column and a looming deadline.

So I did what any self-respecting columnist does - let readers take over with your pithy - the most acceptable of the excrement euphemisms - comments on a recent column - advertising other brokers' listings:

"From your generally good insight and wisdom I'm really quite surprised you didn't see this one coming? What an ugly, stinky, can of worms to open!? And, perhaps, before you know it we can even have every Vendor demand that each and every MLS Member Office be compelled to advertise each and every single listing in each and every single media available to us around the world -- or be Charged with "restricting marketing opportunities"....And why not? Think about it!"

"Just a comment on your article. I agree with you. I used to own a small independent company with a mall kiosk. My company never used to have enough listings to fill the feature space so I used MLS Listings. They always had the Listing Company named in the feature sheet. It got to be more hassle than it was worth so I stopped doing it. It never was a vendor that minded. Quite often they would stop by the Kiosk and were very happy to see their listing up even if they were listed with another company."

"If they enforced the ruling they would have to shut down 75% of all websites. If you can't frame, why the hell would any sane agent place the mls.ca link on their site. "

"Every year I spend thousands of dollars advertising to build my business. I advertise to sell properties, I advertise to get listings and I advertise to image build. I spend my money, not my client's to do this. When a client hires me to sell his property, he puts me in charge of the advertising and marketing. He hires my business to do this. While my client is entitled to his rights, my business has rights as well and I do not want anyone to be confused about that. When I get a lot of listings it says to future clients that a lot of people have confidence in my business. If someone else is advertising my listings and my name happens to be in small print at the bottom it will definitely confuse that edge that that my business worked hard to get."

"I agree....why not have others advertise my listings ... seems like I could cover more exposure without the cost. What I tend to do in this case is suggest to the vendor that we allow others to advertise with the consent of the Listing agent and have the ad copy approved by the Listing agent. Again why not.

"If the Listing agent has the control; then why not get the coverage for additional coverage for FREE. AND it may allow the vendor to get his property sold faster. We have to address the issue of ....do we do the best we can for the vendor and get the best price and terms or are we so self-centred as agents and brokers that we want to do everything ourselves and pay for everything. I do not think any of this is a legal issue so much as maintaining proprietary information."

"The vendor, purchaser and the real estate professional are all better served if there is only one COMPLETE source of information rather than a million little web sites of bits and pieces of information. Improve the MLS web site if not satisfied but do not tear it down or fragment its information base. If real estate agents were intelligent they would realize that they are paying a lot of money each month for duplicating what already exists just to boost their own ego or image or one up man ship to the public."

"I'm a very small operator ... A one person show ... but I've had requests from the BIG GUYS to allow them to advertise my Listings, which I denied. If they are such a great number-one as their T.V. and paper ads proclaim why should they need to infringe on my territory??? It's sure as hell not to help me. I can assure you that! It's strictly for their own agenda ... To then tell the world (Public/Sellers) that they are so BIG and IMPORTANT that they even came to the rescue of such little people like you and me ... Give me, and/or yourself, a break ... Please!"

"If another broker wishes to advertise my listing, great! Just send me a copy so that I can show the vendor how professionals work together. Isn't that the idea behind the agency? Funny that as children we are encouraged to share our toys, yet when we become adults the tendency is to hide them so that no one can play."

So endeth the lesson.

Marty Douglas is the sales manager for Coast Realty Group (Comox Valley) Ltd., one of nine Coast Realty Group offices on Vancouver Island. He is a past Chair of the Real Estate Errors and Omissions Corporation of BC, the Real Estate Council of BC, the BC Real Estate Association and the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. email mdouglas@island.net 1-800-715-3999 fax 250-897-3933




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