Thirteen years, four months, and two thousand six hundred eighty-nine blog posts…
And after all this time, often the content comes directly to me.
Whether it’s an agent working in the GTA, or a loyal blog reader, or a person I’ve never met in my life, every once in awhile, I get an email with a subject line reading, “For Your Blog.”
A lot of these are for the “MLS Musings,” as I often mention in these posts. Real estate agents love that feature and routinely submit their findings to me. I’ve received three so far this week alone.
Buyers working with other agents will often email me their stories of frustration, not necessarily with their agent (some do), but I feel as though they feel the experience wasn’t done justice unless they tell “that guy that writes the blog.”
So, thank you to all those who regularly keep in contact, or who have emailed me just that one time.
2,689 blog posts, and I always fear the day that I have nothing to write about!
Yesterday an agent sent me this screen-shot of her phone:
She said, “I read your post last year about discrimination in the rental market. Think this applies? :)”
Ah, yes. Yes it does.
And whether or not you, or I, or anybody would feel they have the right to choose their tenants based on some sort of potentially off-side criteria (some will argue that to discriminate is to discriminate, and not differentiate between racial discrimination and choosing not to rent to roommates…), can we all agree that it’s so incredibly stupid to put this in writing?
Don’t put anything in writing, ever!
Learn this phrase, “Thanks very much, but we’re going to go in another direction.”
Depending on which side of the fence you find yourself, you may or may not agree that the process for narrowing tenants is, at times, abusurd.
Did you know that you cannot “discriminate” against a person who makes $2,000 per month by concluding that he or she can’t afford an $1,800 per month condo?
From the 2018 CBC story I bookmarked in perpetuity: “What Are Landlords Allowed To Ask? Lawyers Weigh In”
It’s not legal for a landlord to apply any kind of rent-to-income ratio in considering a prospective tenant.
“You can check to see if they’ve got an income, and it is enough to pay the rent,” said Dantzer. “Just because I choose to rent an $800-a-month apartment and earn $1,000 a month shouldn’t exclude me from renting it. If I feel I can live on $200 a month, that’s my business. If they have enough money to cover the rent, they shouldn’t be excluded based on income alone.”
So if that’s how easy it is to be charged with discrimination (personally, I think the idea of ‘not being able to apply a ratio’ is asinine and irresponsible), then why would a real estate agent openly write a message to another agent saying that the landlord would consider partners but not roommates?
Because this real estate agent is a moron.
And this highlights today’s “don’t do” list.
I know that some of you are going to say, “There’s nothing wrong with this, so long as the agent received permission from the client to disclose his personal financial and employment situation.”
But I’m about 99.9% certain that’s not the case.
This is an example of agent doing something that he or she may feel needs to be done, in order to secure a deal, but almost certainly without clearing it with the client. What kind of a client would allow this? This goes beyond simply finding a tenant, or not. This is serious, personal information that is absolutely nobody’s business, let alone a slew of Toronto real estate agents (because if this was sent to one agent, it was likely sent to many).
I would be irate if I were this client.
How about a story from “the great beyond,” aka, the market north of the City of Toronto?
My colleague was making an offer on behalf of a buyer on a scheduled “offer night,” and emailed his Form-801 to the listing agent at 11:30am on the day of offers.
In that email, he asked, “Can you please tell me how many registered offers are on the property?”
He never received a response.
WIth offers scheduled for 7:00pm, this email was received at 6:58pm:
ATTACHED IS OUR BROKERAGE COMMUNICATION, PLS ACKNOWLEDGE AND RETURN
WE HAVE EIGHT (8) REGISTERED OFFERS FOR THIS PROPERTY.
THIS IS ALSO TO NOTIFY YOU THAT WE ARE REQUESTING FOR YOU TO KINDLY IMPROVE YOUR OFFER TO YOUR BEST AND FINAL OFFER AND RESEND.
IF YOU ARE IN THE TOP THREE (3) OFFERS AFTER THE SECOND ROUND, WE WILL CONTACT YOU DIRECTLY AND YOU WILL HAVE ONE MORE OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE. IF NOT WE APPRECIATE YOUR OFFER.
ONE (1) OFFER IS FROM OUR BROKERAGE; IF THIS OFFER IS ACCEPTED THERE WILL BE A 1.5% SAVINGS COMMISSION.
THANK YOU & GOOD LUCK!
First thing’s first: 6:58pm is a bad time for your first communication with cooperating buyer agents, and an even worse time to tell them there are EIGHT offers. The listing agent is not only failing to keep buyer agents informed, but is doing a massive disservice to the seller, since any offers submitted would likely reflect zero competing offers.
The second-to-last line about the reduction in commission was written in micro-font, which I can’t replicate on this blog because my HTML skills are lacking and I’m very tired tonight, but I digress. I love, love, love how they went out of their way to make that line smaller, even though it simply drew the eye there and essentially highlighted it, making it the first thing that readers saw in a massive block of ALL CAPS text.
But most importantly, did you notice the insane contradiction there?
“…IMPROVE YOUR OFFER TO YOUR BEST AND FINAL OFFER AND RESEND.”
“IF YOU ARE I THE TOP THREE (3) OFFERS AFTER THE SECOND ROUND, WE WILL CONTACT YOU DIRECTLY AND YOU WILL HAVE ONE MORE OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE.”
This is ridiculous.
They asked agents to send their “best and final.”
But then noted that they will be asked to improve.
Is this a simple case of cluelessness?
Or is this letting the cat out of the bag? Perhaps they didn’t mean to directly explain to buyer agents that they’d go back on their word, and screw them?
And what about “…IF NOT, WE APPRECIATE YOUR OFFER?”
Is this a way of saying, “If you don’t hear from us at all, take it to mean that you’ve lost?”
Because there’s no timeline here. If this is 7pm, then agents could conceivably be waiting until midnight. When does that agent conclude that the listing agent isn’t going to call?
It’s much, much simpler to just call the other five agents, which would take five minutes. Or text them, which would take two minutes.
Instead, the listing agent is taking the easiest, laziest, rudest way out, which will catch up with them one day. You’re only as good as your reputation in this business, and I don’t just mean with the public; I mean with how you choose to deal with cooperating agents.
Now, in case you didn’t notice, this email, sent at 6:58pm, after offers had been received, was already asking agents to improve their offers.
This is amazing, since some of the offers likely hadn’t been received yet, and this means that the listing agent was asking some agents to improve, before they’d seen all the offers, but was also asking those unseen offers to improve as well! Imagine that? The offer could have been for a billion dollars, and the agent was asking them to improve.
So guess what happened?
After the “second round,” which was actually the third, the listing agents didn’t accept any offers.
What did they do?
They emailed all eight agents a PDF filled with Comparable Sales.
Yes. The balls on these guys!
Receiving eight offers, and through three rounds of bidding, they had the audacity to conclude that the highest offer wasn’t high enough, and then hand-select comparable sales, some of which weren’t comparable, and email them to the agents in efforts to………..wait for it……………help.
HERE ARE THE COMPARABLE SALES WHICH YOU AND YOUR BUYERS MAY FIND HELPFUL.
How much do you think the property sold for in the end?
It was re-listed the next day, and has been on the market ever since.
The “don’t do” for this listing agent isn’t simply being greedy, but rather treating your cooperating agents like shit. This was a legitimate case of “biting the hand that feeds,” and it backfired spectacularly.
Last, but not least, I give you a very serious, almost criminal, “don’t do.”
A buyer agent booked a pre-closing visit on one of my listings last weekend, and it wasn’t confirmed.
We use BrokerBay, which is essentially fail-proof. Buyer agents don’t just get a page through their office, but rather an email from BrokerBay with a confirmation or non-confirmation, and it requires the buyer agent to sign a disclosure.
There’s nothing to be misunderstood here, FYI.
So when my client told me that he didn’t want anybody in the unit on Sunday, as he was planning a birthday surprise for his wife, he was horrified when the buyer agent showed up – outside of his non-confirmed appointment time, by the way, and showed the unit to his buyer.
“Not a big deal,” you might say. But it is.
It’s a question of integrity, as my client put it, and I don’t disagree.
This appointment was never confirmed. In fact, it was automatically non-confirmed by BrokerBay at 11:00am, the very second that the clock struck the requested time.
But the buyer agent never got that non-confirmation, as he had already snuck into the unit at 10:30am, well before his requested time.
How did he get in? Without a confirmation and with a lockbox code?
There was a key in an envelope, with the unit number, with somebody else’s name on the envelope.
The buyer agent may have found a concierge who didn’t know any better, and could have cared less, or, the buyer agent finessed his way up to the unit.
Either way, my seller was pissed. He had every right to be.
Call this a violation, call it a trespass, or call it “no big deal,” as some of you would.
But in sixteen years in this business, I have never entered a property for which I didn’t have a confirmation, outside of the requested appointment time, by taking a key from an envelope with a clearly-marked name on the outside that wasn’t mine.
That’s a solid “don’t do,” for those of you playing along at home.
Well, folks, this wasn’t the most glowingly-positive post, but sometimes I just write what’s on my mind.
It’s a tough market out there and many participants are taking liberties. Drop your guard for an instant, lose your focus, or allow frustration to boil over, and you can make a huge mistake.
Stories like this won’t be the last examples of carelessness and stupidity, but I think it’ll be the last ones I tell for a while.
Onwards and upwards, my friends!