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FSBO Website

Great Article by Michel Friedman posted on REM website

Years ago, when our industry was managed by the provincial ministry, I was broker of record of my own company and I contemplated starting my own real estate for sale by owner (FSBO) website.

I quickly realized when developing my marketing strategies for that website that I may be in conflict with real estate rules and regulations, so I decided not to go ahead with the site. Years later, with popularity of the Internet, FSBO websites thrive. They are cheered by the public, they win professional marketing awards, they win provincial business awards, they sell franchises and in the latest marketing gimmick, they “associate” themselves with Realtors who “help” put properties on MLS.

I have examined a couple of popular websites that market in Ontario, I also looked at the “association” they have with “real” Realtors. And as a Realtor, I find some of the things they say and do unsettling.

Consider this: Instead of this huge website offering the help of a Realtor, think the other way – A Realtor hiring a FSBO website company to assist the Realtor to get business. That makes the FSBO company an unlicensed assistant, does it not?

So, if the FSBO website is acting as unlicensed assistant, procuring listings for a Realtor to put on MLS, how can this be allowed?

Here are some issues and concerns that I found on some FSBO websites.

Site “A”: 1. When a property is sold privately, the company puts a sold sign on the property, giving the impression that they sold the property and not the seller privately, thus misleading the public to think that they are a real estate company.

2. The website states that Realtors charge “usually five per cent or six per cent commissions” and says, “Paying five per cent or six per cent of the sale price is traditional for real estate agents.”  I held senior positions in several real estate companies in the GTA and had access to thousands of listing agreements, and I can tell you, this is not the case. Again, the site is misleading the public and scaring them off Realtors.

3. They claim on the site that they “Teach people how to sell their home” and that they are “local experts”. What credentials and education do they have to make these claims?

4. Quote from a website: “If saving money makes you sick to your stomach, we’d recommend an agent.” This is slanderous and is not tolerated in our profession, but apparently it is okay when you are dealing in real estate without a license. By the way, this company is now proud to claim that they are “associated” with “agents”.

5. As part of their assistance they state:  “Sellers will price their home similar to others…” This will be done (I am assuming) with the assistance of their “experts”. Clearly a badly executed C.M.A (no “solds” to compare) done by non-professional, unauthorized people.

6. “We can help you get on realtor.ca”. It’s clear to me that this is solicitation to list properties to sell – not allowed by non-licensed individuals or companies.

7.  The site uses expressions like “relisting costs” and “sale consultation”, giving the public the impression they are dealing with a “legitimate” licensed Realtor.

Site “B”: 1. The site claims they offer “ALL the tools and professional assistance you need to sell your home.” Really? Do they even know what all the tools are? Do they know the difference between professional assistance, which is based on a lot of education, and amateur limited knowledge and limited resources from non-licensed help?

2. They will (according to them) also provide: Ongoing support to take you through the sales process.” They will also provide “the complete set of tools to determine the right price.”

3. They claim they have 235 “sales representatives”. Are any of them licensed? Are any of them authorized and educated to help determine the right price (market value)? Is the public not being misled when they see “sales representative” beside a name, giving the impression they are dealing with a Realtor?

4. In a paragraph titled “Why choose us”, this website is bragging that so many thousands of homes are “sold through us”. Is this not trading in real estate without a license?  What if a licensed Realtor put out a statement like that if his license expired for just one day? How long before the provincial regulator issues a warning to this person about the consequences of dealing in real estate without a license?

5. A mention is made to an “association” with a “real” Realtor and that for an extra fee, your listing will appear on MLS. I have gone on this website asking for information about selling my house with the “help” of a Realtor. I found out the Realtor is in Ottawa (I live in the GTA). I did not take it any further.

Will that Realtor come to Toronto to meet sellers and  “I.D” them? View the house? Measure the house? Ask the sellers pertinent questions? Check for visible deficiencies?

My guess is no.

Is this the spirit and the intent of the due diligence laws and of provincial regulations in regards to listing a property? Am I missing something here? Have the rules changed?

Michel Friedman

Michel Friedman

Or does our real estate license not mean anything anymore to our licensing authorities?

Is the public only being protected from us (licensed Realtors)?  If you are not licensed, you are free to make the claims above? Help me out here!

Michel Friedman

Broker of Record

Orange Square Realty

Toronto

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Posted by on January 16, 2013 in Condominiums

 

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Want to be more innovative? Don’t watch the news.

Want to be more innovative? Don’t watch the news.

Some of the most creative people I know decided long ago not to watch TV news. I used to find their decision curious. This past week, I decided it was brilliant.

After a few minutes of tears on Friday, I decided that watching sensationalized news for more than a few seconds violates my commitment to remain boyishly optimistic. My decision was reinforced over the weekend. Every time I surfed past a news channel, I immediately felt the optimism being sucked out of me. Bickering politicians arguing about metaphoric cliffs, sordid details of kids being gunned down, and smarty-pants journalists deeply committed to forcing each and every issue under the left and right lens threatened to squash the ideals of the most committed optimists.Enough.

Einstein said, “The most important decision a man will ever make is whether he lives in a friendly universe.”

Since I spend my days with people committed to changing the world, I can tell you that Einstein’s words are fundamental to entrepreneurship and innovation. Great leaders believe they live in a friendly universe. They believe the world is conspiring to make it successful. What about you? If not, perhaps you’re watching too much news.

Years ago, I heard a wonderful story about two shoe salesmen. As the story goes, they were both sent to a third world country—at the time, probably China—to sell shoes. After a couple of weeks, the sales manager calls the first salesperson and asks for a progress report. “It’s terrible over here. Nobody wears shoes!” reports salesperson number one.

But the second salesperson’s report is completely different. He says, “It is unbelievable over here. Everybody NEEDS shoes!”

People who believe they live in a friendly universe are looking for opportunity at every turn. People who believe they live in an unfriendly universe look to be persecuted. They live in fear, and fear is the enemy of creativity.

There is goodness all around if you are looking for it. You may notice that people are living almost twice as long as they did 200 years ago. You may notice that there are tens of millions of children being equipped with education and information never before available to them. You may notice the power and availability of technology to change the world—for good or evil, depending on the lens we choose to create.

This is not a media-bashing piece. News directors have made a choice that is totally understandable in our capitalistic system. They want to attract as many people as they can so they can get the most money possible for the commercials that run within their broadcasts. And so, as every young reporter is told from day one, “if it bleeds, it leads,” meaning the bigger the tragedy the bigger play the story will receive.

I understand their choice. I simply think it is wrong. More important, I am aware of the negative effect it has on my friends and me. And so, with this awareness comes choice; and I choose to ride the remote when misery makes money.

Here’s a question I’d like to end with. Is our media helping to create a country of optimistic believers or fearful nonbelievers?

I think you can answer that question with another. Would you let your 7-year-old watch the news? If the answer is “no,” then perhaps you should opt out for the same reason.

We need people who believe that they can change the world. At age seven, I bet you thought you could change the world. I’ve got news for you. You still can.

Source: Forbes (Mike Maddock, Contributor)

 

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2012 in Media, News

 

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