First, let me state that I love this business. I wouldn’t have stayed in it for almost thirty years otherwise. But there are a few things about the real estate industry, and some of the practices employed by some firms, that really grind my gears. Number 47 on that list is managing brokers pressuring agents to get price reductions from their seller clients. Sure, if a home has languished on the market, a price reduction may be a necessary move. But if it’s all in the name of generating cash flow for the brokerage at the expense of the seller, that’s when it becomes an “Annoying Brokerage Practice”.
Years ago, I had a brief relationship with another Buckhead real estate firm. They were fairly new, had pretty fancy offices and were gaining market share.
At one sales meeting, the managing broker distributed a handout that included impressive charts and data. He stated that we should use this to convince prospective sellers that it was a great time to sell. There were lots of glassy-eyed agents staring at the colorful charts nodding their heads in agreement.
The next week, however, the same broker handed out a new chart. His story had changed. Now, he claimed, we had to tell our sellers that to get their home sold they had to lower their asking price. Looking at the numbers, something didn’t look quite right to me. I asked if these numbers represented the Buckhead market and my questions was met with “No, it’s all of Metro Atlanta. But you don’t have to tell your clients that because they won’t understand.” Not being one to leave well-enough alone, I asked him how this played with the whole idea of fiduciary duty. After the sales meeting, the broker called me aside and asked if they could count on me to be a team player. I responded, “No, not if it means misleading my clients so you can pay for these fancy offices.” I’m pretty sure that was my last day there. I re-opened Conrad Lyles the next day.