Stagers Unite! Demand Payment Upfront. Is This Price Fixing?

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Real Estate Agent with Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage GREC #208281

Is discussing terms of payment part of the price fixing laws?

Craig Shiller had a featured post yesterday about how stagers should get paid at time of service and that asking to delay payment until closing was not reasonable.  I've read a few other posts written by other stagers discussing the same issue.

Aren't the terms of payment a big part of your price?  I put out the possibility that this could be deemed price fixing.  I'm not an expert in the field but I did find a website for a company that seems to know a lot about the antitrust laws.  Here is the pertinent part that I found. 

 

It is unlawful for competitors to reach any agreement or  understanding about prices, whether it is to raise, lower, or stabilize  prices, and any such discussions should be strictly avoided. The same  restriction applies to discussions of certain other terms and conditions  of sale, such as discounts, payment terms, credit, allowances and other terms which affect prices, profit margins, cost factors, discount or  credit terms, or any member's future intentions concerning any of those  subjects. EMA's members should not exchange with competitors price  schedules or future notices of price or product promotions.

Does anyone know for certain about this? 

Let's imagine that a large group of real estate agents all banded together and started requiring that their marketing costs be paid up upfront by the seller?  Would this not be considered restrictive and bad for the consumer?  Is not the total cost of a service made of of not only price but on how the price is paid?  Paying for something today is not the same cost as paying for something on Tuesday.

You can tell consumers exactly how much you charge and how you take payment, but I do think that it is against the law to talk about those things amongst competitors.

Please tell me if I'm way off base here. 

 

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About the Author:  Tim Maitski has been a full time Realtor since 1999. He has sold several hundreds of homes in areas around metro Atlanta.  Tim started with RE/MAX Greater Atlanta and is now with Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage.

 

Along with blogging on ActiveRain, he provides one of the best real estate websites in Atlanta at www.HomeAtlanta.com .

 

His proprietary  "Maitski Line Reports" chart out the absorption rates over the past 14 years in 37 different market areas.  Know when it's a good time to buy or a good time to sell.    

 

His online Property Tax Calculator allows you to compare property taxes in many counties and cities around the Atlanta area.  He provides the Atlanta MLS Power Search Tool that allows searches of homes using over 35 specific criteria.

 

Over the years, Tim has optimized his business so that he now can offer a huge 50% commission rebate to his buyers.  The more experience one gets, the easier the job becomes.

 

Tim also has a "Five Days to Sold" System that uses an intensive marketing blitz to create a showing frenzy that creates urgency and offers.

 

Tim is always looking to LinkIn with anyone who is interested in building their social network.

 

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Rainmaker
530,560
Tom Burris
NMLS# 335055 - Baton Rouge, LA
Texas/Louisiana Mortgage Pro - 13 YRS Experience

If I were a stager.... I would get a signed contract to the title company right away.

I'd probably quadruple my business.

Deal doesn't cloes? COLLECT THE FEE ANY MEANS POSSIBLE!!!!!! All would be spelled out in the contract

Jun 27, 2007 02:55 AM #1
Rainmaker
305,010
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA
Many stagers belong to groups that discuss these topics.  I personally don't think discussing method of payment is an anti-trust violation, especially if they are associated through an organization like IAHSP  I think that's it.  Kind of like NAR.  Many Realtors discuss generic topics like flat fees, hourly fees, up front non refundable fees.  I've never heard of a suit being filed against agents for discussing these generic method of payment topics.
Jul 10, 2007 02:41 AM #2
Rainmaker
560,551
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal

Ardell, I do agree that I've never heard of a suit being filed for this but then again I haven't really heard of many anti-trust suits period.  Maybe it's just an enforcement thing that is lacking.

But I do think that if a large group of agents began discussing that they all should start charging an up front non-refundable fee that that would be price fixing.  

I'm no lawyer. Just thought I'd throw out a little food for thought.  I'm hoping that an experienced anti-trust attorney will stop by and give some input.

Jul 10, 2007 05:13 AM #3
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Rainmaker
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Tim Maitski

Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal
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