If It Is Too Good to Be True...

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

If It Is Too Good to Be True...

The voice of my father rings in my head whenever I hear the phrase, "If it's too good to be true it probably is."  Yet, like moths to a flame, buyers are drawn to waste time and energy chasing the impossible dream.  This weekend, two separate buyers I am helping, each fell hard for a listing they found on a website that starts with a color and ends with an anatomical fish part.  Blue Tail? Close enough.

Each of my buyers are barely qualified to go above $280,000.  In my market, that's a price range dominated by condos.  However, as any buyer agent knows, high condo fees often knock a buyer who is tight on budget, out of qualification.  When I draw their attention to the fee simple townhouses that are small, old and outdated the thrill of house hunting goes away in a flash.  Every buyer wants the shiny, new renovation with loads of space.  Most buyers ultimately want to land in a single family home.  However, there are no skipping steps when it comes to lily pad jumping.  Lily pad jumping is getting into a property, building equity and selling that former property to move up to another property.  These steps are repeated over a property or two, maybe three, until you have the lily pad you want.  There is no short cutting the first jump into the stream of lily pads....not unless you have hit the lottery.  But once you have landed on the first lily pad, it is not as hard to move up to the next lily pad, and the next, etc.

Enter Blue Tail and their listing of a For Sale By Owner in historic Manassas.  It is a two level single family home, four bedroom, two bathroom that is renovated from top to bottom.  The price?  Well, being familiar with the area from house hunting, a low price would be $500,000.  But this home is listed for $268,500.  Both buyers find it and light up.  Their dream home!  One buyer accepts that this is too good to be true.  The other must see it NOW.

Let's talk a minute about Blue Tail's website.  This FSBO is listed on the site and there to the right is a "partner agent."  I email the partner agent through the website.  I also look up the agent in the MLS and find that they do not actually work for Blue Tail.  They work for an entirely different company.  Whatever.  Maybe the agent forgot to update their brokerage in the MLS.  This morning, the true partner agent on Blue Tail that did get back to me did so with an attitude.  Apparently, identifying myself as an agent was like taking a bat to the hornets nest.

"I'm not sure why you thought Joe Johnson was the partner agent on this listing.  You should use the MLS to find the property.  It is a FSBO and not our listing."  Not only that, but then came the clarification, "And its true list price is $628,500."  

The Blue Tail agent was fuming.  Why?  It is her company's website that has trolled a boat load of buyers in my market, two of which are mine and now crashing down to reality again!  Why is she mad at me? 

If this doesn't give buyers a reality check that Blue Tail is not a reliable resource, I don't know what will.  They may have a great user interface and offer rebates to gain buyer clients, but in my world accurate listing information is the first place to start.  And from there, hiring an agent that works for more than someone who flips hamburgers after school so you have someone who actually understands the market.

If it seems too good to be true, it almost always is.  And whenever you think you have found buried treasure on Blue Tail's site, get in touch with a tried and true professional real estate agent for some fact checking.

There are no short cuts to getting your ultimate, end game dream home, but sites like Blue Tail will always make you think there could be.  Make the best choice you can to get into the stream of lily pads and you'll eventually get where you want to be.  Standing on side of the stream looking for aberrations on Blue Tail's website just wastes the real opportunities passing you by.


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Show All Comments
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Hi Chris Ann Cleland I've never heard of blue tail real estate company....

only blue tail I know is lobsters.... they're supposed to be sweeter than a New England lobster....

Jun 09, 2019 12:23 PM #11
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Nothing like transposing the first two digits of the list price to get the home buyers all fired up for the impossible dream.

Jun 09, 2019 01:30 PM #12
Kris Collis
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Buy & Sell with Professional Results you Expect

Chris Ann, Did Liz and Bill Spear hit the nail on the end meaning the original price was a typo? 

Jun 09, 2019 05:02 PM #13
Leif Price
Spot Color Marketing - Portland, OR
Content Marketing Specialist

Easy fix solutions tend to have a reputation of biting you back bad. Will always go to a safe and long solution.

Jun 09, 2019 06:28 PM #14
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Chris Ann:

Well this is a good example of why buyers need to work with an agent who knows the market, thehome search websites and how they work, the market conditions, and the overall reality of the local housing market! The cliche "if it seems too good to be true it probably isn't" is popular for a reason!


Jun 09, 2019 08:17 PM #15
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Exactly, if it's too good to be true, it is not true. Buyers do need to be realistic about what is in their price range.

Jun 10, 2019 03:56 AM #16
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Watch your tail with bluetail ?

Jun 10, 2019 06:39 AM #17
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

Never heard of this but there is a definate group of disruptors making folks think they can do it all and they can't do half that an agent does.

Jun 10, 2019 07:08 AM #18
Robin Wells
RAW Chimney Sweep and Inspections - Penetanguishene, ON
Giving Peace Of Mind One Chimney At A Time

Good post and so true.. and reality is sometimes a hard hit.  Congratulations on featured post.

Jun 10, 2019 08:44 AM #19
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I've not heard of Blue Tail--sounds fishy ha ha.  Anyway, especially in real estate--if the price is really low compared to the comps, there must be a reason!  False advertising here

Jun 10, 2019 06:35 PM #20
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Funny... you've got people thinking there's a Bluetail.

It IS sad that those sites don't care about accuracy and don't care about serving customers. And then get nasty on top of it!

Oh well.

Meanwhile, I love the lilly pad jumping concept!

Jun 10, 2019 07:57 PM #21
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

is that legal? Is there a blue tail? I would have to think there are consequences for using a low listing number to get buyers to call.... I am so glad I  live in Alaska

Jun 10, 2019 11:40 PM #22
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

I love the lilly-hopping analogy. Sad story, not sureif they are using a feed, or if they entered the information themselves but as you say, why be mad at you. Get correct information, use your buyers agent to check out the too good to be true scenarios before you crash and burn flying to close to the sun.

Jun 11, 2019 04:57 AM #23
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Good morning Chris Ann Cleland, sadly, I see this too often. Buyers don't know and believe what they see on certain sites. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. 


Jun 11, 2019 06:08 AM #24
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

Oh, how I love this post Chris Ann! I've been hearing a lot from "Blue Tail" lately, and none of it is any good. There's also a radio ad that I find questionable (at best), claiming that they sell every house for thousands more than the neighboring properties.... really now? Shall we pull up the stats? But then the speaker rattles off the fine print that nobody can understand and it makes it all sound like one of those commercial "if you have recently died from using this product than call us". I just can't roll my eyes fast enough. 

Jun 11, 2019 06:23 AM #25
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Wow! That seems unethical and reportable.  Advertising the wrong list price as a bait and switch is bad business.  I like your company reference - blue tail....

Jun 11, 2019 08:40 AM #27
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

That's some crazy marketing scheme and I'm so glad we don't have a company like that in my market.

Jun 12, 2019 03:58 AM #28
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Chris Ann Cleland - What a shame you and your clients had to waste time on this. 

Jun 15, 2019 07:25 AM #29
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Oh my gosh, that is so damned unethical. I don't know why these thieves are still in business...this kind of stuff should shut them down.  But yes, buyers love to use their search portal. D

Jun 15, 2019 10:53 AM #30
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Chris Ann Cleland - Misrepresentation here in TX can land an agent in court paying for that house at the mistaken price and paying courting fees, penalties and violations too!

I hope your buyers know they are in good hands when they work with you. 

Jun 22, 2019 10:52 AM #31
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Chris Ann Cleland

Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
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