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Here Come the Snake Oil Gurus!

Managing Real Estate Broker with Howard Hanna Rand Realty License # 49FA1074963

This originally started as a draft about artificial intelligence, but the ads in my social media feed got me off my rear and and getting it completed. 

Quick story:

Back in 2008 and 2009 as the market was cratering and distress properties became a larger part of the market share, I paid some companies to help me become an REO agent. I don't recall the fees, but I it was probably $100 for them to get my information to lots of asset managers. I might as well have burned the cash, at least it would have helped heat the room. I was fleeced by someone who saw an opportunity to use a crisis to sell something worthless. 

As Littlefinger famously said in Game of Thrones, chaos is a ladder. It's also a great marketing opportunity. 

Anytime something happens in the real estate market, I can count backwards from 100 and see a stream of ads in my Internet wanderings with "experts" promising to give me the secret sauce to success at the new thing. Here are just a few of the shiny thingies that heretofore unknown experts surfaced who were selling the keys to riches:

  • Pinterest Success
  • Beat Zillow!
  • Leveraging (barf) Artificial Intelligence
  • Using Crypto and Blockchain for Real Estate Riches
  • Get $60,000 for your business with ERC (Employee Retention Tax Credit)

And of course, today, there are tons of gurus who know exactly what you need to do to thrive in the new real estate reality we all face in the wake of the lawsuits, even though the settlement everyone is talking about isn't finalized or approved by the court yet. 

Think about that. There are people who are looking you in the eye and claim to have the answers to a new business model that isn't finalized or finished yet. 

I'll agree that these folks are experts, but what they are good at is retargeting and social media marketing to real estate agents. It's kind of gross when you think about it. Anytime something new and unknown comes up, someone I never heard of appears who claims to be an established authority, even if the thing they claim expertise in never existed before. And they make bank on exploiting the fears and anxiety of our colleagues. 

Hold on to your wallet. No one has the answers now because, until the courts finalize the wording, we still don't know the exact question.  

Toby Barnett
KW North Sound - Marysville, WA
Toby Barnett

Yet I think many newer agents will struggle more with the changes than season, career agents since career agents usually have systems an structure already built into their business.

Mar 20, 2024 02:01 PM
Kat Palmiotti
eXp Commercial, Referral Divison - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

There appear to be a lot of fleecers out there anxious to be the first to get to us, even before any actual changes or agreements have been made. Hold on to your wallet is right!

Mar 20, 2024 02:05 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher
I feel like I tried to glean what I can from those kind of people and then move on once I realize they might be “selling me something” If you know what I mean..
Mar 20, 2024 02:52 PM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

In our current world, where one can hide behind a web site to self-promote, a desperate person with little experience or even knowledge will be primed to open the bank and let them take as they please.

There will be changes for sure, but the business mode is proven and with some tweaks, will continue.  Gone will be the people that just don't get it and realize it is not a quick way to make a lot of money.

Mar 20, 2024 02:58 PM
Michael Elliott
Fathom Realty - Burlington Township, NJ
Burlington, New Jersey Residential Sales

I am so tired of the lame, knee jerk opinions of so many.  Great blog here, well done.

Mar 20, 2024 03:06 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Good to see you back, Philip, and with some valuable advice. It took no time at all for the media to start in with their misinformation and I bet we are just seeing the start of all the scamming that's only going to get worse the things move along with the settlement approval process.


Mar 20, 2024 05:34 PM
Buzz Mackintosh
Mackintosh REALTORS - Frederick, MD
“Experience, reliable, leadership”

There is an overload of misinformation being spewed, even the President is getting in on the action. Good to see NAR rebut his comments. All of this is part of a bigger plan to destroy capitalism by eliminating independent contractor status, the freedom to create and innovate, and competitive business practices.

Mar 20, 2024 06:40 PM
Kathy Streib

You said it Buzz Mackintosh 

Mar 21, 2024 07:56 PM
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
850-476-4494 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

Wow, I was going to write a post about this, and you beat me to it. I have received all the emails from the Gurus this week, all telling me how they can make me more money by buying the latest crap about this lawsuit, and the ink has not even dried yet. It got me thinking about all the bullshit agents spend money on and receive nothing. Folks are offering classes upon classes all at a cost.

Mar 20, 2024 07:12 PM
Dennis Neal
RE/MAX, Big Bear - Big Bear Lake, CA
Your Home Sold in 21 Days or We Sell It For Free

So many misrepresentations in the media about this. From taking things out of context to outright lies.

Mar 21, 2024 12:21 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Experts, strong opinions, public debate. What's new? Focus on adding value to the list and sell (repeat) you can bring to a real estate transaction. Our compensation whatever it is. Not the key focus but a by product of the passion, thrill of being an agent or broker, REALTOR. Everyone of us has fire in their belly and wakes up with a can't wait to get to work attitude right Philip?

Mar 21, 2024 04:06 AM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I agree with Dorie Dillard Austin TX - it is wonderful to see you back again!  I have always enjoyed reading your posts.  A voice of reason and moderation indeed.

Mar 21, 2024 04:14 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

A this point in my Real Estate life , I am 90% Listing and 10% working with Buyers . Listing Agents will have no problem obtaining acceptable Commission for their services

Mar 21, 2024 04:57 AM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

Think.  and if it sounds too good to be true.  Guess what?  I is a scam!

Mar 21, 2024 08:41 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

What a mess !  By the time this NAR is over, our fees justify building another 20 story building somewhere again.

Mar 21, 2024 09:06 AM
John Marshall - FORE!
LoKation Real Estate - Cherry Hills Village, CO
Specializing in Golf Course Properties

25+ years ago when I initially got my license and was attending my 4th webinar, I realized that if my chosen profession as a Realtor does not pan out I can always sell something to this gullible lot. Agents love the shiny objects and buying quick-fix solutions, I have yet to see any work out!

Mar 21, 2024 10:19 AM
Scott Seaton Jr. SLS Home Insp
SLS Home Inspections-Kankakee Will Iroquois Grundy Counties - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

Even a home inspection company owner is getting questions from buyers and agents about what we're going to do. Really? What we're going to do? How about the same thing we always do. Not panic and freak out until we actually know what to freak out about. Even then, we don't panic. 

Mar 21, 2024 10:32 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

I am in the process of reading through the settlement as it is right now, which is waiting for the court to accept. As I think more and more about this, I think the claims this is going to lower the cost of homeownership are completely spurious. 

Mar 21, 2024 12:21 PM
J. Philip Faranda

It's like FSBO sellers who think they are pocketing the commission, and buyers who think they are saving it. I guess the other economic forces don't matter anymore! 

Mar 26, 2024 07:40 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

I too am happy to see you here and at the Zoom Call!!!  It's sad that the media we used to trust have become news readers and makers. If there is no controversy, they will be happy to create one. Stop, take a breath and keep doing what you've always done. 

Mar 21, 2024 08:02 PM
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

I so agree with you! I got 5 emails today offering me the all the answers! Shysters!!

Perfectly said....

"Hold on to your wallet. No one has the answers now because, until the courts finalize the wording, we still don't know the exact question." 


Mar 24, 2024 01:44 AM
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-739-3843

J. Philip, powerful words. Good advice to heed! 

Apr 07, 2024 07:47 AM