Steven S.,  in Seattle, WA

Why do listing agents sabotage their own listings?

Asked by Steven S., Seattle, WA Mon Apr 6, 2009

My wife and I took advantage of the sunny day yesterday to walk around Queen Anne looking at open houses and getting a feel for the neighborhood we were looking at buying into. We checked the Redfin site and determined that there were 3 houses that would be open. When we parked at Mcgraw and Queen Anne Ave. we saw no fewer than 10 Open house signs and every home we were interested in was having an open house. We hit more than 8 houses and only after speaking with the listing agents did we find out that agencies such as Windermere do not list their open house info on Redfin because they deem them an "outsider" and want potential buyers to visit the agency's site, and not Redfin. One agent told us that when threatened by a seller to make sure their open house was on Redfin, she got Windermere to let all her open houses be shown on Redfin; her traffic doubled. I find it incredibly stupid for brokers to withhold information from educated buyers. Isn't the ultimate goal to sell the house?

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96
Terrence Chen, Both Buyer And Seller, Culver City, CA
Fri Apr 10, 2009
BEST ANSWER
I have been reading this thread for the past hour, instead of getting my work done :). While I find it very entertaining, I had to chime in as a recent home buyer in an area served by Redfin. My wife and I used the Redfin website quite extensively in our search for our new home. We listed our previous home with a realtor friend who isnot associated with Redfin. We made our purchase with this same realtor friend, who was still not assosciated with Redfin. That being the case, every search we made for over 6 months began at the Redfin website. As Steven has been saying, and others have observed as well, Redfin's website organizes their information in a very appealing package that we found the most productive for our search. Of course if we found any properties of interest to us, we would go the listing companies website to see if additional information was available. But we very easily could have missed many open house opportunities at houses we were on the fence about simply because we did not know they were open. it was only after reading this blog that I know of thispractice of withholding open house information from competing websites. Although I may not have presented my argument quite as strongly as Steven, I do appreciate his making this practice known to me. It never even occurred to us when we were listing our house to check and see if our agent sent the open house information to the MLS. I just assumed this was standard practice. So, while I do see Dugard's point, I would not want to drive my customers to a competitor's website either, I also see Steven's poitn about mmaking sure the most number of people see your marketing information. Can both of you be right? As a consumer, I can say I would prefer that my listing gets maximum exposure.
4 votes
No Name, , Seattle, WA
Fri Apr 10, 2009
OK, truly last word here for me.

Some **facts**...

You state that I can enter my public open house into the NWMLS. Your facts are wrong. period. I have told you this now four times and you seem to gloss over this **fact.** I have even offered to spend my valuable time and **show** you. You could have even reported your findings back to this blog. You have refused to do so. Fact.

You think I am being unethical by not advertising on a site that can't show that they are driving buyers to my listing. Your fave web site is bringing only single digit buyers to the table versus (at a minimum) 75% coming to me from other sources. ...sources who do not advertise my open houses, either.

Here are the **facts** I just now pulled data from the NWMLS system: In the past 12 months (4/1/08~4/1/09) 447 buyers closed transactions using your fave - out of the total 35,100 sales in King, Pierce and Snohomish County = 1.3%. Fact. 1184 buyers chose just the one WIndermere brokerage with whom I associated. Fact.

Using these numbers and drawing the obvious conclusion, I am statistically 2.6 times better off if I were to market ONLY to the agents in my brokerage versus posting something on your fave web site. I market well beyond my brokerage. Fact.

...so why would I expend time (=$) to try to find a way to advertise an open house on a site that brings only 1.3% of the buyer pool to the table? The listing itself is already there. How is that hurting me or my client?

That was - and is - my point. You continue to quote me out of context and you have no downside to being wrong as you haven't identified yourself. You indeed started this downward spiral with your initial assertion that I was being self-serving. I am not.

You suggested that I am trying to harm myself by trying to not sell something for which I'm paid. I don't practice masochism.

...well, except to write on blogs... obviously!
Web Reference:  http://www.dugaldallen.com
7 votes
Jeff K, Home Buyer, Bristol, PA
Sat Apr 11, 2009
Steven,

Now you are simply being nasty, vindictive and childish. Per your own words - all his mls listings are already on "Steve's favorite Site". Ok fine - that's 90+% of marketing for houses today anyway - not open houses.

Instead of moving on. What's your next step? You are now yelling at the top of your lungs his name 14 - that's FOURTEEN times in your last post. Andy why? To what end? You could have no possible motive at this juncture for your behavior than to simply be trying to cause harm to someone that has a PERFECTLY VALID business point for what he is doing. And he's not the only one who thinks that way - so you might as well use My Name in his place - because I AGREE. It doens't help your arguement in the least.

Boo hoo - the world doesn't revolve around poor little Steven - who is crying that he wants ALL Open Houses listed with Site X - while stomping up and down with what is no longer even the slightest hint of a valid discussion on the facts. And so now what? You childishly throw his name around again and again - that demonstrates the nature of YOUR CHARACTER - not his. GROW UP.

Congratulations! You have eradicated any good that you might have achieved for your discussion, by discrediting yourself by your incredibly poor behavior. I would not be in the least surprised if you also created the brand new Gecko profile - merely to 'egg yourself on". We are NOT impressed, Sir!
6 votes
Bob M, , Seattle, WA
Thu Apr 9, 2009
im normally a lurker here, but it looks like you are talking to yourself steven. after reading your responses, it's no wonder you are not getting an answer. perhaps he is just tired of dealing w you. if you treat people badly, then you'll end up drinking your kool aid alone. posts like yours from behind a semi-anonomous user id might give you some feeling of power and release from a bad day at work. im not saying anyone is right, but neither is the last word always right.
6 votes
James Meride…, Both Buyer And Seller, Round Rock, TX
Fri Apr 10, 2009
Hi Steven,

Over the past day or so, my wife and I, have read through most the comments. I think you have some good points and all but overall, we tend to agree with Jefferson. If you are in the business to make a living then you want to drive all the business to your site. If you have a competitor site that holds information you have to separate yourself by providing information that is not available on competition. I don’t recall any one company in any industry that puts all there information on a their competitions web site. Would you find a Grand Opening for JCPenny on a Macys web site? No I wouldn’t think so. I don’t think there is a car dealer that lists everyone else’s vehicles to try and get you to buy theirs. Possibly some site out there grabs the information you got me on that one.

Now, the best solution would be to have a site that is neutral to all parties, no one company is the head company. I am sure there are some sites out there some of which apparently have been mentioned but I have no idea what they would be for open houses. We believe that getting upset with someone for doing good for their business might be overkill. Maybe anyway, just our take on it from a consumer point of view.
5 votes
Jeff K, Home Buyer, Bristol, PA
Fri Apr 10, 2009
Hi Steven,

My position, again, is that of a non-professional - my business is not Real Estate. I didn't even know what Redfin was until a week ago. However, I have examined the facts at hand and done the research. Mr. Allen is quite correct.

Please allow me to quote the following, directly from Redfin's site:

QUOTE FROM REDFIN
In major metropolitan areas, our own agents deliver fanatical customer service and a commission refund of 50%; elsewhere you can work with Redfin partner agents whose client references we have carefully screened, for a commission refund of 15%.
END QUOTE

More info at this source: http://www.redfin.com/real-estate-agents

Again - Mr. Allen is quite correct to take the position that "he doesn't wish to post his listings or open houses to a Competitor's Site". I CAN appreciate your view also as a consumer - to provide an existing listing or open house with maximum exposure. But, as an objective business decision, it makes perfect sense for him or any other agent to not wish to list with Redfin or any other site that has it's own agents.

I even understand the implications. Let's say that once a customer is already signed with him, that he COULD list open houses or whatever with redfin. One might say, "Hey what's the risk - he's already got the listing, right? So, why not do it - isn't this better for his customer? So ... what's the risk"?

The risk is the following - were he to do so, he would be indirectly (at the very least) helping a competitor to his company. In the long run, this could be damaging to his business.

Coldwell Banker doesn't list on Keller Williams and visa-versa. They BOTH list on realtor.com and Trulia. You - as a consumer - WISH in most emphatic terms that they would also list on Redfin. But ...

Your arguement is predicated from the standpoint that Redfin is some kind of totally independent resource that is available to all, with favors toward none. Were this true - If Redfin were similar in nature to realtor.com, trulia.com, yahoo.com, msn.com, etc - then I would Agree that "yes - everyone should list their stuff on Redfin and have no reason not to". Redfin is not an independent resource. Again - they are NOT. Why is this so? Simple - they have their own agents and a partner program.

I do agree that Redfin has created a really cool site, and have little doubt that others will follow in providing them in various look / feel / features. But - they aren't "just another place to list your stuff".

Steven - with respect - I disagree with the vehement position taken against Mr. Allen. But not you personally. I am doing so based on the facts at hand, all without the slightest personal motivation as my business isn't real estate associated in any way.

Best regards,

Jeff
5 votes
David Chambe…, , Saint Petersburg, FL
Thu Apr 9, 2009
Then the seller should have chosen Redfin to be their brokerage. Agents can advertise where they want.
5 votes
Sally Bostwi…, , 98109
Wed Apr 8, 2009
Wow. I'm a little afraid to wade into this discussion, but not being shy gal, I will anyway.

Steven S., your are right, agents are no longer the holder of all the information about what's available on the market. That time has long past. That is no longer where we provide real value and really never was.

The value of a good agent is the skills they bring to the table in negotiating the best terms for their Buyer or Seller, the education they provide on the ins and outs of the process of Buying or Selling a home, and risk /reward factors the Buyer or Seller must weigh to make the best decisions for themselves. But more importantly than all that is the understanding of the legal issues involved in a real estate transaction and the risks that come with signing that contract. Even though we can't practice law, that knowledge is invaluable to the client. Knowing when to send the client to legal counsel for their own protection is worth its weight in gold.

Yes, it is our responsibility to get our Sellers to provide as much effective exposure on the market as possible. Note the word "effective". Each agent makes a business decision as too where the mostly likely place is the most qualified, ready and able Buyer is likely to come from. There are a lot of places we can waste our time and money these days and not be effective (newspapers for example.)

I personally don't care where the Buyer found my listing. I care more about the fact that the Buyer is qualified, (able to get financing or has cash) ready (to move forward now), and able ( has no obligations or emotional holdbacks) that would keep them from closing the transaction. Since I have all my Buyers sign a Buyer's Agency Agreement, I don't worry about getting paid. If the Seller won't pay the full Selling Agent Commission, my Buyer's have already agreed up front to make up the difference between what the Seller is paying in commission and the 3% I earn as a Selling Agent. As has been the case forever, Sellers have always agreed up front the amount of commission they will be paying.

But, I do place my money and time where I think I can get the most qualified Buyers to view my listings and preview my properties. If I find the flow of qualified Buyers seeing my listings and Open Houses comes from Redfin, you can be sure I will be on Redfin.

Sorry, I really did intend to make my input short.

Sally Bostwick, Realtor
Coldwell Banker Bain
Lake Union Office
Web Reference:  http://www.citygalsal.com
5 votes
James Meride…, Both Buyer And Seller, Round Rock, TX
Fri Apr 10, 2009
Well my wife said I am on my own for this one...Thanks for the analogy on JC Penny, I see your point and it is valid, however there is another picture being missed. So I do still respectfully disagree. It's ok to disagree, right? I'm only trying to voice my opinion is all. I just see both sides of the coin and feel any business that provides the needed information will probably get the traffic. If I, for example, in my business gave access of my architectural design to another company guess what, they will likely get some fees for it and maybe even take future business from me. True they could sell the one design I made, and I may even make some more sales and royalties for it for all I know. But it would likely have a negative impact on my future business as now those clients will go to my competitor over coming directly to me. That’s where I earn my reputation and my name.

Here is another way to look at it, on the web if my company name shows up on someone’s web site 1000 times then each search engine will be more likely to pull up my competitor’s web site then it might on mine. Each time my product or name is on another company’s web site I will start to lose that future business.

I'm only saying that from a consumer side your point does makes a ton of since. I totally agree there, but from a business side, you really have to understand the business side; giving all your information to any competition could cause your future business to be passed onto someone else.

Well, point said I just respectfully see both sides and don't agree with the point of "sabotaging their own listings". It seems a little strong of a phrase. If my realtor gets the home sold at a price that matters to me, then more power to them for getting more traffic to their site and driving more business.
4 votes
Jeff K, Home Buyer, Bristol, PA
Thu Apr 9, 2009
Steven,

I have watched this now from the sidelines for a bit, as it has been mostly entertaining. I have no idea as to why you are actively choosing to be so inflamatory. Perhaps you are having a bad week? Perhaps there is some personal issue that is stressing you out and this is a "harmless release" for you? Perhaps you actually have some personal motive somehow related to redfin, as some have conjectured? What do I think? I don't know. I'm not even sure why I care enough to write this - except that I am tired of watching you bash a good realtor over the head publically, without good cause.

I do agree with the idea that, "it would be really nice if more agents were fully aware of - and would leverage - every possible advantage for their sellers" - by using all the latest sites, etc - especially those that are free. Where these resources do cost money to be posted on, then that is a different story - and each agent has to decide where to allocate their marketing dollars most effectively to achieve a good result for their customers.

The world does not revolve around you or I. Just because it "makes sense to post open houses to many places - especially if they are free" doesn't mean that this will happen. In YOUR business - Whatever that may be - you have a different style than your peer. So long as both styles are effective, it really doesn't matter HOW one goes about doing it. I am equally sure that you don't communicate this way with your boss, peers, associates or customers.

Were you really interested in having your message more well-received, you would have phrased it differently. So one may only conclude that there's something else going on here - and therefore it's not worth our further consideration.

On a personal note - we are sorry that you are "having a bad week" - or whatever is going on.

Regards,
4 votes
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Tue Apr 7, 2009
Just a thought...If there is change needed, if that change needs to be brought to the forefront and discussed. If the consumer holds the power and wants a discussion with the industry about where it needs to change if it wants the buyer's business then where better than here?

A National Forum with a boatload of that industries representatives, many who are willing to talk, and a policy of allowing the consumer equal voice/equal time. Trulia runs by the power of the consumer, it is why the agents are here. Trulia needs to hear your voice as much as the agents do, so they can continue to justify the maintenance of an open discussion Forum. You are not alone in this thread talking to five people, there may be thousands reading your comments now. Hi Everybody! : )

Be open, Be honest, and share. I invite everyone who views Trulia to use it and help make a place where
voices are heard, changes are begun, people can talk. Do that and the bottomfeeders of al kinds will starve. You see SPAM from either side FLAG IT. You see insults or abuse of the Guidelines FLAG IT!
You see someone saying something you disagree with, say so but discuss it.

According to Trulia I guess Millions of consumers every month pass through here, stop share your voice, make this your site, make this site your voice. Let those agents/Pros who deserve your business know you are there and help them make a Profession they want to be in the kind of Profession that rewards them, let those who do not try to survive in a world gone deaf to their sales pitch.

There is no need for those things you mentioned as negative from anyone pro or not. Use the Tool, share your voice, EVERYONE that feels things should change,it should be this way or that, quit bit*hing and start talking. Spamming the same cr*p over and over by either side is not talk, is not a message, it's "Hey, look at me"

A lot of words to say... Please Stay you have something to say and Trulia will be better for it. Any who read this please share your voices in discussion, and please support those (Pros) who you feel do deserve it. I hope to see you and Chris, every consumer/pro in the Forum discussing what we need to do, enforcing the guidelines (Flag) so this place does help find answers to bigger questions like how do we make this never happen again?
Dunes
4 votes
Rudy Bachraty, , Fort Collins, CO
Tue Apr 7, 2009
Hi Steve S!

You've stirred up quite the conversation now haven't you? I just want to encourage everyone to have civil discussions here. There is no need to insult, flame, use vulgar language, personally attack or belittle anyone. Agents and brokers, please keep your code of ethics and local and state laws in mind when you have conversations with other professionals and consumers online in communities like Trulia. When in doubt, please read our community guidelines as well.......

Many consumers and agents are connecting in online communities such as Trulia Voices - it's about trust. As agents, it's super important to always be thinking about what you say and who will be reading what you say. If in doubt, don't say anything. Lot's of people are watching. Your reputation matters. Be the professional. There is no room for half stepping. If you are unprofessional, consumers will see it right away and walk right by you. If on the other hand you are consistently professional and helpful, it will be noticed by consumers who are looking for someone to trust.....someone who can help them buy and sell their next home! Be that professional....The one that consumers trust.

Consumers.....it's a two way street....Please join the conversation with an open mind and focus on those professionals who can really help you. They are here......

Whether it's listing syndication, open house marketing, listing details display or something else, each MLS and brokerage has it's own rules and procedures which they follow. Some believe in syndicating their listings everywhere to get the seller the maximum amount of exposure, some market all their open houses actively in multiple places both online and offline, some add as much detail to their listings as possible such as multiple photos, virtual tours, video and detailed descriptions so the consumer can make a better decision about seeing the home.

Some on the other hand, do the opposite.

It's about choice. And there's always room for improvement in everything we do..........

Rudy
Social Media Guru at Trulia
4 votes
Jeff K, Home Buyer, Bristol, PA
Wed Apr 15, 2009
Hi Nat,

You are jousting windmills. This thread is just like an 8-track tape ... it just goes around and around with the same outdated tune.

Unfortunately, Steve is one of those "Trolls dressed up as a would-be buyer". He merely has his own agenda, and most of it has already been deleted by the Admins.

The best thing would be for all of us to just delete all of our posts, and leaving this an empty shell with his rantings.
3 votes
No Name, , Seattle, WA
Sun Apr 12, 2009
Steven S,

You are so far out of the community terms of service here that it's ridiculous.

How can you *possibly* separate what you say about my business practices being "dishonest and unethical" from personal insults? That's a rhetorical question.

...and to now claim that you are reacting to insults is laughable. You have thrown insults at me, Brian Lovell, Loretta, and even Brian C who apparently is an innocent bystander yet you claim he is someone else. That's a 4:1 send to receive ratio.

At this point, your posts are just repetitive and by using my name so many times, you are quite patently attempting bring this conversation up in the search results to simply hurt my business.

...and we haven't even met.

To be honest, the posts are so outlandish in their claims that it might actually help my business.

You have made your point multiple times, I have made mine at least four times. Others have made similar points. You do so from the comfort of an alias (maybe two - are you Gecko as well?) and I do so with full disclosure of who I am. Who are people really going to believe? The one with nothing at stake or the guy with something at stake?

..and I love the Gecko alias. Firing up insults at agents with nothing but a high school diploma - yet his profile looks like it was created for the purposes of commenting on the blog - and he's listed as an agent!!! That's funny!

...and just to be sure you understand. ...and just to make sure this point is *crystal* clear: you are mistaken in your assumptions - which you call "undisputable facts." You are mistaken as to what NWMLS open house publishing options are available to me as a Windermere agent. This has not been contradicted by anyone but you, not even Matt from Redfin. He simply says he wishes it were so.

But you can't possibly know the facts without investigating them. You have likely never even seen an NWMLS listing input screen or "revise listing" menu or the back end of the NWMLS where you think we can do these things. People thought the world was flat and we were the center of the universe until someone *showed* otherwise. If you know your history, that was undisputable, too. People were burned at the stake for suggesting otherwise. That's what you are trying to do here. The problem is that your match is wet and your arguments are fuel for nothing. The problem is that the proof of what I say can be found quite easily and you refuse to shift from your dogma.

To paraphrase Shakespeare: your arguments and argumentative posts come across as a "poor player strutting across the stage - full of sound and fury, but signifying nothing."

This has long ceased to be a discussion about your original question.

It is time to end this.

Happy Easter to All (yes, you too, Steven)
Web Reference:  http://www.dugaldallen.com
3 votes
No Name, , Seattle, WA
Thu Apr 9, 2009
Actually, Steven, if you had read - in detail - my responses, you would see that I have answered every one of your questions. You simply refuse to accept that my views may, in fact, be rooted in business decisions made by me to service my clients in the most efficient and effective way.

I don't care to spend hours explaining my actions on a web site when I can spend ten or fifteen minutes explaining directly to you my position - I even offered to buy you coffee. It's all about efficiency and effectiveness. I would have shown you the MLS screens where I control the information for a listing and you may have even come to understand a little more. You chose to reject this offer, becoming more and more belligerent and insulting as each post progressed.

It is obvious you just wanted a fight for the purposes of having a fight.

For example, you seem to have missed the **fact** that most agents in the Seattle area cannot send out an open house through the MLS with a click of a button. Yet you accept someone else's assertion otherwise. I would have shown you what I have access to and what I do not. You could have clicked around the site yourself.

That you wish open house listings were on Redfin is your desire. One day it will probably happen. It's not the holy grail. It's a web site that you like.

...and if you blame me for wanting people to come to my web site, then you are **truly** naive as to any web site's purpose. Its purpose is to generate business and market products - here, real estate. Why else would we spend the money creating them? You just twisted that statement around and made an incorrect assumption with out-of-context quotes. Of course I want potential clients to find me online!!! That can't come as a surprise to anyone.

Do you think your favorite site is all about you? (rhetorical question) No! they won't exist for very long unless someone uses their services. The **purpose** of their web site is to drive traffic to their agents. Yet you assert that my attempt to do the same is objectionable and unethical. huh?

Think about this concept: Amazon.com doesn't drive people to buy.com or Barnes & Noble or vice versa. ...and if you did find a link, I guarantee they're taking a cut.

Ethics? You're hardly one to make charges.

That you hide behind a keyboard with a partially hidden name and reject offers to meet is disgraceful, cowardly and representative of the very worst of the blog world. Click on my profile. Since before the very first post, it has contained my direct contact information.

Your actions provide a perfect explanation why some who wish to assist others in these kinds forums opt out. You miss out on a lot of expertise. You drive it away.

That you refuse to try to come to terms with the concept of an opposing opinion to yours without making ethics charges and repeating my name over and over again in some vain attempt at punishing me in the search engines is, well, childish.

Sincerely,

Dugald Allen
Web Reference:  http://www.dugaldallen.com
3 votes
No Name, , Seattle, WA
Thu Apr 9, 2009
Steven,

Give it up. Now you are calling me dishonest. That is pretty ripe coming from someone who is posting anonymously and for whom there is no down side for saying anything you want.

You have not tried to contact me, so it's obvious you only wish to tender insincere and incorrect information about people who honestly and diligently try to represent their clients and don't believe what you believe.

There is room for multiple opinons in this world. Good luck with your world.

Sincerely,

Dugald Allen

P.S Thanks BobM. I believe it's a lost cause.
3 votes
No Name, , Seattle, WA
Wed Apr 8, 2009
As I said, I'll be glad to show you what is possible and not possible if you want to contact me directly. I'll even buy the coffee.
Web Reference:  http://www.dugaldallen.com
3 votes
No Name, , Seattle, WA
Wed Apr 8, 2009
My last entry to this log will be this:

Steven, you have mis-read and, I believe, misunderstood my comments. I have said the following:

1. I will advertise open houses where the buyers are. When there is evidence that advertising on any site has impact, I will do so. I will NOT advertise on a site just because it is there. Wasting time on non-effective data entry is not in my clients' best interests.
2. Your pre-disposition that any of us are trying to stop people from finding our listings or doing anything to slow a sale is ludicrous. We do many, many things to make sure as many people know about our listings and the activity surrounding them. If you, as a seller wanted a specific item, we'd do it for you.
3. That there is information proprietary to any one site is normal and usual on the internet.
4. An open house is one small piece of a marketing strategy.
5. and I think this is a fundamental disconnect in your understanding of the issue: I (and most agents in the Seattle area) cannot just set up a one click open house that goes to any/every site.

My information is available to you at a click of a button - it's on my profile and I have added my web site to each posting. Feel free to contact me at any time if you have further questions about this issue.
Web Reference:  http://www.dugaldallen.com
3 votes
No Name, , Seattle, WA
Wed Apr 8, 2009
to go back to answering the question....

A few thoughts for you that might clarify the state of the union (IMNSHO):

1. Redfin is a competitor, not a friend. While their site has won accolades from bloggers, we want you on *our* site, not theirs. I'm with windermere. I want you on my site - windermere.com. I know each brokerage (and especially Windermere) has done much to upgrade their sites in the face of the online presence of the new guys and so competition is doing what it does best: spur innovation.

...but consider this: does HP advertise on IBM.com? Does PricewaterhouseCoopers advertise their services at KPMG's web site? Coldwell Banker (CB) and John L. Scott (JLS) don't advertise on Windermere (or vice versa).

When you are on Redfin's site, you are constantly bombarded with a "use us!" message. It's appropriate - it's their site - but why would I do that when I want you to use **me**?

2. There is a disconnect between web site traffic and the reality of the sale. Redfin's site volume is HUGE compared to Windermere or JLS - and rivals that of ReMax & CB. OK, so ReMax and CB are *international* web sites and so that makes sense - Windermere and JLS are regional brands. ...yet the data I have from the MLS shows Redfin market share in the low single digit percentages and Windermere in the +/- 35~40% range for representing buyers in MLS transactions in the greater Seattle area. If I "go where the buyers are" then it's not redfin...

3. I know redfin's your hot button, but there are at least a dozen other web sites that are available to us (as listing agents) to be a part of when holding open houses. There is currently no standard format for presenting data to these sites and so each is done manually.

...so I need to ask where do I get the most "bang for the buck"? It's a business decision... for me, it's not Redfin.
Web Reference:  http://www.dugaldallen.com
3 votes
Steven S., , Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 7, 2009
Let review the nature of this thread and how it got derailed to begin with:

1. I post a complaint I have about listing agents who do not share their open house information with the MLS in order to drive traffic to their own sites.
2. Many agents agree with my assessment.
3. Patrick Beringer finds fault with Redfin buyers and accuses my wife and I of not being "serious buyers"
4. I state exactly what my situation is and why I found myself looking in Queen Anne and for what type of home.
5. Bryan R. Lovell makes a fake profile named Bryan C. in order to discredit and attack me. For what gain, I do not know.
6. When I call Bryan R. Lovell out for having the same listings in his profile as Bryan C. he removes the listings from his profile and changes his location from Everett to Seattle. I wonder why?
7. Patrick Beringer and Bryan R. Lovell continue to attempt to discredit and attack me for reasons I still am unable to understand.

For the record, I don't think Bryan R. Lovell and Patrick Beringer are a fair representative of real estate agents in general. Let's hope they are the bad apples that are removed before the whole barrel goes bad. I hope those of you who are still reading this disaster are now very clear about the emotional stability of people like Patrick Beringer and Bryan R. Lovell. I have to wonder how they can represent anyone in any type of transaction. Bryan R. Lovell can't even seem to get his own multiple personalities straight.
3 votes
No Name, , Seattle, WA
Sun Apr 12, 2009
thanks Matt.. Yes, we were quoting different stats.

Steven, you keep making claims but won't check your facts. All I can do at this point is sigh and shake my head in disbelief.
Web Reference:  http://www.dugaldallen.com
2 votes
Kary Krismer, Agent, Renton, WA
Fri Apr 10, 2009
As a practical matter there are a lot of sites that don't get many eyeballs. I'd actually prefer a system that gets all my open houses (and listings) out to all the various sites without having to do what we do now.

That said, an agent can't possibly hit every site. For listings I use Realtor.com and then the Keller Williams listing service and Postlets.com, the last two of which go out to multiple sites. So that means more work, because every listing needs to be entered three times and changed three times with every change to the listing. Just being able to enter it once, to the NWMLS, and then have it go out automatically would be great. And it would be nice if it were the same for open houses. You never know when the least visited site will bring in that buyer.
2 votes
Steven S., , Seattle, WA
Wed Apr 8, 2009
Dugald, I understood your comments perfectly. Let's look at EXACTLY what you wrote:

You begin our discussion with this gem.
"Redfin is a competitor, not a friend. While their site has won accolades from bloggers, we want you on *our* site, not theirs. I'm with windermere. I want you on my site - windermere.com."

Then you ackowledge the wide reach of Redfin:
"Redfin's site volume is HUGE compared to Windermere or JLS"

So when you say:
"I will advertise open houses where the buyers are. When there is evidence that advertising on any site has impact, I will do so."

Will you? Does that mean you choose not to put open houses on Redfin because of the HUGE volume of eyeballs there, or because "I want you on my site - windermere.com." and " I want you to use **me**?"

Also, while you claim, "I (and most agents in the Seattle area) cannot just set up a one click open house that goes to any/every site." The Redfin rep says, "On Redfin we show all the open houses we get from the NWMLS. For listing agents or sellers who want their open house to appear on Redfin just send it to the NWMLS and we'll display it." I can't imagine it's that difficult to send your open house info to the NWMLS to be picked up by all the aggregate sites (Redfin and Trulia included.)

These are all YOUR words, not my "mis-reading" or misunderstanding" anything.

Your motivations are very clear and I caution anyone from listing their home with an agent more concerned with getting future clients than selling their home. It is no surprise that you would prefer to take this discussion out of the public realm.
2 votes
No Name, , Seattle, WA
Wed Apr 8, 2009
aha, now the truth is out. We're all trying NOT to sell our listings. I *knew* there was a reason!

Of course, we don't want the income associated with either selling our listings or meeting people who might use our service.

*That's* the problem!!!! ...and I thought it was the economy! Silly me!

If it was that easy, then we'd do it. It's not the the ROI isn't there. It's a simple business decision.
Web Reference:  http://www.dugaldallen.com
2 votes
Loretta Chia…, , Vernon, NJ
Wed Apr 8, 2009
Nooo...... actually I said the State of New Jersey does not allow us to use Redfin or Upromise because THEY consider it a bribe. I see upromise in our grocery stores and think "wow what a great idea ". Yet as realtors we can not pull buyers or sellers in with the perks offered through the program. The state considers this a bribe.
I did a little research, not much but enough to wet my whistle about Redfin. New Jersey is not there.

Here's my take on it.

If I had a buyer it would not matter to me where he came from. I am there whole heartily to sell the listed home. I don't necessarily have to be physically in the home such as an open house I just have to get it to someone that is interested. An open house is only one day. The Internet is 24/7. That's where I want to be.


I usually don't go out of my area in blogs but as I stated before the word "sabotage" just sparked my interest. I was expecting a good punch line.

According to the dictionary Sabotage also means "deliberate" harm. Yeah to me that is a harsh way of accusing someone of doing business. I guess I am just on the other side of the window looking in a different direction than you.
2 votes
No Name, , Seattle, WA
Wed Apr 8, 2009
....and Steven, I do post my opens on sites other than Windermere.com. Where I post is part of the proprietary value I add to my clients and I'll be glad to discuss 1-on-1.
Web Reference:  http://www.dugaldallen.com
2 votes
No Name, , Seattle, WA
Wed Apr 8, 2009
Steven,

Now you're getting simply argumentative.

The word sabotage has a strict meaning, but implies an intentional, bad intent, which is what Loretta was trying to explain to you. ...and yes, if someone told me I was sabotaging something, I would wonder what **their** position was.

You have really not done yourself a great service by suggesting that my comments were self-serving. I believe that I made a business case for my opinion that serves my clients capably, efficiently and effectively.

If we quantify the effort vs. the results, then posting open houses on other web sites does not give me a bang for the buck.

As I hold open houses, I track where people come from. 90% come from the signs, a few from the newspaper and a few from online. Most people who are interested in an area will wander the neighborhood during known open times - Sunday 1-4.

oops - that's exactly what you did!
Web Reference:  http://www.dugaldallen.com
2 votes
No Name, , Seattle, WA
Wed Apr 8, 2009
no, no, no - not afraid at all. That's funny.

Shawn, we're talking about advertising open houses. Redfin still publishes the home's resume (aka the listing.)
Web Reference:  http://www.dugaldallen.com
2 votes
No Name, , Seattle, WA
Wed Apr 8, 2009
Steven

Your points are taken, but I think your itunes analogy more proves my point than otherwise - that it's normal not to advertise certain items on competitor sites. Amazon still offers itunes gift cards - through their reseller system. Redfin shows the listings - through the third party reseller system known as the MLS.

There is competition out there and we make business decisions to not advertise certain items on a competitor site. It's not short sighted, it's competitive.

Remember, an open house is **only one piece** of marketing a home and, in my opinion, is importnant but not anywhere near the most important. All the competitive web sites still advertise the listing itself and you can always call your broker to see the home...

The biggest influence in selling a home is price - and that's already online ...everywhere.
Web Reference:  http://www.dugaldallen.com
2 votes
Joseph Ferra…, , New York County, NY
Wed Apr 8, 2009
This is why consumers visit many real estate websites and still don't find everything available. The answer lies in a metasearch engine that searches all the real estate sites, including the FSBO sites. A site doing this is retrove.com. I have inside information that they are releasing some cool features soon that will bring more attention to the site.

While broker sites are accused of being protective of their listings, my guess is the TruZillas of the web will be the same way when metasearch engines become more popular and want to crawl their sites to aggregate and organize the RE data -- IMO TZ will build the same fences around their content, which, BTW, they do not own in the first place, to prevent consumers ( & owners and listing agents) from being truly served by technology. The saying "information wants be free" will be rewritten to add "except our information."

Just one bloke's opinion.
Web Reference:  http://www.retrove.com/
2 votes
Steven S., , Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 7, 2009
Mark, I appreciate the sincerity of your post. These, however, are what I know to be facts:

When Bryan C. originally posted accusing me of misrepresenting myself, I clicked on his profile and found that he was from Everett and had 9 properties in his "My Listings" area. I clicked on one of them to find that Bryan R. Lovell was the listing agent for that property. I then clicked on Bryan R. Lovell's profile to find the exact same 9 listings in Bryan R. Lovell's profile as were in Bryan C.'s profile. When I posted this fact and had Bryan C. respond, I checked his profile again to find that Bryan C. had erased all of his listings and changed his location to Seattle from Everett (Everett is also the area that Bryan R. Lovell covers.) Further Bryan R. Lovell had changed his listings from 9 to 6. So is it pure coincidence that Bryan C. and Bryan R. Lovell changed both their listings within minutes of each other? I have nothing against Bryan R. Lovell personally and had no reason to single him out.
2 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Tue Apr 7, 2009
There is probably a lot more to this sinerio but for the good of the order, wouldn't it be nice to work together for the common good of everyone.......possible a little idealistic but still a worthwhile consideration.
2 votes
Patrick Beri…, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 7, 2009
The "mistrust" you speak of is a feeling that's probably one-sided in your case. My job is not to work for free for people who choose not to work with, or listen to, their own agent. My job is to represent my client, whether it be a home buyer or seller. If my seller tells me he doesn't want open houses and does not want unverified buyers in his home, then my job is to follow his wishes.

The frustration "Shawn" and "Steven S" express seems to center around their inability to see which open houses there are on a certain day. How you translate this into a dislike of agents is laughable. You choose to work on your own and then berate us for not making this easy for you.

I've got some insider info just for you: Redfin is a real estate company. Working with Redfin means you are working with real estate agents. They just do less of the legwork than a traditional agent would. Yup, they rebate some money back, but does that mean you got the best deal? If you think so, then hooray for you! If you think not, then don't use them. See? It's all about free choice. I like Redfin buyers because I like ALL buyers. (By "buyers," I mean those who are serious buyers who actally can afford to buy and are motivated to do so. "Buyers" does not mean looky-loos or crazy people who post anonymous messages on websites because they have a stick up their ass about some perceived slight that probably never happened).
2 votes
Shawn Furges, Both Buyer And Seller, Dublin, CA
Tue Apr 7, 2009
I sometimes wonder why there is such a mistrust between RE Pros and their customers, and I found my answer in Trulia!

Trulia has been an indispensable site for me to form an opinion of RE Pros. Unfortunately it is not positive. This post and other posts in Trulia speaks for themselves. There is always constant bickering between the RE Pros here and the customers, and that is never good for a business relationship, almost a deep mistrust and misundestanding that can't be bridged.

You have just managed to confirm why Steven should use REDFIN and not RE agents like you.

By the way, I have an agent, but I also use Redfin. I don't use Redfin because I intend to use their agents, I use them because of their website interface, which I find wonderful. Also, I find their website to be more up to date than other sites, including Trulia and even RE agent's own site!

Example, this weekend I found an "active" house in Trulia, which said it was holding an open house. I went to the listing agent's site, which had some nice info and invited visitors to the open house. So my wife and I decided to go and check it out by ourselves since it was nearby, only to find that it had already been sold a week ago! I come home and decided to log on to Redfin, and it was the only site that listed it as "Pending Without Release". I wish I had visited Redfin and not Trulia before I went to the open house.

You just confirmed that Trulia is a good old RE Professionals club, who is unwiling to change, adapt, or even listen to new ideas for the improvement of the consumer, and for that I am truly sorry.
2 votes
Steven S., , Seattle, WA
Thu Jul 2, 2009
Seattle area's major real estate companies share open house details

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/407778_openhouse02.html
1 vote
Jeff K, Home Buyer, Bristol, PA
Fri Apr 17, 2009
Hi Shawn,

With respect, it would seem that your assumpions are incorrectly based. Please note that I am not criticzing you however, as this isn't your fault.

Anyone coming into this thread at this particular point in time might well get the wrong idea from reading only what's left, without the rest of the information to see the whole thing in context. There were a LOT of posts that were (thankfully) deleted by the admins - all of which happened before you got to this thread.

So - I do understand that my comments may now appear - without the original context - that I am guilty of "personal attacks", rather than defending someone who was being needlessly attacked.

I certainly agree with you that this is a public forum. And we do have basic community guidelines, which we are expected to follow, more or less. So, it's not quite a "free for all" here ...

Anyway - have a GREAT WEEKEND. The weather is finally nice here and we're heading out!
1 vote
Matt Goyer, , 98122
Sun Apr 12, 2009
About the numbers... Dugald and I can both be right. As a brokerage Redfin does have single digit market share while Windermere has the most market share of any brokerage in Seattle. Windermere, of course, has many many more agents than Redfin.

About entering open house times into the NWMLS. Some brokerages (like Redfin) use the NWMLS provided Rapattoni interface which enables agents to enter open house times. Other brokerages use a proprietary interface instead. I believe both JLS and Windmere don't use the Rapattoni interface. It's my understanding that these other interfaces don't let their agents put their open house times in the NWMLS, only on their own sites. However, I've never actually seen the JLS or Windermere interfaces so this is just what I've heard. Also, I have spoken to some senior WIndermere folks who indicated that Windermere will likely be changing their open house input system soon.

Alrighty, back to Easter fun.
1 vote
Steven S., , Seattle, WA
Fri Apr 10, 2009
Jefferson and James, I agree with all of your points. What you don't understand is that Dugald Allen is not JC Penny. Dugald Allen is a marketing company hired by JC Penny to make sure that as many people as possible know about JC Penny's grand opening. If JC Penny knew that Dugald Allen had access to a system that would provide FREE access to a multitude of websites, even some competitor's websites like Macys, to promote JC Penny's grand opening, and didn't use this resource; they would fire Dugald Allen in a heartbeat. Dugald Allen's marketing plan, instead, is to put his JC Penny grand opening info on dugaldallen.com in hopes that potential JC Penny grand opening customers will use Dugald Allen for their future marketing opportunities. Never mind the fact that dugaldallen.com draws 1/100 the page views as Macys.com.

To your point James, "Now, the best solution would be to have a site that is neutral to all parties, no one company is the head company."
The NWMLS is just that neutral company. Numerous websites aggregate information they receive from the MLS and redistribute that information in whatever format they wish. Redfin is one, as is Trulia, Zillow, and even competing brokerage companies. Dugald Allen has chosen not to share this information with many neutral websites like Trulia and Zillow. Websites which have no association with any real estate brokerages and offer no threat to Duglad Allen's business. When Dugald Allen makes the decision FOR HIS CLIENTS to not share information with the MLS, he does not hurt his own business, he hurts the sales prospects for his clients. While Dugald Allen sits patiently waiting to make his 3%, his seller has to make another 4 mortgage payments because a potential buyer did not see this home.

Dugald, you seem preoccupied with the fact that very few people are using Redfin agents to buy their homes. this is your justification for not posting your information to the MLS (and the fact that you have to make more then one click.) This FACT makes your position even that much more indefensible. The "business decision" you are making, by you own words is to ignore marketing opportunities FOR YOUR CLIENTS which offer a "HUGE volume" of eyeballs because you fear that potential future clients may decide to use Redfin instead of you. A likelihood of exactly 1.3% based on numbers you provide. As I have stated numerous time, and Terrence Chen has also reiterated, most of the people who use the Redfin website end up buying without a Redfin agent. As you have so kindly pointed out as well. So are finally beginning to understand how your fear is unfounded, and how this unfounded fear is a hinderance to doing the most good for your clients. You have a fiduciary duty to market and sell your clients home. To ignore that duty for your own self-serving business practices is dishonest and unethical, and that is a FACT.
1 vote
Kary Krismer, Agent, Renton, WA
Fri Apr 10, 2009
Steve S, thanks for the summary of why I've been getting so many email alerts on this thread!

Hopefully I can end such emails by deselecting that option with this post!
1 vote
Steven S., , Seattle, WA
Thu Apr 9, 2009
It's not as simple as you state it to be, Jefferson. If this were simply a case of consumer choice, I would have left well enough alone. It is not. We have a situation where agents like Dugald Allen purposefully omit specific information about their listings from sites where those listings would be getting the most exposure because Dugald Allen wants potential future clients to go to his own personal website. Having just sold my home, I find this practice particularly despicable because it is patently dishonest. If we were talking about a simple oversight on the part of agents like Dugald Allen, then I would be quick to apologize and be on my way, having stated my opinion on the subject. However, Dugald Allen has made very clear that there was no oversight, but a malicious intent to sabotage his listings for personal gain. He makes no apologies for his actions, but vigorously defends them. All the while making no factual arguments of why his position is in the right.

I really don't care how my message is received by the real estate agents who populate this site. I was simple curious to the thought process and motivation behind this practice. I found that with most honest agents, it was simply oversight, or not understanding the technology. Not so with Dugald Allen. Unethical practices by agents like Dugald Allen are highly inappropriate and worth discussing. It is curious that when I use his own words to rebut himself, he wants nothing more to do with the public discussion.
1 vote
Steven S., , Seattle, WA
Thu Apr 9, 2009
Dugald: ..and Steven, I do post my opens on sites other than Windermere.com. Where I post is part of the proprietary value I add to my clients and I'll be glad to discuss 1-on-1.

Even if you post your opens on 100 websites, what do you think your sellers would say if they had the choice to have their opens on 100 websites or 101 websites? Not even taking into account that the 101st site has "HUGE volume."

Of course you are afraid to answer this question honestly since it would only amplify your indefensible position.
1 vote
Steven S., , Seattle, WA
Wed Apr 8, 2009
Your sarcasm is a poor mask to the fact that you are attempting to defend a non-defendable position. You've been perfectly clear that you weigh your future client prospects above selling your current client's homes. Sabotaging your seller's listings for your own personal gain. It's a good thing we did not use you as our listing agent.
1 vote
Loretta Chia…, , Vernon, NJ
Wed Apr 8, 2009
Steven , I didn't intend to state that Realtors are beginning and end. I asked you to INTERVIEW a person that would be suitable to ASSIST you. REALTOR is the title we use. The tools are all different.

I am in agreeance with you on the fact that there are several ways to find a home.

I am in agreeance that the Internet is a crucial one. Your in Seattle Washington and I am in Northern New Jersey. Now that is way cool

You and I - along with other sales agents, buyers and sellers are using the Internet right now. We are trading off information. We are clarifying the unknown. Thanks to the internet

I think the word Sabotage just threw me off right from the start. Your question "Why do listing agents sabotage their own listings? " just seems so harsh. It gets translated into sinisterism. I don not know what you do for your career but I am sure you do not go to work with intentions to "sabotage" your job. Nor would you like others accusing you of sabotage. Life just ins't like that. Maybe a mistake, or an error will occur but not sabotage.

By using Sabotage you've created a vision a Realtor in a dark coat with a wide brimmed hat sneaking around dark corners stealing all the Internet websites and property signs so no one knows their for sale while mysterious music plays in the background. Then returning to a dark dingy apartment with no income to buy food for his family.

I, along with many other realtors work too hard to fit in that description. Take a moment to sit in the shoes of a hard working, dedicated Realtor. In the end instead of "sabotage" you might use "resourceful". Maybe , during your lone search a realtor did not get you to purchase their listing because they missed out on your finding the right listing , on the right website, at the right time but due to other resorcefulness they were able to find several others that might be interested. Glass 1/2 full? Glass 1/2 empty.
1 vote
Mark Despain, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 7, 2009
Steven S,

I have to say, respectfully, that I think you are confused to blame Bryan Lovell for anyone else's comments here. I have been reading Mr. Lovell's posts on Trulia for quite some time now. And although I may not always agree with everything that he says or the way he says it, he always responds courteously and in a thoughtful, professional manner. I don't know Bryan. I've never worked with, or been associated with him in any capacity. But to see him accused in this forum without definite, factual proof is really unfair.

I have a hunch that if you inquire directly with Rudy, he may be able to dispel your suspicions about the dual personality of which you accused B. Lovell. And I hope you would then publicly apologize.

And Rudy, thanks for your input.
1 vote
Mark Despain, Agent, Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 7, 2009
I have to take exception with Shawn's generalizations about real estate agents and Trulia as a forum. Many of the agents who post are simply trying to honestly answer the posted questions. Just like every other industry (and consumers for that matter), real estate has representatives that are good, not-so-good, and bad. That's true of every real estate company - Windermere, Redfin, and all the rest.
1 vote
Steven S., , Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 7, 2009
First of all, to Bryan R. Lovell (aka Bryan C.): This was posted 6 posts ago:
"Excuse me Bryan, I tend to defend myself when I am being attacked. I find it appalling that real estate agents would so blatantly attack me for asking a simple question about disseminating information about open houses. I have no ties to Redfin, or any other real estate company.

I do find it ironic that Bryan R. Lovell felt the need to pose as a home buyer named Bryan C. in order to attack me personally. Or does Bryan C. just by coincidence have all the same listings as Bryan R. Lovell."

It is pretty unbelievable isn't it Shawn? That so-called professionals would act in such a childlike manner. On a public forum no less. Especially when the original question was a valid one and was not slighting Patrick Beringer or Bryan R. Lovell in the least. I would venture to guess that these two do not have many "serious clients" to speak of.
1 vote
Shawn Furges, Both Buyer And Seller, Dublin, CA
Tue Apr 7, 2009
Patrick, you post speak for itself about the attitude you have towards home buyers.

How can I possibly become more trusting of RE agents like you after reading your post?

You have called "laughable", "difficult", and "crazy" all in the same post - and I not even a customer of yours. You use personal attacks and foul language to belittle other posters.

Is there any wonder why I would mistrust someone like you?
1 vote
Steven S., , Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 7, 2009
I see you've deleted your listings Bryan R. Lovell. Too bad you cannot delete your infantile remarks and false profiles. Nice way to present yourself to potential clients.
1 vote
Steven S., , Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 7, 2009
Excuse me Bryan, I tend to defend myself when I am being attacked. I find it appalling that real estate agents would so blatantly attack me for asking a simple question about disseminating information about open houses. I have no ties to Redfin, or any other real estate company.

I do find it ironic that Bryan R. Lovell felt the need to pose as a home buyer named Bryan C. in order to attack me personally. Or does Bryan C. just by coincidence have all the same listings as Bryan R. Lovell.
1 vote
Bryan C., Home Buyer, Seattle, WA
Tue Apr 7, 2009
I don't know anyone else’s impressions here but one thing really has me shocked. For someone who is looking for a million Dollar home, isn't it sort of odd that you would spend your time arguing such a minor issue? As a buyer I rather be out looking at a home over spending my time debating something so insignificant as this. I too have used Redfin some...in the past...but I don't find this argument really worth much.

My impression after reading your post is this… I believe it is more likely Steven here has some ties to Redfin and is only trying to draw attention to himself or to the company. I wouldn't even be surprised to discover some day that Steven S. actually is an agent or the broker or something like that, at Redfin.

Sorry, Steven, I don't believe your post is really all that you say it is. I’m a buyer and I know my friends don't all flock to Redfin. I use more than one site as well...and guess what, I am quite savvy as well. I have my favorites but I am not worried about the rest of the Trulia community knowing what my preferences are in this regards.

Steve, this is a funny post and has little value and merit. If you really can buy a million dollar home then go get your freeking home and stop wasting your time posting about your pour abused Redfin.
1 vote
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