Realtor Flips Script, Reviews Customers

Scottsdale, AZ – Tired of being the one under a microscope, a local Scottsdale Real Estate agent has turned the tables on the service review paradigm.

Barry Wong, a residential Realtor with Prickly Pear Properties, says the time has come for consumers to enjoy the same level of scrutiny to which service providers are subjected.

“I’m not a toaster,” Wong stressed when reached for comment at his ‘mobile office’ in the parking lot of the Goodwill on Scottsdale Rd between Thomas and McDowell.

“Nor am I a used Pontiac or a sandwich shop,” Wong continued. “Yet everyone feels the need to put a numerical value on the ongoing, long-term service I provide nowadays.”

Asked to quantify the difficulty of ranking the unique, involved relationships that agents share with their clients on a scale of 1-10, Wong rated it an ‘8’.

“There are far too many variables from transaction to transaction, and relationship to relationship for clients to rate me effectively on a simple, translatable scale,” Wong argued. “Especially when much of the job takes place behind the scenes, the customer never realizes the true value of what has been provided.”

Wong was less conflicted by the ability to rank consumer behavior, however.

“It’s simple,” Wong noted. “They either screw you over or they don’t.”

Adopting a four star rating system for the online repository that he hopes will help his fellow professionals avoid the all too common, non-profitable encounters with shiftless time-wasters, Wong envisions a national platform that will fully illuminate this dark side of the sales equation.

“Four stars are for successful closings within six months of initial contact,” he explained. “Three stars will reflect clients who purchased or sold a home beyond the six month threshold.”

Not everyone is convinced that the attempt to level the playing field is a prudent course of action in an era of consumer empowerment.

“The online evaluation of those who would bring you business has never been attempted,” Gustav Merkins of the consumer advocacy group Are You High? claimed when reached for comment. “That’s because it is patently idiotic.”

“If I can save just one agent from driving all over town with some grifter with a history of shining salespeople on, it will all be worth it,” Wong asserted in the face of such naysaying.

Asked to clarify the significance of the final two points in the rating scale he created during a night of binge drinking on the heels of a lost listing, Wong obliged.

“Two stars are for customers who never buy or sell anything,” he confirmed. “One star is reserved for customers who grade agents poorly on online rating sites.”

“Look,” Wong concluded. “I am a firm believer that the customer is always right, except when he’s not. That’s where shame and public humiliation comes into play.”


— Paul Slaybaugh, BSRE News ©2011

Real Estate Investor Attempts Tax-Deferred Exchange; Gets ‘Occupied’

Scottsdale, AZ – A Valley man attempting a tax deferred housing exchange has met with unlikely opposition: the self-described ‘ninety nine percent’.

Retired postal worker Bryce S. Rhite is currently in the middle of selling the South Scottsdale investment property he has owned for thirty years. Utilizing a device known as a 1031 Tax Deferred Exchange in Real Estate parlance, taxes from the capital gain will be deferred indefinitely so long as the proceeds from the sale are directed towards the purchase of a like property within a prescribed period of time.

This does not sit well with a group identifying itself as Occupy 8307 E. Clarendon Avenue.

“This is just another example of how the plutocrats fatten themselves off the blood of the proletariat,” Occupy spokesman Lester Yu told reporters as he picketed in front of the mid-century ranch home this morning.

“We sit in our underwater houses and pay our taxes,” Yu railed. “Yet one percenters like Mr. Rhite who still have equity in their properties don’t pay a nickel because their friends in Congress create special loopholes to keep wealth in the hands of the oligarchs.”

Another protester, dressed as an Ewok, told reporters that he is fed up with the empire using Endor as a staging area for its capitalistic imperialism. He was later arrested for urinating on a shrub.

The protest drew at least one unlikely participant in Leonard Short, the tenant currently living in the disputed property. Short acknowledged that he was grateful to Mr. Rhite for accepting his lease application despite his admittedly shaky credit and spotty employment record, but felt his landlord should have to pay his fair share like everyone else.

“I’ve got nothing bad to say about the man,” Short stated. “Except that he is a tick on the n*ts&ck of America.”

When reached for comment, Mr. Rhite was perplexed as to the furor surrounding his use of a popular tax code provision that is available to all.

“I bought this house for twenty two thousand dollars,” Rhite said. “Had to work five years of double shifts to save enough for the down payment. I’m not tryin’ to pull a fast one, just ready to get out of this property and into somethin’ else. Ain’t like the money’s goin’ under my mattress.”

That justification did little to mollify the Ewok, who jabbed at passersby with a stick while shouting, “No blood for oil!”

“I just want a little place in the mountains now,” Rhite added. “Pinetop, maybe Prescott.”

“Don’t we all,” Yu responded. “Don’t we all.”

For now, there is nothing the protesters can do to stop the tax-free sale. With the preponderance of attendees believing they had assembled to take part in a flashmob or to protest the less than stellar third season of Jersey Shore, however, that fact did little to dampen the group’s enthusiasm.

“Being out here, letting our voices be heard, is the only way to affect change,” a protester going by the name of Chaz proclaimed. “Or at least get on the news. Hi mom.”

— Paul Slaybaugh, BSRE News ©2011


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