by Paul Slaybaugh | Nov 27, 2011 | This & That
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
by Paul Slaybaugh | Nov 20, 2011 | This & That
Scottsdale, AZ – A Valley home inspector has declared war on leaky pipes.
And Real Estate agents.
Tired of consumer demands for advice on matters outside of the scope of his services, Lester Hubble has announced on his small business website that receives up to four visits a day that all future inquiries about what the seller is obligated to fix will be directed to his blistered middle finger.
“I offer home inspection services, not transactional advice,” an exasperated Hubble explained when reached for comment. “Want to know what to do with the information provided in my report? Talk to the guy in the khakis and eighty dollar sunglasses.”
“Your Realtor,” Hubble clarified. “You know, the guy making three percent to show up for the last five minutes of the inspection and act like he knows the difference between his ass and a hole in the freon line.”
Reached for comment, local Realtor Dolores Dunmisset acknowledged that she had no idea what she requested on the last repair demand list she submitted on behalf of a client.
“GFCIs, HVACs … most of the stuff in those reports sounds like a designation I should have on my business card,” she chuckled. “I just know that if it shows up on the last page, it’s broken and we want it fixed.”
“Me and a few of my friends started adding bogus items to our reports a few months back,” Hubble confided. “Since ninety nine percent of these idiots would call their handyman for a repair bid on a faulty particle accelerator so long as it appeared in the summary, we have a running bet to see who can get the craziest thing included in a demand list.”
Asked if he was bitter that Realtors, who would seem to know very little about the actual workings of a house, stand to earn an inordinately high fee for every transaction in comparison to the $250-450 he charges per inspection, Hubble did not equivocate.
Hubble did admit that he had encountered a handful of agents over the years who actually asked pertinent questions and sought clarification on the exact nature of the deficiencies noted in his reports, but was quick to add that stumbling upon those rare exceptions was akin to discovering Bigfoot playing lawn darts with the Loch Ness Monster in Area 51.
“A needle in a blown-in stack of fiberglass,” he explained.
Unbeknownst to them, those very agents are the unwitting commodities being wagered by Hubble and his cohorts in what has turned into a high stakes affair.
“Yeah,” he confirmed. “Winner gets books of preferred agent business from the losers. Losers fight over the game show hosts and Fembots.”
Asked if he was winning the contest, Hubble shook his head.
“I really need to up my game if I’m going to top Fahlengrade. Reverse polarity on a traversable wormhole within the sump pump was epic.”
Reached for comment, the National Association of Realtors released a statement warning consumers to consult their home inspection specialist about the dangers of faulty wiring.
–Paul Slaybaugh, BSRE News ©2011
by Paul Slaybaugh | Nov 14, 2011 | This & That
Scottsdale, AZ – In a turn of events that only the most astute amateur psychologist could have seen coming, a longtime Phoenix area home shopper has split with her Real Estate agent of four years.
Sources indicate that Haley Cosmo had become frustrated in recent months with the lack of attention she was being paid by her professional significant other.
“It started somewhere around the two hundredth house we looked at,” Cosmo confirmed. “A cute, little bank-owned Victorian that would have been perfect if the medicine cabinet in the guest bath had a third shelf.”
According to Cosmo, her agent’s behavior became erratic shortly after that fateful August showing.
“He started chasing me off the phone after an hour, right in the middle of a sentence, with some cockamamie excuse like he had to get the kids dressed for school or go present a contract,” Cosmo complained. “I’d text him at 12 AM about the house I should have bought last year and wouldn’t get a response for like twenty minutes! Twenty!”
Noting that Real Estate is a service industry and that her agent <name withheld> stands to gross almost $2800 before taxes when she ultimately purchases a home, Cosmo believes the deterioration in the relationship can be attributed to nothing more than misplaced priorities.
“It wasn’t always this way,” she lamented. “In the beginning, we used to talk. I mean really talk. Now it just seems like we are always going in different directions.”
“Besides,” she added. “He already taught me everything he knows about the area and the market. Not like he’s bringing anything new to our weekly tours at this point.”
“Not all agent-client relationships are a good fit,” Arizona Association of Realtors spokesperson Aru Cereous admitted when reached for comment. “Especially when one party is a bugshit crazy person with boundary issues who has no genuine interest in ever completing a home purchase.”
“He kept pushing me away, telling me he had to see other people,” Cosmo added. “Now I may be a modern woman, but I am not ready for an open relationship with my Realtor.”
“I think I need an agent more in tune with my needs.”
Or a dog, as it turns out.
Having given up the house hunt for the time being, Cosmo claims to be happier than she’s ever been with the new addition to the studio apartment she’s renting while she waits for her condo in Blythe to sell.
“Griswald never has a scheduling conflict,” Cosmo noted, patting the Springer Spaniel as she retrieved a piece of waste with a plastic bag.
“Maybe I’ll see if I can get him licensed when the time comes to try again.”
Asked whether she felt any remorse for divorcing her agent on the grounds of irreconcilable differences before he could be compensated for the time, effort and expense spent over the course of their relationship, Cosmo’s response was succinct.
– Paul Slaybaugh, BSRE News ©2011
by Paul Slaybaugh | Oct 19, 2011 | This & That
In a stunning declaration, local Scottsdale Real Estate agent Barry Sniggles admitted today that his listing at 1007 N Firewater Blvd is not really a steal.
While it is unclear exactly what prompted the confession, Sniggles has been besieged with demands from consumers and REALTORs alike to recant his bombastic claims about the modest three bedroom starter home in recent weeks.
On a hastily arranged conference call, Sniggles told reporters that he regretted any prior advertising that may have led consumers to believe that the nondescript property was, in fact, anything more than a pedestrian Real Estate offering.
“I never set out to deceive anyone,” Sniggles responded when asked if his tweet on September 14th that ‘This Home is a Steal!’ was deliberately misleading. “But I can see how it would be taken out of context.”
Similar puffery has been documented on Sniggles’ Facebook page and within the descriptive content of the property listing itself.
Community activist Steven Caste has been one of the home’s most vocal detractors.
“I mean, it’s not like it’s the biggest piece of &%$? I’ve ever seen,” Caste said when reached for comment at his Scottsdale apartment. “But a steal? Not hardly. It’s at least ten thousand high and could stand some paint.”
“It’s not just this property,” competing Real Estate agent Ronald Cutcheons added. “He’s been doing this stuff for years. ‘Forever views!’ ‘I’m Beautiful Inside!’ … it’s all baloney. I can’t find a Mrs. Clean anywhere in the tax records, yet he claims she lives in every home he lists. It has to stop.”
For Sniggles, the revelation accompanies a personal pledge to remove all allusions to ‘theft,’ ‘larceny’ and ‘steals’ from his marketing.
“I don’t want to be the Realtor who cried wolf anymore,” Sniggles explained.
With several new prospects on the horizon, he won’t have to wait long for the first test of his resolve.
“I’ve got a new listing coming up in McCormick Ranch,” Sniggles said. “This one really is a ste- … I mean, an average value.”
by Paul Slaybaugh | Sep 19, 2011 | This & That
Scottsdale, AZ – According to a hastily released statement from the National Association of Realtors this morning, the 1.2 million active members of the nation’s largest trade organization will hereby stop including themselves in property listing photos. Effective immediately, the public will be assured that any agent appearing in the reflection of a master bathroom mirror is not a dues-paying REALTOR®.
“It’s this kind of initiative that exemplifies the difference between a mere Real Estate agent and a REALTOR,” NAR spokesman Thelonius Diedel explained. “Well, that and a couple hundred bucks annually.”
“Ghosting, as we call it, is a threat to consumers which we here at the NAR take very seriously,” Diedel continued. “A REALTOR designation assures home sellers they are working with a professional who has been trained to take a picture from around a corner, or at an angle.”
Not confined to issues of self-inclusion, Real Estate agents have long vexed online property shoppers with errant fingers on lenses, moving trucks in driveways and labrador retrievers in foyers. Exterior photos taken directly into the sun have caused at least nine cases of blindness since 2008.*
“Don’t even get me started on those fish eye virtual tours,” Cameron Stultz of the consumer watchdog group, People for Competent Photography, added when reached for comment. “I mean, thanks for showing us what the house would look like if we just chased a sheet of LSD with a liter of Jack Daniels and formaldehyde, but most buyers aren’t Alice when she’s ten feet tall. We’re just regular-size folks who want an accurate visual representation of the property.”
“This is what being a REALTOR is all about,” Diedel concluded. “Being heard, but not seen. In bathrooms.”
Diedel declined comment when asked how the initiative would help kickstart a slumping national housing market.
Melina Tomson, a non-NAR affiliated Real Estate broker in Salem, Oregon added, “Are you f&^%$*! kidding me with this?”
Paul Slaybaugh, Disassociative Press ©2011
*Data provided by intracranial study of author’s overactive imagination