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Tin Foil or Saran Wrap?

What the %&*%$^#!

I was on my own and hungry.   Terry Jane Dorr, one half of team Dorr/Holloway, was out of town for 8 days. I dug into the recesses of our freezer and there, wrapped in tin foil, was dinner.

I have rules for eating, one of which is sour cream cannot be within 15’ of my plate.  The rule has served me well.  Imagine my surprise on that first bite (see opening remarks) – enchiladas -with the dreaded sour cream.  Drat!  How could this happen?

Tin foil is not transparent and I paid the price for lack of transparency.  I thought about real estate.  You can wash a bad taste out of your mouth.  Listerine won’t help the bad taste of an uninformed real estate purchase.  I’ll explain.

Trulia and Zillow are tin foil.  Neither provides full and accurate real estate listing information.   They are advertising platforms masquerading as real estate sites.   Since Trulia and Zillow are tin foil, I’ll not discuss them.

The MLS gives agents the option to provide all information (Saran Wrap) to prospective buyers or some information (Tin foil) to prospective buyers.  Words matter.

The MLS “Public” data sheet excludes information.  I would think the word public would mean the information is open and transparent.  That is not the case.  The “Private” data sheet includes information, but only for agents, not the home buyer.  That label is accurate if you are an agent.

Homebuyer Associates uses Saran Wrap (transparency).  The information we send to clients is transparent.  We “wrap” the information so that all is disclosed to our clients.   Other agents may send their information in tin foil leaving out information that might be important to a buyer’s decision-making process.  Holding back information does nothing to help the home buyer.  One of you is thinking ‘OK, smarty-pants, give me some examples.’

Seamus (nephew and co-worker for 8 years) recently sent a listing sheet to a client.  The “private remarks” – meant only for agents – stated, “Did you see the $1,000 selling bonus? The seller and listing agent were offering a bonus to any agent who sold the home.  There is nothing wrong or illegal with the offer of a bonus.  It might actually help get the place sold.

What is wrong is not disclosing the bonus information to the potential buyer.  A $1,000 bonus may color the information provided to the buyer and any smart home buyer will want information.

What does Homebuyer Associates do?  We don’t keep the $1,000 and inform our client that any bonus received will be given to them.  Our clients receive the data sheet that notes the bonus, the Saran Wrap edition.

Other agents, most agents I would argue, send the tin foil edition.  The potential home buyer does not know of the bonus offer.   If you think this seems innocent, note the following from another recent data sheet:

“Seller offering a Bonus to Broker at successful closing by May 30, 2014 in the following amounts:  An A/O (accepted offer) between $270,000-$274,999 bonus to broker is $1,000; for an A/O between $275,000 – $284,999 bonus to broker is $2,500, and for an A/O above $285,000, bonus will be $5,000.”

Look, learn from my experience.  If you head to the freezer searching for food, look for the stuff wrapped in Saran Wrap.  If you are looking to buy a home and for some unknown reason aren’t working with Homebuyer Associates, demand the Saran Wrap edition of the data sheet.  If you think your version of sour cream tastes bad, try swallowing a $5,000 or $10,000 overpayment for a home.   You can’t buy enough mouthwash to get rid of that taste.

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Homebuyer Associates
1835 N. Riverwalk Way
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Phone: 414-254-4129