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Outraged At MSM Bias In Real Estate Coverage? How About Some Outrage At Dirty Broker Tricks?

Kevin Boer, Broker Owner, 3 Oceans Real Estate, Inc. ()

January 29th, 2008 · 3 Comments

I’ve accused David “Hi this is David G from Zillow” Gibbons of having a technorati-enabled chip embedded in his ear that buzzes whenever anybody, anywhere on the Internet mentions his employer. Rumors have been circulating that Greg Swann may have a similar device, which sends out the bat-signal any time one of numerous companies — especially Redfin — is mentioned.

It appears the bat-signal just rang, this time initiated by an article in Forbes about Redfin. The title alone — Swimming With Sharks — immediately reveals the author’s slant, and Greg properly and roundly chews him out. The good guys — in this genre, it’s Redfin, always Redfin — “say” and “write” when communicating, and the bad guys — traditional brokers, in this case exemplified by Gary Bulanti of Alain Pinel Realtors, my ex-broker — “sniff,” as in:

“In our area the consumer is savvy enough to know that they want value and a high-quality agent,” sniffs Gary Bulanti, a Realtor with Alain Pinel Realtors in Menlo Park, Calif.

(I should note that Gary Bulanti does not sniff when he talks. Au contraire, his nasal passages are actually quite clear, thank you very much.)

So, yes, I will agree with Greg that the mainstream media has — once again — done unbiased journalism a dis-service.

But let’s overlook that for a moment — if we can — and think about this: Shouldn’t we be far more outraged at the dirty broker tricks being done against Redfin?

If the traditional industry believes Redfin’s days are numbered, why not let the market take its course? Why resort to middle school-style behavior such as:

  • Not presenting offers
  • Bad-mouthing Redfin
  • Destroying Redfin signs
  • Bribing lobbying state legislatures to outlaw rebates

If these things are actually going on — and I see no reason to believe Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman is “just making this stuff up” — we should be apoplectic! These incidents give the industry a worse name than it already has — a pretty difficult thing to do — and provide the media and Redfin with more ammo.

I personally have not seen first-hand these kinds of things directed at Redfin, but I have seen enough shenanigans in this business to have no doubt that they are actually occurring.

Not presenting offers? Come on! That is such a clear violation of ethics, fiduciary duty, common sense, fairness, sanity…and I can completely believe it happens.

Finally, Glenn, if you’re reading this, I hope you were misquoted when you said: [bold italics mine]

“Every week we have a selling agent tell one of our clients that their offer will go nowhere,” Kelman says. “They say, ‘We control the inventory, and you will never get this house.’”

A listing agent represents the seller. A selling agent represents the buyer. I know, it’s kind of silly, but that’s the way it is.

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