Microsoft vs. Google a real estate perspective

[photopress:mac.jpg,full,alignright]On a side note, nothing to do with the topic, isn’t that MAC advertising campaign fabulous! Doesn’t everyone want to run out and get a MAC when they see that commerical? Of course I can’t get the mls on it, or at least not easily, so I hate them. But that has got to be the best advertising campaign I’ve seen in a long time. Doesn’t everyone want to be that guy on the right? Heck, I’m a woman and even I want to be that guy on the right.

On to Microsoft vs. Google. So far my Google clients have been able to negotiate significantly higher savings in real estate transactions than my Microsoft clients. Of course I’m dealing with a very small portion of the Microsoft poplulation, even though I have more Microsoft clients than Google clients.

Microsoft has a contract that kicks back 35% of the real estate commission when a new employee is hired, even if they don’t buy a house for a year to 18 months after they are hired. Perhaps Microsoft doesn’t get all of that 35%, but the agent who has to pay it is still unable to negotiate with the buyer, nor are they as able, at 65%, to resolve issues in the transaction using commission dollars. This agreement that the agent pay 35% to Microsoft also limits the employee with regard to agent selection.

I recently had a call from a Microsoft employee’s wife who is being transferred. She was checking online and trying to pick an agent she felt comfortable with and happened upon me. I told her that she really needed to check with her husband and his employer, as I didn’t think she was totally free to pick an agent of her choice. I told her I might be willing to match the 35%, but she would likely need to try the assigned agent first, before suggesting she wanted someone other than the assigned agent.

Now these programs where an agent is assigned to an employee are, of course, beneficial. These programs have been around for a very, very long time. I myself did tons of relocations with Siemens and other companies around the Country, utilizing this very same program. The 35% of the commission paid by the agent to the relocation company, helps pay for a portion of the relocation benefits such as movers, temporary housing, and other benefits.

In my experiments over the past few months with negotiating buyer agent fees, and a few other out of the box negotiations, I have been able to transfer $20,000 of pure cash advantages plus an additional $10,000, into transactions, with Google clients. More importantly, I have been able to treat the Google clients in these negotiations, identically to the way that I treat seller clients…which is my goal.

If Google does hire 1,000 new people, as Dustin suggests they might, I hope that they will not lock the employees into a program that skims off the employee’s ability to negotiate and ties their hands with regard to agent selection. Relocating is a very stressful and emotional process. Feeling hogtied at the same time, only adds to the stress. While many are happy to have someone ready, willing and able to assist, this benefit should be optional at best and should allow the employee more freedom of choice and no restriction with regard to fee negotiations.

Not trying to change Microsoft here…just trying to encourage Google not to follow suit. Once released from the 18 month requirement, I have been able to assist Microsoft employees and negotiate fees, but the Google guys are still way ahead for some reason in total dollars. Not sure why that is, I’ll have to ponder it when I do my year end round up of “the experiment”.

Since we are entering the Age of Transparency in the real estate transaction, kind of like The Age of Aquarius in my day when everone was stripping off their clothes, I do think that it should not be a surprise to anyone that there is an exchange of monies between the agent and a third party. That goes for any “purchase of a person”, see Zapped, that does not disclose to the person that they have been bought and sold.