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.

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ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: cell: 206-910-1000

22 thoughts on “Microsoft vs. Google a real estate perspective

  1. Well, you CAN get your MLS on a Mac…. just get the new Intel Mac… and a piece of software called Parallels ($79)… and you can run Windows JUST like an application (without quitting out and rebooting). You can run XP AND Windows 98 AND Windows 95 all at the same time if you want….. AND run your Mac! Best of both worlds… (well, there’s not much ‘best’ in the Windows world, but….. But just beware… the “windows’ side can still get viruses, so do most of your internet surfing on the Mac side where we’re ‘virus free’. Come on over to the GOOD side of life… where your computer helps you get your work done… instead of gets in the WAY of you getting your work done. 🙂

  2. Great post Ardell. I did not know that. When I relocated up here back the stone ages, I was out of college, and MS just gave me a month’s free rent while I looked for a place to live.

  3. I LOVE that picture. Not switching to MAC though, until the MLS is just as easy to get. And I’m pretty sure that I could not possibly live without my Outlook.

    We had a MAC around the office intitially, and I kept saying, get RID of that, as all of the work done on it couldn’t be processed except on it. I hated the thing, but the young person who was using it LOVED it. She couldn’t look up a property, she couldn’t handle a Publisher file I emailed through, not sure what she was doing on it, not work for sure, but she sure loved it.

  4. Mac users can access the NWMLS using a Macintosh OSX computer and the associated Safari browser.

    Go to and click on “About this Site” for details and complete instructions.

    I’ve been running this “emulator” for over a year from G4 laptop with never a problem.

  5. OK John and Michael,

    Now how do I do my flyers in Publisher on a Mac and email them to my agents. I use all Microsoft products, Outlook, Publisher (which I SWEAR by for creating flyers) etc.

    Better question is why use a MAC. Why do those who have them LOVE them. I’ve been using computers since my first 8 whatever Tandy from Radioshack. Upgraded to a 16 when those came out, then a 32 and a 64 and a 128. It always doubled…until Pentium Processors I think. In fact I used computers before there were PCs and we had that whole refrigerated room we weren’t allowed to go in without surgery masks on 🙂

    I think back then there were Apple Computers and “IBM compatible”…does that sound right? Those that went Apple went MAC and those that went IBM compatible are now not MAC. Is that a correct pregression?

    Why go through the incredible learning curve and learn everything new in order to have a MAC, except that every time I see that commercial…I seem to wanna… Great Ad Campaign if it affects me, don’t you think? We’re going to see that guy somewhere else, cause his acting career is just beginning. If anyone sees him anywhere else, let me know.

  6. Ardell, when did you use the Mac last? To be fair to the Mac folks out there, the Mac is a much better platform than it was during the pre Mac OSx dark ages of Michael Spindler & Gil Amelio in the 1990s. Since Steve Jobs has came back & Mac OSx was released, Apple is once again a great company.

    Still, I’m not switching. I had an Amiga before I turned to the dark side. 🙂

  7. Shoot, link doesn’t work. How about that Daily show…ran away with the Emmys.

    As to the MAC, I never did use it. Someone talked us into buying it and our logo was created on it. They said it was better for creating logos. But we couldn’t modify the logo in any way after the agents were trying to implement it on their non MACs.

    One person with a MAC and everyone else without one was the problem. We have to have things that work for everyone.

  8. Apples advertising is by far better then Microsoft! Apple is where they are today because of there advertising and the quality of the each product they put out. Apple’s products are really expensive, but people still buy them because of their cool ADs. We will see, i guess in the end whom is the better company.

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