We don't need no stinkin' "angle" LOL!!!

[photopress:BRIO_Slogan.jpg,thumb,alignright]Last week when I took on the challenge of moving BRIO forward, Craig asked “(ARDELL)…it sounds like BRIO is simply a full service brokerage. What distinguishes BRIO from other such brokerages? Is it simply that you do “full service

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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: ardelld@gmail.com cell: 206-910-1000

166 thoughts on “We don't need no stinkin' "angle" LOL!!!

  1. What a joke.

    Your original post didn’t give any details about why your firm would be different from every other RE firm. Craig’s comment was pretty reasonable, and in no way deserving of your comment response nor the post above. There was no notion of “following the money” in his comment, he was trying to understand what makes you different. If you think that is offensive, then you are going to be in for a rough ride ahead.

  2. Ron:

    I do not think Ardell had any intentions of answering his question reasonably. I think she just wanted to vent from being a bit too pissed off.

    The way the post reads is this… we have no business plan that makes us stand out… we’re just doing our jobs the best we know how and hoping for the best.

    I can see having a plan and no plan… having one or not having one and doing things the tradional way both have benefits. Yopu just have to give Ardell time to see what is in place, and let her take the time to change those ways into her own. After a year or two and when she has had time to settle in, maybe then she can answer a bit more reasonably.

  3. Pingback: FBS Blog » Blog Archive » How similar are the music and real estate sales industries?

  4. Ardell,

    This may be off-topic, and I don’t know your history regarding Brio and real estate. But, I wanted to get your quick take on inhouse mortgage brokers. What are the pros and cons, in your experience, of such?

    I look forward to your response.


  5. David,

    When I started in real estate, Sears owned Coldwell Banker and Sears Mortgage was “in-house”. For most of my career in real estate, we relied on in-house mortgage assistance. As Coldwell Banker grew, we had Cendant Mortgage. I’ve also been with companies that have no in-house mortgage people. I prefer the ones that do.

    To me, having someone at the ready to prepare the approval letter for the consumer so they can make a timely offer, is very important for the consumer. If there are multiple offers, and you have no lender letter, your offer is not going to get serious consideration.

    Then, within the first few days of the offer being accepted, the consumer should “apply for their mortgage”, not necessarily using that same in-house mortgage person who prepared the original letter.

    I think the in-house lender should be one who can be relied upon to qualify quickly and accurately. The agent should only be involved in the process that produces the letter to make the offer. After that, the lender has to stand on their own merits. The consumer chooses lender after the offer is accepted, within the first few days. The in-house lender has to be good enough to be chosen by the client, and not pushed down the clients’ throat.

    Every agent should know, when they present an offer, that the buyer can close. The in-house lender provides the agent with that assurance.

    Not sure that’s what you had in mind as a response…but those are my feelings on the subject.

  6. Sitting here in Sarasota, Florida – a million miles away from the tech haven of Seattle it seems – I do have to wonder what all the hoopla is about with Redfin, now Brio and god knows how many other ‘cool’ concepts.

    If you want to take a look at a real estate company Ardell, that is truly merging the best of both worlds… full service marketing and representation, raving fans customers that are always put first, an online real estate company that provides all the offline hand holding and high-touch service of the very best of boutique firms, agents that are *not* paid a commission and therefore always put the buyer’s needs first – yet still earn far more than the average agent in our market, a company that truly goes the extra mile as opposed to trying to figure out how to ‘do less for less’, and a company that still saves consumers far more than Redfin or anyone else out there, then take a look at Bravo Brokers: http://www.BravoBrokers.com.

    Unfortunately though, the online real estate universe does not revolve around SW Florida, we don’t have 12 MM in venture funding, and we don’t get the PR exposure that others who offer far less do.

    All the best with your new venture;

    Thomas Heimann, President & CEO
    Bravo Brokers/Bravo Title/Bravo Lending

  7. I took a peek, Thomas. From your tagline it would seem the company depends on its Title and Lending adjuncts to produce sufficient revenue. Do most of your clients use Bravo Title and Bravo Lending? Is there any requirement for them to do so to obtain the low prices you advertise?

  8. Ardell,
    as you know we cannot legally ‘require’ anyone to use our affiliated services. Home sellers pay $1,995 if they agree to utilize and pay for Bravo Title, otherwise they pay $2,495.

    Home buyers receive a 75% commission rebate if they use both Bravo Title and Bravo Lending (unless they pay cash in which case they agree to use Bravo Title); if a buyer uses only one provider (Title or Lending) then the rebate is 66%, if they use none of our providers then the rebate is 50%.

    That being said, Bravo Title’s fees are the lowest anywhere and we guarantee that we will beat any Title co/attorney by at least 10%.

    Bravo Lending also prices its loans better than most lenders/brokers, simply because we do not need to pay commissions to a mortgage broker/loan originator. Our loan person is a salaried customer service professional, focussed on delivering outstanding service and meeting our clients needs. Of course there will be times when we cannot be competitive and we will tell our clients that.

    I guess what I want to clarify is that our business model is not about ‘milking the consumer’ on the title and lending side, but rather to provide a one stop solution where we pass our savings and increased efficiencies on to the consumer to create a true ‘win win’ outcome.

    Our philosophy is really modeled more after Car Max which sells cars at a fixed margin, meaning the company and the sales person make the same amount, whether you buy a 6 months old Cadillac or a 5 year old pickup truck.

    I believe that the real estate industry can function in the same manner. The time/efforts/costs associated with delivering outstanding service are the same whether someone is paying $200K or $500K, so why not charge the same? Commissions really no longer make sense in my opinion and I wish we could just do away with them entirely.

    There simply is an inherent conflict of interest when a buyer agent gets paid a commission by the seller, and the more the buyer pays the more the agent makes (but that’s an entirely different subject).

    I am not saying that our business model is the holy grail or the end all be all, far from it. But I do think it is a solid alternative to the current ‘6 percenters full service’ vs. ‘online/you do most of it yourself, so we’ll charge less/give you some of our commission’.

    There is plenty of margin on these transaction to say ‘what does it really take to deliver great service’ and then deliver and price that service accordingly, giving great ‘full service’ at a fraction of the cost of the traditional model.

    All the best and I love your blog, even though I am in an entirely different market, and I hope that my postings aren’t considered off-topic…

  9. OK, you moved your Real Estate license to Brio. Now you’ve told every body why you didn’t move the license, but why would you?
    Brio has a lot of internet exposure through agents networking on line. That fits your profile. You obviously generate your own leads and solicit your business socially, again fitting your way of doing business. My question has always been about my clients.
    What benefit does Rockwell, Brio, Redfin, Preview, or Skyline Properties provide a client. Any desk fee office atmosphere is suspect, in my opinion. Any team approach, no matter how well intentioned, needs to have very deep pockets.
    Real Estate is complicated. The internet has muddy waters more than making anything clear. The gentleman just above with the Bravo Van is a good example. The dog guy in Arizona with his menagerie of internet promoters makes my skin crawl. These people have nothing to do with Real Estate and yet they are dispensing advice like they are experts.
    Buyers and sellers have been lead down several primrose paths in the past five years. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is more than enough work for all of these new Real Estate attorneys other than escrow. As the market turns, business as usual will mean protecting my clients from liability.
    I went to work for a large local company this past year. I didn’t see there was an option for my clients. It also comes to my mind that John L. Scott has done more to promote internet connectivity than any of the newer business models. Why wouldn’t you work with them?

  10. Since I’ve been honored with a full “rebuttal post,” I’d like to revisit the comment that started it all:

    Ardell — forgive my ignorance (I don’t blog as often as I’d like), but based on the links (and particularly Jonathan’s blog post) it sounds like BRIO is simply a full service brokerage. What distinguishes BRIO from oher such brokerages? Is it simply that you do “full service

  11. Craig,
    While poking fun at Ardell seem’s like fun,I would substitute looks for seems.Thats my “angle” as “listing agent” for this post.

  12. Ardell, thank you for your response. Your point about the inhouse lender being available is a point well made. However, may I conjecture that inhouse lenders oftentimes are irresponsible and unreliable (Response Mortgage, Windermere Mortgage, Landover Mortgage). They can typically be beat anytime in rate and cost.

    Thomas, I know your post wasn’t directed at me. However, may I offer an alternative point of view? It has been, in my (albeit limited) experience, that where there’s incentive, there’s production. I would enjoy going up against a salaried Loan Officer anyday, since they simply have no incentive. (I have 100% splits, so I am fine with making 2K per loan, or maybe less if I feel like it) If there’s no incentive, then why would one Loan Officer work harder/better than any other? If you say you introduce a bonus structure as incentives, then that takes the air out of the argument for no-commissions, as I believe you stated.

    Again, sir, I realise your post wasn’t directed at me. And, furthermore, I appreciate your reading of my two cents. Take them and toss them, or do what you would. All in all, I wish you well in your Floridian endeavors. May you find the fountain of youth!!!


  13. David Young;
    I agree with you incentivisation works in sales; however with respect to the mortgage side, if a loan officer is responsible for generating customers/transactions, then sure there should be an incentive for them to do so = a commission; however, in a situation where the loan officer has absolutely nothing to do with customer acquisition, but rather is only taxed with providing outstanding service to customers that were generated by the company’s marketing efforts, then a commission makes no sense whatsoever.

    When we hire for this type of position then we are looking for individuals whose personality profile/makeup is that of someone who is an outstanding customer service professional, and not that of an outstanding sales person.

    If such a person’s responsibility is to assist a customer in meeting their needs, be it a buyer agent helping a buyer find exactly the right property (regardless of price or commission earned) or be it a loan officer finding the very best loan program for the customer (without any incentive to sell what may pay a higher commission) then that is their job. Customer service professionals across all sorts of industries perform just fine without being commissioned sales people.

    We do offer an incentive, we call it a team bonus. For every successful closing we pay a fixed amount into a pool that is shared monthly amongst all employees of the company. Everyone, from the receptionist to the vice president receives exactly the same amount. The idea behind this is that the entire team working together made this transaction happen, and everyone is equally important when it comes to delivering an outstanding customer service experience. And the incentive is the same for every team member to do whatever it takes to deliver an outstanding service experience to the customer.

    With respect to ‘commissions’ we do pay them to inside sales / telemarketing people for setting a successful appointment. But these are bonuses of a fixed amount, so again the size of the transaction is completely irrelevant (i.e. whether a buyer may spend $2MM for a beach front condo, or whether the buyer is a first time buyer who will spend $160K).

    I do have to say in all candor that this approach to real estate only works when a minimum treshold of transactions can be achieved. But that’s ok. Why is there a need for 1.5 Million REALTOR(R)s to do less than 6 Million transactions per year? It simply is not efficient and why should the consumer be penalized by having to pay for these inefficiencies?

    David Losh:
    you are making an assumption, i.e. that we “have nothing to do with real estate”, and that’s absolute non-sense. For your information, I started out here in Sarasota with Michael Saunders & Company and did $9MM in sales (18 or 19 transactions) in my first full year. I then moved to RE/MAX where I attained Platinum Member status and before deciding to leave to start Bravo I did 93 transations in that year at RE/MAX. I am not only a licensed real estate broker, but also a licensed Title Agent and a licensed Mortgage broker and I believe that there are probably less than 2 dozen individuals who can claim this in the State of Florida.

    I know the RE business inside out and I know what’s wrong with it. I understand the difference between the smoke mirror of what’s presented to the outside and what a customer (particularly sellers) is made to believe, and what really happens ‘behind the curtain’.

    There are many outstanding traditional agents and I work with many of them. The issue is not that there is ‘room for all of us’ (even the misguided discounters that don’t have a clue as you would put it), but that the industry is shifting. Consumers are demanding more; more value, better service, more expertise, more convenience — and they have every right to do so. As a consumer if I can get better service or even the same service for a lot less then why would I not go there?

    What’s your value preposition that justifies charging whatever you do, other than that ‘that’s just the way its been done’, which is after all how the industry works. When you help a buyer find a home you are paid the co-broke commission, not because you added special value, but because that is what the seller agreed to pay.

    Right now the industry is still very much protected and has a protectionist attitude. But that will change and it is not because of discounters, Redfin, Bravo, Buy Side or Brio; it’s because of what consumers will demand and the choices they will make. And better educated consumers will always make better decisions in my opinion.

  14. Thomas,
    As a fellow Gulf coast Floridian,I also am amused here w/this UL crowd.Dont get me wrong,some of em “get it”.But not most.

  15. Thanks for your reply Thomas. I enjoyed reading on the inner workings of your particular business model. Have you ever read Jim Collins’ “Good to Great”? I think you’d find it compelling.

    Again, great wishes and success to you!


  16. hey Kevin-

    Foam the runway to S. beach market,its going to be a rough landing for sellers down there.

  17. Kev,

    Should I nuke Duke as “off topic comment”? Doesn’t seem to be relevant and just a pot shot. He has plenty of other posts to poke the market conditions with. Some people think this is a “message board”.

  18. Craig,

    You and I have had this same “misunderstanding” since we never met 20 months ago. I can only suggest that if we met in person, maybe we would have a better understanding of where the other is coming from. I’ve met most others who blog here. It is quite possible that your feeling that no one ever needs an agent puts us at odds. I think it’s counter to Agency Law here in WA, and I expect lawyers to buy into the spirit of our laws. Perhaps my expectations are too high.

    In any case, perhaps if we met in person…or you posted a podcast of your sweet side 🙂 it would help.

  19. David,

    My point is that they have to be accurate in terms of determining that the buyer is able to purchase. If they are not competitive as to rate and cost, then after the contract is accepted, they will not win in the lender selection process of the buyer. I think if that happens enough times, they will become more competitive…don’t you?

    In house lender is for the convenience of the offer process, no more and no less. We do not tell buyers which lender to use, we tell them we need to know and show that they are able to purchase at the time the offer is submitted. It is to their benefit that we believe the lender who prepares the letter, as it is our job to present the offer with strength of conviction.

    Often the buyer’s credentials alone speak for themselves. 30% down, salaried income for 5 years and 760 credit score…doesn’t matter who prepares the lender letter. But in this market, any old letter won’t do, nor should it.

  20. Thomas,

    I’m not a big fan of monster volume. I think the commissions are higher than you would like, because the average agent to do the job well, really can’t do the type of volume you suggest.

    Personally I think saying you do full service and hand holding and all that is needed for a fraction of the cost, really can’t play out that way in reality. In reality an agent would need to do at least two to three times the normal sales level, and they would be spread too thin to do it well. Just my opinion of course, based on 17 years of personal experience.

    I don’t like the salaried staff “pass it to the next guy” operation of salaried offices and large teams. I’ve been on the other side of many of those transactions, and it usually benefits my client for the other “team” to be passing the ball like that. Not that the single agent, 20-30 transaction model is infallible. But at least it’s not destined to fail most times, or any time the transaction becomes complex.

  21. I had a nice conversation with an agent who came in for an interview today.

    The key difference is that everything we do will be tested regarding how it affects the consumer first and the agent second. If all mls’ adopted that thinking, many rules would change for the better.

    There will be no training on “how to answer objections” as if people should be “talked into” things. Lots of small differences. There will be no “order taking” as in writing offers without advices, while knowing the offer doesn’t have a chance in hell, but not advising the client accordingly. Still working on the long list. “full service” is just too vague, and really is only a term someone made up to poke at discounters…isn’t it?

  22. Nuke me??

    Whats the “deal”w/that:? :)You can”lead” a horse to water,but you……btw,all agents “sell houses to buyers”,cuz w/o buyers,there arn’t any sellers.Thats pom pom 101.
    The “answer to all my hopes and dreams”is that anyone leaving Miami airport doesnt make a wrong turn,and get tangled up in all that barbed errrrrr concertina wire:)
    Thats my “message” :wink

  23. Ardell — could you cite to the post or comment where I said, “no one ever needs an agent”? I certainly don’t recall that. I have consistently said that RE agents provide a valuable service that may be appropriate under the circumstances. I have also said that there are alternatives to using an RE agent. However, like many agents, I think you’re somewhat sensitive to the issue and tend to overlook the distinctions. Rather, you’re more likely to reach a conclusion (often times poorly informed and without fully considering the position) and come back guns blazin’, shootin’ from the hip, a la Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. That’s fine, that’s your style, but I get tired of being the target.

    [As a substantive aside, I am mystified by your apparent assertion that WA law somehow REQUIRES licensee representation of a party to a RE transaction. If you respond to this comment, I’d encourage you to focus on that aspect and stop with our own private back-and-forth. I think its only fair that I get the last word given that you started it with the post… (What’s emoticon to use when you want to stick your tongue out? Insert here.)]

    Your response is ironic because you blame our “misunderstanding” on what you believe is MY position (that agents are not necessary, which is not what I believe) and on MY need to show a “sweet side.” Hmm, I guess you’re the victim here, huh Ardell?

    Best of luck with the new venture.

  24. Pingback: The Feed Bag - The Blogging Police Are Coming For Ardell

  25. Duke,

    You don’t seem to talk at all on your site…just a regurgitation of news articles. If you like to talk so much, why is your blog not self written posts?

    I like to nuke off topic negative comments. I send those over to Jillayne and Rhonda 🙂

  26. Kevin,
    The reason I corrected barb wire and used concertina,is that concertina sounds more like”cinco de/del/las mayo, and sounds more”festive”.Kevin,you dont get out + around much in greater Miami,do ya?
    Yes,Im a bubble head,not to be confused w/another S. Florida resident,the Pillsbury pill boy errrrrr Mr.Ditto head:)
    Anyway Kevin,Florida market is tanked,have fun while you can,like P.T. Barnum said,theres a buyer born every

  27. Craig, we are each and always “the victim” of one another. I say we have a “gunfight at the OK Corral” 🙂 High noon. Whatever. Let’s meet. It really is the only answer. Jeez, you just wrote a whole post ranting and whining about how you couldn’t get your way with agents, when you tried to knock through them to buy a property. Where did I read it? Where didn’t I read it.

  28. Duke
    I will not hi-jack ARDELL’s post but you’ve got it coming. It doesn’t matter what you think—you know why? Because I’m rich.

    Did ARDELL say you blog was a joke?

  29. Kev,

    It’s a holiday weekend and Jillayne and Rhonda have been throwing out bubblebait like chum to sharks 🙂 so can’t really blame them for circling the boat, can I.

  30. LOL…I just nuked a porn kam sutra spam comment and that was hugely more interesting that Mr. Duke. I’m not going to go up and nuke him because we have too many follow up comments. But if you stop answering him, I’ll start nuking him. Deal?

    You guys are all offer testy for it being a holiday. Are you all having beers? Not Kev. He doesn’t drink beer, nor do I. We had our get together yesterday and I drank Bellini’s.

  31. Ardell,

    “It’s a holiday weekend and Jillayne and Rhonda have been throwing out bubblebait like chum to sharks so can’t really blame them for circling the boat”

    Excuse me? Where have I thrown out any bubble bait?

    What have I done that you’ve considered chummy, Ardell?

  32. Come on Rhonda, don’t you have the list of the secret words for which Ardell has her own set of meanings? I thought the whole “blogosphere” got the memo.

    You know what you did.

  33. Jeez, what’s up with everyone tonight?

    Everything to do with the lending industry is chum. I’m having a hard time reconciling reality with all the end of the world discussions. I have an agent calling me about mulitple offers on one hand, and bubbleheads acting like there smacking their lips waiting for that $.20 on the dollar on the other. Hard to find the reality in between these days.

    OK, Rhondas’s not throwing chum 🙂 Only Jillayne. Better?

  34. /popcorn

    Interesting discussion. =P

    One suggestion that I think can help with the “Web 2.0” references in the link at the top is some help in clarifying what Web 2.0 is. The links below I think will be a good read… The wiki and internet forums are much more suitable to the collaboration/discussions I believe that are truly Web 2.0. Blogging is much too linear. Just my couple of pennies as an unbiased observer. Bravo to Thomas Heimann



  35. Kevin Thomlinson said in #35:

    “It doesn’t matter what you think—you know why? Because I’m rich.”

    That is awesome. I’m sure it will do wonders to bolster your arguments in the future.

  36. Ardell: “Ranting and whining”? I don’t think that’s so. Rather, just more caustic, aggressive, and insulting rhetoric from you, which has become your trademark (at least with those who dare to approach the world differently than you). And I certainly DO NOT say that “no one ever needs an agent” in that post or anywhere else. My position is a little more refined — a distinction that you are apparently incapable of appreciating, for whatever reason.

    If I thought that meeting you in person would improve the situation, I would do so. I’m happy to meet for lunch if you’re ever in downtown Seattle. But I am not optimistic. You see, Ardell, it’s not me that causes you to act this way. It’s you. You’re rude, nasty, and intolerant on this blog, and meeting me won’t change that.

    In the future, I specifically WON’T take the bait and respond to your personal attacks. In fact, I won’t even bother to show interest in your attempt to change the RE world — or, if I do, I’ll know what to expect in reply. And now, because I’m pretty sure you’re incapable of doing otherwise, I’ll give you the last word on the subject…

  37. This blog has become much less of a snore lately…

    Used to be granite countertops blah blah blah stainless appliances blah blah blah ain’t making any more land balh blah blah 10 percent per year guaranteed for life blah blah blah doesn’t matter what the stats say the market is still HOT HOT HOT blah blah blah location location location blah blah blah cherry cabinets blah blah blah don’t give a RA about banks blah blah blah cut some bush and your house value will triple blah blah blah territorial views are the key to avoiding S.A.D blah blah blah the views in Greenlake from that 750K bungalow are to die for blah blah blah silly bubbleheads using all that logic blah blah blah Eleua needs to be banned for his insurgent banter blah blah blah …..

    I thought you guys were going the way of the Seattle PI real estate blog ( I know.. WHAT blog?) Now we’ve got some real action.

  38. John,

    What do you do when someone becomes incapable of commenting with reason? Here is what I do: I say something just as inane back to them. It ALWAYS shuts them up. ALWAYS.

    One last thing, John, no comments about Duke’s intellectual insights?

  39. I think they are finally starting to figure out that things that Realtors(tm) give a rat’s ass about, real people don’t.

    Actual humans are much more interested in things like “how the heck is THAT house worth THAT?!?” (oh, it may not be?)


    How to buy and sell a house and avoid getting house-jacked for 100 grand in the process.

    That and the slap-fighting and this blog’s starting to show some promise!

  40. Craig,

    Here’s the problem. You write a post about how people have the option of “using an attorney for $800”, without explaining how that might be undisclosed Dual Agency. Undisclosed Dual Agency is the worst thing that can happen to anyone.

    The way I see it, since you don’t hang out at houses with people, is that the agent for the seller is the only agent in the mix. Who is “the selling office” on a Craig Blackmon written contract, Craig? Are you doing one of these “seller/seller” jobs, where the listing agent is the listing office and the selling office, since you aren’t “an office” member, and so not the representation of the buyer IN the contract? Maybe I’m wrong here. Please tell me I am.

    When you use a NWMLS contract to write an offer, who is representing the buyer IN that contract? You were clear in your post that you “represent them AS TO LEGAL issues”, whatever the heck that means. But you were not clear as to leaving them unrepresented as to the rest of it. So if you are not the named representative of the buyer for ALL things, then your post is misleading at best. Your actions are uncoscionable IF they leave the buyer unrepresented in the Purchase and Sale contract…or worse, if they are left to ask all their home questions of the agent for the seller…tantamount to undisclosed Dual Agency.

    So there’s my beef, Craig. Let’s have at it. How do you fit into the picture under The Law of Agency in Washington? Let’s clear this up once and for all. The bubbleheads love a good fight. My gloves are off.

    I never get testy about ego or money in my pocket, Craig. If I’m pissed…it’s because I see the consumer getting screwed somewhere. Please tell me…how is that buyer represented IN the purchase and sale contract by you? Do you go to the inspection? Do you see the house? Who goes to the inspection with them…the agent for the seller? Give us a little detail please.

    Round 1 DING!

  41. Craig is an attorney… how is he selling real estate? What is the law on that in WA? Here attorneys must have a real estate license as well.

    Here attorneys do title searches and do most of the closing but he or she can’t represent a buyer or seller without a real estate license? They do most of the work yeah but still…. Does Craig have one in WA or what is the law on that there?

    I can see a few more issues beyond disclose but again, I am in NC and not WA so how your laws vary from ours is a wide gap it seems.

  42. “Craig. Let’s have at it. How do you fit into the picture under The Law of Agency in Washington? Let’s clear this up once and for all. The bubbleheads love a good fight. My gloves are off.
    Round 1 DING!”

    Cue Rocky music.

    Who’ll play Adrienne?

  43. I’m painting my office while some guys in the other room are constructing a wall. So I’ll check in from time to time, but I’ve got my hands full at the moment.

  44. I hate to say this, but this thread needs to go. Ardell I have already told how I felt about it, but to the rest, it’s making some of you look like a pack of mules (since the real term gets filtered out).

  45. Ardell

    As a designated broker in Washington, you surely must know that there is no such thing as “undisclosed dual agency” in Washington. The listing agent does not represent the buyer unless the buyer wants to the represented and both parties consent to the dual agency in writing. It would be hard to have an undisclosed written agreement, right? So, no “undisclosed” dual agency.

    If Craig represents the seller and the buyer has an agent, the seller would need a written agreement with the buyer’s agent in order to create an agency relationship. Since there is an agreement, the dual agency has been “disclosed”.

    I’m pretty sure that Craig (and any good attorney for that matter) would tell their client (buyer or seller) about who represents whom in the transaction and how to deal with that person. Buyers need someone to help them navigate the sale. They don’t need a door opener. They need experts. Attorneys, like agents, can recommend good lenders, title companies, escrow agents, inspectors, surveyors, engineers, etc. Attorneys, like agents, can be an intermediary with all of these experts if the buyer wants that intermediary. Some do, some don’t. Attorneys could even provide help with valuation although most would not feel comfortable with that (Craig?). The only thing that the attorney cannot do (unless of course they are also a broker) is open the door.

    I thought Craig’s post was blatant advertising. I thought this post of yours was blatant advertising. Whatever. At least Craig did not attempt to disguise his advertising by creating a controversy where there was none.


  46. I’ll wait for Craig to define what he does do, vs. what he could do. I agree the buyer signs the seller/seller contracts (I’ll post a scan of that on a post when I can) but I have had calls and emails from people who are quite confused about the agent showing on both sides vs. the seller check boxes. I’m sure an attorney can draft a contract that indicates the attorney “represents” the buyer. But it was my understanding that Craig uses the boilerplate NWMLS contract.

    My concern about undisclosed Dual Agency stems from many forms. Like where the buyer agent presents directly to the seller. It is clearly likely that the seller will ask the buyer agent questions and draw the agent into discussions tantamount to undisclosed dual agency by action, vs. the checked blocks in the contract. It is an area that needs to be addressed both for FSBO in mls sellers and buyers who do not have an agent. Not to stop it. But to make sure people understand it. Clearly a blogworthy topic.

    As to blatant advertising, I was concerned about that. But I also blog about what I am currently doing. And this is what I am currently doing. It’s hard to get around that temporarily. Same with the blog class. Though you and Dustin talked about your blog classes without it being “blatant advertising” so I took that as a cue that talking about what you are doing, may be the exception.

    I did however have that feeling when I was writing the original post. But how could I not talk about something that big happening in my life? I really couldn’t. Mea culpa on that one. I saw no way around it.

    I’m not picking on Craig because he’s Craig. I’m sincerely concerned about an attorney inviting people to forego representation contractually, contrary to the spirit of our agency laws. Perhaps there is some way where he writes in his firm as the selling office somehow. We’ll see how he does it. Sincerely hoping I’m wrong here. He opened the door by suggesting it was a viable option. I don’t think people should suggest “no agency” transactions, without explaining the downside and the WA Laws default position that affords all buyers implied agency when working with an agent who is not the seller’s agent. Not sure how it applies when you are working with an attorney vs. an agent.

    Would WA Agency Law consider the attorney the same as an agent in that case, Russ? Same duties, etc.? I don’t think so.

  47. To come to the defense of Ardell, if you have a rule against advertising, I haven’t noticed it.

  48. A-HA! Now we get to some substance. That is a very positive development. I suggest we move this to another post, which I promise to author by Monday. I’ll respond to your comments there, Ardell, and we can get a meaningful conversation started where everyone can easily participate (rather than wading through all the other material here).

    As for advertising via a blog? Oh, the horror… Just curious — if I’m not supposed to advertise (while raising interesting issues for consideration — 156 comments can’t be wrong), why do I spend working hours blogging?

  49. Craig,

    Maybe you should come to my blog class this morning LOL

    I aplogize for the length at which my true concerns took to surface. But that is the beauty of blogging…the truth will out…eventually.

    I look forward to your post and the exchange therein and thereafter.

  50. Russ,

    As Craig suggested. We’ll move this to his new post and my new post to convey our respective feelings on the topic.

    To answer your specific question, since the consumer protections in the laws revolve around what agents do and do not do, and not what a laywer does and does not do, I don’t think they are interchangeable. Unless you tell me that an attorney is subject to the Law of Agency in Washington, when acting on behalf of consumers in a real estate transaction, then an attorney is not a viable replacement. More of an add on like a home inspector, appraiser, lender, lawyer…not an agent facsimile.

    That said, a lawyer who is entrenched in the practical is an invaluable asset to a real estate transaction. Finding one with the proper stance, that doesn’t take things sideways, is a challenge. Chris Benis comes to mind as the quintessential asset to any real estate involvements. My favorite real estate attorney. An attorney who thinks the agent is his enemy or who can’t treat the agent as his peer, brings chaos to the mix.

    Clearly the contract is a minute portion of the process, and only meaningful as a confimation of the meeting of the minds. Without the interaction in the house and with all parties, the meeting of the minds can get lost in the paper shuffle. The paper shuffle is never the most important part of buying and selling a house. When the attorney defers to the agent on hands on matters and the agent defers to the attorney on the specifics of how to write what the agent is conveying to the attorney…fabulous. But the attorney should be assisting the agent in representing the client…not representing the client seperately, for this to work.

    So far, many refuse to view it that way. They either want to protect the client FROM the agent or protect the agent from liability. Until that changes…lawyers will not be in the mix in a big way, and rightly so.

    I’m rushing to get ready for my blog class…hope that doesn’t read as an attack. Clearly not meant to be.

  51. Derek,

    We got to where we needed to get to here. Don’t be afraid of controversy. It unearths the true issues if you let it flow. Kind of like “It’s always darkest before the dawn” 🙂 Blogging at its best! Not just pontificating…moving forward and beyond.

    Have a good day!

  52. Ardell-

    Your comment (#69) describes the situation to a “T”. I’ve negotiated many contracts with lawyers involved (mainly commercial real estate transactions with contracts running 40-60 pages) and as long as they stick to the legal aspects of the contract, negotiations have a good chance of moving forward.

    As you suggested, when attorneys involved try to protect the client from the agent, and/or not act in concert with the agent, things tend to go awry.

    And when/if they assume their legal expertise somehow automatically makes them an expert in real estate, especially with local knowledge, they’re less than helpful to the client.

  53. Pay up SS. The deadline was end of Monday as set by “the lawyer”. I got my post up showing my position regarding the buyer not being represented in the Purchase and Sale agreement. Monday is gone. I think that means “the lawyer” forfeited.

    Maybe if he had submitted a request for a continuance…:)

  54. True fact — agents and brokers have more “free” time than lawyers. I’ll concede defeat based on my failure to timely counterpunch. However, I will also take a rain check (do tears count as rain?) — you haven’t heard the last of me yet…

  55. Well, like Ahnold, I always strive for correct grammar. So, to make it official: Are you Sara Con… no, wait, that’s not the line…

    I’ll be back… (now watch out for the truck coming in the front door)

  56. Ardell,

    My wager was for the outcome of the deathmatch but I’ll get you your 5 bucks based on Craig’s concession…. How do you want your 5 dollars? I do have a stash of pennies 🙂

  57. Make someone happy with it. Take your kids out for ice cream or go to a library where someone is hanging out because they have no where else to be, and hand it to them with a big smile and no explanation.

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