Real estate advertising and marketing has enough challenges these days, but this incident in Orange County reflects even more poorly on the entire industry. The story in the Orange County Register showing two upscale realty offices in the same area taking jabs at each other hurts on several levels.
This is supposed to be a story about a couple of managers and an undetermined number of realty agents moving to a local competitor. First of all, this happens quite frequently and in many parts of the country on a regular basis, and more often than not and is not “reported” via the local media.
What this tells me is that someone provided the reporter with information in a serious effort to get this “story” out there. The core of the story is that two managers reportedly left First Team and went over to a three office group of Coldwell Banker offices.
This story goes as far as quoting Jamie Duran, the President of CB’s Orange County and San Diego operations, as saying that one of the managers they hired “was working for a non-luxury brand”. In the next paragraph, Jeff Gibson of First Team points out that company’s position as a luxury brand.
In addition, the story quotes representatives from both offices as disputing the exact number of agents who have “moved” from First Team to Coldwell Banker, with one side claiming it was 45 agents and the other claiming it was “only” 15 agents that he knew of.
We are not talking about an assembly line here. Having two executives of competing real estate companies acting like this is kindergarten is another poor reflection on the industry as a whole. Coldwell Banker’s competitor did not do anything illegal or unethical, yet their highest ranking executive has no problem taking a jab at a rival?
Real estate companies are under close government scrutiny, in addition to held to Realtor Association standards on both a local and national level. That should include being factual when making a public comment!
Perhaps Duran also overlooked the fact that agents representing home buyers can help clients buy homes listed by ANY real estate firm. The quote from Duran should have been more along the line of “We are happy to have these quality people on our team…” and shown some class.
Then there is the matter of the number of agents that followed the managers over from First Team. Unfortunately, the reporter failed to clarify which person was right (or if either was) and tell us how many agents joined Coldwell Banker as a result of this.
As a result, we have management people from two “leading” real estate companies, which serve the same communities, each telling us a different number with regard to the same situation.
If these companies can’t count their people accurately for a newspaper story, how can they be trusted to handle millions of dollars in real estate transactions? How do consumers know that the agent they are supposed to trust with their home will be representing the same company a week from now?
What happens the next time an agent from one company is negotiating a sale of a home with an agent from the other company? Will a buyer get screwed because the manager has another hissy fit?
We cannot and should not have it come public that upper management can become so unraveled over something that is common within their industry. But in this instance it did. Here’s hoping the real estate community will learn from this mistake.
Keep the comments positive, and more importantly, accurate. That is not a "luxury". It is a necessity.