After thirty years as a real estate professional it seems strange to be surprised about any issue concerning realtors (negative or positive). But having also spent the past ten years as the owner of ProAPOD Real Estate Investment Software I must admit that there have been a few occurrences that smack so loudly of hypocrisy that I must comment.
Understand, however, that I have worked alongside with (and personally know) many brokers and agents, not to mention the fact that the customers for my investment software are primarily realtors. Therefore, as such, I am qualified to suggest that most realtors are pleasant to be around.
Still, not unlike members of any group or industry, there are always going to be a few that get under your skin and cause you to explode. It is these few that I call hypocritical and in turn, must cite as an example.
Earlier this year I was chided by a customer for “daring” to charge a minimal fee to replace software she had purchased three years before and lost to a computer meltdown. Of course I understand computer viruses and the frustration of having to replace software programs, so I lean over backward to acknowledge and accommodate.
In cases when it concerns a customer who made a purchase within the first 12 months, for example, I replace the software at no charge (though I am not obligated to do so). Even with purchases extending beyond 12 months, I am willing to provide a new download of the full working software version for a fraction of the price. This is not unfair, and certainly a lot more generous than the majority of software suppliers that I’ve dealt with.
In this case, she was being hypocritical because she would certainly expect payment for her services. Would she, for instance, ever give back a commission following a transaction merely because the buyer or seller’s situation changes? Has she ever re-sold a property free of charge because her buyers lost their equity to an economic down turns? Of course not, but that’s not a character flaw; no reasonable person would expect her to work for free merely because bad things happen that are out of her control. So why would she fault me, a software provider, for not wanting to work for free?
A second incident occurred recently when I was faulted for posting information about my real estate investment software in a social networking group. The broker considered my information of no value to the membership of real estate professionals. But wait a minute, of course I wouldn’t expect it to have value to all, but my real estate investing software certainly can be of interest to some realtors who service investment property; after all, the software is regularly used by those in the industry.
In this case, I find him hypocritical because I am certain that he posts information regarding properties he has listed for sale that certainly cannot be expected to have value to all in the group. The best he can hope for is that maybe someone might be interested; which is exactly my intent. So why the double standard?
Look, we are all in the same boat; we are in the business of selling–whether it’s property or real estate investing software. We can’t be faulted to charge for our services, and most certainly cannot be blamed for marketing our product; particularly when our product might have value to our real estate colleagues.