Free home evaluations – a foot in the door

free home evaluations

Free Home Evaluations are something almost all agents will provide.

A few years ago a well-known home security company telemarketed me, offering a free security audit of my home. I expected their security expert to visit my home and look at the doors and the windows and give me some tips on how to improve my home’s security. What happened instead was a salesman sat himself down at my kitchen table and gave me the hard sell. He stressed many times how great their company was. He appealed to my emotions of fear and guilt. He did his best to make me feel unsafe and unwise, but I wasn’t buying it.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t leaving. He was hard selling and he wasn’t going to give up. But then he said, “Just sign here. You can cancel anytime”, and when I was satisfied that that was indeed the case I signed and he left.

He was pulling out of the driveway when I went downstairs into my home office and faxed the cancellation into his office.

Like many people, I’m always surfing around the internet reading things that interest me. One of these things is real estate websites. I recently came across a well-known Kitchener Waterloo Realtor’s website that “guaranteed the right to cancel your listing agreement at anytime”. First of all, I thought this was a given. I thought consumer protection guaranteed everyone that right and I’ve never heard of an agent not allowing a client to cancel their listing.

And then I thought about the story above and a hard selling salesperson arm twisting me over the kitchen table. Perhaps this agent was offering “Free Home Evaluations” as a foot in the door. The hard sell would follow.

The agent’s website also states that “entering into a listing contract with a Kitchener-Waterloo Real Estate Agent can be risky business”, playing on your fear of making a mistake, perhaps getting a new and inexperienced agent or worse an agent who puts his interests ahead of his clients. The website tells you that “like most people, you worry about being locked into a lengthy listing contract with a less than competent Realtor” .

The website tells you that every salesperson will promise you the world (but probably not deliver) and then implies that “Selling homes FAST and for Top Dollar” is what they do. Well that’s great. That’s what we all want to achieve. We are Realtors; there’s no magic involved.

But the part that gets me is this. “Most listing contracts lock you into long-term commitments and lengthy broker protection periods with heavy cancellation fees. I asked my broker about this and he said he’d never heard of “cancellation fees” to real estate contracts. He had no idea how would that work? There is nothing in the preprinted listing agreement that would indicate listing cancellation fees, so an agent would have to add an amendment to the contract for this.

To make a long story short, this well-known agent’s website is misleading and inaccurate and creates an atmosphere of fear instead of trust in my mind and probably the minds of consumers. If I were advertising on buses, benches, radio, TV and magazines, I’d hold myself up as an example to the other agents in Kitchener Waterloo of good practices for our industry instead of this. This is terrible.

Please share this post if you dislike these kind of sales tactics.

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