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Clients Reply: Where's the Service?

September 06, 1998

The letter from Fred Sands ("Realty Agents Reply: You Get What You Pay For," Aug. 30) was nonsense. I bought my current, first house with a Sands agent and my experience was nothing like his description of their services.

Their recommended inspector missed so much that through my post-sale direct negotiation with the seller, they returned to me $13,000.

The Sands agents were so baffled by such seller tactics as a 48-hour escrow demand and fictitious counteroffers that they were [useless] to me.

When I asked about the legality of the seller's tactics, my agent responded that they could not give legal advice and that since I was a lawyer, I shouldn't need any.

JACK L. SCHWARTZ

Los Angeles

Fred Sands writes, "Another important element in getting a home sold is a strong marketing program. . . ."

At the beginning of the year, we put our West Valley house up for sale. It's a great house in move-in condition. We chose to go with a young Fred Sands agent.

In a three-month period their entire "marketing program" consisted of three or four newspaper ads and four or five open houses. The agent said she had to pay for the ads herself and couldn't afford any more.

During the open houses she could never stay longer than three or four hours because she had to cover the office for some other agent.

Also she could never get more than three open house signs to put around the neighborhood because they were always short.

We took the house off the market in disgust.

ROSE HAGER

Woodland Hills

*

Realtor Fred Sands promulgates the argument that one would have more confidence in a $300-an-hour lawyer than in a $25-an-hour lawyer. He goes on to say that his firm employs not one but four attorneys to "review all standardized forms used by our agents."

But Sands does not tell us how much he pays these lawyers, nor does he explain why he finds it necessary to use four lawyers to review the forms he uses, which he admits are standardized.

OLIVER BERLINER

Beverly Hills

*

It's funny and ironic that Fred Sands cites his employment of lawyers as an example of the principle that "you get what you pay for." As most people know, with lawyers, you too often overpay for what you get.

Discounting is now a fact of American life. No one pays sticker price for a new car. We demand discount fares from airlines and expect them to fly us safely. Why should Realtors be exempt?

The Sands company is a fine organization. But there are many smaller brokerages in Los Angeles who offer exceptional value and service--at a lower price.

WINSTON CENAC

Broker-Partner

Bulldog Realty

Venice

*

This issue sure ruffled the feathers of many agents. They still cling to the old idea that buying and selling can only be done by them. The only role they play is signing up the listing. This puts bread on the table. Who cares who sells the listing. Most of the time it is sold by other agents.

On the sale of a $250,000 house, a commission of 6% is $15,000. Forty pages of simple question-and-answer documents come to about $375 a page.

The bottom line here is cost, and the 6% commission is not worth the simple paperwork they perform.

GEORGE MERINO

Pico Rivera

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