The February 11th, 2008 Edition of Forbes had an article titled "Swimming With Sharks", about Redfin, the online discount Real Estate Broker and its efforts to make a go of it in Real Estate.
Surprisingly, Forbes didn't quote the NAR lines about how we're a "Big Tent" with many different business models, how we tolerate discounter brokers and how we already are competitive enough.
Why does the NAR help pay the legal fees of the companies fighting the DOJ?
Why does the NAR help support minimum service requirements for a Real Estate Broker in many States?
Why does the NAR support legislation (in 13 states) banning rebates to home buyers?
Why does the NAR fight the entry of national banks (like Wells Fargo) into Real Estate, yet tolerate the close affiliation of Brokers with their own mortgage brokers or banks?
The NAR seems to have more than 2 sides of its mouth to talk out of.
Glenn Kelman, Redfin's CEO, reported the many "dirty tricks" aimed at his agents, his company and their signs:
- Redfin's For Sale Signs stolen, knocked down or destroyed.
- In Seattle, Redfin's and Kelman's hometown, his home address was posted online and a Redfin yard sign was hacked to pieces.
- Possibly the worst offense was in the national forest at Yosemite National Park where the fake bumper stickers for Redfin were affixed to signs, trees and rocks.
- Kelman didn't mention 50 anchovy pizzas being delivered to a Redfin Office, but no one has probably read about the Nixon re-election campaign in a while.
I resent my NAR dues going to fight the DOJ which represents my customer's interests. I agree with the DOJ that NAR policy:
- Suppresses technological innovation
- Reduces competition on price and quality
- Promotes collusion
Redfin is funded by Madrona Venture Group, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and several other Venture Capital Firms. I wonder if it's too late to get the NAR's Second Century Venture Fund involved? When was the last time a VC Firm funded a Real Estate Brokerage?
When an MLS-only discount broker opened shop in Rochester, NY, the local AR forces lined up against him. Efforts were made to stop him, or at least not to deal with him or his home sellers, but all formal efforts ceased when it was found out that this was unethical.
Forbes likens Kelman to the Charles Schwab (one of America's Billionaires) of Real Estate.
If justice and the Department of Justice are served, Redfin won't be a red herring.
Can't we all get along? Even with the DOJ?
Posted by: Cliff Jacobson
Adapt Or Die!
WebHomeUSAblog: The Blog of Online Real Estate Marketing