Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Doing the right thing

FTC Sues Adobe, The Legal Question, The Value of Doing Right

“More generally, what bothers me about this case is the moral component; I assume this entire purchase flow has been A/B tested to death, and that the current configuration makes the most money, at least across whatever timeline is being considered. However, did anyone at Adobe stop and consider why that might be? Is there any answer other than, some number of users won’t be careful enough and will buy the wrong plan, and then get hit with a large fee, which will either drive revenue on its own or convince the user to begrudgingly not cancel, driving more revenue going forward? Even leaving aside the long-term hit to the brand’s reputation, what about doing the right thing?”

Ben Thompson, Stratechery

Stratechery is probably my favorite newsletter/podcast. And I love the Dithering podcast he does with Apple nerd John Gruber. Worth the money. Ben Thompson is a business strategist and his “aggregation theory” has multiple ramifications in real estate. John Gruber’s blog Daring Fireball was a big inspiration when I started Vendor Alley.

This article struck me in a couple ways. You should go read it. I think one of the main things that made Cloud CMA so successful was the ability for customers to “self-serve”, meaning they didn’t have to book a demo with a sales person to see pricing and order the product directly. Basically, customers could just go to the website, put a credit card in and boom start using Cloud CMA right away. Cheers to Dan Woolley for making this complicated process seem so easy. So I can say that I have been a part of the design process of close of 100 different landing pages in regard to pricing. So I know all the ways and the “dark patterns” that some companies used to trick their customers in to signing up without really knowing what they are signing up for. This also Includes hiding/burying the cancel button. In fact when Dan and I started W+R Studios one of our main tenets was we were going to make it easy for agents to cancel their subscription. We needed that trust so if we came up with a new product they would be willing to try us again.

We weren’t always perfect, it can be a tough balance, but I can say that it is something we were very conscious of, doing the right thing.

So that got me thinking. We have all been struggling with #NARsettlement. Transparency, commissions, concessions, buyers agreements, touring agreements, etc. I think largely centered around how close to the status quo can we keep things?

So if you are a real estate broker/agent and you are entering in to a business relationship with a homebuyer, what would be the right thing to do in regard to disclosure? Can we all work backwards from that?

  1. Greg

    Doing the right thing is easy. First earn the client’s trust. That means having an agreement that says “no fees til we write an offer” (I suppose one could put a mileage or time limit in ). Then a reasonable fee (I am doing 1% with a minimum) for procuring a transaction and closing it. With an out re homes not yet shown if they and you are not a good fit. And an override for “takes too much time” if indeed it has. I.e. be fair to both the clients and the agent. Yes everyone will hate me for the 1% but that’s my number, others may have different numbers.

    The problem is the present system was designed to help keep fees high (yes that is what the court decided). Change is coming.

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