Sacramento Real Estate Agent Award Scams

Truth-in-advertising-sacramento-real-estateBeing a Sacramento real estate agent with one ear to the ground for scams sometimes make me the lone real estate agent who will point out the emperor has no clothes when no other agent has the tenacity or guts. It’s one of the reasons why I was hired many years ago to be the home buying expert at About.com. I will tell it like it is. People count on me to give them the straight scoop. It’s in my nature.

Not to mention, I really detest being taken advantage of. Nobody likes to get dressed up on her day off, studiously explore a pocket of homes, pore over a comparable market analysis, drive to another part of town to meet a seller from the mountains and her Duck Dynasty husband, be given a tour of a home in which the occupant is baking cupcakes and not be offered one single bite, only to discover her sole purpose in that house is to confirm a sales price that the seller had already signed a listing at with some other agent. But it happens in real estate.

What I find more annoying is the clever schemes being carried out to supposedly honor real estate agents and their achievements. These scams are so clever they border on being evil. Companies exist that are making a profit selling awards they create in the form of plaques or advertising to agents they honor with an “award.” It’s kind of hard for an agent to complain about it when the agent is receiving recognition. That’s why I hold contempt for it.

Two such companies come to mind but there are others. The first is Five Star Professional. They claim that they select agents based on client surveys, but I have my suspicions. First, as an experiment, I wrote to Five Star to ask why I wasn’t listed in its 2013 agent list. Lo and behold, suddenly a survey appeared in my email in which I was asked whether I had closed a minimum number of transactions (it wasn’t very many, a bare fraction of the number I had closed last year). So, that meant the bar was relatively low.

Next thing I know, I receive an email saying I have been nominated to the 2014 Five Star Professional list. You know, I don’t even like the word “professional” as a marketing tool because it sounds so slimy. It’s not used for real professionals like a doctor or a teacher. People use professional when there is no actual business designation or the individual has no degree. So, let’s call it what it is: a real estate agent. No sooner did that email arrive than my phone rang, simultaneously, and my Caller ID showed it was Five Star Professional. They want to help me market my new award. They want to sell me advertising.

So does Real Trends Best Real Estate Agents in California. They named the Elizabeth Weintraub Team in the top 25 of all teams in California based on number of homes sold. I know how many homes I have sold and I probably do rank in the top 25, but so what? Soon I began receiving emails and faxes and voice mails from a company, evidently associated with Real Trends, that wants to sell me plaques to hang over my desk.

This is what happens to a top producing Sacramento real estate agent. But . . . these things also happen to agents who are NOT top producers. No wonder the public doesn’t know what or whom to believe.

You might ask how is this different than a newspaper or a magazine or an association that holds an award dinner, hires a celebrity speaker and then charges those who have “won an award” to attend? I’d be right there with you asking this question. But at least the winners don’t have to buy their own plaques.

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