Sotheby’s and the Internet

Earlier today I posted an item stating that Sotheby’s refused to permit its listings to be posted on other firms’ websites which I opined might be a competitive advantage to them but did a disservice to those of their clients who wanted to sell their house – in the history of the world, no buyer has ever cared two cents who lists a house, they just want information about it. If your house isn’t out there to be discovered, it’s going to be harder to sell. Welcome to the age of the Internet.

Well that little post produced a call from Sotheby’s manager to my manager (I’m delighted you read my blog, Pat, but feel free to call me direct – no one’s called my mommy about my bad behavior since I was six). According to her, Sotheby’s does release its listings, and has done so since September, so there! So there indeed – we checked, and the only “competitor” of Sotheby’s that gets that information is Coldwell Banker and, presumably, Century 21, both of which, like Sotheby’s are part of the big unhappy family owned and operated by Realogy / Apollo Management. So if you’re content to have Century 21 flogging your house in where are they – Norwalk? – then you’ll be fine, until Apollo defaults on all those junk bonds it has coming due. I still think you’re not getting the service you might otherwise expect and what you’re paying for.

13 Comments

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13 responses to “Sotheby’s and the Internet

  1. fred

    Every realtor is reading your blog-as they have nothing else to do.

    • christopherfountain

      Uh Fred? Why do you think this blog is updated constantly? Of course, I have a lot of investment banker readers too, these days.

  2. Do Century 21 brokers still wear those mega-spiffy harvest gold jackets?

    • christopherfountain

      Indeed they do, and now that they’ve worked out the proper coloration technique for polyester, Sotheby’s agents will soon be wearing a deep, royal purple and Coldwell Banker a rich, pumpkin orange. Such jollity! Such fun!

  3. Mad Monkey

    Screw Sotheby’s! If my house was overpriced then I blame them. They always come in with the highest estimate. In my book they always over promise and under deliver!

  4. anonymous

    Choice of realtor (or any advisor/intermediary) is an early clue re: likely judgment (or lack thereof) of seller….

  5. Anonymous

    I dont believe sothebys always comes in the highest I would give that to david ogilvy and associates. whats with them always advertising those houses and never putting a price it is obnoxcious. When you do cal them they have a attitude , exactly what you want to hear from an agent.

  6. neighbor

    Sotheby’s realtors are hardly the worst offenders in the over pricing game. Let’s be honest people.

  7. Realtor1

    To answer your comment Anonymous, advertising does not sell houses. Advertising makes the telephone ring. No price listed, potential for more ringa dingies. Exclusivity never gives the listing the biggest audience, but what it does do, if you have decent brokers in your company, is allow your company the advantage to sell your own listings, thereby adding to the coiffures and upping your market share. Personally, I don’t like it but in a moving market, there is a method/reason for their madness. Right now, any witholding is ridiculous.

  8. Stanwich

    Ha! That witch at Sotheby’s called your manager! That is so laughable I can barely contain myself. I guess it is hard to be nice when your ship is sinking.

    When she comes begging over to Raveis because they shut down Realogy, is there a screening process where existing brokers can weigh in on potential stablemates?

  9. Johnston

    There is no real differentiation between the Sothebys franchise system or CB’s or Century 21. they are all provided the exact same support services and programs developed by the same people in Parsippany, NJ (home of Realogy). The agents pay a 6% royalty fee , although in most cases the broker/owner only pays Realogy 3-4% and pockets the rest. Same with Prudential Connecticut. But then again, Raveis also charges fees back to their agents. From the consumer standpoint, there is no differentiation between Realtors. And they are right. Only Realtors think there is a differentiation among firms. The curent pricing modle used by Realtors will eventually give way to a model that better serves the consumer.

  10. Having worked at NRT/Realogy, I have always found the managers and those they report to in the field as excellent in what they do. Having just started my own brokerage in LA , I’m up against CB and Sotheby’s. I do not find it helpful for anyone to bad mouth their competitors in any way. No one should hope for anyone to fail or go out of business as it reflects poorly on all of us. We need a positive approach right now and we need each other to get through this.

  11. Aaron Thompson

    What a coincidence that Realogy now claims the dubious honor of being named one of America’s 15 companies likely to fail in 2009!

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/15-Companies-That-Might-Not-usnews-14279875.html

    That may well be the last phone call that the Sotheby’s manager makes about your bad behavior. Uh-oh….maybe she’s looking for my bosses’ phone number right now!

    Oh, the suits at 1 Parsippany Dr. must be losing sleep!