I’m back from a coffee break

Just when you thought it was over, here I am again. You have nobody to blame but yourselves. You, with all your words of praise and appreciation! So much for foreclosing on this blog! Thanks to your kindness, I’m inspired to keep the party going. (The party being the snarky copy I write here, not the overall run-up in Vancouver real estate prices since 2001.)

So what does a real estate marketing critic do when mainstream opinion mirrors his own? I say it’s a good time to expand focus. No longer is my sole mandate to wax sarcastic about Vancouver’s condo marketing crap-o-rama. I hope to broaden my focus to examine ad strategy in the context of a declining market. How will the hucksters fan the flames now that real estate has lost its fire?

Will Vancouver condo marketing’s trademark coffee cups and yoga poses be replaced with floor plans and mail-in rebates? What does the future hold for Rennie and Co.?

Grab a java. Condohype is back.

20 Responses to “I’m back from a coffee break”

  1. condohype Says:

    Photo courtesy of Mil.

  2. Will Says:

    Glad to see you aren’t going away. (Actually thought you were just joking about that). After all, there’s a whole lot of marketing spin and hype you can bust no matter what the market. Might I suggest that if you are getting a tad bored with developments you stretch out to the industries that accompany and benefit from a real estate purchase… from the realtors to the flooring manufacturers (oh yeah, you could be “adbusters with a concrete foundation”).

  3. aetakeo Says:


  4. Peter Says:

    Thanks for coming back and keeping us normal mortals sane. And for the good laughs….

  5. jalarmo Says:

    3 cheers!! You are one of the small group of people who keep me sane!

  6. Simon Says:

    Huzzah. See you Friday.

  7. vlad Says:

    Glad that you’re going to stick around 🙂 We need people who can think critically.

  8. vancouveriste Says:

    Yay! So glad you’ve decided the world didn’t end.

  9. blueskies Says:

    How will the hucksters fan the flames now that real estate has lost its fire?

    they will lie to you
    they will lie with a straight face
    they will lie with a smiling face
    they will lie their asses off

    and yes they will bulls— you too…. caveat emptor

  10. mk-kids Says:

    Hallelujah! Praise the snarky commentary! HE (SHE?) hath arisen from the coffee break!

    Sooooooo glad you’re not gone condohype!

  11. islander Says:

    If you decide to take on realtors and are wondering where to start, here are some strategies about my peers that drive me nuts:

    Team “InsertRealtor’sNameHere.” It implies an entire organization working to sell your house. Reality: The realtor spends all his time pimping for listings. You, the seller, will be dealing exclusively with the unlicensed secretary.

    Slogans: So many bad slogans, so little time. What a Difference a Day Makes, You Want it Gone Call Suzy Hahn, Quit Fooling Call Lew Poulin, Call Peter Pfann, etc.

    Photos: We’re supposed to be selling houses, but the preponderance of glamor shots is an indication that the marketing material is aimed at selling the realtor. Like a buyer cares what the realtor looks like. This especially bugs me when the realtor’s full body shot appears on the yard sign. It is not useful information.

    Directional signs: I’m as guilty as the next guy, but they look like litter and remind people of politicians (not a good association). Banning them never passes a constitutional challenge, but Edmonton (for instance) has a tightly written bylaw about where they can be placed, so offenders are removed and junked with regularity. I’d like to see that elsewhere.

    Yard signs: Specifically in apartment complexes. I noticed in Vancouver that some buildings have a classy-looking signs that basically say, “Units for sale” and some hooks on which can be hung classy-looking mini-signs indicating the unit number. Following by “call your realtor.” That is much better than having a carefully manicured project being festooned with four ugly yard signs, at least 2 of which are invariably leaning over somewhat.

    Flyers for Free Home Evaluation: Only really stupid people know by now that Free Home Evaluation means “let me in your door” so I can grind you for your listing. Nothing is free in life. Plus, it sends a message that our time is not valuable. I’ve got news. My time counts. And it ain’t free.

    Commissions: Realtors bend over backwards to say commissions are negotiable, but when a seller tries to negotiate, they are told, “it’s company policy to charge…..” That’s the phrase big brokerages teach their realtors to get around the Competition Bureau, which is constantly threatening us if we use the phrase “it’s the going rate,” “it’s what everyone charges,” etc. If you ask a realtor about commission and he refuses to budget, hang up or kick him out of your house.

    The Blue White & Red company: Always bragging they list the most houses. Sure, but sellers don’t hire you to list their house, they hire you to sell it. When a member of the Firm whips out that little graph, notice how its percentage of sales-to-list is actually worse than most other brokerages on that graph.

    Corporate brokerages in general: The way the real industry works is that realtors with a sales license must work under someone (or a corporation) that holds a brokerage license. But beyond that, realtors are free agents, not employees. Your listing with Joe Shmoe of the Blue White & Red company is no different than if Joe Shmoe worked for one of the other corporate brokerages. There are no special privileges to being listed with the Blue White & Red company. If you have a problem with Joe Shmoe, good luck getting any satisfaction from the broker. He doesn’t care. Particularly if Joe Shmoe is a top producer, because if he gets any grief he just takes his act to the corporate brokerage down the street.

    Real estate boards: They exist to stifle innovation and competition. Good luck complaining to one about your realtor. You’ll get nowhere. Why? Because our dues pay their salaries.

    Government regulation: If you’re read any Milton Friedman, you’d know that regulations enacted in the name of protecting the consumer end up being used by industry lobby groups to stifle competition, strangle innovation and drive up costs. Organized real estate is no different.

  12. paulb Says:

    Nice 🙂 Looking forward to your posts.

  13. Macronomics Says:

    I got your next target locked, and loaded.
    Fire at will (not Agent Will).

    Concord Pacific – Cosmo

    hmm, wonder if they’re talking about Kramer.

  14. mohican Says:

    http://www.faithwilson.com/ has got to have one of the worst slogans i have seen.

  15. blueskies Says:

    how much “faith” do you need in the midst of a constipated market?

  16. mk-kids Says:

    “Faith moves houses.”

    Ugh. That really is exceptionally bad.

  17. vomitingdog Says:

    Sign up with Concord online … they’ve got some nasty emails.

    “Introducing COSMO, a collection of residences that have the eminent cachet of being located on West Georgia in downtown Vancouver.”

    What’s an eminent cachet? Is it like a preposterous non-sequitor?

  18. condohype Says:

    Eminent cachet? Man, that’s sad even by condo marketing standards. Even more sad is the site was supposed to be social housing but the city couldn’t come up with the money.

  19. chico Says:

    So happy that you’re sticking around! Wax sarcastic about anything and I’ll laugh.

    From my perspective, Faith needs to change her slogan to “Faith lists houses”.

  20. Rob Says:

    Faith is about the only thing left that could possibly move houses now. I mean, miracles are real, right? Right?

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