Well Run Strata is a Manufactured Truth for Profit

Don’t get me wrong – the swamp is a beautiful place for, well, swamp people. Much the same way as carefree people like wide-open spaces and introverts like caves I suppose. Generally, people choose a place because it feeds their nature and that of course is a highly personal preference. Unless a preference is cajoled and teased by manufactured truths hiding behind professional advice. 

The swamp has a long history due, in no small part, to the real estate market and the predictable ebb and flow of buyers and sellers. When a real estate agent meets with many successes within a specific locale, she can easily become the “go to” person for the area and outlying areas as well. There is a degree of “trust” with all that specific knowledge right? A seller is confident the property is exposed to the right buyer with all that real estate ability while a buyer will look at sales stats and presume a realtor will have many insights into details that other realtors might be vague about. Sometimes being vague is all about the strategy of tying up future business. This is where the assertion,”Well Run Strata” sits atop a bubbling pit of quicksand in the swamp.

Real Estate advertisements are constantly drawing attention to the pitfalls of going out on your own. Recently I had a good laugh over one that shows a SWAT team invading the bedroom of new owners because the previous owner was clearly criminal. Obviously the lack of a realtor kept this little detail and the ensuing consequences hidden from the new owners.There it is again that “fear” word coupled with the idea buying a piece of real estate on your own is a horror show. Like any commercial enterprise attempting to sell something, real estate companies believe we are a bunch of ignoramus’ incapable of educating ourselves and protecting our assets.Using a real estate agent gives me pause though and I can’t resist the urge to chuckle. Why? Because if I bought a strata unit, used a realtor and discovered problems within weeks of purchase, I could turn around and ask myself, “Well surely the realtor knew the strata had issues. Why didn’t she tell me?” It is always amazing how quickly a buyer goes from being the “end all be all” to “due diligence is as much your responsibility as mine”.

Now before realtors get their panties in a knot I should say there are many good – even great realtors – but some in their lot are greedy, superficial shills who can sniff out ignorance like a fly finds decay. It’s just a rule of business. Every establishment has good and great with a teeming amount of not-so-good. Of course, any self-respecting buyer is beholden to become an armchair realtor to protect his own interests. I would say realtors actually deserve to earn about an average month’s salary based upon the actual work they do. After all, it is the seller that updates, cleans and departs for showings. It is the seller who pays for lawyers and taxes etc and etc. Once the realtor places the ad and brings prospects around –that’s it really. Made my cash….NEXT! 

Now, in fairness to realtors there is office overhead to pay paid and brokers who want their cut. Nice clothes and “better”cars to impress prospects. I always find it interesting that all the cost realtors put out for show is wasted once a buyer buys because oftentimes the new neighbour was only a three dressed up as a nine. And here we go……strata hell….because threes probably borrowed the nine outfits to impress the realtor and the swamp people peering out windows during showings. Once those constrictive appearances removed you have “strata indifferent” which quickly becomes “strata stupid” until  – horrors – strata living becomes costly. Usually, that “well run” moniker leaves a bad taste like bitter cough syrup. Upon calling the realtor, new owners are if they read strata minutes. Standard answer:” I gave them a cursory glance but you told me it was well run.” How many realtors have responded to that line with this line, “It is the buyer’s responsibility to have documents thoroughly looked over”. To which a buyer will invariably reply, “Isn’t that what I paid you for?”

Very few strata are well run. Never ever trust a business professional to do what you should do for yourself. I’m reminded of that line we all got as kids, “If all your friends jumped off a bridge would you do it too?” A realtor gets paid based upon a formula which has more to do with both a seller and a buyer’s emotional attachment to value. Nothing really with talent or skill. Sorry realtors but seriously for the amount of misinformation peddled under the umbrella of professional service, pay ought to be based upon an obsession with following the real estate text which rewards comprehension with a working license. Perhaps boards need to be more diligent about what kind of people they allow to sell real estate. After all, swamp or otherwise, a real estate investment is a huge deal for most buyers and labelling “well run” to a strata better be the ultimate in descriptive phrases because it passed thorough rigorous scrutiny. Why would any professional want to sell a strata hiding poor management and liability for a buck? Perhaps “well run strata” to a realtor is the same thing as greed is to wall street. A manufactured business truth for profit.

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Posted in Cost of Ignorance

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