Broken Windows and Angry Voicemails: Trelora Bashed by Unprofessional Brokers

Erik Carman
Published on May 25, 2017

Broken Windows and Angry Voicemails: Trelora Bashed by Unprofessional Brokers

A recent story by Denver’s CBS4 details how some real estate “professionals” have turned their disdain for Trelora’s flat fee model into something physical: smashing windows, keying cars and leaving irate voicemails for the company.

Trelora- a local real estate brokerage with low commission structure- doesn’t have many fans among Realtors. Most real estate agents representing buyers in Denver’s competitive market, don’t feel like $2,500 is adequate compensation for the work- especially after splitting it with their brokerage and Uncle Sam.

I like having Trelora in the market.

That’s a sentiment that my colleagues probably wouldn’t agree with. Here’s why we disagree.

Commision: Trelora listings state that the commission is negotiable (as it always is). Many buy-side agents don’t want to negotiate their commission, or don’t feel like they should have to. It’s true that being a buyer’s agent in Denver can be a lot of work, but the job of the real estate agent is literally to communicate and negotiate. If an agent is not able to articulate their own value, why would they be good at negotiating for their client? I recently put a Trelora listing under contract for a Buyer. I worked with my buyer to negotiate commission, and it wasn’t a big deal. At the end of day, my buyer got the home that they wanted under contract, at a fair price, and with little competition. Perhaps the lack of competition was due to the fact that 40% of agents aren’t showing Trelora listings to their clients.

Competency: Many real estate agents have told me that working with Trelora is a nightmare. The most common complaint is that it’s like calling into a 1-800 number; there isn’t a consistent point of contact, leading to gaps in communication, and that some of their employees aren’t as knowledgable. Also, they operate during normal business hours, so you can’t contact them in the evening. While it would be nice to be able to contact them after 5:00, my experience with Trelora as a Buyer’s agent hasn’t been bad. Every brokerage has some incompetent agents, it certainly is not unique to one company.

The discount or flat fee model has been around for a long time. The difference is that in 2017, people are interviewing more agents than they ever have before. The importance of the full-service agent to differentiate themselves from discount agents is tantamount, and in many cases, the former fail to do so.

The median age of a Realtor is 53 years old. Many of these individuals, who began their careers in the 80’s and 90’s, still want to practice real estate “the old way.” That means listing a home on the MLS, and answering their phone when it rings. Their value proposition usually falls back on experience and negotiating ability. Some sellers don’t feel like it’s enough to justify the commission their asking for, and I can’t say I blame them.

We live in a world of video ads and social media marketing. Agents that don’t want to incorporate these concepts into their marketing, will have to compete with those that do. I don’t compete with Trelora, because the services that we offer are different.

I look forward to getting more of my buyers under contract with Trelora listings. As long as nearly half of agents are refusing to show their properties, competition to get under contract will be easier. My colleagues who would rather break windows, will eventually fall out of an industry that is rapidly evolving.

-Erik Carman

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