Sowing the wind


Ye reap what ye sow.


Apart from the odd flash of cleverness, I see real estate agents as a homogenous lot.

Nothing they’ve done has kept any brand in front of my mind.

Until now.

A marvellous opportunity to lead the pack has gone quite the other way.



My 81-year-old father recently answered an urgent knock at his door.

It was a worried neighbour, checking he was still alive.

He assured her he was, then asked why she’d asked.

She indicated his front fence, to which an enormous FOR LEASE sign had been bolted overnight.



The real estate agent (let’s call them ‘Landmine’) were advertising the property round the corner.

As it had no fence (and presumably because it was too much effort to mount the sign on its lawn) Dad’s property was used as a handy workaround – with nary a word of request or advice.


Second offence

Outraged, I studied the split palings and recalled an earlier brush with Landmine.

Before her death, my ailing mother had kindly asked them to address the ivy thrusting under, over and through the fence from the same rental property.

When her attempts failed, I took up the struggle, but obtained only grudging, tardy, half-hearted action.



Dad visited Landmine to convey his displeasure about the sign. The staff were neither credulous, concerned nor contrite.

When Dad persisted, they blamed their sign contractor.

In lieu of an apology, Dad suggested they trim some branches intruding from the lease property.

They retorted that he could do that himself.

When Dad persisted, they conceded to, ‘Send someone round for a look’.

This is yet to happen.

Landmine’s contempt for my parents astounds me.

Is it an age thing?

Emotions aside, it’s incredibly bad for business.


Future shock

Dad and I (and possibly you) receive constant written and verbal entreaties to sell our homes.

Landmine sends them too. Are they incompetent, insulting or insane?

I don’t envy real estate agents, as it can be a very long wait between prospect and sale.

But I do think any agent keen for our custom should at least try not to offend us in the interim.

Landmine have pissed us off mightily. Twice.

There’s not a hope in hell we’ll ever deal with them, other than to report them to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.


Happy days

I respect Mike and Winston’s suggestion to feature paragons of service on this blog.

I promise to do so soon.

But when someone messes with my folks, I see RED!

Have your kin been similarly disrespected?

Have realtors (or other businesses) killed all chance of you using them when the time’s right?

Do you agree that, as they sow the wind, they shall reap the whirlwind?



| Founder & Senior Writer – The Feisty Empire

  • Pretty lousy, that is for sure.

    It is worth noting that most RE franchises/businesses/brands are split into two broad parts – property management (rent roll, leasing, property maintenance etc), and sales (buying or selling residential, commercial or other property).

    Some property management types struggle with the concept of service, and use slim margins as their excuse. But there are those who do a great job.

    RE sales people are oft-maligned,

    • Thank you, Stephen. I didn’t know that and I’m grateful for your kind illumination. :)

      • No worries. I completely agree that this is terrible, but understanding a little of how the system works never hurts! 😉 Chances are there are folks out there who can explain it much better than I can.

    • Mmmm, the comment monster ate the end of my comment…

      To complete the thought, although many RE sales people do little to enhance the perception of their profession, blaming them for the failings of the property management folks is a bit unfair.

      However, you could try contacting the sales person for “Landmine” in that area, and ask them to champion your cause. YMMV, but you may find they are anxious to help, and bring to bear any influence they may have over the property management folks. You see, they know that when the time comes to sell the property, they’ll have a better chance of obtaining the listing if they’ve helped you fix this problem.

      • Sorry that happened, Mate. Not sure what caused it. Glad to have the rest of your views, which I’ll consider carefully. :)

  • My take on the homogeneity of the real estate industry is the inward looking approach so many have to operating. They look to other real estate examples within their industry for ‘innovation’ – always a trap. Witness the poor performance of real estate in the social marketing sector and you can understand why – there is little understanding of the process of transacting real estate from the point of view of the customer. Where that is the case this is the result that must follow.

    This is compounded where agents often get big money for sometimes little effort. It is an attitude issue and perhaps some new training from outside the profession is what we need.

    Unfortunately this kind of thinking is not confined to just the real estate market and our approach to service universally could stand improving.

    • Thank you, Lindy, for your erudite comment and kind Twitter retweet. You’re a great support! :)

  • Pull it out and return it to their office (through the front door) personally so that reception can deal with getting rid of it. I personally pull out any free advertising that RA place on my corner block, pointing prospects to other properties. Yes I think it is age thing and they find it easy to just push you aside.

    Given the property is vacant I would personally trespass, cut up the vine myself and dump it for them to clean up.

    RA are just one step up from car sales people, nicer cars and suits.

    • Thank you, MCB. Your suggestion resonates strongly with my first impulse. Except I was thinking of passing it through the front window. Such large, expensive panes of glass they have there…

      I’m also sorely tempted by your ‘occupy next door’ tactic. Heady stuff …

      Glad to know I’m not the only one who thinks this is crap.

      • My personal belief (and this is not the opinion of my employer etc etc, nor what the texts books say etc) is that if you are bullied you push back with force so that people know that you are there. Dialogue is all great but if the guy is punchig you every day, it is your arm that is hurting. Punch the bully once and watch if he does it again. As I said this is my philosophy and not what the experts say.

      • Right on, MCB! If I had my life over, I’d punch every bully who laid a hand on me at school. It’s the ONLY language they understand.

    • I actually agree with MCB on this one Paul!

      Our large block has been subdivided – we have neighbours behind us. When their property was up for lease again, we had the pleasure of a rather large ‘FOR LEASE’ sign on our front fence. Fair enough, Unit 2 doesn’t have roadside frontage.

      Opens for inspections went by. New neighbours moved in. Six weeks later, the sign was still there – sporting some rather unsightly graffiti. Emails to the RE agent were ignored. Phone calls were met with ‘yes, we’ll organise that to be removed asap’ empty promises.

      I finally sent them notification that they had 5 working days to remove it before we removed and disposed of it ourselves.

      It made excellent BBQ kindling….

      • Good for you, Emma! I’ll table your brilliant tactic tomorrow. We haven’t had a family BBQ for yonks! 😉

      • In other news, I have a Staffy with a firm ‘if I can chew it, I will chew it’ policy. You’re welcome to borrow him for the day. Probably would only need a few hours to sort the sign out…

      • Thank you, Emma. I’ve seen the photo, and I believe! :)

  • G’Day Paul,
    You’ve been having a rough trot haven’t you? I think that I know why. The word is out. Hassing aint too keen on sport. I mean, what’s a bloke doing living in Abbotsford and not being a sports tragic?

    Move across the river mate. Swear that you’re a dedicated Demons supporter. Get your new friends to send someone around to sort out the chicken bloke and your dad’s RE harrasser.

    You could still get involved with a community garden at the old Abbotsford convent.

    Of course, It could be nothing more than the ghost of Small Business Owner having a bit of harmless[?] fun….I dunno. I just sell stuff.

    Go Dees!


    • It has indeed been a dispiriting month, Leon. Bugger the Yarra! Now that Lake Hindmarsh is full again, I may buy the pub in Jeparit and savour a sublime semi-retired existence while lobbying Canberra to restore the Sir Robert Menzies memorial dunny! 😀

  • That behaviour is not on, Paul, and it could well be because they think your parents are old and therefore easy to push around.

    I also used to have a unit behind me, Emma – the first sign was put up across my parking space (didn’t impact on the rear unit so surely that’s ok?) but to be fair they fixed it fairly quickly. The second sign was stewed onto my fence instead and remained past the unit being sold. I gave them a few days grace then just pulled it down on the principle of ‘if you don’t like me touching your sign, you should have removed it straight away’.

    Any chance you know the owners of this property, Paul? A nice note to them letting them know how they are represented by Landmine may make a point – or at least help you feel a little better!

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences, Tash. Seems there’s a lot of this sort of thing about! :(

      I asked Dad if he’s ever seen the owners. Apparently they’re far away and interested soley in the rental return. So, to that end, they’ve chosen an awfully good agency.

      Unless, of course, angry Doncasterites rise up with their whipper snippers and revolt! 😛

    • I’m rather impressed that you resisted the urge to ‘accidentally’ plow your car into the sign that was plonked across your car parking space, Tash. I get my cranky pants on when my partner doesn’t pull into his spot far enough so I can’t get in…and, well, I like him :)

      Did the second sign bug you too? The sign that went up on our fence miffed me because they drilled it into the fence to attach. Very minor in the grand scheme of things, yes, but surely they’re not allowed to just drill a hole into my fence without my permission right? Pretty sure I’ll get into a bit of trouble if I went down to their office and started drilling holes into their walls….

      Let’s boycott RE Agents all together. Sell your house on eBay! :)

  • malcolm owens

    Personally I would have ripped the sign down and thrown it into the property in question if I had a response like that. Either that or through the front window of the Agency. That is just crap and no wonder you saw red!

    • Thank you, Malcolm. It was only because Dad is well and truly still calling the shots that I didn’t heed my baser desires. But you rest assured I bloody wanted to! :(

  • The sign is attached to your dad’s property. A tin of red spray paint applied to the sign advertising that this sign was put up by the agent without permission and he is a feral, unresponsive piece of refuse is the best way that you can advertise his true services in the neighborhood. I wonder how fast the sign will be removed when they notice? Call the local paper and get a photograph with the sign for even more impact.

    Sounds like fair justice to me!

    • Wow, Phil! That’s thinking outside the box! I don’t know what attracts me more about these fantastic suggestions: the imagination of the tactics, or their slightly subversive undertones. Many thanks for applying your imagination to the task at hand. :)

  • Whilst the real estate industry certainly has its variance in service levels, it’s important to consider that the core service of an agency is to professionally guide and streamline what can be considered one of the most stressful transactions of someone’s life.

    The sale or professional management of a property is a hefty task, one that involves not only a legislative allegiance to the owner, but the involvement of many parties including buyers, tenants, settlement agents and contractors, all of which play a part in a proposed sale or management on varying levels.

    Whilst agents must work in the owners best interests at all times, it is sometimes forgotten that the other parties involved either directly or indirectly can negatively or positively impact the brand of the agent as a result of their individual experience. An industry leading agency will recognise that all parties involved / affected by the agency’s business transactions need to be treated with the same respect afforded to the client that they contract to.

    A proactive and professional agency brand recognises that good service goes well beyond the client paying the bill!

    • Thank you VERY much, Ryan! Many industry types were called, but you’re the only one to respond. I’m sorry it took a while for your comment to clear The System. All your subsequent comments should appear in a trice. Thanks also to @lindyasimus for connecting you to our forum. It’s great to have you here! Best regards, P. :)

      [PS. Optional question for triple bonus points: What would YOU do if someone illegally screwed a two-metre high sign to your front fence as you slept?! 😉 ]

  • BTW, everyone; I read all your suggestions to Dad this afternoon and he laughed his head off. He was very touched by your concern and inspired by your wonderful ideas. Thanks from both of us. :)

    Not a whisper from Landmine re the tree-branch contra deal. Dad promises to keep us closely posted. So watch this FOR LEASE space! 😀

  • I checked in with Dad today. Landmine recently moved the board to the correct property. But they’ve not communicated with him about this issue or his tree-pruning idea.

    Dad confirms that Landmine will not be top of mind if he ever decides to sell.