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FAKE REVIEWS- Purple Bricks in the local real estate market

Originally published on January 24, 2020 by Home Group Realty


A story published this week in Forbes reported that Purplebricks Canada offered employees paid days off for made up 5 Star Reviews on Facebook and Google. 


In March of 2019, Purple Bricks, formerly known as Comfree, ran a contest within their brokerage to get friends and family members to write glowing reviews of the brokerage “whether or not” they were customers of Purplebricks.  There were detailed instructions on how to game the system so they wouldn’t violate the terms of use agreements with Facebook and Google. 


This is wrong on so many levels.


Purplebricks promotes itself as a low cost alternative to the traditional real estate brokerage. They cater to a part of the market that wants a DIY model.  The truth is, there’s plenty of room in the market for that model.  We're seeing it across industries – an influx of budget-friendly and DIY clothing, furniture and even restaurants, paired with an equally popular rise in high-end goods and services (in Guelph in particular, we've seen a massive trend of boutique cheese shops, eco-friendly household goods, and high end grocery stores, just to name a few).  


As a full service brokerage, we stand by the service that we offer, and we are happy to compete.  I believe in a competitive market place.  It keeps us on the top of our game and working to provide the best consumer experience possible.


Consumers, now more than ever, deserve choice.  The choice between a full service real estate experience, and one that requires a little more work to a save a little money.  There are a number of factors to consider when selling your home, and we always discuss our clients priorities with them before we set our marketing strategy.  Some homeowners are willing to wait a bit longer and work a bit harder to receive a higher price for their home.


Others prioritize convenience over everything else, and so the path of least resistance is taken.  Opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of marketing approaches, but the same essential goal: SOLD. 


"Budget" Brokerages boast a cheaper process to achieve the same results.  But do they?  Like many small businesses, agents and brokerages rely on referrals and reviews for their business, and likewise, consumers too rely on the recommendations of others when there is so much choice in the market.  And herein lies the issue.


All real estate brokerages in Ontario, including Purplebricks, operate under a strict code of ethics around advertising and how we act with consumers.  Soliciting and encouraging false reviews in order to get more business violates the code of ethics as well as advertising standards on many fronts.


Purplebricks is a registered real estate brokerage in Ontario and, quite frankly, their actions deserve the attention of our governing body, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO).

Our brokerage and team members work hard everyday to earn the trust of our clients and provide them with a stellar real estate experience.  We want consumers to have confidence in the reviews we receive and post, and when companies try to cheat the system, everyone ends up losing trust and credibility.  


Purplebricks, and this example of what they were willing to do in order to grow their business, speaks volumes about the corners that people are willing to cut in order to gain an advantage.  I look at this and think that if they are prepared to game the system to find a way to look better, how quickly will they cut corners or game the process when it comes to defending the value in the sale of your home?


Our take:


Beth and Ryan have personally dealt with Purple Bricks in Guelph on a transaction in 2019 where we were representing a buyer purchasing a home listed by the owners and Purple Bricks. The agent that was "assigned to us" was excellent and knowledgeable on real estate, but not the Guelph market specifically. However, the process left something to be desired.


The model has a buyers REALTOR® calling a toll free number (envision a call centre) where we were told to submit an offer to a generic email address. Who knows what happens to it once received, but eventually the sellers agent would call us. The whole transaction felt a little disjointed and awkward, but we were able to get the deal done eventually with our clients successfully purchasing the home at what we believe was under market value.


Beth and Ryan Waller are Real Estate Agents with Home Group Realty. You can reach them at 519 546 3390, or info@bethandryan.ca.Photo by Sarah Vombrack on Unsplash


#realtor #realestate #guelph #purplebricks #propertyguys #guelphrealestatemarket

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*Source: GDAR combined reported areas of Exhibition Park, St Georges Park and Downtown. Total $ volume in both buying and selling ends, January- December 2019.