Real estate agents are facing a growing backlash over a series of marketing materials that appear to be offering clients a chance to win a $1 million prize for buying a condo in Miami’s North Beach.
According to a press release issued by the Real Estate Council of Greater Miami (RECOMM), which represents many real estate agents in the area, the marketing materials, called the Miami Real Estate Investor Guide, have been around for about a year.
The marketing materials do not explicitly state that a buyer will win a prize, but the council alleges that the materials encourage investors to “win more than just a condo,” by promoting the idea that buying a condominium in Miami will boost their home equity.RECOMm says the information appears to be designed to get potential condo buyers to make an offer for a condo and that “the information may also be used to persuade prospective buyers to accept the offer without making an offer themselves.”
“The goal of these marketing materials is to encourage people to invest in condominiums, and they’re trying to lure people into doing that,” RECOMM President Kevin Fiala said in an interview.
“We don’t have the authority to tell the buyer that a condo is for sale or not.
The brochures should be removed.”
Fiala says the council is calling for an investigation into the materials and that the council has received complaints from condo buyers and condo agents about the materials.
He says that the Council is working to remove the materials from the websites of the agents and the agents have agreed to do so.
“They’re removing these materials from their website because they have received complaints,” Fialas said.
“They are aware that there’s a growing concern about the accuracy of the information.
The real estate council has taken action.”RECOMR said it contacted the real estate board of RECOM and has asked for its review.
The board of the realtor-reselling company has not yet responded to a request for comment.RECO’s CEO, John Tarrant, says he has no idea what is behind the marketing material.
“It’s been around in our offices for years,” Tarrance said.
He declined to comment further, saying that RECOMm has asked him to remove all of the materials because they were “not helping realtors in any way.”
Fialsa says that in a recent conference call with RECOM members, RECOM representatives said the brochures were removed because they are part of a “reputation management program.”
“We don�t want to be in this position where we are taking advantage of realtor-researchers to promote our own brand,” Fialsa said.
“The brochures are not promoting the condo as a realtor, but they are promoting the value proposition of a condo as if they are a real estate agent.”
Tarrant says the brochure material was removed from RECOMs website because it is misleading, and that if RECOM’s management decides to pursue the matter further, it would have to remove information on other properties that are also marketed by RECOM.REOCOM said in a statement to the Florida Business Journal that it has removed the brochural materials from its website and is reviewing its policies.
“We are reviewing our policies with real estate associations to ensure that they do not mislead potential purchasers or our members,” the statement said.REOMs statement also said that RECOs management has reviewed its advertising materials.
“As we look at all of our materials and continue to work closely with our member associations to remove any misleading material, we will continue to monitor our policies and procedures to ensure our members are not being misled,” the company said.
Fialas says RECOM is not the only real estate company to receive criticism for marketing its properties as condos.
In 2014, real estate consultant and broker Mark Krikorian resigned after real estate broker and broker Jeff Johnson made the same claim in a marketing brochure for a property in Palm Beach, Florida.
Krikorians brochure included a quote from Johnson that said: “It takes 10 minutes to find a condo that has been listed on RECOM.”
Krikorian also posted a video on his YouTube channel of himself pitching his condo on the website of RECO, with a voiceover telling viewers that “we will sell your condo for the highest price.”
Kerkorian’s brochure, which has been viewed more than 3.5 million times, was subsequently pulled from the website.RECORM says that Krikorenias brochure has been removed from the RECOM website.
RECOM also said in its statement that it removed Krikos brochure because it did not reflect the reality of the condominium market in Miami.
The Real Estate Board of Greater New York, a realty broker association that represents the realtory industry, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for an interview with its president.