This Golden Retriever wants to sell you a condo

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The brokers I've been meeting over the course of my work with the VO have all had the obvious rational interest in selling properties and projecting an image of urgency in the market, but none have yet straight-up lied to me about anything I've asked them, even when they didn't know I was writing stuff down for use in a story. Truly shady stuff like the MAC Marketing scandal notwithstanding, most brokers are not willing to risk their reputations (or licensing statuses) over a quick buck.

Real estate agents know that the best advertising is word of mouth: if they screw you over, then you'll surely tell all of your friends.

Word of mouth can sink you, but it's also your most effective marketing tool if you consistently deliver and make friends along the way. Still, if you want to stay open you have to bring in total strangers. This means that you must advertise. That's where the Golden Retriever comes in.

Real estate deals are about relationships formed on the fly, and that can be pretty difficult to convey in an advertisement. That's why you see things like pink Vespa scooters and images of brokers doing yoga. You have to differentiate and you have to start somewhere, so you start with that first look.

A note on breed

If you're looking to add a dog to your real estate team, I won't try to dissuade you. Please note, though, that the Golden Retriever is already spoken for.

This is not a problem, but an opportunity. In my humble opinion, Rhodesian Ridgebacks would make the best real-estate agents. However, the training process for this type of dog can be challenging. Indeed, my experience suggests that training a Ridgeback is more difficult than licensing a real-estate salesperson in New York (Only 75 hours of training were required, and I found the exam itself only marginally more difficult than fogging up a mirror).

Rhodesian Ridgeback: Public-domain image by Stanqo

To succeed in the world of real estate sales, you have to demonstrate your professionalism, sure ... but first, you must prove that you're human. Sometimes that requires the canine touch.

A note on terminology

"Real estate agent" and "broker" are often used interchangeably by their clients, but these terms represent different licensing levels as per your local real estate law. For example, in British Columbia you must be "licensed to provide trading services" (or property/strata management services) before you can step up and apply for true broker's license.

Making it even more complicated, "Realtor" is actually a trademarked term reserved for NAR members. "Realtor" is in turn used interchangeably with "broker" and "real estate agent" by many laypeople. "Realtors protect their branding, though the NAR came under attack following the US subprime mortgage crisis.

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