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A Groupon for Buying a Home? Really?!

April 12, 2011

Should real estate firms offer discounts on sites like Groupon?  Chicago’s Dream Town Realty thought it was a good idea.  They offered a $1000 rebate at closing  for $25 on Groupon recently and as you might imagine, they sold pretty quickly (see the story here).  After all, who wouldn’t want to trade $25 for $1000? 

I like Groupon.  I use it to buy movie tickets, ice cream, discounts at the GAP, etcetera.  However, I would never use a Groupon to buy a car, hire an attorney, acquire health insurance, or purchase a home.  To me there are some things that are important enough to pay full price for to ensure that they are done right. 

I mean imagine being wheeled into an operating room, receiving anesthesia, and then fumbling through your gown in a mind-altered haze while incoherently muttering ” But I have a coupon!!!”.

Now, that’s not to say that I don’t think there should be discount brokerages in the real estate.  There are many of them, they have consistant business models and they serve clients that are looking for a limited service relationship rather than a full service relationship.  The Dream Town Realty Groupon scenario is different in that it  isn’t a business model, it’s a plea for business.  It smells a little of desperation.  As Brian Boreo of 1000Watt Consulting put it on their blog, “…remember for a moment that you are selling homes. Not egg rolls. Not manicures.” 

Good point!

What’s next, Townhome Twofer Tuesdays?!  Buy one condo, get the second one 1/2 off  when you bring  25 Campbell’s Soup labels into escrow?! 

I think it’s a bad idea.

Ooh – I forgot to mention… come into my office, mention this blog and I’ll take 1% off of my commission on the eighth transaction you do with me.  Hurry!  This offer won’t last long!!

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