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Realtor gimmicks and blue light specials reek of desperation

Real estate coupons!? Please tell me this is a joke. says it “allows Real Estate Professionals to dramatically increase their Business and Production by offering Coupons for their Real Estate related business.” This is nothing but a cheesy gimmick aimed at despondent agents who think that lowering themselves to this level is going to procure business. What gets me most is that there are actually agents who buy into this and fork over their time and money. Glancing over the coupons posted by agents, it literally reeks of desperation. We do not need to stoop that low.

One of the more outlandish coupons offered is 50% off all real estate services, valid through 07/2012. It’s an agent firesale! Besides the fact you’ll probably go negative giving away half your earnings after factoring fees, taxes and expenses, you might as well strap a mobile police light atop your car, driving around the neighborhood with a speakerphone blaring “Attention Kmart Shoppers!” Who in their right mind wants to be known as the “Blue Light Special” Agent?

For those agents who are even remotely thinking about creating coupons, make no mistake… No client is ever going to have the following conversation with their friends and family:
“Sue is a great agent! You ought to give her a call”
“Wow, she must be an ethical and knowledgeable expert.”
“No, you silly. She accepts coupons! Here‘s one I clipped out for you. Hurry, though. It expires tomorrow.”

Furthermore, real estate coupons are a dangerous path to go down. One day you’re doling up coupons to drum up business, and pretty soon, you find yourself accepting food stamps for your commission. Have some standards, people! If you continue debasing yourself, you are going to find yourself one day blurting out “Yes, I do!” when a prospect asks you, “Can we pay you on layaway?” Where does it end?!

Who goes to to look for coupons anyway? If you have to coupon, at least look less desperate by putting on on your Google Places profile, on Yelp or Groupon. Please!

For the love of Lady Gaga, there is no need resort to these foolish antics. Instead of wasting time and money on real estate coupons (and incidentally demeaning your brand), allocate your resources elsewhere to attract clients. Can I get an Amen!?

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Written By

Watch Real Estate Expert Herman Chan put the REAL back in REALTY. In his show Habitat for Hermanity, Herman skewers the real estate business and pokes fun at his fellow agents, all the while empowering buyers & sellers with behind-the-scene tips & secrets of the industry! Get a glimpse beyond the glitz & glam of real estate. It's a hot mess! Featured on HGTV, House Hunters & other media outlets, Herman is the undisputed Real Estate Maven whose helpful & hilarious commentary you just can't live without! In fact, his real estate TV show has just been optioned in Hollywood!



  1. Ken Montville

    September 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Amen, Brother Herman. Testify!!

    This is one of the most ridiculous marketing schemes I’ve heard of and I’ve seen quite a lot. Why real estate professionals continue racing to the bottom is beyond me. Hell, if you really want to give your services away, do a pro bono transaction for someone who needs it or give your commission to a good cause.

    Besides, I don’t think my Broker would take food stamps for my commission. 🙂

    • Herman Chan

      September 28, 2010 at 3:52 pm


      although with some of the rinky dink deals out there, there is hardly any commission left. i’m sure at times the food stamps are worth more!

  2. Fred Romano

    September 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    So do you think that flat fee brokers are a “gimmick” too? After all, we discount the real estate service fees for sellers (and in some cases buyers). Just curious 😉

    • Herman Chan

      September 28, 2010 at 3:48 pm

      hey fred~! nice to hear from ya
      agents can discount all they want. its not uncommon to get a home warranty for clients or chip in a buck or two to close a deal. but i don’t think they oughta do it thru paying a ugly website to post coupons. that site wants agents to pay them money to give away more money. if an agent wants to give away some $ to client, that’s fine, but i don’t think an agent should have to pay on top for that “service” ! 🙂

  3. Fred Romano

    September 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Herman, if you look at that ad you noted in your post… “One of the more outlandish coupons offered is 50% off all real estate services, valid through 07/2012. It’s an agent firesale!”… you will see it’s actually a company that offers real estate services to Realtors, not the consumer.

    • Herman Chan

      September 28, 2010 at 3:50 pm

      thx for clarifying fred!

      still the concept of someone clipping out a coupon, and bringing it up to me mid-escrow (or worse, after closing!) to redeem just doesn’t sit right w/ me….

      • Fred Romano

        September 28, 2010 at 7:15 pm

        It is awfully funny though! I’d love to see it.

  4. Rob McCance

    September 28, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    This is pretty funny.

    How about this coupon for a buyer: 100% off my Services!

    That’s right, for a limitied time, of forever, I won’t charge YOU a single red cent for driving you all over in my sweet ride and buying you lunches.

    • Herman Chan

      September 28, 2010 at 3:55 pm

      right, b/c it is SUCH a privilege to be someone’s chaffeur!

  5. David Sherfey

    September 29, 2010 at 10:01 am

    That someone would take the time to conceive stuff like this.
    That consumers would actually buy into it.
    That an agent would resort to it.

    But I love it when my competition does this kind of stuff! It makes for great conversations on value…

  6. Kelsey Teel

    October 3, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Hahahaha, Herman- you are hilarious. All I have to say about this cheesy mess is that you get what you pay for….and I’m a firm believer in chipping in that extra dollar for an extra bit of value.

    When you are looking for an attorney to help you win an important case, I can guarantee you wont be looking for the one giving discounts. You will be looking for the one who will win for you. I believe choosing a Realtor is just as important.

    Thanks for sharing the article!


      October 3, 2010 at 8:03 pm

      kelsey, glad you enjoyed my hilarity! i like your attorney analogy. bye!

  7. Greg Lyles

    October 4, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I spoke with a friend recently who works for one of the big national real estate companies. I won’t mention the company since some of you may be affiliated. They had an open house scavenger hunt where “potential buyers” would go from home to home looking for clues. The winner would get a $20,000 check to use towards a downpayment. When I asked him how many homes they got under contract as a result (weeks later) he replied “none”.

    Sounds like somebody was still clueless.


      October 5, 2010 at 12:38 am

      i think contests are just a tad better than coupons, but nonetheless it’s a ruse to get biz…..

      i wonder what the person who won did with the $20k?

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