Funeral Chaser Agents Strike Our Area

“Since my husband passed I have received 4 letters of people wanting to buy my house! Is this used by agents as a way to test the interest?”

My friend messaged me this on Facebook one afternoon.  She had just lost her beloved husband of many years and was wanting my feedback on this “marketing” approach she was beginning to get.

In the category of “you can’t make this stuff up”, here was a group of hungry real estate agents pushing the boundaries of common decency and respect as they pursued their path of the almighty dollar. My friend had lost her partner of many years, and instead of respecting her privacy and space during her time of grief, these vultures were circling, hoping to get a new client.

There are just some areas of life that should be strictly off boundaries-  and death is definitely one of them.

Yet here in the Knoxville area there is a group of realtors who don’t respect those boundaries and consistently monitor the obituaries for potential real estate deals. They’ll send phony condolence cards along with their business cards.  And then I came across this letter that an agent sent a widower that was being circulated in a Facebook realtor group that I’m on.

I can’t imagine the anger I would feel if I were victim to such an approach following the death of a family member.

As a member of the real estate profession I am embarrassed by such tactics as it reflects negatively on the industry and gives credence to real estate being known as a “low reputation industry.” These tactics are sleazy and need to be condemned by local realtor boards with real penalties for such actions, in my opinion.

As I continue to work in this industry and provide my clients with the best service, it makes me want to strive even harder to be the extreme polar opposite of the “unethical” agent. My reputation is the most valuable thing to me, and sacrificing it for the pursuit of profit is antithetical to who I am.

Has an agent ever approached you for business following the death of a loved one?  I’d love to hear your story.

UPDATE- I posted this article on a local blog and a local realtor pointed out to me that the letter I attached to this article was not sent by a realtor but by an investor in our area.  For that I apologize for the mistake- but this tactic is widely used by real estate agents as well. The real estate agent that criticized me for this took it as an attack on the profession, saying that “That particular letter is not an appropriate way to contact the family of the deceased. Perpetuating the misnomer this letter was sent by a Realtor is just as inappropriate.” I beg to differ because I’ve heard countless stories of this type of solicitation done by realtors in our area. And I am working to get further letters to post.

Then she goes on to say that  “Chasing obituaries has been going on since there were real estate agents, because it is (like it or not) a source of listings.”

This excuses the practice and says “get over it.” It is unethical and our industry needs to be better than this. If you are an agent that can’t get business doing it ethically you don’t need to be in real estate.

Just my two cents.

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