.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Is the day of reckoning finally at hand for MAC-gate?



You all remember MAC-gate, don't you?

That was the headline grabbing real estate media manipulation scandal in early 2013 involving MAC Marketing Solutions, a scandal that introduced us to the now infamous 'Chris Lee' and Amanda Lee.

'Chris Lee' was the fake name for the MAC Marketing sales assistant who along with MAC administrative assistant Amanda Lee, presented themselves as house-hunting sisters to both CBC-TV and CTV-BC as part of a condo marketing publicity stunt.

The duo claimed their parents would be in town from China for the Lunar New Year to help them purchase a condo.


It was, as we now know, all an orchestrated lie. A fabrication  undertaken by a number of MAC Marketing employees who colluded to deceive the public.

But even though it's been over 14 months since MAC's lie was exposed, there are still many unanswered questions about what actually happened that day.

All the public was ever told about the fiasco by those responsible was this Facebook posting by MAC Marketing Solutions president Cameron McNeill...

...that and a short email that was sent out to media outlets by MAC. When he received a copy of that email, CBC-TV reporter Matthew Black tweeted:
In an email to CBC, MAC Marketing owner Cameron McNeill writes he implemented "appropriate actions" vs employees who duped media and that he accepted the resignation of a "MAC senior manager." But, McNeill won't comment on specifics, citing privacy concerns. Statement from MAC Marketing doesn't elaborate on what "decisive actions" it took, or who was fired/resigned after duping media.
The shroud of mystery is highly disconcerting because there were a number of MAC Marketing Solutions employees involved in the media sham. And no one knows the actual extent of their involvement. 

We've already mentioned the fictitious 'Chris Lee' and her 'sister' Amanda Lee...


… but there was also Nic Jensen, the lead MAC executive on site that day:


There was the MAC sales rep who quarterbacked the fake couple through the display suite as part of the phoney presentation. She obviously knew these fake buyers were really her co-workers:


and, finally there was the MAC sales director who is said to have set up the photo shoot, Melanie Briggs.

CBC-TV reporter Matthew Black advises Briggs organized the press gig and was supposed to be in attendance. But when the TV crews showed up, Black states she was a  no-show.

Was she involved in the pre-planning of this deception?


And what of MAC president Cameron McNeill. Was this really planned and executed without his knowledge?

What we do know for sure is that all the players in attendance before the TV cameras that day purposefully lied to and deceived the media/public.

These actions raise huge questions about their character and ability to be licensed in the real estate industry.

According to the British Columbia edition of the Canadian Real Estate Association's Realtor Code of Ethics:
The REALTOR® Code of Ethics of The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is universally recognized by real estate professionals and consumers alike as the measure of professionalism in real estate. The REALTOR® Code is intended to define the high standard of performance the public has a right to expect from those licensed to display the REALTOR® trademark.

As REALTORS®, we accept a personal obligation to the public and to our profession. The Code of Ethics of The Canadian Real Estate Association embodies these obligations.

As REALTORS®, we are committed to:
• Professional competent service
• Absolute honesty and integrity in business dealings
• Co-operation with and fairness to all
• Personal accountability through compliance with CREA's Standards of Business Practice
To meet their obligations, REALTORS® pledge to observe the spirit of the Code in all of their activities and conduct their business in accordance with the Standards of Business Practice and the Golden Rule — Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Article 15: Advertising Claims
Claims or offerings in Advertising must be accurate, clear and understandable.
The actions of all the MAC employees at the media op that day were in clear violation of the real estate industry's Code of Ethics.  They blatantly acted to deceive the media/public with this charade. 

When the story about MAC's deceptions originally broke, the Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC) announced that they were investigating MAC Marketing for false/misleading advertising. MAC reportedly faces fines of up to $20,000 and the individuals involved face having their real estate licences either suspended or outright banned.

So what's the status of that investigation?

Back on April 19th, 2013, CBC-TV reporter Matthew Black told us that he:
"wrote RECBC and was told their investigation is still ongoing. They couldn't say when it would conclude saying it depends on 'the volume of complaints' being looked into and 'how involved' the investigation needs to be."
As we know, the scandal didn't stop the main players from plying their trade. In a promotional photo for the MThree development in Coquitlam, the MAC employee we know as the fictitious 'Chris Lee' and MAC sales director Melanie Briggs are shown as members of the sales team.


In any other field, employees under a cloud of suspicion regarding their conduct would be placed on administrative leave. Apparently this expectation doesn't exist in the real estate industry.

Word now comes that the RECBC may finally be winding up their investigation.

More on this over the Easter Weekend.

==================

Photobucket
Email: village_whisperer@live.ca
Click 'comments' below to contribute to this post.

Please read disclaimer at bottom of blog.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

State Funeral



Today was the state funeral for former finance Minister Jim Flaherty who passed away suddenly last week.


Flaherty's policies receive significant attention on the real estate front, but we will save commentary for now.  Tomorrow we return with several posts that will focus on our biggest story from last year.

==================

Photobucket
Email: village_whisperer@live.ca
Click 'comments' below to contribute to this post.

Please read disclaimer at bottom of blog.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jim Flaherty 1949 - 2014



==================

Photobucket
Email: village_whisperer@live.ca
Click 'comments' below to contribute to this post.

Please read disclaimer at bottom of blog.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

So CMHC changed the rules and you are require to put 5% down? Ummm… Vancity says nope.



We get it: saving for your first home can be a serious challenge -- especially here in BC. Even a 5% down payment can sometimes feel like an unattainable financial goal.

This video will give you a basic overview of how the Down Payment Helper Mortgage will match the amount you've currently saved for your down payment, up to a maximum of $12,500.
Who says you need 5% down in Vancouver?

(hat tip b5baxter)

==================

Photobucket
Email: village_whisperer@live.ca
Click 'comments' below to contribute to this post.

Please read disclaimer at bottom of blog.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Median Price Data for April 2014



It was just over a a year ago that real estate agent Larry Yatkowsky replied to a blogosphere desire for median price data.

And once again Larry provides the numbers.

This month the stats reveal that the median price has dropped in all four major market areas of of the Vancouver Real Estate Market.

==================

Photobucket
Email: village_whisperer@live.ca
Click 'comments' below to contribute to this post.

Please read disclaimer at bottom of blog.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Vancouver's Average House Price Drops From Last Month's High



As always, Larry Yatkowsky is out with the latest monthly real estate numbers and the average detached house price has withdrawn from last month's record high.

Vancouver’s Detached home average price has dropped to $1,209,542 from $1,361,023.

We thank Larry, again, for the prompt date he provides every month.

==================

Photobucket
Email: village_whisperer@live.ca
Click 'comments' below to contribute to this post.

Please read disclaimer at bottom of blog.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

An update on a property in Richmond: House that sold for 33% below assessed value in 2012 now in foreclosure.



Faithful reader will recall 6691 Gibbons Drive in Richmond.

Back in Oct/Nov 2012 we made a couple of posts about this property. The hook?  The property was listed - and sold - for 33% less than it's assessed value. Assessed at $1,258,600, it went for $845,000.

Pretty good deal, eh? Well… apparently it wasn't for that particular buyer.

Word comes from Richmond realtor Arnold Shuchat that the property is now a foreclosure sale.  From Shuchat's blog:
Another Court ordered sale (foreclosure sale) hit the market today at 6691 Gibbons-see MLS# V1054760. This property was listed back in March 2012 for $1,258,000 and eventually sold for under $850k in November of 2012. It is just listed for sale at $1,049,000 and is assessed for property tax purposes at $1,112,000.

Foreclosures usually mean that mortgage commitments are not being honoured. Often the owner stands to lose some equity in this process as well as costs for legal fees. Many times the lender will also lose depending upon the loan to value of the property

The listing says: "Excellent building lot or investment property in a prime location surrounded by new Million Dollar homes. Wide 84' frontage with a total of 7834 sq ft allows you to build a 3600 sq ft home plus a 3 car garage. Solid 2 level 2550 sq ft 4 bedroom + den home. Excellent location within walking distance to Thompson Elementary, Burnett Secondary & Terra Nova Shopping Mall"
Ya gotta love how it's being listed at the current assessed value and not for what it sold for.  It will be interesting to see what it sells for this time.

==================

Photobucket
Email: village_whisperer@live.ca
Click 'comments' below to contribute to this post.

Please read disclaimer at bottom of blog.