Realtors: Watch Your Back!

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Outside_house_smallWant more evidence that the Internet is changing the way real estate deals play out? Disgrunted homeowners are exposing their frustrations with realtors in a very public way. Here’s the house that started the websiteabove. Located in West Orange, on Gregory Avenue, it was listed with Weichert by owners Jake and Sue Freivald and their disatisfaction with the company spawned the exhaustive website which has to be raising Weichert’s ire (although it’s not coming up high on Google searches — yet). From the site…

Because people at Weichert Realtors tried to bully us, and we’re sick of it. John Geaney, the manager of the Upper Montclair office, was coercive and unethical. We escalated to Larry Mueller, a VP at corporate. He didn’t listen to us, he was belligerent, and he tried to stonewall us. Jim Weichert, President of Weichert Realtors, ignored us.

All we know is it sucks to be these guys. The listing agent, who is referred to as "R," but who we suspect is really "S," didn’t get any heat from the Freivalds. The story has been picked up by both EcoRealty and Northern New Jersey Real Estate Bubble. It makes us wonder — do we need to have a comment/review section for Baristaville realtors, akin to the restaurant listings on the food page? Meanwhile, remember those two 4 million dollar homes listed way back when — the one on Heller Place and the other known as Cobble Court? See their sales prices below and watch this space for Baristaville’s $8 million dollar home for sale (a.k.a. Kips Castle).


  1. On another subject…
    I was just wondering if the baristas could update the Glen Ridge sales listings below. I find it hard to believe the last sale in GR was in early July…

  2. Wow, Barista takes an ad which says how realtors “suck” and further down the page an ad for a realtor.
    Does this make good buiness sense?

  3. we sure do need a national site – or at least at Barista-level, where everyone can rate/review their realtors. Both pro and con. I had a great experience with my broker who no longer works in the area, so I’d need to look into one in a couple of years. But I had a BAD experience and would NOT recommend a certain broker who advertises here on Baristanet.

  4. WOW and I was thinking of listing my house with weichert- not anymore. I’ll also look closely at whatever contracts are offered and will put in a mininum number of open houses and ads etc. and a clause about what happens if the realtor wants the price brought down and I don’t want to.
    Can anyone else describe their bad experiences with realtors?

  5. Let’s just say my first and last…and lasting impression of an Upper Montclair realtor that advertises here, was that she couldn’t be “bothered” to give full customer service, go out-of-her-way, etc. She directly said she can’t waste her time. Apparently she has enough $$$$ clients to be rude and snotty.

  6. now wait a minute. i haven’t read the website yet, but the house i bought two years ago was handled by a realtor at weichert and he was an absolute pleasure. i don’t doubt that the couple above had a terrible experience but there are always two sides to every story. well, i guess i’ll read their website before i say anything more.

  7. Fran, I run the site in question, and I appreciate your concern about individual agents.
    My problem isn’t with my agent — we originally went with her because she did a good job on my neighbor’s house — so much as with the management of the Upper Montclair office and up.

  8. Liz: you should take a note from newspapers and include the browser window header and scroll bars in your web screenshots. This gives your image context and would reduce the chance of readers confusing it with other page elements (such as ad banners).

  9. Years ago I had a horrid experience with Burgdorf of Maplewood. I finally took the listing away and sold the home myself, & pocketed their fee.
    Anyone who can’t sell their car, boat or home themselves is lame. You could buy it, pay for it but are scared to sell it yourself ? Pleezze…..

  10. I read through about 85% of this…the bottom line here is GO OVER YOUR CONTRACT with finetooth comb, espcially the clause that relates to firing your agent if you don’t like his or her service.

  11. What goes around comes around. In this falling market, all those sleazy tricks performed by low life Upper Montclair agents will come to haunt them. In a falling market, the men are separated from the boys as they say. I have lots of under handed experience with houses I lost in bidding wars in Glen Ridge thanks to W——, R—-V–N— and Schw—eB——-. I am sure you can fill in the missing letters…
    I ended up with a great house in Essex Fells and love the bus ride to the City. There is life off the midtown direct train line.

  12. I can testify to Weichert today but 8 years ago, we bought our house from a Weichert agent who was terrific. How many agents do you know would insist you go out in the backyard with them in the winter during rain to demonstrate the noise from Bloomfield Avenue you would have to endure if you bought this house? Meanwhile, we tried an agent from Schweppe (at that time) who told us after every house she showed us that it was “perfect for us” including a mother and daughter house. Interesting since we are a gay couple.

  13. “She directly said she can’t waste her time. Apparently she has enough $$$$ clients to be rude and snotty.”
    Sounds like someone at Prudential NJ Properties. Not helpful, wouldn’t do an open house without coercion, never in office. Wonder who she was working for. Certainly not the sellers!

  14. My wife and I bought a house in Montclair three months ago after renting in town for 8 years. Our realtor (from Schweppe) was absolutely outstanding. Wish I could say the same about all of the greedy, misinformed sellers we encountered… For example, we lost one house when we offered more than the asking price but the sellers were secretly hoping for much, much more than the asking price and thus rejected our above-ask offer. Now that is unethical!

  15. To “no one”: To satisfy your curiosity and tell the public who the snotty broker was – Prudential Zinn Associates (upper montclair)

  16. Sorry Bloomfield Not-so-newbie,
    I’m really referring to Prudential NJ Properties in Caldwell. I’m not sure exactly, what you’re saying.

  17. Never mind. Now I get what you’re saying. I wasn’t looking for your realtor, I was just putting in my 2 cents about one I dealt with. Guess Prudential = not so good!

  18. We had a new Weichert agent royally screw up our real estate transaction more than 4 years ago. I gave up hope on getting our house but another agent stepped in to salvage the deal and then it was done. They also handled the sale of our old home and we definitely did not have the number of open houses I thought we should have had. I would not use an agent ever again!

  19. If you can’t tell an authentic story about your business … consumers will make one up from their experience.
    My son, a grad student at Iowa, did much the same with Rockenbach Chevrolet in the Chicago suburbs. He did something he called a “google bomb” and as a result his complaint website about Rockenbach runs just beneath the company.
    Google “Rockenbach Chevrolet.”
    On real estage: Freakonomics is right on.

  20. This story proves many things, Firstly, you need to make sure you are hiring a reputable company and a reputable agent to market one of your greatest assets. I crack up in disbelief when people hire discount Realtors such as Foxtons or Weichert who has new agents coming in so fast it’s like a revolving door and then they complain about the service. You would never go to a sub-par doctor or surgeon. I have seen this house and no offense to the sellers, but it’s not that nice and it’s on an incredibly busy street. That’s two strikes against them. None of this would have mattered if it was priced right. They can have a million open houses and it won’t sell if it’s overpriced. Another myth is that open houses sell your house and the more you have the better off your are. (a stupid marketing ploy by Weichert) Open houses are great for Realtors to possibly get some new buyers entering the market and for nosy neighbors wanting to check out your house. However, most homes are sold by Realtors who have already been working with a buyer. The sellers should have known by the second or third week that their house was overpriced if they had no offers. Rather than reduce quickly, it has now been sitting for months and months and the market has now cooled off. These selleres were either not educated properly by Weichert or they are just clueless and don’t get it. I think there’s probably blame on both sides. Now they just look like cry babies.

  21. Lily, I’m the site (and house) owner.
    The main issue isn’t the price we’re getting: it’s the strongarm tactics used by specific people in Weichert Realtors’ management. John and Larry tried to make us feel powerless. I felt like I was being blackmailed. I think that these specific people in the Weichert hierarchy are vicious.
    Rather than dilute that message, I’ll leave the rest of your post unchallenged. There’s some truth in it and some falsehood, but most of it doesn’t matter compared to the strongarm tactics.

  22. This topic seems to be a dying but for what it is worth, the Gregory Ave home is under contract which means the market has actually spoken. And, regarding any real estate transaction, there will be far more positive-happy customers than negative-unhappy ones. And, on Weichert as a specific realtor, they have one of the best schools for real estate followed by excellent training and therefore will hire many of their best graduates. Area brokers typically tell interested agents to “get your training at Weichert and come to us to work.” Weichert has many career agents with thousands of happy customers just as other brokers have. I am a happy Weichert agent.

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