Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bad (and inconsiderate) condo sales strategy

There's a specific pre-construction condo I'm interested in. I recently received floor plans, but no prices. However, googling around for prices per square foot, I found unofficial information suggesting that the units I'm interested in will be out of my price range. So I mourned my condo and waited for official word.

On Thursday, I received an invitation from a broker whose list I'd signed up for to a VIP preview to be held today. I asked if he had prices, so I wouldn't waste both his time and mine on something I'm priced out of. He said the builder was releasing them at the VIP preview.

So this morning I set an alarm, put on make-up and nervously went off to a place I've never been before to make a major purchase that I've never made before.

I walked in, was handed a price list, and discovered I was priced out of the units I'm interested in.

That was a waste of time! Why on earth didn't they just release the prices with the floor plans so people who can't afford it are selected out? Who is served by making people who can't afford it come all the way in to the sales office and tie up the time and attention of brokers and sales reps before they can learn that they can't afford it?

This was especially annoying for me because, being a shy and awkward sort of person, I get very nervous about doing new things where I don't know what to expect, to the extent that I feel it in my bowels and my acne and my dreams. The two days' warning they gave me was enough time to spend being nervous, but not enough for the nerves to dissipate and for me to come to terms with what I may or may not have been about to do. So I spent the past two days carrying these nerves, having fretful and interrupted sleep, with my cystic acne and my digestive system in overdrive, and all this during the busiest time at work. The tetris lines kept piling up until I was jumpy like a shy puppy on a subway. And I could have been spared all that if they'd just released a price list with the floorplans!

My first thought was that this model is really inconsiderate to introverts, shy people, aspies, the socially awkward, bullying victims - anyone for whom going into a strange place likely to be staffed by slick strangers and not knowing what awaits you is an ordeal. So at first this blog post was going to be about how energetic, extroverted real estate people for whom going somewhere new and meeting new people and making big money deals is a fun adventure (because, if it weren't, they probably wouldn't have gone into real estate) are making it unduly difficult for the rest of us.

But, on top of that, it's also inconsiderate to anyone who works or has other specific obligations or already-made plans on Saturdays, anyone who needs to arrange childcare if they're going to go do something grownup like buy a condo, anyone who lives a significant commute away - basically anyone who doesn't keep their Saturday wide open or full of easily-cancellable plans.

So all these people have to go through the stress and inconvenience of being in a specific place in a specific time on very short notice not even to buy a condo, but just to find out whether or not they can afford it.

It serves no one to make people who simply do not have enough money and mortgage space come into the sales centre. It would be far more convenient for all involved to let those who can't afford it select themselves out. So why not do that? What can possibly be gained by forcing people to schlepp all the way to your location just to find out your prices?

1 comment:

laura k said...

I might not as get as nervous as you, but I would HATE to be inconvenienced and have my time wasted like that. I'd be really annoyed.

And now knowing (from this post) how these kinds of inconveniences could affect some people, I'd be even more annoyed.