The purpose of this review is to share with the web community my experience with Woodards real estate, specifically the Camberwell office.
In October 2017 and for the first time, I visited its office in Camberwell (VIC) and I met the Woodards’ Director, J.H. along with one of its Sales Consultant, D.D.I. The purpose of the visit was to understand the current market, to see if it was a good idea to put my property for sale, and to understand the realistic goal that could be achieved.
My question was very simple: “If I put my apartment in Hawthorn (VIC) for sale, how much I can sell it for?” The answer was straight forward from J.H. and he said that a realist goal was to sell the property from $610K up to $620K. They suggested me to put the apartment on sale for $610K+ and of course they would take care of the marketing strategy to launch the property on the market, and to create the right buyers’ attention. My first impression was positive because they looked confident in possessing strong skills, and they also seemed potentially capable of reach the right buyers. I must say that before this meeting I did researches, which confirmed that they were very focused on apartments’ sales in this area. We negotiated the marketing costs and their sale’s commission, thus they asked me to pre-pay $3,614 for the marketing expenses. After this payment, the property was put on the market from the 1st of November 2017. They organised 2 inspections per week for 4 weeks, all were managed by D.D.I. and one of colleague, A.S.
Since the first week, I was receiving phone calls from the sales’ team to inform me about what was going on with my property. After a week, there was a small interest from the market about the property, so D.D.I. called me to reduce the price down by $20K. I said to him that, from my point of view, change the price after a week was symptom of something wrong with their marketing strategy, and I rejected this proposal. After another unsuccessful week, D.D.I. came back to me to suggest then to change the sale in an auction, putting dramatically the price down and thus trying to get more attention to create buyers’ competition. In two weeks, the starting price went down from $610+ to $570K. I rejected again their proposal and I said to stay with a strategy and don’t change it every week.
Before I go ahead, please note that I have more than 15 years of experience in Marketing however, in another sector: hence, I had to set up many campaigns and strategies in my career. Even if I am not in the real estate sector, when you set up a marketing plan, it should be for min 6 months up to 2 years otherwise, there is something wrong with the strategy created.
To summarize, during the first 3 months, the property had few visitors (an average of 2 per opening thus, a total of 16-18 groups) but no offers at all. I didn’t care to much because I’ve never been in hurry to sale the property. The apartment was leased and it was running fine for me.
In the middle of January 2018, I received another phone call from D.D.I. and I clearly explained to him that I was not happy with their service and I thought that Woodards’ team showed me a lack of confidence in the current real estate sales market in our area. Since then, nobody called or was in touch with me until July 2018, when a new sales person (S.M.) introduced herself as the new sales consultant that was replacing D.D.I. She sounded very proactive and full of enthusiasm, so I decided to give her a chance. I met her and A.S. at my house, and they told me to get the sale done, and to reach the goal I should put the price down to $575K. I did agree and I gave them exclusivity for 3 months, but I also asked them to not propose me any lower offer than the agreed price. Couple of weeks after, inspections were booked and published online. I must say that S.M. was much more motivated compared to her colleagues at Woodards and she generated a bit more of action that what they did before. Couple of months after, she presented the first offer ever since we started this agreement but it was for $520K, that I immediately refused.
S.M managed to push this offer to $540K and she suggested me to accept it. I said to her that was impossible that the value of my property was $70K less in just 9 months. The property is a 3 years old premium apartment in Hawthorn: in addition, I said that if you want me to accept this offer, Woodards has to reduce a lot its sale commission because I was losing money in this possible deal. Nobody replied but then the 3 months of exclusivity expired and I asked for the apartment’s keys back along with the marketing expenses pre-paid back as well. S.M brought the keys back and she suggested to contact the Woodards Director, J.H., to find a deal for the marketing expenses. Also, she mentioned that the company was not asking pre-payment of the marketing expenses anymore, but only when the sales deal was settle. Hence, I wrote an email to J.H. asking a refund for the marketing activates. To be honest with you, I was not happy of their marketing strategy because they didn’t show me any consistency and any real knowledge of what was the real estate sales market when the property was live. In the end of the day, I accept that the property was not sold, but I don’t accept to pre-pay for a service, Woodards’ marketing, that was not adequate.
J.H. replied to my email after a week and he wrote “Payment of advertising costs are not negotiable dependent on whether the property sells or not.” Then, he attached to the email a copy of the Woodards Complaint and Dispute Resolution Policy. Please note that I have not received any phone calls from J.H. or any Woodards’ members. Therefore, I decided to send a very similar written complaint to the Woodards C.E.O, J.P., that he was in cc in all my previous email sent with his staff.
Mr J.P. replied to my complaint on the 15th of November 2018, with a formal letter and he suggested as a goodwill gesture to offer me a credit which can be offset against either of the following:
1) a reduced rate for our property management services (including the “cash flow guarantee”)
2) a discounted selling fee.
He pretty much offered me to keep working with Woodards, putting the property for sale again or alternative on lease with Woodards property management services. Please note that my property was already on lease using the owner property management service, meaning I was managing it by myself, and everything was working fine for me. I rejected this offer because I believe a property that has been unsuccessful on the market for a year needs to clean its record before to be relaunch again on the market.
My reply to J.P. was please give me the “marketing expenses” money back, otherwise I will publish online my review of your business with all the true story. No answers again but I have followed up couple of times with emails and no emails, phone calls back, etc. Until the 13th of December 2018 where I received an email and an official letter form Marshalls + Dent + Wilmoth lawyers acting on behalf of Woodards Camberwell. The associate lawyer, Mr. C.J.Y., wrote the following: “We note you threatened to discredit our client on social media. We are instructed to warn you that should you pursue this, our client reserves its rights in relation to any loss and damage that may be suffered as a result of you carrying out your threatened defamatory conduct and to issue proceedings against you without further notice.”
To be honest, since when I sent my first complaint, I was surprised to have not received any phone calls from Woodards Senior Management Staff: thus, in the end, I felt like they tried to black mail me.
I am not here to discredit Woodards and I have better things to do in my life, I am here just to share with the internet community my experience with its services and the way they do business. Everyone is free to interpret the story as he/she wishes, but these are the facts, and for me, Woodards has not done a good job in terms of the marketing strategy and also in terms of customer services.
Do you think this is a defamatory conduct? Let’s see what will be the next step by Woodards Camberwell office.
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