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Monopoly Power

Competition MetaphorEvery building in High Rise Society has one.  No, I’m not talking about The Building Nut.  (There could be two or three of those, but that’s a topic for another day.)  I’m referring to The Building Specialist. So what makes them special?

They know better, and sooner, than anyone else WHO IS SELLING, and if they don’t know, they’ll find out by any means possible. It’s the kind of inside information so valuable it might be unlawful to trade upon in public corporations, but here on the home front  it’s perfectly OK because buildings are private residences, not public corporations subject to the securities laws.

Not only do Specialists know WHO IS SELLING, they don’t want anyone else to know – until they have the exclusive listing in the bag. So they try to lock up residents living on the inside and lock out brokers from the outside – a form of anti-competitiveness that is both lawful and lucrative. That’s why I think some  really are more like Monopolists than Specialists.

Here are some of the things Monopolists – I mean Specialists – may do.

  • Believe they have inherited a feudal seat which entitles them to sell every apartment in the building.
  • Stuff your mailbox with propaganda letting you know every time they have made a sale in the building, using enough paper to decimate a few forests while proclaiming the need to make the building Green.
  • Say they have an “IN’ with the board so you think your application will sail through the approval process.
  • If they don’t (which they shouldn’t) try to get people on the board who will push applications through the pipeline.
  • Call to chew you out if you have strayed and listed your apartment with someone else.

Of course, not every Specialist is a Monopolist.  And while it may be a great deal for them, it’s not necessarily what’s best for the building. It can stokes paranoia among residents, who feel they have no choice. And even though Specialists may not want competition from others, owners should because the more brokers that sell in the building the more potential buyers will know about it, and the more buyers the greater the potential demand, and the greater the demand, the higher the prices – that is, once the recession is over.

The Justice Dept isn’t going to come in and bust up this monopoly because it’s perfectly legal.  That means it’s up to you. So instead of taking the path of least resistance, check out the universe of brokers outside.  There are lots who may be so anxious to get inside that they’ll work really hard for you and do a great job.  And little by little, more and more people will know about your building, and that’s a good thing.

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