Local agencies will share representation of city properties

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published October 5, 2012

Five St. Clair Shores-based real estate agencies will have a chance to be the listing agents on homes owned by the city.

City planners first brought the matter before council in September, after sending a proposal out to 22 different real estate agencies in the city. Only five of those companies submitted their qualifications to the city for consideration, but of those, City Planner Liz Koto said, three did not provide a sample listing agreement as requested, and another had asked for a minimum payment per sale.

The matter was tabled over the objections of Councilman Peter Rubino in order to give the five agencies a chance to submit the correct documents to the city. The matter came back before council members Oct. 1.

“The way that this was formatted was that we would have a list of agents that we would use on a rotating basis,” said Koto in September.

The companies agreed to charge a flat 4.5 percent commission on the sale of each home, or 5 percent if working with another agent, as well as agree to the possibility of reassignment of the listing if a home spends more than 60 days on the market.

Of the nine homes on the 2012 tax foreclosure list, Koto said at least four will be demolished, so there will only be about five homes that will be available for listing through the agencies.

“I don’t want to mislead the bidders in thinking that this is going to be a guaranteed five,” City Manager Ben Hughes said.

City Councilman John Caron recommended that the agencies be randomly drawn to choose which will represent the first property, but pointed out that there will be more properties available from the city in the future.

Prior to this year, the city awarded listing rights to just one agency to market all of the homes it had available.

“They don’t necessarily have to be tied just to the 2012 tax foreclosures,” Koto agreed. “These bids could be good for other acquisitions that we have.”

Rubino said he had a problem with allowing four of the companies to change their bid and submit more documents after the September meeting.

But Councilman Anthony Tiseo pointed out that it was not a true bid process.

“All we did was give them a rate (and said) will you sell these houses for 4.5 percent. They said yes,” he said. “We went out and got St. Clair Shores real estate companies.”

“I’m also growing fatigued at this idea that we are somehow lacking integrity because we made them clean up their proposals,” Councilman Chris Vitale agreed. “This ‘impugning integrity’ all the time over this is ridiculous.”

Rubino said it was the process that was the problem.

“I just don’t think it’s right that someone comes in and gives us a number, and we say, ‘Eh, we don’t like that number; we like that guy’s number,’ and we let him change it,” he said. “It’s the process that I was not happy with.”

The motion passed, 5-1, with Rubino opposed and Councilwoman Candice Rusie abstaining from the vote because of relationships with local realtors.

The list will be used for three years.