B.C. realtors give widowed dad condolence card -- with offer to sell house
Nick Wells, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, August 8, 2016 9:36PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 9, 2016 10:27AM EDT
A Metro Vancouver family is criticizing the tactics of two realtors who left a condolence card for a recently widowed father offering to help him sell his house.
Launi Bowie, whose mother Audrey Smith died suddenly in mid-July, says her father Ted received a sympathy card on Sunday with a message telling him to "please let us know if we can help with your real estate needs when the time is right."
Linda Shaver and Leanne de Souza, two realtors with HomeLife Benchmark Realty, had heard about Audrey's death in a brief discussion with Bowie's father while canvassing the family's neighbourhood in White Rock, B.C. two weeks ago.
"I don't know these women, they could be really lovely people but in what world does this make sense to you as a good way to market or solicit business?" Bowie said to CTV Vancouver. "It just doesn't make sense to me."
The Smiths had been married for 51 years and Bowie says her mother's death was traumatic on the family, with the card reopening emotional wounds.
"He had been doing quite well and it was like it was taking him back," Bowie said of her dad's reaction to opening the card.
The realtors say they were simply following up on the discussion and saw the card as a way to show compassion.
The pair says they do regret adding their business card.
The Real Estate Board of British Columbia has opened an investigation into the matter but the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board is supporting the pair.
"Unfortunately I think this has been a very sad misunderstanding," said Dennis Wilson, the manager of professional standards with the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.
Wilson says the two learned of Audrey's death suddenly and they didn't purposefully target the widower in the initial visit.
"The ladies that are involved in this process were very sorry about what had happened once they heard and they meant nothing but goodwill to this gentleman," Wilson said.
Family members say they hope their experience sparks a discussion about how to treat grieving people in Metro Vancouver's booming real estate industry.
"I get that it's a frenzied atmosphere in the real estate market but there's got to be a point where you just say, 'Okay but I'm not going to go that low, I'm just not going to do that,' and I'm hoping that this is what this will say to more realtors," Bowie said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Shannon Paterson