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...from a Sow's ear.

(hey! come look whut I made from thet Sow's ear!)

By Alan May | Broker in Evanston, IL

Do you want answers from JUST local agents, or do you want to hear from anybody with an opinion/

Many people come to Trulia and other sites to ask Real Estate and Real Estate related questions.

It's been recently suggested, that the answers to questions from non-local agents, are not welcome.  Well, it was suggested by a Realtor, and the non-local answers were certainly not welcomed by him.

Now, I answer questions from all over the country.  I don't pay much attention to where the question is being asked, unless the question requires a very local answer (such as how is the Marked in Upper Sandusky, Ohio?... or ... Who is the developer on the condos at Main and 15th street?).

Questions like:
* What is a Short Sale?
* Why should I hire a Realtor
* How do I conduct a FSBO?

In my opinion, can be answered by agents from anywhere in the country. 

How do you guys feel about that?  Do you strictly want to hear from local agents... or are you willing to accept answers from any agent with a pulse?


By Dan Chase,  Sat Jan 16 2010, 16:12
Alan, I would be glad yo hear from you anytime on any subject in any location.

I have read the same comments. Sometimes local law is different based on location. perhaps some very specialized issues should only be dealt with by local realtors. California's mello roos and prop 13 (causing taxes to be different based on purchase price) as examples.

A lot of things are the same no matter where you are. A foreclosure, it means someone "forgot" to make payments on their mortgage and now lost the house. The bank owns it. A short sale, it means 2 smurfs are trading houses. ok, it means a human owes to much on the house and hopefully the bank will take less than is owed.

Since people are willing to try to help here for no charge I would like to see that focus of sharing quality replies encouraged. I can agree that perhaps some things should be put into a folder of "varies by state" and each realtor should know what is likely to be different from state to state. Trulia could easily find and distribute this kind of information to the realtors and other professionals on here.

Even when people from one state give a reply I have seen others from the state say that is not how it is in texas. In texas we... It has been a respectful discourse most of the time. I have not yet seen the out of state realtors say no, that is not how you do things in your state.
I said in my blog, if you disagree say so, but do not be disagreeable doing it. Say why and let the readers decide. I think that happens most of the time here.

Since the question was asked, would I want to hear from any agent with a pulse? The reply is no. I want an agent who can think, speak clearly, and think. Knowing what they are talking about is always a big plus.
By rockinblu,  Sat Jan 16 2010, 16:48
Great topic Alan. Hmm..... that kind of has a different, but familiar ring to it. lol That being said, I firmly believe that questions that are not specific to an area should be fair game for everyone that has a knowledgeable opinion, or better yet, a knowledgeable answer. While on this site it could now be considered by some as just point scoring, I don't think truly helpful posters should bother to worry about that. Hopefully, they won't hold back on their contributions because of that factor.

Those that feel their turf is being stepped on, and are of the territorial type on occasion go overboard in their pursuit of responding negatively to those who have responded out of an area. I feel if agents simply sat on their hands and waited for another agent to respond to a question from Timbuktu, a lot of questions would never be addressed.

Quite honestly, I've always thought that those from outsde a given area that respond to non-area specific questions are doing so without an ulterior motive. I really have much less respect for those that complain about it, and only post in their area where they can self promote. They do not seem to be near as much generous with their knowledge.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
By Rich Jacobson,  Sat Jan 16 2010, 19:03
Alan: An excellent question and most definitely worth our careful consideration. As real estate professionals, we owe it to the consumers who access platforms like Trulia and others to provide accurate answers that are based on our personal knowledge, experience, and expertise. Even the answers to questions that appear 'general' in nature can vary significantly in application from State to State. Personally, I think the safest approach would be to simply respond to questions that are posed from people within your specific market area, but that's me. I don't have any issues with people answering questions that are obviously basic or 'general' and don't necessarily require intimate knowledge of a particular geographical area. It has absolutely nothing to do with self-promotion, or us protecting our turf/territory, but it has everything to do with giving consumers the most qualified answers possible.
By Alan May,  Sun Jan 17 2010, 07:45
@ Dan - okay, maybe "anyone with a pulse" was going a touch overboard... and I recognize that there are many agents that nobody wants to hear from, regardless of their location. Buffoonary is rarely appreciated. But what I'm getting from your comment is that a "knowledgeable reply", is welcome, even if the agent is from a different locale.

@ Rockin - I know... reminiscent, but oddly enough, it's not quite the same. I agree, that those who are responding are rarely doing it for the "points", and are likely doing the same as I am... it's a intellectual exercise that keeps us up to date, and allows us to interact with fellow realtors nationwide, and sharpen our expertise. Thanx

@ Rich - whoo boy. You're correct. We do owe our consumers, whether on Trulia, Zillow or ActiveRain accurate and professional answers... and if that were the total premise for your objection... I'd agree... but recently an agent I respect took Mike Emery (on Zillow) to task, and there was not a single thing in his response that was incorrect, or inaccurate. His only crime was that he was from out-of-state.

And you and I both know that we've seen answers, as Dan alluded to, from local agents that were just wrong, wrong, wrong. So it has the appearance more like a turf-war.

That being said, I don't agree with your premise that those 'general' questions vary significantly from state to state. And occasionally, when you do find something unusual that does vary from state to state (for example, California requires you to disclose if a house is considered "haunted"... while most other states of the union do not)... it provides an excellent "teaching moment"... when an agent from Illinois answers that question with a "no, you don't need to disclose that".... and a California agent (like Marci Reinheimer) calmly and professionally explains "Alan, here in California we ARE required to disclose that fact". Or, as Dan suggested, Mello-roos is another excellent question that should only be answered by those in the know. I, and I presume a lot of non-agents, have learned a great deal from interactions just like that.

I have to say that the tenor of comments on Zillow, as well as the tone and general "backslappery" going on at AR on that post about the subject, give off the "vibe" that Pasadenan was referring to when he said something like "this is my turf, these are my clients to win... back off". There's a feeling of "entitlement" that seems to be part of the "location"... this is my town/county/state... leave those answers to ME, so that I might gain that client.

I ain't down with that, and you shouldn't be either.
By Dan Chase,  Sun Jan 17 2010, 11:28
Alan, You did not ask about, and it has not been referenced before. It appears that some agents not only want out of state agents not to reply but also do not want non-pro's to reply.

I have noticed that each person replying to a question has a different perspective on the question. I have even seen times the non-pro's take on part of a question the professionals missed (or ignored).

Sometimes having a certain focus means we miss part of the issue being asked about. Having many different ways of seeing a question from local professionals, out of state professionals, and non-pro's from all over has the great advantage of allowing all aspects of a question to be looked at, explored, and answered. I have seen some aspects of a question others missed. Others have replied to certain aspects of a question I missed. When you have 7 people all reply to a different 1/7 of a question the person asking will get a complete reply.

The more eyes and ears we have focussed on a question the more likely the person is to get a solid complete answer that they need. Mistakes will happen. I saw one agent say they at times disagreed with other experienced agents in their own office. Perhaps a lot of times the issue is as much perception as it is reality.
By Alan May,  Sun Jan 17 2010, 12:27
Dan, that's a fair point. I know we recently had a conversation in our office about "agency", and who we really represent when sitting an open house for a different agent.

We couldn't get 3 agents to agree... it was a quite an animated conversation.

I think that non-professionals like hearing the opinions and experiences of their fellow non-professionals. (I do take issue, however, when a non-pro answers a technical question about, for example, dual-agency, that they clearly don't have any understanding of.. (many agents don't get it)...
By rockinblu,  Sun Jan 17 2010, 19:37

What an eloquent response to Rich's comment. You just scare the hell out of me sometimes. lol

The only thing I'm going to add is that to me there's a bit of a difference on who should respond to threads between those titled:

"How much value does a yard add to Brooklyn property?"

"What is the average DOM for a house in the 200-250K range in Summerville, SC?"

"What is the best month to list your house in Schenectady county?"


"Is now a good time to sell or should we wait until summer when it shows better?"

I might also add that in regards to the Zillow thread, if Rich really felt that strongly about Mike's post, a private email would have been the proper "professional courtesy" instead of a public admonishment that only served to disrupt the thread, and in the end to be possibly an embarrassment to Rich. In those situations, agents who feel as strongly as Rich should possibly be content to call to the attention of the OP that they are from their area, and have intimate knowledge of their market. Seems simple enough to me, but hey that's just me.

In retrospect, in looking at how the question was presented on Zillow, given the nature of Mike's response, there wasn't even a need for Mike to qualify his response by stating that he wasn't familiar with the market. He did so being the professional he is, and yet was attacked by Rich using Mike's own words that he used as an actual disclaimer in his post. There have been two threads on Trulia since, obviously from the same poster on Zillow, with almost identical questions to the one on Zillow. As of this time not any of the out of the market agents responding to those questions included the same type of disclaimer Mike did to their posts. I guess they felt there was no need to given the nature of the questions while Mike was a little more circumspect. Sometimes life isn't fair, nor are some agents in their criticism of other agents.

Oh Alan, feel free to delete. I posted "The only thing I'm going to add" then I got into the rambling mode. lol

By Alan May,  Mon Jan 18 2010, 06:12
I ain't gonna delete a word, Mr. Blu, sir. Well said. (funny, I never really thought that a comment that included the word "backslappery" could be considered "eloquent"... but thanks for that.)

I know Rich, and respect him. So I was surprised to see his comments, and tried to step in to mitigate things. Instead, I think I stirred the pot a bit, and for that I apologize.

I think, that by now, he's also rethinking how things went down, and if he had to redo it, would likely send a private e-mail to mike. It's also likely, as you suggest, that he's found the ruckus we've raised to be a bit embarrassing.

That doesn't mean he's changed his mind... I think he still believes , firmly, that most questions should be answered by local agents. Period.

I think that Rich's "newbie" status at Zillow, caused him to make a faux pas that he wouldn't make again.
By rockinblu,  Mon Jan 18 2010, 09:34
"I know Rich, and respect him. So I was surprised to see his comments, and tried to step in to mitigate things. Instead, I think I stirred the pot a bit, and for that I apologize."
No, it certainly seems that I'm the one who stirred the pot. I did apologize to cubbybumpken, who seems to be no slouch at thread hijacking herself. lol>
By Alan May,  Tue Jan 19 2010, 18:40
you did do the stirrin', din't you?
By rockinblu,  Tue Jan 26 2010, 16:29
Guilty as charged your honor....................and proud of it. lol


I really think the thread attached to the link below could be a little ammunition for those of us that favor advice, or info by an agent being given to someone out of the agent's working area. In the thread you will see two local agents basically telling, or implying what the poster wants to hear. One is trying to imply that price might not be the problem while directing her to a blog, which as we all know can be a great marketing tool in the promotion of an agent. The other one brags about his marketing skills which probably reinforces the thinking of the OP that the house is not being marketed the way it should be. One gets a BA and the other a TU. Surprise, surprise. Now let me guess. What two agents are going to get the call for an interview after the OP cans her present agent?

By Dan Chase,  Tue Jan 26 2010, 16:40
Rockinblu, now that you brought up the question I realize I missed a golden opportunity to reply.
Q."How much value does a yard add to Brooklyn property?"
A. Nothing, maybe if it was 4 feet, but 3 feet alone adds nothing.

I try not to stir the pot here if I can help it...

the VIP program and spam being exceptions to the rule.
p.s. I figured I could get vip3 from vip2 in 54 days at my current pace. Isn't that special???

Many of my posts have been telling the person the opposite of what they want to hear. I guess that means they will NOT be calling me to be their next realtor. (SIGHS) Hey wait!!! I am not a realtor...(GRINS) no problem.
By rockinblu,  Tue Jan 26 2010, 19:28
"Q."How much value does a yard add to Brooklyn property?"
A. Nothing, maybe if it was 4 feet, but 3 feet alone adds nothing."


If I would have been scoring and you posted the above answer, I would have given you triple points. lol
By Alan May,  Thu Jan 28 2010, 15:32
points? we don't need no steenkin' points!

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