If you know your stuff, you can respond to their questions.
If you 'wing it' you will be rewarded.....predictably.
Why is not Trulia and Zillow held to ANY level of data integerity as they mascarade as a 'real estate' resource. The gurgitate values and crime stats and fabricate homes for sale, with impunity.
When will the 'powers that be' at Trulia and Zillow be held accountable for the 'steering' they cause?
Back to the beginning, I WILL respond to any question asked me regarding a community with measures, not opinions. Even these measures are meaningless if the 'aversion' characteristics of the questioner, regarding that topic, is unknown.
The correct response to the intital question MUST be, "What is imprortant to you about.....____?"
If they do not have a concise response such as, "Oh, I just want to know." you are going to be chasing smoke with a net resulting in a wel intentioned....wreck!.
When the client has responded knowledably, your response MUST be preceed with "THREE' magic words. Know those three and you are 'good to go."
The three words that spell catastophy is, "In my opinion..."
The buyer does have a responsibility to complete a search and due diligence of an area or home they are considering. The buyer needs to accept responsibility and perform some leg work.
During the Buyer consultation, the Buyer advised the agent of the areas they wished to search for a new home. I ask why they selected those areas so I may offer some additional areas they may wish to search. It is not my place to tell them one area is 'better' or 'worse' than another.
This is a great question! It causes all of us to think about what we do and say.
I could be wrong, but it wouldn't be the first.
I think that it's important for licensees to remember that clients see you as an expert on every real-estate-related topic you discuss - whether it's the condition of a roof, the amount of crime in a neighborhood, the quality of the schools - and they will hold you responsible if they are rudely surprised by a subsequent event.
I do not agree with the prevailing opinion that discussing crime amounts to steering. However, if you proclaim a neighborhood, "Safe" and your client buys the house, they will be after you thirty seconds after their car gets prowled or their teenager is offered drugs, yeh sure you betcha.
The most common question I get is about crime, so I refer folks to a great crime mapping website. Also, I encourage all buyers to explore the neighborhoods you are considering. Sit in coffee shops, talk to local residents, drive through at different times of day, etc.
Like a buyer once told me when I told him that there was a great house to see....his response "Obviously me and you have a different idea of what great is".... uumm made me realize my opinion on house and area will always be different than the buyer's. So my opinion doesn't matter.
What I always tell my clients are these few things-Let me know what you are looking for in a home, ie-large back yard, location to freeways, schools, 3 bedrooms etc. And, of course, what city are you interested in living. I send them all the homes up to the value they are pre-approved for and let them tell me which ones they would like to take a look at. I then tell them to visit the neighborhoods during the day and night to see if there is anything they don't like during those times.
My buyer needs to decide he/she/they want to live. What I like, does not mean it would be their taste and vice versa.
Hope this helps,
Joan Patterson, B.A., G.R.i., Realtor, License #01431647
Keller Williams Realty