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Trulia Long…, Other/Just Looking in Long Beach, CA

Why can't an agent share their personal opinions about different neighborhoods?

Asked by Trulia Long Beach, Long Beach, CA Wed Apr 3, 2013

How do you respond when a client asks for personal opinions?

Help the community by answering this question:


Know you 'stuff.'
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..."
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 4, 2013
Talk with the liberals & the nut jobs who sue everybody for everything! In our system, it just takes a few people to screw it up for everybody and punish the general public with higher fees & lawyered up BS rules. Our old Real Estate contracts in the 80’s were 2-3 pages now files often contain over 100 pages! Instead of caveat emptor (buyer beware) we now pages & pages of agents & brokers covering their butts scaring the public into paying for many times unneeded inspections & home warranties along with files & files of government docs. What’s really funny in when the shoe is on the other foot and the government sells homes they revert back to “as is” contracts which are based in the old form of caveat emptor. Look no further than the new health care law, the government does not always make things better, never increases productivity and lowers cost. Whatever happened to personal responsibility, honestly & integrity? Try as we might we cannot legislate morality and we as a society have a problem.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 4, 2013
As an Agent, I will share factual data. As to my opinion, I hesitate to share it because I may color someone's view/perception/analysis of a situation. In fact, my opinion is worth less than what I am paid to share it.

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 8, 2013
I keep my responses factual and my personal opinion out of it. My opinion is not important and my goal is at all times is to find what it is that my client wants.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Apr 4, 2013
Why does everyone keep mentioning "Steering"? I always thought steering was one you only took people to certain areas and didn't want them buying in other areas.. "Steering them towards or away from an area". If you give your personal opinion about an area. ... that is not steering. BUT you could set your self up for a law suit cause someone could get offended or hold you liabel for the reason why they bought there.

I could be wrong, but it wouldn't be the first.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
I agree James. Everyone is scared to share their opinion. There are so many advisories that the buyers sign now that we should be cleared of our opinion as long as it is always professional. Plenty of people ask my opinion. What do you think this forum on Trulia is based on primarily. Every comment by any agent is different from the other. Therefore, it is "Our Opinion". Maybe Trulia should shut this down for fear of agents being sued for practically every comment.
Flag Sat Oct 19, 2013
It depends on what the subject matter is, Trulia.

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
Because "opinions" are subjective and in business one can only look at objective factors to help clients with the client's goals.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
The response Joan gave below is closest to the stuff we learned for our real estate exams. We are not allowed to give our opinions because we all have different experiences!

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
There would be so many law suits, the courts would get tired of it. Bottom line is if the buyer does their online homework, drives around the block more than once and is fine with the area, that's all that mattters.

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
We are not supposed to share our opinions at all because they are after all "opinions" and they can differ from agent to agent. This also would be considered "Steering". Steering is not a good thing to keep you away from a certain neighborhood. Agents that do this can be in trouble with the Department of Real Estate.

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
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 3, 2013
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