Agent2Agent in Brooklyn>Question Details

Mitchell Fel…, Real Estate Pro in Brooklyn, NY

Why do real estate agents who work in other states try to answer questions about New York City real estate when they never even sold a home here?

Asked by Mitchell Feldman, Brooklyn, NY Fri Apr 1, 2011

As we all know, real estate is a very localized industry. Hence, as an agent in Brooklyn, New York, I only answer questions related to Brooklyn (or New York City in general) real estate. This is because I am not familiar with the customs and/or traditions associated with the real estate industry in say Cleveland, Ohio (or other). Real estate laws differ from state to state and unless you actually sell real estate in an area, you probably are not qualified to give a consumer a knowledgeable answer pertaining to that specific local. Often times I see real estate agents on Trulia from California, Florida or Alaska answering questions about Brooklyn real estate which are completely wrong. Again, it is for this reason I do not answer questions about real estate in areas which I do not service. Is it just me or do I have a point here. Please share your thoughts. Thank you.

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Good point - all real estate is local when it comes to the value and desirability of a specific property, plus local laws and procedures. But Phyliss is right, many questions have to do with REALTOR(R) ethics or federal law and could be answered by anyone.
At the end of the day, there will always be stupid answers (and even stupid questions) that might as well be ignored. I've often wondered why Trulia allows obviously incorrect answers to remain posted, but I think to some extent we're all big girls and boys and we should be able to decide what is right or wrong.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 3, 2011
Great question! Especially when it comes to NY!

Many questions are ethically transferable from State to State. Other answers should be Qualified with "in my area"...

Because, i have learned (ESPECIALLY IN N.Y.) that in some parts of N.Y. all bets are off! Some parts are not even a part of the MLS system! And some of the typical ways of doing real estate Bus. in other states absolutely do Not apply in N.Y.

Maybe not necessarily Wrong or Right... -just different!
4 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 1, 2011
Mitch, I've also seen locals and non-locals post ignorant answers alike (especially on creative financing), so we both share the same gripe. Yet, I've also seen questions/comments like this one posted several times, and I simply wanted to help raise awareness that some people (myself included) operate in multiple markets.

John and Phyliss are correct: "many questions have to do with REALTOR(R) ethics or federal law and could be answered by anyone."

I don't understand what's up with the recent flurry of "VIP badge" envy related comments, but I think it detracts from the dialogue. A good answer is a good answer whether or not someone has--or doesn't have--a badge. Shouldn't the goal of answering questions be to help someone? Is it a sin to help someone an to expect nothing (including message points [which didn't even exist a few years ago]) else in return?
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 3, 2011

I have not recalled seeing anyone answer specific question or make a comment that would suggest they were speaking outside their scope of knowledge or expertise. Many questions on Trulia are generic and broad enough for vast inputs from many areas. just my two cents....
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 3, 2011

It's not that I am territorial, but the process of selling real estate in Brooklyn is very, very different that in most cities across America. It upsets me when I see wrong information being given and most of the time (in my humble opinion) it is due to agents answering questions outside of their area of expertise. I am not saying that they shouldn't answer questions if they have helpful and correct information to offer consumers. All I am saying is that unless you are 100% positive your answer is correct, I do not think you should post it.

It is true that some questions such as "Should I paint my house before I sell?" can be answered by just about anyone because they are opinion based questions that do not necessarily have a definitive factual answer. When it comes to questions about the actual process of buying or selling, that is where knowledge of the local area is an important factor, along with state law and local tradition/protocol. As an example, here in Brooklyn, real estate agents cannot draw a contract of sale, that can only be done by an attorney. Also, in Brooklyn, real estate agents do not set up the escrow account on a deal, that is also done by the attorney, and you do not have 3 days after the signing of a contract to change your mind. Once the fully executed contract is delivered to both parties, you are bound by that contract immediately.

Often times I see a question on Trulia that my 8 year old daughter can answer. My concern are not for those questions but for the questions that really do require someone to be knowledgeable about real estate in a particular area. Annette, I even noticed on your Trulia bio you state "When your questions are about Palm Harbor or Dunedin, you've come to the right place!" It does not say "When your questions are about any place in the USA, you've come to the right place?" I assume that is because you are an expert in those areas.

I am not telling anyone what they should or shouldn't do, to each his own, I am merely making an observation.

and Akil... Your points are well taken, I appreciate that!

Best regards,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 4, 2011
Mitchell, you are sounding really territorial. You state in your question:
"As you can see in my question, I specified "unless you actually sell real estate in an area."
The real issue: "Is the question the consumer presents about the transaction or property?"
There are question a Brooklyn homeowner can present such as, "Should I let my dog run free when an agent is showing my home?" Seriously, do you actually need to have sold homes in brooklyn to respond to that question? Or the question, "My home was formerly a chicken coop, and on certain days it is still obvious. Do you think anyone will notice?" Having sold real estate in brooklyn does not endow special knowledge in chicken-coop remediation. A brooklyn practitioner may be able to present local resources...if so inclined.

I do appreciate from reviewing your Trulia history, that YOU are restricting your comments to the brooklyn area. That is wonderful and you should continue to do so.

Whether a response is appropriate is not dependent on the location but the nature of the question. How many times have you observed a question posted actually connects differently according to what the reader is sensitive to? Some respond to QR implementation while others challenge the need for technology. Who's right?

Best of success.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 4, 2011
VIP Envy? Give me a break! There are many people on this forum who are VIP obsessed. They usually get a thumbs up to their answers right away, frequently within minutes, usually by their second account in this forum. Yes, you may be the exception to the rule in dealing with many areas. You may know the customs in many different areas. Many of those answering questions in this forum answer with misinformation. I think a big part of that is they are not really experienced in selling real estate, just experienced in how to get and keep a vip badge. Many, if not most with the VIP badge are obsessed with having it. I don't have it and I really don't care. My focus is on selling real estate, not having a VIP badge. I am licensed and have sold real estate in more then one state, but I don't even read the questions in my secondary license state as I don't think I could give an answer that is 100% correct 100% of the time. I'm with Mitch, stick to where you know. If you do know more then one area, fine. Most do not know the answers to area specific questions, even within the same state.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 3, 2011
This is a great question for debate....

I do answer questions that are outside of California ONLY if they have to do with fair housing and ethics, those two subjects are not regional.

Agreed, laws regarding a transaction vary, however REO sales are also a different animal. While working with REO sales, our asset manager was in Maryland, the lender was in New Hampshire, we're in the SF Bay area, talk about confusion!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 2, 2011
It seems you continue to get answers by those who are more interested in getting the VIP badge. I agree with you. When people have specific questions about NYC real estate I think the only people who can give really accurate information are those in or do business in NYC. I'm sure there are lots of things about Brooklyn real estate where I would have no clue. The other side of the coin is I problably know more about septic systems, perk tests and the mining and mineral rights of the heirs of the Phillipse family (in most of the deeds in Putnam County) then someone from Brooklyn. It seems it's all about the coveted vip badge.

Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 2, 2011
That's so true. I hope I didn't answer anything :) I think some people ar just trying to keep their VIP status up by answering :) that's the only reason I can think. EVERY state and area is different.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 2, 2011
Why do certain real-estate professionals erroneously assume that everyone else only operates in a single market as they do?

Does the material composition of the bricks, mortar, wood, glass, concrete, or other building materials differ between local markets (or from state to state)? (I can assure you as an investor, who invests in multiple areas, that the material composition doesn't differ.)

Mitchell, I'm originally from Cleveland (and continue to invest there); have worked (and continue to work) on deals in Brooklyn, Bronx, and other ares of NYC; have lived in Florida (and continue to invest there); have worked (and continue to work) on deals in California; and I could go on.

I know several agents (and attorneys for that matter) in NY who also have FL licenses, because their (typically high-end) clients buy properties in both areas. Plus, many agents in D/M/V have multiple licenses; I know several who have licenses in D/M/V and 1 or more of the following: CA, FL, NV, NY, or PA. So while that might not be commonplace to you, it really is the norm in other areas.

Besides, even if that weren't the case, anyone could hire the right, local pros whenever working on deals remotely. Many people have stocks for non-local companies that are managed by non-local portfolio managers. So why does it seem like it's such a big deal--at least to some agents--to grasp the fact that others can do something similar with real-estate?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 2, 2011
As Lee points out, there are some constants. And, let's face it - one of the great learning techniques is to get roundly corrected by your peers!

So you have a point, and it is a good one, and it's never going to change.

All the best,
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 2, 2011
What a great question that needed to be asked. I work just north of the city in Westchester. The way things are done here are very different then the way things are done in NYC. To start with, 99% or more of agents in Westchester are member of the National Association of Realtors and all their listings are freely available to other agents in the MLS. This is like most of NY State. Not so in NYC. Realtor membership in NYC is way below the national average. There is no "functional" MLS that includes all the listings. Another big difference is even in upstate NY, the brokers usually prepare contracts. We don't in Westchester and I don't think they do in NYC. The way business is done in different parts of the state varies a lot. I think the reason you see so many answers for questions in NYC is many agents just want to get their name up as a VIP in this forum and as a result they will answer anything. Maybe if they spent more time doing a great job as an agent they wouldn't have to worry about being a VIP in this forum, they would be a VIP with their clients.

Donald Mituzas
Licensed Associate Broker
2008 Realtor of the Year
Prudential Douglas Elliman
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 1, 2011
I only answer questions in my local area, and I would never venture to answer questions about NYC real estate. Real estate is an entirely different beast in that area. West coast real estate is quite similar, but I still keep to my state. I feel bad for people in NY that get other agents answering questions. I'm an agent and I'm confused by NY real estate. No point in having your peers make consumers even more confused.

I totally agree with Jo. Answering out of area questions is all about getting points.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 1, 2011
You could substitute "New York City" with any other city in the country. It happens in all areas here. I am sure they are doing it intentionally. Its about keeping that "vip" badge. Need to answer so many questions. Well, that is my opinion.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 1, 2011
Mitch, could not agree more and have a good day!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 1, 2011
Mitchell, anytime you see incorrect information please flag it or report it. Many times generic answers are posted, and sometimes agents might be missing the area the question was posted in. Hopefully no one is doing this intentionally, but reporting that sort of thing is going to keep Trulia a better place to seek information.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 1, 2011

My question was rhetorical and not directed towards any particular individual. Based on your answer I would think that you would be qualified to answer some questions in the areas in which you have purchased, sold and/or otherwise done some form of real estate business in.

However, quite often I see answers given that are completely wrong and I know the reason is that the answerer is assuming that process of buying and selling real estate is the same all over which it simply is not. I do not give answers unless I am 100% certain that the information I am providing is correct. I also do not give answer regarding the material composition of homes as I do not build houses.

As you can see in my question, I specified "unless you actually sell real estate in an area." If an agent or consumer purchases or sells real estate in multiple areas, hey, all the power to them, they should be qualified enough to answer some questions about those areas. My grip is simply about people giving innocent consumers wrong information. Seems like the vast majority of the answers posted here agree with my sentiments.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 2, 2011
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