Be aware, we are participating on a marketing website (to sell us stuff) that wears a real estate suit. The integrity of the responses and the data exhibited (realtytrac) are distant seconds to getting agents and lenders on auto-billing. When Trulia determines data integrity is worthwhile. they can flip the switch and make it so. They don't. Don't pick a battle for which you have not been invited. NOTE: Trulia has not indicated a problem exists.
By design, the response I provide to citizen and professionals are NOT ACTIONABLE. There is sufficient fabric to appear valid but has NO CHANCE of working without additional information. No Chance. The complete answer is given when a reader 'self-selects' and makes an inquiry for additional information. This response indicates the reader has sufficient curiosity (and you know what curiosity is a prime indicator of) and purpose that they are not simply collecting opinions for permission to do what-ever they were going to do anyway.
Sorry, I don't agree that one should invest ANY time or energy to research a question when the intent, purpose, urgency, qualification, situation or need of the questioner is unknown. Such frenetic actions brings to mind the image of a puppet being jerked about on a string. I will provide comprehensive research for those who need such research and respond. I will not provide such support for the entertainment of others. Neither should you.
Enhancing this 'self-select' mechanism creates the necessity to provide a motivation for your referral to appear more beneficial than the 14 other, 'Call Achmed" postings. An example would be:
"Achmed has extensive experience with finding funding for condos with big water views, large rental populations and has identified many optional funding sources that will keep you away from the Too Big to Care banks. Achmed's number is 123.456.7890. Don't make your purchase offer noncompetitive by engaging a lender agent who promotes kickbacks."
As we have all experienced, there has been a migration towards social validation. That is what these seemingly incoherent referrals can establish. It is a strategy that is permitted on Trulia. Like nearly all of you, I don't like wading through all the stuff, like the 'hook-up' posting that flooded Trulia Sunday. (Favour) or Steve's 17 lines of loan programs.
In summary. It serves Trulia purpose for folks to type drivel. The higher volume of keystrokes by the highest number of people equals success. For those who feel compelled to help Truila, please attempt to add a least one thread of additional content. DO NOT PROVIDE AN ACTIONABLE RESPONSE that does not culminate in the citizen calling you or enrolling in the services you provide. (that is important) It's time to stop giving our stuff away. Hey folks, this is an 'AS IS' website. Find a way to make it work for you. If you can't, create another solution and invite the rest of us to join.
Time for a run.
I'm not bothered by agents or lenders referring their colleagues. I'm not going to answer questions that aren't directly related to my job. I want my clients to speak with lenders concerning lending questions, real estate attorneys concerning legal questions, tax professionals concerning tax questions, etc. I see these posts for what they are; an opportunity make a connection with buyers or sellers. I also personally enjoy helping people and if I can do that then that's good too but my primary objective is to get clients.
I assume people who post questions are capable of determining what is beneficial to them and what isn't. I assume they view us and our answers and make choices. We are all giving our best sales pitch. I'm not concerned how others present themselves, but am concerned how I present myself.
As far as extended signatures with multiple links go, social media plays such a pivotal role in today's real estate market. The marketing companies tell me this is so and the stats show all sorts of purchasing has gone online, including searching for a home. My links are part of my signature and not including them seems a lost opportunity. I recently included my office address in a short answer because I wanted the questioner to see I was located in the neighborhood they were searching in. Again, it seemed appropriate.
1. they really want to answer the question, and HAVE an answer for the question
2. they want to have their photo and name appear on the thread because they think it gives them exposure (or they want points!) - what they actually have to say is secondary to that..... and whether their post has any substance is immaterial to them.
However, there are many times where I have answered a question, and it has been followed by "Call Rick at XYZ, he will answer your question", then the next post is "I use John at ABC company. He will answer your question..."
I would just say that if you want to help, call Rick and John, ask them the questions, and share what you learned from them.
If I was on WebMD, and someone asked about a medical condition that I had little knowledge on, I would not post "Call your doctor. He will tell you..." I just don't think it is super constructive.
But again, that is just my opinion. And an opinion that I should have blogged, apparently. Next time, David. Sorry!
Another personal observation, no offense intended either: Can we please keep it concise? We are not addressing the House of Representatives every time we answer a question asked on this forum.
Thought I would chime in and let you know that we have removed all the spammy content produced this weekend that you are referring to. Thanks for all of your flags and emails- it really does help keep the community helpful/productive!
Please feel free to write us as firstname.lastname@example.org if you think we may have missed something.
-Kim, Community Manager
Way to go Favour!
see - this shows the high esteem and value being a VIP indicates!!
so for all of you out there working hard on getting those points - if Favour can do it.........so can you!!!
I Think it's perfectly ligitimate to refer to lenders if you're a RE salesperson and not qualified to verse on loans. I especially think it's appropriate to refer them to lenders that you work with in an endeavor to help a potential client.
If I stumble across a question about a mortgage in my geographical sphere of influence I'll immediately dish it off to a lender that I know and then I'll email or text that lender with a HU and let them know where the referral originated from so that they'll refer that person back to me should there be a deal lurking.
I mean come on isn't that what this is really all about? Or am I missing the big picture?
Again, as an alternative, if everyone has a great lender that they work with, why not just drop them a line and ask them what the answer is, and answer the home-buyers question...
I would argue that you will build a much stronger relationship answering the question well and making yourself available, than you will saying "Call Bill then let me know..."
I think even if you are being sincere in the desire to help someone, it APPEARS as if you are just trying to get the client on the hook somehow.
If someone asks "Does anyone have the name of a good lender", sure... But if they ask about self employment requirements and FHA guidelines post-short sale, etc, I think it serves the client much better if their questions are directly answered...
Again, what if you had a deep understanding of Carlsbad, and someone asked "Can someone help me understand the school districts in Carlsbad, and find the best home near a good Carlsbad Elementary School" it would not serve the client well if I as a lender said - "Call Joe Realtor and by the way, are you pre-approved for a loan?"
I would think that would be annoying...
Sorry Russ, but I can't let that comment go since you are prime example #1 of answering a question you clearly are not qualified to answer: http://www.trulia.com/voices/Home_Buying/Doea_any_one_know_i
You obviously are oblivious to the significant differences between a 203K and Homepath renovation mortgage. No competent lender would just leave it to "personal preference" based on what they are used to doing. That's the equivalent of mortgage malpractice. You gave TERRIBLE information here and should never have even answered.
Trulia needs to do something about the signatures, they offer no value and are insulting. Do these people think the general public is stupid and incapable of clicking on the their profiles?
Just say no to "I don't know."
I think you make an excellent point. I can't speak for other agents - only myself. What I can say is that many, many questions on this forum or not real estate related or kinda dumb....like asking us about public transportation routes instead of looking it up online...
So there are times I definitely don't answer a question, or give a less than complete, professional response...
Just a little tongue and cheek :)
You make a good point and something we all, including myself, should be more aware of when answering questions.
Surely some of us have better things to do:
I enjoy helping some people with their problems, maybe even precluding a few.
I enjoy learning about the differences across the Country.
I have been accused of not suffering fools gladly. Guilty.
I do not like it when I a good answer repeated six times.
I do not like it when an answer turns into SPAM.