I'd like to see something that tells me about the Realtor's area of expertise. For example, if you are an area specialist for Mission San Jose, maybe you could highlight your knowledge of the area by featuring different "hotspots" in your blog. Pay a visit to the local farmer's market or a popular neighborhood bookstore and write about that in your blog. As a buyer, I'd love reading personal reviews about an area I'm interested in moving to, and I'd feel confident working with a Realtor who's actually spent some time in an area where I'm home shopping.
In addition to the neighborhood info, I also think it would be great to feature an answer to a Question of the Day. Like Jim mentioned below, there are alot of common questions that home buyers/sellers have, so posting some thorough answers on your blog a few times a week would encourage someone like me to bookmark your site while I'm home shopping.
Some MLSs rules require us to have a customer relationship before we can release detailed info. This can be as minimal as a name and email address.
We are members of several MLSs and each has different rules. Most MLSs have a rule that state a broker will not advertise another broker's listing without permission. The interpretation to that varies.
In one MLS, it recently went before a grievance committee because a Realtor printed a list of all available properties within a development (about 50 homes were listed.) The Realtor who did this was deemed to have advertising listings that were not hers, and in violation. If the info was requested, the Realtor would be allowed to respond to the request. It was a violation for her to make a list and distribute.
We provide a hot list of properties, but I cannot give it to you, unless you sign up, and the above guidelines are the reason. If you complete a form and request it, I can respond. But, if I distribute a list, I am in violation of my MLS membership rules.
Each MLS has its own set of rules. I provided this as just one example of why you might encounter a request for a sign-up that had nothing to do with the agent or brokerâ€™s desire to â€˜make you sign up.â€™
Realtors often do or fail to do certain things that frustrate the public when the Realtors are simply being compliant. I have heard complaints that a Realtor did not answer the question about schools or crime rates, but instead refer buyers to specific third party web sites. We do that in order to be compliant with the laws that govern us. So, a Realtor website may not include data that a buyer thinks it should include. While you may not be looking for this info specifically, I have heard this as a direct complaint about Realtor sites in general from others.
Realtors must abide by state licensing laws, state and federal disclosure and fair housing laws, RESPA laws, local, state and national associations, MLSs, local municipalities, and broker policies. Sometimes it becomes a balancing act to be compliant, meet consumer expectations, and maintain the fact that we are in business to make a living and our knowledge is part of the value proposition that we bring to the table. While I strive to be a good source for credible information, I also have to remember that I have to earn a living and my knowledge was gained as a result of hours of sweat equity, lots of education, and a few hard knocks of being burned here and there. I try to find a reasonable line, but consider myself very open with clients.
I appreciate your comments here very much, and wanted you to have a better understanding of the whys and hows of certain info restrictions or sign up requests. If you have further input and comments, we are all very interested in hearing those. Please do share.
Two problems off the top:
1. Pictures--if you mention something in the description, especially if you mention it's a Must See--let's see the pictures. The Internet is a visual medium, so drown them with photos to make your point.
2. Listing honesty. I have had it with listings that list 2 full baths, but there are only 1.75. Don't forget garage/parking spaces. If there are 2br and a den, please say so. It would be nice if these homes were searchable as either 2br, 3br or 2br/d. Something like that.
3. Easy access to MLS. I hate websites that are sticky, and have you click on something, and lead you to fill out a form without warning. I may want to just check something. I don't need you to run a search, and I don't want to wait for you to get back to me or e-mail it to me. However, if I do, don't smother me. I like the alerts, but stop bugging me. I don't shop for real estate like I do for shoes.
Yup. There are plenty of free access sites to the MLS. Most professionals pay for access to information tools of the trade, which are also available free.
In fact, when a realtor has free use of the MLS, it builds up lots of goodwill with me for sure. One of the two great RE sites are one agent in LA and one in Palms Springs. On their regular sites, they have discussions of their specialties--MCM homes and architecturally significant homes. The discuss the history of the home, the area and show lots of pictures of the pertinent findings. A real learning experience.
They send out their websites with every new listing--and a great "blog" about that listing, something like the Home of the Week in the WSJ.
You can be selfish or generous. One works best.
Of course we are working to earn a living but if we show the clients how much resourceful we are then they will respect our advice and from there we will have the chance to work with them easier. We are real estate consultant not real estate sharks or blood sucking vampires in the eyes of the public.
I see the Realtor's blog is a good place to show public who we really are, what we know and why they should work with Realtors so we can show them how we help them make profit. Give them what they want then we can have what we want. :))
I'm not so sure about neighborhood news, but history is interesting. I know that in ten years the significance of a neighborhood could be quite different. Look at Corona del Mar and Dana Point.
If a blog sounds like a sales pitch--as in it's always a good time to buy, or this neighbor hood is so hot--I'm gone.
The real truth is that we an be in big trouble as a country as a whole. At this point there are more PHD graduates in India, Russia and China than USA. Will we continue to be a super power in 10 years? 20 year? 30 year? Haliburton has already moved to Dubai. Big companies don't care about us little people. Big companies are not American. They go where ever money is.
I have found that direct info about a particular area really helps people...and a blog helps bring your ideas and understanding directly to them, without the formalities or confusion of many websites.
I don't think that's too much too ask.
Otherwise they can get a license themselves and do all the MLS surfing they want for "free".
There is a lot more information on the agents MLS than on the public side.
So what you are saying is you just want free acess to information we pay for with no strings attached?