Amir Shahkar…, Real Estate Pro in Cupertino, CA

What would you like to see on a Realtor's blog site?

Asked by Amir Shahkarami, Cupertino, CA Tue Sep 25, 2007

What would you like to see on a Realtor's blog site? What information can help you in the Real Estate process?

Help the community by answering this question:


Hello Amir,

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.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 28, 2007
HI Carrie,

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 broker’s desire to ‘make you sign up.’

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.

Tx again.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
Who cares about a blog site, if their website is as much of a pain as most realtors' websites.

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.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 28, 2007
Amir - Trulia questions are a good source to find out what consumers want to know. Just go through the past questions over the past five months. Some of the most common are "What is the standard percentage to offer below the sellers list price?" {Many consumers don't easily distinguish between list price and market value} "Where can I find foreclosures?{Most consumers still believe that foreclosures are at some amazing discount to market value} There are some 6000 questions, at least a third of them asked by consumers. - If I were writing a book or a blog I would read through those and pick the most popular ones.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 25, 2007
Jim Walker, Real Estate Pro in Carmichael, CA
A great resource and speaker on the subject, if you can keep up with him, is Dustin Luther. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak do so. You can see his work at: Here’s a quote about his work: “Dustin Luther has created a must read real estate blogging resource, Rain City Guide, which includes his tireless and insightful observations, with a dash of fun and neat technology. He has also enlisted the help of a group of seasoned real estate experts to add to the already rich content.” ~January 7, 2007 Jonathan Miller, President/CEO, Miller Samuel Inc. and author of the Matrix
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2007
Great question Amir.
I think Jim makes a good point.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2007
Something that demonstrates their knowledge of the neighborhood. More personality, less sales talk. A good blog should be entertaining.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2007

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.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 28, 2007
Good input, Carrie. You just have to bear with us Realtors on the privacy front. Keep in mind that many of us are still coming to grips with the fact that the very information that we pay dues to maintain and access has become public property. So if we ask for a little information in return for free reign, it's simply because we are still adjusting. I look forward to offering easy access to the MLS from my site, but for now must settle for a link to my brokerage's search page. Talk about unsticky. I've got people pinging all over the web! You are 100% correct, though. I know I wouldn't do business with anyone who made me feel claustrophobic or clingy, so I don't fault you for disliking the sign-in pages. Most blog sites are different. You simply visit and start reading. I personally spend more time on my blog because I can address all kinds of topics, not just Real Estate. If I feel like talking about a concert I just attended, or a vacation my family just enjoyed, I'll blog about it. I think most consumers want to get to know the agent they ultimately opt to employ. Credentials and expertise are prerequesites, but that personal insight is also great for selecting the agent that will be a big part of someone's life for the next several months (and hopefully beyond).
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 28, 2007
Something funnny and informative...
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 25, 2007
I agree with Deborah. We are professionals and we need to show our professionalism to the public. At the same time we should share all of our worries and thought in this business so we can help each other or learn from each other to sharpen our skills and enrich our knowledge. The more knowledge we have the better service we can provide to the clients the better of our image will be. Public often have mislead and wrongful thought about REALTORS because some of unethical, seasoned agents did not know that they were conducting their own business than just a part time job to find extra money.
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. :))
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 10, 2008
One thing I want in a blog is a topic with supporting information that gets me thinking. That's why I like MCM discussions so much. I can now tell you all about Alexanders, their buidling history and typical features. I'll know a good one and a good buy when I see it. All this from a blog.

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2007
I agree with Ian. In addition to truth I believe that people want real. That is why there are an enless number of Reality shows. People don't want perfect, number one agent, best agent, blah, blah,... because they know it is not ture. Or even if it is true it is not gauranteed to last.

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2007
Good, Amir,

Links are good in a blog.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2007
People like to hear the truth..the consise truth..about real estate, and all the little items that make up real their home town or whereever the are searching for information.

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.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2007
Refer to for rules about REIL MLS.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2007
Who exactly makes the MLS rules? Are they not realtors? Hmmm. I can relate to long training, gov. regulation, self-regulation, fees and such. You would think that realtors want the widest dissemination of resale information as possible, instead of protecting the sale to death. But what do I know? I'm just a simple country doctor in Pasadena.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2007
That's fine, Carrie, I only wish all "buyers" were as clear on their motivation as you are!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2007
You mean their name and e-mail addy. No thanks, I don't want extra mail unless I really want it. So is the site I visit A Team or F Troop?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2007
And in return for my being generous, a prospective buyer can leave me their name.
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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 29, 2007
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.
So what you are saying is you just want free acess to information we pay for with no strings attached?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 28, 2007
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