Question Details

Infinity Rea…,  in Saratoga, CA

Are we hurting prospective buyers and sellers by answering certain questions.?

Asked by Infinity Realty Network, Saratoga, CA Mon Oct 29, 2007

I have seen a lot of Realtors eager to answer any question concerning house values, who lives here, what is this houses sqftge. And then a Realtor comes back with some details. I agree we are here to help but do we really know what people are using this information for, and are we really helping them. Just a question. I think there are questions that need to be addressed in a certain manner, how would you feel if someone put your house address up here and someone said here is who owns it and here is a website you can use to find there contact info.

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Although it is considered public record, I'm not sure how much should be given out. I had a situation this past week where a customer asked me what a seller had paid for a house. I told him I could not disclose that and they got annoyed because when they bought property in another state the agent had done that. I explained that the agent may have been working as the buyer's agent, but I was an agent of the seller and couldn't disclose that. I'm sure there are agents who will but it is not information I would disclose. I suggested he look into the public record, or sign an EBA with me. This does not go over big on LI, where cstomers are accustomed to getting free information from agents, but in this age you have to be careful about giving out client level information to customers.

That said, I'm with Realtyexec, I've said here many times some people are too quick to give out information on the board.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
If you want to be afraid of public records, check out these

http://www.intelius.com/
http://www.usa-people-search.com

You have to pay for full reports, but for FREE you can type the name of anyone and get their age, names of family members, and places they lived. A bit disturbing for my tastes but perfectly legal.

I think I'd be a bit upset if a focused online discussion popped up with my specific address, name, and details of personal discussions I had with a realtor/buyer/seller. But if I ended up in a list of 5 homes with just the address and price sold ... well, really there's nothing much there that isn't already very easy to find even right here on Trulia and sites like Zillow.

What realtors have easy access to is very current and easily searchable data - but other than the fact that it's current, there's nothing really special about it! This is always an interesting topic to me - public data in small pieces is innocolous, but when all the bits are collected together it becomes a bit more intrusive. At what point does it become a privacy issue?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
I can see both sides. This forum is designed to get buyers and sellers information they want from agents and other professionals. That is the basis of the forum. I am getting that you feel like there should be some kind of compensation for the information or that giving the information is a kind of betrayal to our profession. Am I reading you correctly?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
I hear what you're saying but the type of info to which you refer can be found on any public assessor's website. It is public record.

FYI: I didn't give you a TD.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
Realtyexec.
I agree with you on some instances. Like the example you just gave. In this day and age, if that is an agent who is smart enough to work the computer, they should have been able to google on their own.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 3, 2007
Just another example of questions that should not be answered.

http://www.trulia.com/voices/Shopping_and_Local_Amenities/Wh…
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 3, 2007
Hi Realtyexec. I am thinking that perhaps you are referring to my earlier answer giving the ownership info for a property in San Bernardino. I have to admit that I was only willing to look up the information because I knew it was public record. I did tell the person who asked the question that no mailing address was available. If I had seen a mailing address for the owner, I would not have given it out. I would have only told the poster whether the mailing address was the same as the property address. If it had been different, I would not have posted the mailing address.

I can understand your question and sometimes I have the same question. It is definitely something we all should think about. Thanks for brining it up.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in New Castle, DE
MVP'08
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Carrie

No I'm not to concerned with being compensated of even breaking a code so to say. I think educating and helping people is a amazing tool in this forum. But when someone just can throw out an address without any reason or actual basis other than information. How are we actually helping them. I know where to find listings on craigslist for rent, but when someone asks where can i find a rental in so and so. I dont actually go to craigslist do a search and cut and paste the information.

The people asking questions should do some of the legwork themselves.

We are also just giving information without no reason or filter, are we really helping them. Thats all.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
Patti i agree that it all public record, but is this the forum to make it easy for someone to come in here ask a question and get the answer spit out to them. If it was public knowledge they wouldn't need to go on this forum to get it, most people don't know how or understand public records.

As Realtors we use these tools everyday, for our clients and for for our own research. But i think there are reasons why some records are displayed on public forums. If a client needs help i am glad to do some research and probe them to why they actually need that info, i get more out of that than i do just handing over the information. Usually there are deeper reasons and more questions that they need help with. By asking questions and communicating it is easier to help people.

In my eyes spitting out information without any communication is the wrong thing to do. One question does not equate to communication, some back and forth is needed.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
If you know your buyers are looking for information, you better be prepared to have them hear good and bad information. Maybe you should send them to trulia, that way you get to at least hear the "feedback" so you have have damage control.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
Thanks for replying Ute, no i missed that post but it would probably fit the description of something Im talking about. Its not a big deal i guess i just see so many questions from buyers asking questions like this. The other readers could get the wrong idea like this is a fast food type forum. Ask and you shall receive, i like the more thought out answers and asking the questioners to be more clear on what they need to get them the best information or just not reply if we don't feel like they have a legitimate need or use for the information. just a small screening i guess.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 29, 2007
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