There are definitely people on Trulia Voices who are asking questions for points, and it can make for a frustrating consumer experience. As this is a new product it's not perfect, and weâ€™re working to reduce the incentive to game. Presently, there is no increase in points for asking questions...only for providing answers.
With regard to David's comment -- questions on Trulia Voices can range from exploratory - "what is the look and feel of this area?" and "what's the weather like here" - to very specific. Both are welcome. Home buyers/sellers are looking for the "word on the street" and it's hard to get that from a google search.
Bruce mentioned people generating leads in order to sell them to others. This is absolutely not permitted according to our guidelines (link below). If you see them, please flag them on Voices so we can remove them.
Again, keep the input coming -- we're looking for your ideas and feedback to help create a place where you want to be.
However, I do see a lot of redundancy and I think that the problem is the way the forum is arranged. If there was some way for Trulia to take certain keywords from someone's question and add a post-question page that says something like "Thank you for your question. A similar question was asked...(List all of those questions and give links to them)...Would you like to see it (them)?"
It's too hard to search for keywords in questions if you are new to this forum and are not experienced in navigating it.
Just some lonely house "plant" trying to pass yourself off as a jet set ginger bread cookie. Ha!
I almost fell for those little red buttons, and that smile.
Did you really think you could get away with it?
Are we having a little, holiday envy, House "plant".
Good catch Francesca, I will keep my eye on her. She will probably try to pass herself off
as a Christmas tree next.
When first signing on to Trulia I immediately saw the agents who were 'gaming' the site and thought that was what Trulia is about - though I didn't participate myself with that intention. However, this was the example that was set by many other agents.
Mind you, I have only been on here for a couple weeks but I feel that I have gained a maturity recently to shift my focus away from prospect grabbing and to actually participating.
This thread has also given me, through Megan's answer, a little more insight into what Trulia's intentions are. I think that since these are the early stages in the site Trulia probably HAS to open all areas up to all agents. I know that the participation of public in Arizona, and especially the Sedona area, is limited at this time. If we didn't have agents asking questions to gain further perspective this would be a dead forum.
With that said I am looking forward to when the public really discovers this site and gets involved. That will be the point when I see Trulia being able to serve prospective buyers and sellers. The foundation that we create right now as agents will be what either makes or breaks this site as being a useful tool. If it is not useful then people will never use it.
In summary, I don't see an issue with agents asking relevant questions that could be useful to a buyer while we, as a community, build this site. If you are an agent on here searching for immediate leads then you are, as I was, being very short sighted.
THANK YOU FOR ASKING THIS QUESTION!
I see answering questions as a learning forum and service to all visitors, whether home buyers, home sellers, agents or just people surfing to find answers to their questions. Is Trulia perfect? Probably not. However, in my short experience using the website and interacting with other agents and visitors as well as the staff at Trulia, I have found it to be a new, exciting and alternative way to education and learning. Although I consider myself highly trained and experienced in real estate matters, I am smart enough to know that I do not know it all. In fact, in the last few days alone, I have learned several new things just from reading questions and posts on Trulia (I especially like finding out about new sources of information available on other web sites).
May I suggest that you give it some time, keep coming back, contribute your expertise by answering questions as well as do not be afraid to ask questions yourself? You may also want to review Trulia's community guidelines for users (I've included the link below for your convenience).
Best wishes for your continued growth and success - Ted Shoop
Ginger is a very 'real' consumer who first asked questions here and then started to contribute on Trulia as a consumer. I hope that she found value on the site and I have found her answers quite helpful in learning what consumer thinks and the differences between CA and MA.
You will see a lot of repetitive answers because fundamentally, we feel the same way about a lot of things. Also, there are consumers here from different places who might be asking the same thing others have already asked before. Although I do try not to repeat something other people have said many times, but sometimes it might be helpful to put just my thoughts in one answer.
A lot of us tell the consumers to go to different sites to find the answers; but yes, we also ask them to ask Realtors - quite a few people start searching online and we have found in many instances, people will find the house online, go into open house, and then don't know what they are supposed to do. So I think advise consumer to talk to a Realtor is a very valid response in addition to advising them to go to different sites (which we also do).
You will also find there are differences between veteran consumers on Trulia (who are quite educated) and some new consumers on Trulia (or real estate), and as I get to know them, I give the different responses.
I find Trulia is a very interesting and informal site, you just have to keep an open mind about what you find and read here. Everybody comes from a different background, one size does not fit all here.
in the end we decided to wait and see how things go. while i do think it makes sense, i also realize that there are real estate professional communities out there, such as activerain, that could also serve this purpose well. it would be good to hear the opinions of other members on the topic of a Voices discussion forum.
another idea could be not displaying questions (or certain types of questions) by real estate professionals on the landing pages of voices. instead there could be link on Voices that enabled members to view them. would love to hear other suggestions.
You may also be interested in the thread below that came out of a question by a real estate agent.
If I was a consumer (well, I am, but a consumer that is not also an agent), I would find it very beneficial to hear the dialogue between the professionals on this forum. As I recently posted on this thread: http://www.trulia.com/voices/Using_Trulia/Getting_Frustrated
I think the opportunity for consumers to hear this type of exchange is what sets Trulia apart, and the information gleaned from these conversations goes a long way toward dispelling certain pre-conceived notions about our profession that the general public has, and can only leave a consumer better-informed and more confident.
In my opinion, it has been the exchange between the 'real estate pros' that has made this forum vibrant and diverse and, most of all, extremely educational. How that can be a bad thing for the consumer, I'm not sure?
Sure, there may be some 'gamer' pros posting, but to remove the benefit altogether because of that would be like removing the opportunity for consumers to seek advice simply because some of the questions posted by consumers are vague or incomplete.
The Trulia Community Guidelines require posters to identify themselves via a profie as a Buyer/Seller or RE Pro, etc. I think that this is impt so that every one can "consider the source" in reading answers.
The guidelines state that "Trulia Voices is an online community in which membes can ask and answer questions on a wide range of topics about real estate ..." It does not state so that consumers can ask and agents can answer questions. So, not to be obtuse, but please clarify your point. Thanks.
I agree. I would like to learn from the wisdom of my peers, but I find that many of the responses and questions are geared toward selling themselves rather than sharing information. I also see many threads where the agents provide content that has already been provided by a previous responder. In our fast paced hectic society, do we really need the repetitiveness?
I feel that consumers are here on the net because they prefer to use the net and aren't ready to call a realtor. Many reponses are call a Realtor . . . uhhh, duhhhh, dontcha think they thought of that already???
I've rec'd thumbs downs for telling consumers to go to Realtor.com to find what they are looking for. Or tell them to go to their local tax site to determine owner names, etc. Huh???
Been here a week and already have a lead. I can only guess that it is because I am not selling myself, but providing useful, brief, easy to read info, not sales disserations.
Mark my words, this post will get a plethora of thumbs down. Who cares. Knock yourself out people. I'll let u know when I close this deal.
We are a trade already plagued by part time and often unskilled agents....and it is my standpoint that if real estate 101 questions are being asked by professionals(in an open forum), how else is the public to perceive our profession other than one of uneducated hacks cashing in on a home oners equity.
I think the "Real Estate 101" questions being asked are posted to begin an educational discussion. I'm sure when the public begins asking more questions there won't be as many posed by agents. -
Don't overlook the fact that even when it's just pros weighing in, I think the public is reading it to gain a greater understanding, even if they don't weigh in.
I do live by the saying; the only dumb question is the one unasked.....but would simply like to see a seperate section for professionals seeking answers.
To those who have opposed my standpoint, I would ask that they peruse some of the questions posed by "professionals" and ask what benefit are they providing.....We are a trade already plagued by part time and often unskilled agents....and it is my standpoint that if real estate 101 questions are being asked by professionals(in an open forum), how else is the public to perceive our profession other than one of uneducated hacks cashing in on a home oners equity.
I love my job and take a lot of pride in the service I provide and the knowledge I have. I established a boutique style company that offers specialized services....I reject listings from home owners who are unrealistic about price, we provide a larger share of our commission to the buyer's agent as we value thier role in selling homes.
I would just like a place to come and impart my knowledge to the public...If my intent was to train real estate agents I would have opened a franchise, managed people not real estate and gone on the public speaking / improve your real estate seminar tours..........
Thank you for all who listened and contributed.
I just discovered this site today, and am quite taken with it. Unlike Active Rain, it encourages feedback between realtors and buyers and sellers. I've already learned a lot just by following a few threads, and I only searched New Jersey!
We only learn by asking questions. Just today I had to ask several colleagues about short sales. I pretty much new nothing. They were courteous and helpful. I hope I'll be the same way with newer agents the next time the market goes up and comes down again.
I think great kudos should go out to all the people who have answered your question. Ted Shoop a big "woot" to you especially. I am jazzed about the subject matter on trulia and plan on using it as a learning tool as well.
The old addage "there's no such thing as a stupid question" is true in this format. Consumers and professionals can learn from each others responses. Conversely - we can ask a question and get instant feedback from those in the know! This can only serve as a learning tool for the consumer as well.
I think that - in and of itself is a great service to the community at large - professional or lay person! Maybe it is the very "point" system that is generating such cynicism. I thought we were here to give and get advise.
I hope trulia keeps all questions coming and thank goodness they have provided an open and honest forum from which to express multiple points of view.
Kudos to All! Great work trulia!