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Troy, Real Estate Pro in Mercer County, NJ

I thought this was a portal for the public to ask questions and get answers from those who know ! ! !

Asked by Troy, Mercer County, NJ Thu Jul 5, 2007

It is frustrating to see it become bogged down with Realtors asking questions they know the answers of....just to raise thier "score" Who thinks trulia should have a seperate section where Realtors can post thier Q&A and leave this section to the public for real questions, as it was intended?

Help the community by answering this question:


Troy, I agree. I come on here to answer the public's questions. I don't like answering Agent's "point questions"
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2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 5, 2007
Megan here from Trulia. Great thread—thanks for the question Troy! I encourage others to add to the conversation. Many of these issues are also being discussed internally and we’d love your suggestions/feedback.

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 we’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.
7 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 5, 2007
As a buyer and learning a lot about real estate because I'm about to make a very large financial decision, I would prefer that even the professional questions asked by agents would remain available for all people to read.
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.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 1, 2007
Jennifer Kre…, Home Seller in 95124
Ah Ha....A "Plant" posing as a Ginger bread cookie. I knew 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.
5 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 1, 2007
Mr.P, Other/Just Looking in Arizona
I find that Trulia has the potential to be an exceptional tool and I have to say that this has been my favorite thread yet! It is really nice to see some of the participants on this site speak so candidly.

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.

5 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 6, 2007
Interesting observation, Troy. From your profile, it appears that you are a real estate agent. I can honestly say that I personally have not "gamed" the system as you implied some "Realtors" are doing. If you are a member of NAR, then I presume that you are familiar with the Realtor Code of Ethics and will understand why some Realtors could potentially take offense to your statement.

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
5 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 5, 2007
TED SHOOP, Real Estate Pro in Buford, GA
Hi Francesca:

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.

4 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 1, 2007
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Novato, CA
We, the public, learn a lot by reading the discussion among realtors. Leave it the way it is. IMHO.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 1, 2007
hi troy, i think you've raised an interesting question and one that i raised with some members of the Trulia team before Voices launched. there was much discussion early on about whether we should have a separate place (forum) for discussion that was less consumer facing (ie, a place where agents could talk about their experiences on Voices, best practices, etc).

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.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 6, 2007
Odd. Yes, I am for real. I have communicated by email with a number of posters on Trulia. I find the fact that you think I am a "plant", and that Trulia has plants, to be a little scary.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 1, 2007
Troy, we have agents who are in the early stages of their career and we have others that have had many years in the profession. It does not take a lot to get a license, but it takes a lot to survive in this profession. In my opinion, the agents who ask what you characterize as Real Estate101 questions should be applauded for their willingness to learn from those who have the experience. It's not the not knowing that's objectionable, it's the not trying to learn that's bad. We try to be helpful and not judgmental and the longer you come to this thread the more you'll appreciate this as a good thing rather than a weakness of the forum.
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3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 1, 2007
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in Newcastle, CA
While I understand what you are saying, I am not sure it's realistic. I can appreciate your opinion and see it as evidence that Trulia Voices is a good thing. My question to you is, would the Realtor section be only accessible by other real estate professional or would it be alright for the consumers to participate. I personally enjoy the mix of consumer and real estate agent comments. While I have seen a few posts that may not really have been questions, I think they still were valuable as you can also learn from factual statements and they typically resulted in other questions. I personally don't think I want Trulia Voices be exclusively used by consumers to pick the brains of real estate professionals and it's a one-way street. I have also seen posts from the public that make it obvious that the poster wanted us to do the research form them. It had nothing to do with asking a genuine question that required real estate expertise. I think we need to be tolerant of all questions and you'll have to take the good with the bad. That's in my opinion the only way this thread can survive over the long haul.
You may also be interested in the thread below that came out of a question by a real estate agent.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 1, 2007
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in Newcastle, CA
I see it differently.

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:…

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.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 1, 2007
Patti Pereyra, Real Estate Pro in Chicago, IL
Troy, I think it will probably evolve over time to that point. It just doesnt seem like there is that much public speaking to change the system. I think trulia is brilliant and is offering another way for savvy buyers, sellers, realtors, and lenders the opportunity to communicate on a great portal platform.
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3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 1, 2007
Trulia is an amazing service and it is still evolving. Might I suggest that instead of using this forum as a message board, we might just focus on consumer questions. Realtors should ask their brokers, or use other forums as Megan (below) suggests. Consumers need thier questions answered by professionals. Professionals also need their questions answered... just not in this forum.
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3 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 10, 2007
Agents who game the system are providing consumers with useful information about themselves. If you see a Realtor engaging in this type of behavior, you know they're someone you want to avoid. The stupid ones always find a way to put a gun to their heads without realizing they're doing that. So, let them have at it.
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3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 6, 2007
Sorry Cheryl, but I am not following, I am not sure what a "so called non agent" is. Is this a RE Pro other than a real estate agent? And is there a problem with non agents or buyers/sellers answering questions?
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.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 1, 2008
Patrick - A house plant. Oh my.
(laughing so hard wiping tears from my button eyes)
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 1, 2007
Or they could call it
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 1, 2007

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 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.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 30, 2007
Troy wrote:
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. -
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 1, 2007
Hey all. Just a little FYI. No points are given to agents for questions asked. Only for questions answered =) Have a great day!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 1, 2007
I fully agree with you. Though I would still like the option to pose a question to the buying and selling public. I'm endeavoring to gain a greater understanding of what matters to them. And I read many of these questions in search of that. Unfortunately, not enough buyers or sellers engage Trulia in this way.

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.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 1, 2007
Troy sorry that you get that impression, I take the time to answer questions and I've assumed they were from the general public. I truly believe an educated consumer becomes our best client. As a Realtor for over 30 years I live by the credo "you can't keep it unless you give it away". I believe the thing we sell is Time and Knowledge to the consumer.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 6, 2007
OK people, we're at 5 and 6. Can we make it up to 10? I'd like to see if that little button an fit double digits! LMAO!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 1, 2007
So ginger, r u for real? . . . or r u a plant put here by Trulia to generate responses? .
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 1, 2007
I find many of the questions posed by fellow agents to be an excellent platform for discussion of issues that consumers might not otherwise think to ask. I like to ask questions on this board, with the intent of generating opinion and debate. This can only benefit the public in my opinion. Sure there is some fluff, but it's easy enough to just pass on those threads. After being here for a while, you tend to zero in on the threads started by the posters who have some knowledge to impart. I know that I personally will always check out a thread started by one of 3-4 agents on these boards, regardless of topic. I think the better agent posters help elevate the profession by challenging others to rethink positions. Allowing the public to view the questions and answers of the agents on the boards also helps with vetting. No better way to determine who is worth listening to than being privvy to all of their posts.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 1, 2007
I want to thank everyone ho has been contributing to this thread. I thought I should clarify that I have NO objection to agents seeking answers to valid questions, I just wanted to bring attention to the disservice retorical questions are doing to both Trulia and the Real Estate Profession.

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.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 6, 2007
I've only been here a few days, so I came back to read some more of these answers. I'm glad I did! This particular question is giving me a lot of insight into how this platform works. May I just say "thank you" to everyone who answered? I appreciate any help with the learning curve.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 6, 2007
I also agree with you. I as a Realtor am looking for buyers needing help in my area, If I am seen as the local expert, it helps my business. Unfortunately the setup of the website gives us priority placement for answering questions for any location, and many of them can be easily answered with a quick Google search. The site also encourages Realtors to ask questions, which I feel defeats the intended purpose of this site.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 5, 2007
I hadn't even considered the points. There have been a lot of questions asked that anybody with computer access could get easily. I thought people would be asking more "what if" questions not, "is such and such a nice place?" Those are judgement calls anyway. I admit, I mentioned my website a couple of times but just to direct people to links. Almost no questions about my area yet. There have been some answers that I've learned from though and I think that's what it's all about.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 5, 2007
I agree with you. Have you had a sales call yet? Looks like there was it least one question posted that was done to generate sales leads.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 5, 2007
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
Great answer Jennifer i voiced my concern also for the same type of issues. Maybe you can drop some of those ideas in this thread…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 1, 2007
Hi Troy:

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.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 30, 2007
Good question, Troy.

And many great answers.

Did you get your question answered to your satisfaction?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 2, 2007
Thank you Megan, a well composed response and you appear to realize what I am saying.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 6, 2007
Hi Troy!
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!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 6, 2007
I was just checking the guidelines myself, to see what the policy was about this. I have not yet posted any questions, myself, but I was considering it. Since the question itself is shown in bold, doesn't the public have the option of not clicking that question if it's not something they want to answer? And to take it a step further, they can click on the profile and opt not to answer, if they're not yet ready to work with a Realtor. But if the listings here are all Realtor listings anyway, then what's the problem?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 5, 2007
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