Home Selling in California>Question Details

Diane Glander, Real Estate Pro in Spring Lake, NJ

In a follow up to Rebecca's question for agents regarding buyers who are using discount brokers

Asked by Diane Glander, Spring Lake, NJ Wed Sep 26, 2007

using Trulia to gather information . . .
How about the people out there who don't want to actually pay for the services of a Realtor (FSBO's, etc) but have no problem coming to us for advice--ie how to hold an open house, where to market, etc. Things an agent usually does for them.
I have always been a helpful kind of person, but when do you draw the line, realizing that your tacit knowledge is valuable and perhaps shouldn't give it away for free?
Just curious.

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A good and interesting question, Diane. Nobody likes being used and discarded. I have been called into homes in my farm for listing appointments where, after laying everything out in a 2 part presentation, had the seller call in an out of area friend or relative to list the house in accordance with my recommendations. I know how much it stings. That said, a big part of the reason that I post here is to educate the public on the worth of a true professional. Public opinion of our rank and file is quite low, our very worth is questioned by nearly everyone who has seen a closing sheet, and there are terrible misconceptions that agent "a" is universally the same as agent "b." This very perception leads to business for no service agencies and consumers opting for the FSBO route. See the conundrum? If we don't display our expertise and ability, we do nothing to change that perception. Not providing information and demonstrating knowledge leaves the questioner wondering what exactly we have to offer. If I am used for my information, so be it. It's business I wouldn't get anyways. So while I won't I might reserve my very best stuff for my clients, I look forward to the opportunity to change the minds of the anti-Realtor crowd. This is one means of doing so.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2007
Deborah wrote:
As I have read hundreds and hundreds of posts by various RE Pros, I am amazed at the quality of the answers and knowledge on this board. I so much want to know where I can find the equivalent of Trulia for MD, legal, home improvement fixes, and the like. Do these exist? I have pondered this frequently over the last month or two.

While I know that I would hire an attny to represent me in a legal problem, a lot of times I just want an explanation of a term, or a simple answer. I meet w/ my attorney periodically and review my accumulated questions. If there were a Trulia for legal questions, I could get those answers daily for free. Instead, I accumulate in a folder, wait 3 months and pay for time spent w/ my attny.

If a seller meets w/ mulitple Realtors in an effort to select a representative, and chooses based upon the person and company he/she believed woutd to the best job, I am OK with that. Perhaps disappointed, but OK. When a seller asks me, under false pretenses, to provide info, for the sole purpose of picking my brain to provide advice and info to use as FSBO or w/ their Realtor friend, I feel like I have been the victim of theft by deception. If a seller tells me ther are planning on marketing FSBO, I will gladly meet with them. My frustration is with misrepresentation.
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EXCELLENT post, Deborah. I was going to respond to Paul's post where he spoke of giving a huge listing presentation and then having the seller go with an out of area friend. . . that is totally different. It's one thing to give one's presentation and not get the listing and another to just spew out knowledge for free all over the place such as on this website. I will probably be banned for saying this, but I think if trulia did not have a batch of agents giving out free information on their website, there would be no attraction. All of those who give long, detailed, paragraph after paragraph explanations are working for free for Trulia. And yes, I am here, too, and I answer questions occasionally, but a lot of people are willing to give away the store, so to speak, IMHO.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 27, 2007
As I have read hundreds and hundreds of posts by various RE Pros, I am amazed at the quality of the answers and knowledge on this board. I so much want to know where I can find the equivalent of Trulia for MD, legal, home improvement fixes, and the like. Do these exist? I have pondered this frequently over the last month or two.

While I know that I would hire an attny to represent me in a legal problem, a lot of times I just want an explanation of a term, or a simple answer. I meet w/ my attorney periodically and review my accumulated questions. If there were a Trulia for legal questions, I could get those answers daily for free. Instead, I accumulate in a folder, wait 3 months and pay for time spent w/ my attny.

If a seller meets w/ mulitple Realtors in an effort to select a representative, and chooses based upon the person and company he/she believed woutd to the best job, I am OK with that. Perhaps disappointed, but OK. When a seller asks me, under false pretenses, to provide info, for the sole purpose of picking my brain to provide advice and info to use as FSBO or w/ their Realtor friend, I feel like I have been the victim of theft by deception. If a seller tells me ther are planning on marketing FSBO, I will gladly meet with them. My frustration is with misrepresentation.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
MVP'08
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I personally would not give a tutorial on selling ones home on their own for free. There are plenty of books and internet sources where a seller could find the information. If a person wants to sell on their own, then by all means, sell on your own. Don't expect someone who earns their living doing something teach you to do it for free.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2007
Such a good point, Diane.

Then again, at least in the case of Trulia, aren't we providing information voluntarily? Nobody is forcing us to do it. This is the purpose of the forum... "Get real estate advice from those in the know". Nowhere does it say, "for small fee", or "please provide your credit card information and we will deduct on a per question basis" (I once had a cat who was very sick in the middle of the night. Not knowing whether or not I should take her to the vet, I logged onto an online university veterinarian clinic that offers instant online advice. For $50 a question! I took her to the vet.)

I mean, let's get real: For as long as we are willing to offer the advice for free, why wouldn't a consumer take advantage of it? Like I said in my last post, I'm surprised at how many REPRESENTED by a full-service-agent-people are coming here and asking questions. Scary? Odd? Cool?

And I won't lie. By participating in this forum I am receiving a huge benefit too:: *I*, too, a real estate professional, have learned an incredible amount from the other professionals on this board! I feel like I'm in school again - for free!

I guess we have to draw our own lines and stop offering advice when it starts to feel like a "use and abuse" situation.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2007
Great question Diane. It's pretty difficult to find any other professional who gives advice away for free...Doctors, attorneys, CPAs. I do plan to be a little more discerning as to what questions I"ll answer.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2007
Hi Diane. I think that at this point the # of consumers that come to Trulia to exploit us is still fairly low.

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True, but you have no idea how many people are reading the free advice. This is where I think many people on public forums lose track. They get comfortable and after a while it feels as if they are in their own living rooms talking to their friends.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 27, 2007
Hi Diane. I think that at this point the # of consumers that come to Trulia to exploit us is still fairly low. I suspect that things may become worse as the word gets out that you can get quick quality answers here. I think it's one thing to answer questions here and it is another thing when someone actually contacts you outside this forum under the disguise of being a legitimate prospect. I would be weary if I received a request for a full fledged CMA from someone whom I have never met. Anyone who is a legitimate prospect will not be opposed to follow certain established business protocols. It's the people who have no intent to ever retain your services, who will resist giving information. I used to be more willing to give without making my needs known. The reality is, people don't respect you and don't treat you respectfully, unless you draw the line. As we get deeper into answering questions on Trulia, we'll probably learn more about where to draw the line. I consider Trulia an opportunity to exercise good client pre-qualification skills.
I also find that I have become more selective about which questions I want to answer. When I read a "question" that is not intelligible, I'll skip it instead of trying to fill in the blanks myself or I ask for clarification.

Aside from wanting to help, I come to Trulia because I enjoy reading the other answers as I like getting different views on the same subject. There's always something I did not think of or if several agents give similar well crafted responses, the answers can help solidify and confirm my own take on certain issues. In summary, I don't worry too much about those who might abuse the system and may get free useful advice. If I start feeling that Trulia is no longer worth my time, I will stop answering questions and I am sure my departure will not leave a huge crater. Until such time, I will focus on all the good that Trulia has to offer.
Web Reference: http://www.go2kw.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2007
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in New Castle, DE
MVP'08
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Hi Diane,

Thank you. I don't really see that happening with me and buyers. But never say never. I guess I would love it if agents across the board could withold pricing opinion or something from a presentation until they received a listing. Maybe some agents do this. I know it is probably not realistic. Going back to the original and the follow-up, it would feel good not to give everything away. Maybe I'll start doing that and say "if your not listing today, these comps may not be good when you do decide to list". Thanks again.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2007
Wow Jim, and all this time I thought that was my secret way to get FSBO listings.

Well if you can`t tell by now I do a lot of Open Houses, because my office is far, far heavy traffic away.

When pepole come into my Open ,I give them all the info there is to give. I don`t know how many times I have been told " I have a Realtor." Unless their Realtor is standing right there, I keep giving info. At first they get a look in their eye" I got free info" and then they ask another question, and another.
Some give me their info and what they are looking for, and some just leave.

There have been times I am talking to Realtors, at Open houses, and after the conversation I ask. Are you a Realtor? Oh, Oh yes I am.
What`s that all about. I know this has happened to everyone. This just doesn`t happen to me.

I think Trulia is just like a big Open House.

NEXT!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2007
Mr.P, Other/Just Looking in Arizona
MVP'08
Diane,

Good Point! I hate it when that happens. That same feeling one may get from a failed listing appointment where one gave the prospect key information they required and you walk out with nothing, which, unfortunately, has happened to me and probably a lot of other agents. It is terrible. I am trying to learn.

Sometimes, I post "you should seek out a good Listing Agent in your area and do not give them much information. Sometimes, I see other people offer some advice and I think they improve the perception that the general public has on us. It's a thin line.

I do feel that we as professionals give out way too much information. Other professionals do not even speak to a person unless they are being hired. Maybe we should start putting more value on the information we give out and the skills we pocess. That would increase our value to the public. Any ideas out there how to do this? Also, it is probably true that the general public thinks anybody could do it. That is why so many people try it on their own first FSBO (Not Ruth). It isn't that easy and that is why most FSBO's eventually end up listing with a Broker. Because it is work and there is a lot at stake.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2007
They can get that type of advice for free or nearly free from books at the library, form other web sites. Long before there was an internet Agents sought out FSBO's and offered free advice. There was even a system called the drip system that was sold to agents to market to FSBO's by providing useful advice. The idea was that after 6 or 8 or 12 weeks of good information from the Realtor, if the seller had not sold the house on their own, they would turn to the agent who had already given them perceived (and actual) value.

The system worked because it provided regular but unobtrusive contact with the seller, not just a pitch.
Some people respond better to low key and soft sell. Some want or (need, anyway) the hard sell. Some prospects respond best to reverse psychology.

I remind myself that my incentive to be here is to polish my real estate blog writing skills.- Anything else is gravy.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2007
Jim Walker, Real Estate Pro in Carmichael, CA
MVP'08
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Ed, a high five to you!! :)

Mansur, you wrote:
JR - you are a wise person. Yes it is important to recognize there is a certain component of our knowledge that happens to be intellectual property and our intellectual capital -- essentially this is what we are selling to make a living -- I do learn a lot from reading people's answers and to a great extent this learning will make me an even better professional -- so some knowledge sharing is essential so that our profession becomes more valuable to the consumer -- but all of us should have a line somewhere beyond which we will be giving away intellectual property for free and that we cannot do.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Well, I'm just blushing now. :)
I also post on agentsonline.net. On that forum there is a wealth of realtor to realtor, and public, sharing, and somehow the agents there don't seem to give away the store, and manage to keep it short.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 28, 2007
I love thumbs down... that shows me you are paying attention! :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 27, 2007
Who gives a rats petuti about discount brokers?

I think we ought to quit making more out of this issue than it is.

Smart Realtors USE discount brokers in this market (Notice I capitalized Realtor and not discount broker.)

These seller's that start with discount brokers and don't sell, end up listing with full service brokers. (YAHOO that is me!) The Buyers (and notice I capitalized Buyers) that don't get their deals together with discount brokers come around to full service brokers. And that is me too.

I would like to make a toast with Dom Perignon to all the discount brokers out there!

I was put on this earth to put all of your failed deals together.

I am so-o-o-o-o-o-o happy that you are part of my industry!

Keep up the good work. It is putting my kids through college... even in this market!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 27, 2007
This same type of practice happened in 1989 and 1990. We learned to qualify and screen potential new clients to make sure we were not wasting our time on someone who was using us only to have someone else write the deal. We learned to get a committment out of the Buyer before we ever put them in our car to look at homes. If there was any doubt, we used a Buyer/Broker agreement.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2007
I should have excluded Ruth in my original post. She is more than a FSBO. She is a valuable source of knowledge, too. She shares as much as the rest of us! and I'm sure I have learned from her as well!
I'm sure some of the comments regarding other professionals not giving out their advice for free will bring some interesting comments, too.
Jim, your comments are very diplomatic. I think your writing skills are very polished already! Thanks for putting a different spin on it!
Silvia, you can work under a buyers agency agreement and have buyers pay you beforehand. I don't do it, but it apparantly works for some agents.
FYI to all agents here: The RealTown blog is a fabulous one to subscribe to. It is for agents, by agents and if you really want to learn from some of the best, check it out!
Thanks for your answers.
Web Reference: http://www.dianeglander.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2007
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