Hello Herb and thanks for your question.
Certainly the skeptic would believe that no true answer about real estate can come from anyone remotely associated with real estate, but, in reality, only professionals within our business (like any other business) have global information necessary to provide good answers to questions. Most of us refrain from providing specifics unless we live in the geographic area, but, most general questions can be answered by many of us.
Take me, for example...
Much of my early career in real estate centered around working with developers and creating communities. I worked closely with construction, designers, and landscapers. After 25+ years, I have a good working knowledge of construction and landscaping, and, most importantly, I can tell my clients what would be possible to do in a home and what may be too expensive.
The second part of my career was spent as a homeowners association forward planner and then, while working on my graduate degree, in a real estate law office. Nothing provides a better grounding in general real estate law and the pitfalls of real estate better than when you must see these differences resolved in court. So, another aspect of my abilities concerns reviewing documents and being darned sure to provide as much information and disclosure as possible.
Now, as a Realtor, I combine all of my past experiences into this career, and answer questions here on Trulia with that knowledge as the basis for my answers. I'm frank and can be alarmingly blunt--I'll admit that, and my answers do not always coincide with wanting to sell homes. My job, first and foremost, is to provide a service, and sometimes that service means telling someone NOT to buy or NOT to sell the home. My focus is on providing excellent service and not on my paycheck--I do really mean that.
Our jobs here are to provide a service whether that benefits us directly or not, and I'm proud to be a part of the Trulia community volunteering my time to assist others!
Ask us any questions, and we'll be happy to help you!
Grace Morioka, SRES
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA