I fully agree w/ Laarni. Some questions are universal. Others require specific area knowledge. I've been on Trulia for a while now and have seen this topic discussed before. I always go back to the basics that content rules and common sense prevails. Ifto someone asks about the inventory level, and price trends in Napa, I wouldn't attempt answer that, and only a person who has stats and knowledge of the area should. I might read the thread, because I am curious about Napa. In this example, however, I am not limiting my definition of a qualified responder to only a RE Pro working in Napa. I am saying that one should have knowledge to address the question.
Case-Schiller is one of the most quoted sources as an authority on residential housing stats, but the preparers of that information and reports neither live in the communities for the reports nor do they hold real estate licenses. Yet, the WSJ uses Case-Schiller as a leading source of information. Altos Research prepares reports by zip code and towns. The founders and employees at Altos are not real estate people, but rather tech homebuyers who were frustrated by the lack of statistical info. Altos Research can answer many question about local areas that a lot of local Realtors cannot. Sad, but true. In NJ, Otteau Appraisal Group compiles reports for all counties in the state, and are better able and better equipped to describe the state of the market than many Realtors. BTW, Realtors do use Otteau Reports in NJ. The responder to a question on Trulia should be qualified to answer and have relevant content. I do not have any data or knowledge about the Napa market and would not attempt to respond to any inquiry about such.
I have seen locals provide incorrect information or poor advice on Trulia threads, and was thankful for the consumer benefit that some out of area RE Pros provided good content. It isn't my intent to single out any person, so I will provide a hypothetical example: A question is posted about whether or not a buyer should do a termite inspection. Two locals reply with weak answers. Two out of area responders provide thorough information and links to helpful sites. If not for the out of area responder, the consumer benefit would have suffered.
Other times, I see out of area responders make general comments about a community and that can also be helpful. Example: A question is posted by a potential buyer stating the "Jersey Shore" is being considered. A RE Pro or Consumer from Virginia writes an answer talking about how wonderful the shore is. As a NJ Shore Realtor, I welcome their positive comments!
I do believe that out of area agents should exercise great care in providing specific real estate info if they do not know the area, and become concerned when I see a person try to answer a local question when they obviously lack the knowledge. It does happen. L
It does not bother me when out of area Realtors answer questions in my back yard, when their content is relevant and the information useful. If the info is inaccurate, itâ€™s troublesome. The real problem for me, though, is the number of agents giving bad info to consumers in their own market, whether that is on Trulia or in person. Thatâ€™s a big issue for me for it reflects poorly on all of us and is potentially harmful for the consumer.
Deborah Madey - Real Estate Broker
Peninsula Realty Group - New Jersey