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Fighting Armchair Quarterbacking [Dear Ginny, WTH?]

Please welcome our newest writer, Ginny Cain McMurtrie, Bay Area marketing specialist with over 10 years of real estate focus. We would like to welcome you to her series, “Dear Ginny, WTH?” which is like a “Dear Abby” column for real estate objections. If you have a tough client or a marketing problem, “Dear Ginny, WTH?” is for you. Questions can be funny, they can be serious, it doesn’t matter, just ask!

Please take a moment to welcome Ginny to AG!

Dear Ginny,

I have a client who insists on researching everything on their own and second guesses every data point I give them. They’re on Zillow, Trulia,, blogs and elsewhere researching which is great, but how do I communicate that I don’t appreciate being second guessed and armchair quarterbacked by the Internet (without sounding rude and holy)? -Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

It can be frustrating to get the old Monday morning quarterback routine especially in this market. First, if you are not on all of the sites that your clients are on, you should be so you know the pass they’re throwing before it’s thrown. The best defense is a good offense (sorry for all the football references).

Look especially at the valuation sites, like Zillow and Cyberhomes and see what they report as it relates to your listing, assuming this is a seller. You know the nuances of the neighborhood, the city, the area and other human aspects that these sites can’t “do gazzintas” on.

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Then it’s comparables. Online sites that report information such as valuation or current listing inventory don’t have feet on the street. You know what’s on the market (sometimes before it comes on the market), for how much, for how long and why. You know what’s sold, for how much, in what time period and why. Don’t underestimate the power associated with that knowledge or be intimidated by consumer-gathered information.

In today’s transparent and tough market, you’ve got to be prepared. Check out these sites. Know their strengths and weaknesses and package that with your human knowledge and understanding. Touchdown all day long!

Have a question you want answered in “Dear Ginny, WTH?” Email Ginny now!

Ginny is a 360 degree marketing specialist with over a decade of experience in real estate-related fields. She’s held senior level marketing positions at Alain Pinel Realtors and Prudential California, Nevada and Texas Realty. She left the corporate world in 2007 to start her own marketing communications company, Cain Communications. She markets to segments that matter using media that matters. Follow her on Twitter @ginnycain.



  1. Mark Eckenrode

    March 4, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    first things first: welcome to AG!

    i like that you’ve pointed out that no website can compete with the true dynamics of Streetwise Real Estate. but, it will always be tough for an agent when they’re trying to compete against the website.

    i’d add that it’s important to remove the website from the playing field altogether, or at least re-frame how the client views the website.

    at the beginning of the relationship, the agent can give the client a handout with a list of the websites…

    “I realize some folks like to get involved so just in case you do, here’s a list of websites you can turn to. When you’re browsing these, just keep in mind that they’re not these site aren’t actively on the streets so their data can be old or inaccurate but they’re good for window shopping.”

    this removes the sites from the game and reframes how the client looks at the sites. all without the agent sounding as if they’re hateing on the websites.

  2. Sam Basel

    March 4, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    I am looking forward to reading more, Ginny! Especially if you keep throwing in the football analogies! 🙂

    I get clients playing monday morning quarterback all the time but I find it can be beneficial. IMO if they are doing all that research, they are showing they definetly have interest. If nothing else, all these information websites are good conversation starters so that Realtors can show off their expertise whether its confirming or rejecting the data that is presented.

  3. Ginny Cain McMurtrie

    March 4, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Awesome comments Mark!

  4. Brandie Young

    March 4, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Welcome to AG, Miss Ginny Cain!

    As expected, great advice! Expanding on Mark’s comments, I think setting realistic expectations still applies to present yourself as the expert. Unfortunately, sometimes access to information can be a dangerous!

  5. Anni Hagfeldt

    March 4, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Great question and what a valuable answer! It is important to know what our clients are reading/searching, so we can be prepared to answer and meet their concerns with knowledge!

  6. Michael Bonfils

    March 4, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Ginny who?

  7. Ken Montville - The MD Suburbs of DC

    March 4, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    You’re absolutely correct. You have to know what your clients know and where they’re doing the research. Of course, there will always be the “engineer types” that need to know every detail and every possible option. It’s the personality type. In the meantime, it’s good to know the competition (and these sites are competition) so they can’t make an, er, end run around you.

    Welcome, Ginny!

  8. Ginger Wilcox

    March 4, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    So excited to see the fabulous Ginny on Agent Genius. You are incredibly bright and I look forward to reading your words of wisdom!!

  9. Kim Wood

    March 4, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Welcome to AG 🙂 It will be fun to see some of the questions that roll into your inbox, I’m sure !

    As far as this one goes….
    I have found that the ‘researchers’ are going to do their ‘research’ and sometimes they want to hear your side of the story – even when you disagree with what they are saying.

    We just have to make sure we lead them to the right information for their research – including googling onto our blogs 🙂

  10. Matt Stigliano

    March 4, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Ginny – Welcome to AgentGenius. I love the concept of your posts and think I’ll have to take advantage of the open offer of advice. I’ll start thinking of questions (right after I get my post written).

    Mark – Great follow up and your idea is gold. For all the times I get asked about this site or that, this is an easy, simple way to help and encourage the “researcher” but also explain what’s good/bad about any given site.

  11. Missy Caulk

    March 4, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Hi Ginny, welcome to AG.

    I sold a home a year ago to a Google guy, I found out later they researched everything I told them on Google Earth. LOL

  12. Paula Henry

    March 4, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Ginny – Welcome! There are so many sites out there competeing with us – our clients want to know that we know what they know.

    Better yet, when we have an offensive play book, it will keep them on their toes and on our side.

  13. jf.sellsius

    March 4, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    The gazzintas are what professionals use to slay the TruZillas of the net.

    Welcome Ms. A Genius

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