For the record, no one to my knowledge has been sued for the answers they provide as part of their participation in Trulia Voices. But that little fact is not nearly as interesting as your instant reaction to the headline:
- “Holy s%&^!”
- “It only was a matter of time.”
- “Dalton’s at it again.”
Earlier this week, someone here in the Phoenix area asked whether she should continue paying rent now that the owner of her property is in foreclosure. Advice flew fast and furious, though little of it came from agents here in the Phoenix area – the very folks who presumably have the better grasp on local laws.
(We also were greeted with the advice to not trust any advice given in a blog, so we probably all should pack up our tents and head back to Twitter.)
Being that I’m a real estate agent, I see possible lawsuits in my sleep. If I say that a home faces southeast and further investigation shows it really faces south-southeast, I can be the target of some lawsuit-happy attorney and their client.
So forgive me for wondering if I’m absolved from any legal pursuit when I answer a question in Voices? Is it sufficient to say, “this is just my opinion” and then conclude the sentence with theories about aliens having come down from Saturn to sink the market? Or does the “this is just my opinion” caveat carry about as much legal defense as my 9-year-old crossing her fingers, nixing her affirmative answer when I ask if she’ll be cleaning her room before she goes to college?
Blatant SEO Play
If there are people who believe these answers coming from around the nation to help someone in Phoenix (or your own hometown) are designed to be of primary benefit to the person asking, raise your hands.
Now how many of you see the practice as either a blatant SEO or an opportunity to bloat the numbers on your Trulia profile?
As I told everyone from Trulia I saw last summer, the flaws are not in the platform but in the use of that platform. So long as there are out-of-state agents answering questions with “I couldn’t find Anthem with a map and a compass, but e-mail me and I’ll refer you to someone” … as long as you have local agents who respond to questions on a specific property by providing information on their expertise and never talking about the property in question … and as long as you have people answering questions without having to take any responsibility for the answers they give, Voices will fluctuate between occasionally useful and outright dangerous.
That’s just my opinion, though. Don’t hold me to it.