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I Wrote A Post Last Week.



The Stigliano Chronicles - San Antonio Silver Spurs Dancers

Yeah? Big deal, Stigliano. We’re really proud of you.

Of course, last week was the hellstorm of blogging that was the realization that MIBOR and NAR had effectively called Google a scraper. I would write about that, but I think it’s been covered by just about everyone – including me. While all that was going down (and before I read Paula’s post), I was busy writing a post on my site about Realtor® and consumer relationships. I had asked Lani if she would take a minute to read it and tell me what she thought of it and she obliged.

Shortly after writing it, I read Paula’s post and wrote my “response” to it all for last week’s The Stigliano Chronicles. When Lani saw that come through, the two of us spent a few minutes going back and forth on Twitter. She was confused, because she thought that what I had asked her to read was a preview of my AgentGenius post. Once we got the confusion settled, I went back to my usual schedule of doing things.

My intent was one thing, but now has shifted.

In writing the post, I had hoped my readers would feel the need to respond and I could get a bit of insight into the consumer’s mind. It didn’t work out that way, as the only people to respond were Jason Sandquist and Jay Thompson. Although I was very excited to see their opinions, I was hoping for more.

Please AgentGenius, forgive my sin.

I know Benn and Lani want original content submitted by authors that is written for AgentGenius, but I hope they can let me slide this once. In light of many of the things being discussed at NAR’s Midyear Meeting in Washington, D.C., I think it’s a great time for discussion. So without further ado, I present to you “Are Realtors® Too Positive About The Market? Or Are They Not Doing Enough?” from my site.

Thoughts on how we deal with the question, “Is now a good time to buy?”

In some ways, it might seem like career suicide to dare suggest that we as Realtors® might sometimes be too “sunshine and roses” when it comes to talking about the market, but the fact is, I often wonder how to present good news to consumers without coming off as just painting a rosy picture to suit my needs as an agent. I could go on and on how I’m not that guy, but in reality sometimes that just seems to make it seem worse.

In a recent email from the National Association of Realtors®, this exact topic was brought up and I wanted to see what the readers of my site thought of this. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think we need a balance…if we run around shouting “everything’s fine, it’s a great time to buy!,” eventually no one will believe us and think we’re just saying that to generate business. We all remember Chicken Little, don’t we? Well it works both ways. I think the key to the “balance” I seek, is honesty with a dose of sensitivity. Realtors® do need to get the word out that there are some great reasons to buy right now, but we also need to be sensitive to people’s reactions to the economy, the housing market’s problems, the job losses, and everything else that has been doom and gloom on the news lately. The media loves a sad story, no doubt, but there are reasons that not everything should be looked at with such a negative view.

Here’s the quote from the email that sparked my attention:

It is critical for NAR to be both realistic and optimistic concerning the current state of the real estate market. As you can imagine, that can be a difficult balance to strike, especially with market conditions changing on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes, NAR is viewed as a “cheerleader” for the real estate industry. That’s not inappropriate, considering we are “The Voice for Real Estate”. The vast majority of our membership feels strongly that we must do more to counter the overwhelming attention that the news media give to negative national housing market trends and help bring consumers back into the market. That is, in fact, what our ongoing messages and Public Awareness Campaign are designed to do.

So what do you think?

Do Realtors® and the National Association of Realtors® need to tone it down? Do we need to be less “cheerleader” and more support system? Or do we need to spread the message and shout it from the mountain tops in order to improve the housing market in the coming year? If you ran the National Association Of Realtors®, what would you be telling the public in order to show them that there is opportunity out there for buyers, but without making it sound like you’re just shouting “Real Estate, Real Estate, RAH-RAH-RAH!”

photo courtesy of aznviolaguy

Matt is a former PA-based rockstar turned real estate agent with RE/MAX Access in San Antonio, TX. He was asked to join AgentGenius to provide a look at the successes and trials of being a newer agent. His consumer-based outlook on the real estate business has helped him see things from both sides. He is married to a wonderful woman from England who makes him use the word "rubbish."

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  1. Linsey

    May 13, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    I think it’s important be a source for information and market trends. I think it’s our job to guide our clients through the process of buying or selling. I think it’s dangerous to provide our blanket opinions about what we ‘think’ about the market. We may have an opinion – but that’s all it is – an opinion.

    We shouldn’t be cheerleaders for real estate. It may be a good time for some people to buy – it may be better for others to wait. By providing our clients the access to market information, we can be a source that they can confidently rely to so that they can come to a decision that is right for them.

    As NAR tries desperately to rectify the poor consumer opinion of our industry, I think as agents we need to remind ourselves of our roll. In becoming ‘cheerleaders’, I think we continue to be a detriment to the profession. This is a business and a major economic force. Forget the pom poms.

  2. Joe Loomer

    May 14, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Just yesterday our local paper published a front-page story titled “Augusta Bucks the Trend.” The focus was about a 33% drop in local foreclosure filings and completely ignored the fact that there’s a moratorium in several sectors. Couple this with the astoundingly stupid assertion that “April sales where much better than January’s” and you see my point.

    I wrote a letter to the editor citing the facts based on the reports provided by the GAARMLS, and provided a graph that simply went back to 2003 showing two lines – inventory and sales – for every month from 2003 through April of this year.

    Now I get up, read this post, and wonder what the heyull I was thinking! I cited facts, figures, percentages, you name it – showing how we’re down 44% on 2007 numbers, and basically providing a “Sky is STILL Falling” approach.

    I think next time I’ll come up with an alias and THEN write the letter ;).

    Seriously though, adamantly insist on being an open book with your clients. Start your listing presentation with figures, facts, charts, whatever will ensure you never take the blame for the market, and turn down listings that don’t seem to “get it.”

    I stay away – as Linsey smartly suggests – from making projections about the future. If the Seller is not motivated, not upsizing, or has more sensible options, I recommend them and know I’ll get that business down the road.

    You cannot claim to be a “Market Expert” for your area without in-depth research, and no amount of marketing expertise can replace nuts-and-bolts, nose-to-the-grindstone research so you not only appear to know what the hell you’re talking about, but can back it up factually.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  3. Louise Scoggins

    May 14, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Personally I think it’s a combination of “cheerleader” and support system. For example, “There are many advantages to buying a home now. Consult with your local Realtor to see if it’s the right time for you”.

    I absolutely think it’s of utmost importance to “get real” with your clients about the market. Not only is it important to discuss realistic numbers and expectations with sellers, but there should be some hard questions posed to your buyers as well. Understanding each of your client’s situations will help you guide them through their transaction.

    I also think the way you present the information — whether it be rah-rah real estate or doom and gloom — greatly affects the way a person perceives it (is it really a good time to buy or is this Realtor desparate for my business?).

  4. Louise Scoggins

    May 14, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    I definitely think it’s a balance between the two options. Perhaps for example, “There are many advantages to buying a home now. Consult with your local Realtor to see if it’s the right time for you”. As Linsey states, it’s a great time to buy for some, but not for others. It’s important to ask the right questions — of both buyers and sellers — to truly know their situation and best be able to guide them.

    I also think the way the information is presented greatly affects the way a person might perceive it…over enthusiasm may present as desparatation whereas knowledge combined with encouragement presents a lot better. However, the media does focus sooo much on the doom and gloom, that people do need some sort of hope to cling to…maybe not so “cheerleader” but more encouragement to see the opportunities.

  5. Louise Scoggins

    May 14, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Gah, I’m an idiot 🙂 New to posting, sorry for the multiple posts. I thought I lost the first one and posted again b/c but couldn’t remember my exact words. Sorry about that!!!

  6. Missy Caulk

    May 14, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Raising kids…it is all about choosing your battles. Everyday you could have a confrontation.

    Same here, it is both, be involved and pick your battles.

  7. Matt Stigliano

    May 15, 2009 at 9:39 am

    It looks like most agents around these parts agree. I kind of expected it that way. I just think of the consumer whenever I’m tempted to say how great things are. They may look good on our end, but if your credit’s shot, you have no downpayment, you’re worried about paying your bills, you just lost your job, etc. – well, it just looks like we’re full of it. Since there is already a certain amount of mistrust already in place, I always fear that the “RAH-RAH-RAH” stuff (both from us and from sources like NAR’s TV spots) make us look like a) we’re lying, b) we’re living the high life, so we can all afford new homes (ha!), or c) we’re just using advertising to our advantage – trying to sway people’s thoughts and emotions.

    I don’t see a great fix to the problem other than one-on-one consultation with our clients and prospects. We can make a difference, but the change is slow, because it has to take place one agent/consumer at a time.

    Louise – Don’t worry about the double posts. It happens. I’m just glad you thought enough of the post to add your thoughts. When I started commenting here I was barely able to form a sentence. I felt like I was surrounded by too many genius agents who would beat me to death if I said something wrong. Boy was I wrong. Several of them took me under their wing and have helped make me the agent I am today.

    Missy – Having kids and being in a band are pretty similar in some respects. We were constantly weighing which issues were important enough to battle and holding off on some, because we knew there was a bigger battle yet to come.

  8. Gwen Banta

    May 15, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Hi Matt,

    I have to be so careful about what I say here in L.A. that I had to develop a new approach entirely. As you probably recall from your stint in LaLa-land, the L.A. Times has a knack for breeding so much negativity that when a professional bucks the system (even armed with charts and graphs), the consumer often thinks we are not informed agents. L.A. has obviously taken a huge market hit, but we also have areas that have remained strong. If I relate those statistics, prospective clients are dubious. Thus, I have listof well-known economists that I provide to each my clients who want market predictions. I tell them that they should read a number of projections and then draw their own conclusions about market swings.

    At the same time, I provide all clients with the monthly and quarterly sales info for the area in which they are house hunting or selling. In the end, I make it very clear that I am there to help implement their decision, not make it for them. They seem most appreciatiave, and my clients seem to keep coming back. Of course, a few of them may just be stalking me 🙂

  9. Paula Henry

    May 16, 2009 at 12:27 am

    Matt –

    Traveling through last week left me with little time to comment or read. The cheerleading mentality has always been a sore spot for me.

    It is not a good time for ALL people to buy or sell. Blanket statements as such make it more difficult for clients to believe we are being honest in our representation.

    Every circumstance is different –

  10. Lani Rosales

    May 17, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    pockets, pockets, pockets. Perception is that everything is bad, so consumers in any investment scenario (real estate, stocks, whatever) can understand that despite a downturn there are always pockets of opportunity. It’s a balancing act, no?

  11. Matt Stigliano

    May 17, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Gwen – Isn’t that the way everything works in L.A.? If you’re not on the right list, you’re not trusted, liked, or let in the club. I loved being in Hollywood for the sole fact that I would get invited to fancy parties and then show up as my t-shirt and jeans self (and none of them were Armani) and drink Budweiser at the martini bar. I miss L.A. for it’s absurdity – luckily I met you and can live vicariously through your posts.

    Paula – You really need a day away from it all at this point I’m sure. Seeing your name on here, I figured I’d read exactly what you wrote. Someone who’s willing to put herself through this past week obviously wouldn’t think cheerleading was the way to go.

    Lani – I do think there’s a need for balance. In just about everything. If you lean to one side too much, you’ll wind up falling in the river. I do try and tell people the positives of what’s happening right now, but I also take in to consideration their situation. I don’t want to just tell everyone to rush right out and buy now and definitely think that if that’s all I did, I wouldn’t be building the trust that I know is key to building my business.

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Job interview between two women.

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Work from home written with scrabble letters.

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