Wondering Around Makes My Head Hurt
Unfortunately I am going to pick on Activerain here for a bit. Not because it’s an evil entity, but because it’s where I find the WORST real estate advice being given by “peers”. I have no issue with Activerain charging fees, I have no issue with the point system, nor do I care that writing to other agents is a waste of time…..wait, what!?!?! Oh, never mind….
My issues with Activerain are the users. The community as a whole, seems to just abuse the system and each other. Friday night I went on a tangent on Twitter about what I was reading on Activerain. Yes, I wondered in there, because as I wanted to know what was on our local agent’s minds; so that I could better develop programs. I hate when I wonder into Activerain (if it were some other venue like it, I would hate it too.) My issue is not the sharing of listings or marketing ideas, but rather the sharing of advice – very bad advice – that should be coming from Brokers and attorneys to agents (usually new agents).
Increasing Your Liability for 100 Points
in this very litigious industry, agents open themselves up to even more litigation when they express their lack of knowledge in an open forum. When an agent goes out and shares information about a particular transaction, in order to ask a question, they often times violate their mandated confidentiality and proceed with telling the world that they haven’t a clue what they are doing. So, if you’re an attorney out there, that has the privilege to sue an agent for negligence, please go search their posts on Activerain as evidence that they hadn’t a clue as to what they are doing!
How Do You Define Peers?
On Friday night I read a post asking for counsel on a certain practice of real estate. I found the post after 70 comments had been made and frankly only read the first five. The first five violated two laws in Virginia, 2 local MLS policies and had 3 Code of Ethic violations. Grant it, the advice givers may not have been licensees and not Realtors, so the Code of Ethics wouldn’t apply; but that just proves my point.
I believe in the counsel of peers, but how are you defining peers? Here’s what I think you should consider:
- Are they licensed in your same state? (and competent)
- Are they bound by your company’s policies (and competent)
- Are they bound by your MLS policy (and competent)
- Are they bound by your Code of Ethics (and competent)
- …Are they going to be sitting next to you in the court room?
If the above questions aren’t clear enough, let me say this – counsel from anyone who isn’t your Broker or Corporate Counsel (an attorney as staff or retainer, hired to protect your business) they aren’t peers and it’s just noise. If your Broker isn’t competent – you’re in the wrong brokerage and need to leave. He he or she is competent, than why do you feel the need to ask for legal advice from other “bloggers”?
But I Like To Help Others
You may be asking how I can write this on a blog designed to give advice to agents. Easy, if I am going to give legal advice, it’s going to have a reference to it, such as title such-in-such of such-in-such has this to say…. and then let the reader decide.
Otherwise, I think that sharing marketing ideas, new technologies, sales approaches and such is far different than how to handle disclosure issues or what terms to put in an offer to purchase.
Just to Be Fair
The premise of my post is not just targeted to Activerain, but to the “Breakfast Clubs” that exist at so many companies. I’ve been to many offices where there are a contingent of nefarious gossips, who have moderate business coming in and typically use the office as a place to meet other sycophants who sit around bad-mouthing whoever is not in the room, complaining about the market and showing no real interest in engaging those not in their clique. You know the types….they do all this, but still consider themselves the sages, because they’ve been licensed for 300 bazillion years. (Listen, if you do it wrong for 30 years – it’s not right today) Honestly, if these folks knew so much about real estate – how do they have so much time on their hands? The good part is that these bad-advice-givers typically are only in the office from 10-1 and then go to lunch together and then home to watch the o’Reilly Factor….