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Stop the Noise!


Transparency

Transparency has been the goal of real estate professionals throughout the RE.net and blogging has provided the perfect platform for transparency in information. Real Estate bloggers have provided a great deal of knowledge for the general public. In the past few years, the public has been given access to almost every listing, details about neighborhoods and communities, as well as more pictures, graphs and charts than they can digest. There are online forums and resources where buyers and sellers can access an agent and ask questions, while remaining anonymous.

Collectively, we have covered just about every detail involved in buying and selling a home. It adds up to an enormous amount of information available online.

Public Perception

The public has demanded it and the real estate industry has responded.

So, why doesn’t the public trust us more?

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There’s too much noise! Agents beating their own drums, trying to attract attention to themselves, are the nemesis of what we hope to accomplish by being transparent. The public can see right through the overt action of those whose only goal is personal gain. When the transparency factor is clouded by our own agenda, we lose!

transparency-

  • The full, accurate, and timely disclosure of information
  • Free of deceit
  • Easily understood or seen through
  • The quality of being clear and transparent
  • Free from obscurity and easy to understand; the comprehensibility of clear expression

Blogging for the Public

Blogging is not a quick fix; it is a time consuming, long term commitment to bring local real estate information to the consumer. Most of us continue because we love it. We see the value in deciphering the national news for our local area. We enjoy the education we receive when we analyze numbers. (I know that’s crazy) and maybe we don’t all enjoy it; still, we do it because we know the consumer needs to know the information. We take pride in writing about our communities and neighborhoods. We love sharing our knowledge with the public. We know an educated, informed consumer benefits the entire industry. Blogging is about being transparent!

Get real, get educated or get out – If you don’t enjoy blogging, it will be evident in the information you post. If you’re in it purely for personal gain, the public will know. If you want help, check out some of the posts here at AG about how to blog. Mariana and Jay do a great job teaching the basics.

Stop the noise and give the public the information they need and want; clearly, concisely, truthfully and honestly.

Isn’t that really what transparency is?

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Written By

Paula is team leader for The "Home to Indy" Team in Indianapolis . She is passionate about education and client care and believes an empowered client is better prepared to make good decisions for themselves. You'll find her online at Agent Genius,Twitter and sharing her insights about her local real estate market at Home To Indy.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Jon Strum

    June 30, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    It’s not easy to “stop the noise” when much of it is being created by all of those agents who live well outside the boundaries of the RE.net. And those agents add up to a very big number. As we learned in a recent post here, the NAR survey indicates that 8% of its membership blog — and that number includes those agents who had the blog set up for them but never got past “hello world.” So there’s about a million agents out there who don’t acknowledge blogging…let alone get it right. And I’m afraid that their attitude toward the blogosphere is the same as yours…they’d like us to stop the noise!

    Why doesn’t the public trust us more, now that some single-digit percentage of us make a public attempt at transparency? Maybe it’s because the NAR insisted on running months of commercials announcing that ‘it’s a great time to buy’ as people were watching their neighborhoods implode. But then the NAR caught wind of the realities out there — and switched to a commercial that reassures everyone that the key to wealth still lies in home ownership. You had to look very closely at the fine print on the TV screen to realize that they were quoting the findings of a 13 year-old study. Has much has changed in our world since 1995? Maybe more than just a little. So it’s hard to claim we’re out there waving the flag of ‘transparency’ when the mother ship is monopolizing the TV airwaves talking out of the other side of its mouth.

    But it’s not just the NAR…you can even re-read Benn’s last post about the consumer’s desire for tangibility. Is that protecting turf? It sets up a simple black-and-white argument where the issues are a lot grayer. Of course, a real estate deal reaches a point where it should be a face-to-face interaction. But many times, it reaches that point way later in the life of the transaction. The home buyer is asking us to let them do more of the legwork, and so we’re giving them all of that access to tools and data…but our prices haven’t changed — even though the division of labor has.

    Are we being transparent? Not as long as we’re protecting turf. And protecting turf is the MOST transparent act that an individual, business or industry can possibly make..ask anyone not in our industry.

  2. Michelle B.

    June 30, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    The “noise” can be deafening sometimes!

    But I have found that by being totally honest and straightforward from the get-go allows my clients to trust me. They trust my advice, my research, my referrals, and even my opinions. I rarely have credibility issues with new clients that were referred to me, especially by a former client. But even floor call leads, sign call leads, and open house leads are won over pretty quickly by just being “transparent’ about myself and my goals. My goals are always to achieve their goals, even if it means waiting 6 months for their financial situation to improve (I’ll need a paycheck, then, too). Or if it means another agent might be better suited to their specific needs (i.e. – commerical, rural, types of properties I’m not knowledgeable about), and I always explain the referral fee. I’m a working mom, with a very busy and active family. I don’t have time to generate hundreds of leads every month. But by being knowledgeable, honest and straightforward from the initial contact, I convert just about every lead that does come my way.

    It’s when my clients are spending a significant amount of time doing their own research online that I know there may be a credibility issue. I address it openly, do my best to remedy it, and keep moving forward. Admittedly, some people just dig doing the research themselves, and then I just email them a list of links and turn them loose. I love the clients I can “geek out” with.

    I always try to get a feel for new clients’ tech skills in the first couple of conversations, so I know what to expect from them (I hated the early days of Zillow), what technology to match them up with, etc. With so much information out there, agents can’t really hold information hostage anymore. Sellers and buyers have all the information they need, right at their fingertips. I feel that I really start earning my paycheck when I start translating & refining data, sharing my knowledge & experience, negotiating, and coordinating the transaction. Agents are having to redesign themselves to be knowledgeable experts in their niche, whatever that may be, and to offer superior service. I will often drive a significant distance to get paperwork from point A to point B, just so my client doesn’t have to, or so they can close early, or so we have legible copies. And I’ll bring them coffee.

    But it’s the agents that can’t check their ego, aren’t knowledgeable, don’t have a specialty, or are incapable of providing exceptional service that are making all the noise. You know who they are….they have diamond-platinum-president’s-elite-nationwide-circle plastered all over their card. Save it for the trophy shelf at home, clients really don’t care about that. They care about what you are going to do for them right now, and how well you are going to do it.

  3. Frank Jewett

    July 1, 2008 at 2:57 am

    So, why doesn’t the public trust us more?

    It starts at the top with NAR leadership telling the public that prices were stabilizing while turning around and testifying in Washington that they expected prices to decline. That level of cynicism may appeal to short sighted brokers and agents who are only worried about their next commission check, but it is an absolute credibility killer for the real estate industry and the REALTOR brand.

  4. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 1, 2008 at 5:18 am

    Authenticity matters. If you hate blogging, don’t do it because it WILL show in your writings.

    Be yourself. Be authentic. And show some of your personality.

    And if you do that, you’ll actually end up attracting persons that you’ll probably like when you meet them as clients – making your “real job” as a real estate agent a lot more fun in the process.

  5. Mack in Atlanta

    July 1, 2008 at 7:31 am

    Paula – your thought on Public Perception is right on. When visitors come to our sites they don’t want to read about agents and me, me, me…They want to know what you can provide to help them in their situation. Provide information that answers their questions and you will be surprised what can come of it.

  6. Matthew Rathbun

    July 1, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Until Agents stop beat up one another, and demanding that all the “other” agents get out of the business, or accusing “everyone” else of being deceitful and nefarious. Until such a time as agents begin respecting one another, we can never expect it from anyone else… If I can’t feel you pain, who will?

  7. Bill Lublin

    July 1, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    @ Frank I agree that there is and has been a problem with public perception of salespeople in general, and that real estate agents suffer from that more then many, but to say that it is soemhow tied to a position of NAR’s is just plain silly. The problem existed long before NAR started, and fighting that perception was one of the reason’s for NAR’s creation. If it weren’t for NAR and the State and local associations, there would be no groups to promote professionalism in our industry, create and enforce professional standards, or to develop arbitration, mediation or ombudsman programs for members and consumers to deal with issues of unreliability. Let’s not just dump all of our problems into that easy box because NAR is not here for the conversation. You are NAR, I am NAR, we are all , by our partiicpation or choice not to participate, the reason the organization is what it is. In my opinion, its a good trade organization, and when I compare its consumer interfacewith other industries, I believe it is more responsive then most.

    The problem that we have here is that faceless groups can be demonized, and only individuals can dispel those erroneous positions, one person at a time, by doing the right thing, and carrying the right story, I cannot blame someone who has had no experience or a bad experience with a real estate person to be wary or concerned about our motives. If they still feel the same way after we’ve met and done business, then I may need to blame myself rather then them

  8. Paula Henry

    July 1, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Jon – You make a great argument for the client, who, when hearing “all the noise” from many different sources, may actually not listen at all. Many agents do live outside the RE.net; I guess I never thought they may want US to stop the noise.

    I don’t believe Benn’s post was at all about “protecting turf” – it was an observation that we can’t totally depend on the internet to sell real estate. It is still a very personal and tangible transaction. Yes, the internet client wants the freedom to search by themselves; they will drive by neighborhoods and can check out the quality of schools, but they still want a “real live person” to handle their transaction.

    I won’t debate whether or not the cost has come down – I know it has. Each of us detremines the value of our service and there is a cost to providing the consumer with the tools and data.

  9. Paula Henry

    July 1, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Michelle – Pefectly stated – when we are genuine and real, the public knows! It sounds like you have mastered the art of client care.

    Frank – and the consumer can see right through the agent who is only after a paychek – if you think about NAR’s message, it is a great time to buy in many areas throughout the country.

    Jennifer – I couldn’t have said it better! 🙂

    Mack – We need to make it about them! With honesty, integrity and genuine answers to their questions.

  10. Paula Henry

    July 1, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Matthew – I do hear what you are saying and sincerely agree. I was not suggesting people get out of the business, only that they don’t blog, if they don’t enjoy it, don’t like it, or don’t think they can continue. I have seen so many people who start, but never do anything else, which for the sake of their business, should be a consideration, before beginning.. A client comes across a blog which hasn’t had a post in six months and assumes the agent probably is out of business. Or there’s the agent whose site is only about themselves and a host of “I just listed this home” or “Open Houses”. This is the noise which deafens the credibility we are trying to create. Yes, we may look less than credible when we attack one another within the industry and that is probably another post.

  11. Paula Henry

    July 1, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Bill – Whether we like it or not, each of us is the face and voice of REALTORS to the public. We must bring credibility to our profession one client at a time.

  12. Frank Jewett

    July 1, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    “All of the doom and gloom forecasts of a housing debacle are not only irresponsible, but also downright wrong.” – David Lereah, NAR, August 2005

    “We can expect a historically strong housing market moving forward, earmarked by generally balanced conditions across the country and fairly stable levels of home sales with some month-to-month fluctuations.” – NAR, April 2006

    “The worst is behind us, as far as a market correction – this is likely the trough for sales. When consumers recognize that home sales are stabilizing, we’ll see the buyers who’ve been on the sidelines get back into the market.” – NAR, October 2006

    “At least the bottom a ppears to have already occurred. It looks like figures will be improving.” – NAR, February 2007

    “The speculative excesses have been removed from the market and home sales are returning to fundamentally healthy levels…” – NAR, October 2007

    Outside the safety of Realtor-to-Realtor blogging, NAR is regarded somewhere between a bad joke and a malicious attempt to rip off an unsuspecting public.

    https://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/01/a-history-of-ho.html

    There’s more to life than duping someone so you can cash your next commission check. Do I believe most agents are better than that? Yes. But, having NAR present that image to the public makes it harder for you to get members of the public to trust you because they’ve been treated like rubes by your trade organization.

  13. Matthew Rathbun

    July 1, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Frank,

    I don’t know what’s worse… NAR’s bad attempt at projections or that fact that your regular consumer doesn’t even really know who they are. I don’t know that the average consumer sees NAR as more than a buzzing sound in the background who runs bad, late night commercials. Of course financial people and those in the press are laughing….

    I think if members would concentrate on their local and state associations (at least in VA) they would do much better in their business. There are a number of tools out there to help, but NAR is becoming a barrier.

    I think it’s fixable.. but it’s going to take a lot of time and work. It’ll either improve or go away. It can’t stay the same.

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