Answering Questions on Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow and the Like
When I first subcribed to Top Producer and got my TP (Realtor.com) website, I was really excited when I was contacted to become an "Ask a Realtor" Realtor.
I used to look forward to getting the "New Ask a REALTOR Questions Available to Answer" email. I stopped answering the questions quite some time ago mainly because when I clicked the link to answer the questions in my email, I had to literally hunt down the questions that I wanted to answer.
The second reason and probably should really be the first reason that I stopped is because the questions were usually not specific to my local market nor the State of Alabama in general so I quickly became bored with not really being able to be helpful. And I certainly didn't want to make matters worse by pretending the be the know it all Realtor when in fact, I knew nothing about the laws in their state.
In a nutshell, here is my current position on responding to questions via these sources (Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, etc), unless I can give a very general response, I likely won't answer at all. I figure that if I offer any advice, even if it led with "every market is different but in my market" it would only still serve to:
- not answer the questions
- confuse the consumer even more since they are likely not familiar with the real estate laws in their state (hence the need to "Ask a Realtor."
- and it is highly likely that any advice addressing a particular question in detail would surely be violatoin of some rule related to Realtor/client relationships.
Well how do I know they are working with a Realtor you might ask? That's an easy one to answer because the consumer usually starts out something like this "My Realtor ......................"
I haven't found myself to be really useful since I don't live in the areas for which the questions are being asked and I forget that I can seek out questions specific to my area so (if I can remember), I guess I'll give that a try. But for the rest, I'll just continue to respond with "The best advice that I can offer is to consult with your agent, particularly since your agent has far more information than is being supplied here...."
My advice to consumers asking questions on these sites: be very careful who you take advice from. If you received detailed advice to your question from an agent that does not live in your state, I would thank them very kindly for the advice they've given, but I'd hardly consider taking said advice.
Real estate laws vary from state to state and if you are going to take advice from anyone in the real estate profession, be certain that they have the credentials to qualify to answer your question(s).
And if you have a question about real estate in the Metropolitan Birmingham market, you can always contact your friendly neighborhood Realtor.