Are you frustrated like I am, when you get an e-mail, where the anonymous ...let's use Michael Russer's term "Internet Empowered Consumer" sends you an e-mail and asks a question? One question only. Whether it is price or whatever? And you know that the answer is irrelevant to that property? Or that there is no way you can establish this relevance. When you understand that no mater what you answer, it would be the wrong answer? Because the only right answer is often "TALK TO ME". It does not cost you a penny, I am willing to educate, to give you the best information available, I will open your eyes to things that you do not know and would not know.
But they do not call, and we send them a nice letter with the answer to their question and the explanation of all the good things we can do for them. And never hear back.
It is like someone would be making a decision on the merits of Leo Tolstoy's novel "War & Peace" based on which letter is 7th from the left margin on line 14 on page 56.
In the era of the Internet when we sit at the computer, who is the smartest, the fastest, and simply the best? We are.
We can get information by a single click, we can find anything we can think of.... And we tend to believe that the ultimate knowledge is a click away. What we confuse is the availability of information and the skills set. The fact that we can find and read any law, and any legal opinion does not make us a lawyer. Because the outcome depends not only on what is written in the books, but in major part on the experience and the skills of the attorney.
Knowing how to shoot a gun does not make you a military genius. And watching House on TV for a few years does not make you a doctor. So, why reading newspaper articles and watching HGTV make people often think that they are ready to buy or sell their property better than a real estate professional?
We have people walking into our office in the resort, which is a condo-hotel, and asking one question. "I only need prices" or "I only need to know what the Association fee is" or "what is the split between the rental company and the owner", or something else. Always bits and pieces that would hardly ever create the adequate picture.
If they have access to the information, do they know what we know? If they think they do, they are dead wrong. I can talk about condo-hotels and all the issues for hours and hours. I recently got an e-mail requesting that I send them the monthly association fee for each of 14 condo-hotels in Daytona, so that they can make a decision based on that. What decision? Oh, they will decide which a better buy is. Heck no.
The amount of monthly association fee gives you only ... the amount of the association fee. Nothing else. Assuming that I have some knowledge of condo-hotels in the area, would I be able to tell them what is good and what is not? No. I would need to know about the buyer. I would first need to know whether it is for them. Do they have a pet, do they think about retiring in the area in the future, how dependent they are on the income, how a potentially $10K assessment would affect them, so that they do not end in a foreclosure a year from now.
How often people come to condo-hotels only because of the price. Like in a tale, where a passerby see a drunk guy on his knees under the street light looking for the wrist watch. After fruitless search he asks
• - So, where exactly did you drop the watch?
• - Around the corner just a block from here
• - Why on earth are you looking for it here?
• - It's dark there
Yes, condo-hotels may be inexpensive, but do you enjoy losing "only" $50,000?
Take the association fee, for example. If in this resort it is $255 a month and in another one it is $528, does it mean that you get a better deal in the first one? Even if the first one splits 50/50, and in the other you get only 45%?
No. Because the other has 70% occupancy and their daily rate is $85, and the first one has 23% occupancy and are happy to discount the rate to $29 a night. 45% of something is more than 50% of nothing. Even a simple math like this often eludes Internet buyers. I used only 3 parameters, and there are dozens and dozens more. The reality is that the factors that are really important are not what they see and ever know about. The numbers may look OK but non-compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act of 1993 may potentially cost them a lot of money. And it is not readily observable, even when you are on the property, and even less when you are a at your computer.
THERE IS SO MUCH THAT THEY CAN LEARN FROM US, BUT THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND IT, AND YET THINK THAT THEY KNOW.
People wouldn't do appendectomy on themselves, even though it is relatively simple. Because the complication can lead to death. And the other big issue is that we are afraid of pain. And the only thing that really stops us from doing it is that the doctor knows how to control pain.
If we were able to convey the pain of losing money, there would be fewer gamblers, trying to buy or sell real estate without a professional.
But we are all gamblers.
Imagine bumping into an old man telling you what to do. Would you listen to him as a guru? Heck no. What if this was a famous professor, an authority on the subject, whom you deeply respect and admire, would you.
Are we professors in the street where people do not know us?
Jon Zolsky, your Daytona Beach connection