"Dear Real Estate Professional, I'd Like to See a House, please"

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A few months ago, I posted a Help Wanted ad for a graphics designer on www.Guru.com. If you've never used Guru - it's a wonderful resource! Basically, it's on online database of freelancers who are looking for work.help

Anyway, within 24 hours of posting my ad, I got at least 30 responses. Complete with resumes, pricing estimates and requests for further information about my project. All 30 responders seemed to sincerely want my business and not a one of them lectured, belittled or condescended to me.

Well, duh, you say, they're after your business, why on earth would they be anything but delightful in their first encounter with you?

My thoughts exactly.

Well, last night, one of my SWS readers sent me a link to a thread on Trulia. I'm not familiar with the Trulia forums, but it appears that it's a place where regular people post questions to the real estate community, hoping to get answers. (again, duh).

On this particular thread, the buyer was simply asking for information about a listing she found online. I was stunned at the level of lecturing, belittling and condescension expressed by the responding real estate "professionals." More than half of the responders sternly advised her to speak with a mortgage broker before "bothering" (okay, that's my word, but the message was clear) a real estate agent. Another instructed her to better educate herself on the process before looking at homes, and helpfully provided links (surprisingly, not even to his own material, but stuff from NAR). Only two agents actually offered to show her the home, but even they seemed disinterested in becoming her favorite real estate agent.

I gotta ask... WHY are these agents wasting their precious time on the Trulia forum if all they're going to do is alienate the prospects they're supposedly there to find?

Are graphics designers on guru.com more desperate than real estate agents (HA!) and therefore only grudgingly concede to being polite, enthusiastic and responsive? Whereas we in the real estate industry are so buried under a pile of qualified buyers and motivated sellers to the point where we simply don't have a minute to spare to be polite, enthusiastic and responsive?

ROFLMAO. I crack myself up.



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Stephanie Crawford
KW Nashville - Nashville, TN

I participate too! The best thing about Trulia is the linking capabilities. The link to your real estate website at the bottom if those answers are stong and help with SEO.


Jun 09, 2009 08:51 AM #44
Erika Rogers
Red Rock Real Estate ~ Southern Utah's Largest Independent Brokerage - Saint George, UT
St George Utah Real Estate & Relocation Specialist

All the nasties in the world only make the kind hearted souls be more appreciated!  But seriously, do they really have nothing better to do with their time?

Jun 09, 2009 09:24 AM #45
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

Excellent post, Jennifer.  You do wonder how these people stay in business.  Or maybe nobody hires them, and that's why they are on the internet forums, trolling, making themselves feel superior while they have soem downtime after their Home Depot shift...

Jun 09, 2009 02:02 PM #46
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

Oh, Lord. That's why I don't bother with the Trulia site unless it's a question I can answer that will be helpful to the consumer. I haven't been so fortunate to get a question like that about a house though...wish I did.

Jun 09, 2009 02:03 PM #47
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Yay!  I love this.  I read some of the answers on there and just cringe.  I can only imagine how it comes across to the innocent consumer.

Recently, one BROKER posted a very disparaging remark about agents who were "ONLY" REALTORS and not, ahem, the much more highly exalted BROKER.  In one poorly written paragraph, she managed to insult every REALTOR out there, which was, of course, her intent.  I think most consumers are going to take it for what it is and move on to someone who isn't do defensive and insulting. I certainly would not do business with someone who feels the need to put that out there for everyone to read.

Jun 09, 2009 03:16 PM #48
Bill Saunders, Realtor®
Meyers Realty - Hot Springs, AR

As always, an excellent post Jennifer...I do agree with Karen, of course.

Jun 09, 2009 03:25 PM #49
Andrew Martin
REMAX Accord - San Ramon, CA

I stopped going on Trulia forum, as I found that is just a place that angry buyers and agents got together to bash on each other. I also believe most of the questions posed on the forum are somehow "fake" and just put out there to stimulate the angry conversation.

Too often I see questions like   " how much is a 3 bedroom house in xxxx city?"  It's like asking how much does a car cost?  Then the agents trip over each other to try to give legitmate answers, like "well, it depends how big the house is and what part of town it's in, etc. etc.". It cracks me up to see agents try to give real answers to fake/stupid questions.

Anyway, if your angry and want to pick a fight with someone, Trulia is where it's done. But, I certainly don't have time for that much fun.

Jun 09, 2009 03:29 PM #50
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices


Isn't it strange, that the majority of comments on my blog about showing properties without making buyers jump through the hoops, were vigorously defending the position that if you do go and show, you waste your valuable time.

You have a much better succes in that sense. I guess it is how you put the things. You did it very nicely, and it pays off (LOL).

Good discussion, though

Jun 09, 2009 03:34 PM #51
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

Bill, I knew you were an intelligent fella the moment I met you.

Well, online anyway. ;)

Jun 09, 2009 03:35 PM #52
Christianne O'Malley
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates - Reno, NV
Exceptional Service - Delivering Results in Reno!

I see this a lot and often wonder where these agents come from?? And out from WHAT rock?? I am signed up to get questions from Trulia and Zillow but apparently the people in my community aren't using those platforms to ask questions...I am not sure whether to be happy about that or not after reading this article and those comments...

I don't like having to deal with another agent's baggage they've imparted on a client when I pick them up...it's like dating someone who always wants to talk about their ex-girlfriend or boyfriend...I just want to say: I get it, they sucked. Acknowledge and MOVE ON! :-)

Jun 09, 2009 04:13 PM #53
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Jennifer -- You provide keen insight into how to think like a buyer if you want to capture one.  Well said.

Jun 09, 2009 04:51 PM #54
Brian Brady

I gotta ask... WHY are these agents wasting their precious time on the Trulia forum if all they're going to do is alienate the prospects they're supposedly there to find?

The agents are correct but oh, so wrong in the way they behave online.  There is no upside from lecturing the willing buyer about how he/she is "doing it all wrong".  The customer might not "always be right" but the old saw "nobody likes the smartest person in the room" certainly does apply here.

Jun 09, 2009 05:36 PM #55
Heather Oberhau
Prudential Fox & Roach - Newtown, PA
Bucks County Real Estate, e-PRO

This is how I feel about it - put out what you want to get back.  I answer questions if I have something to add (Not to be the 6th Realtor to tell someone that the house sold for $437,500. That looks completely stupid).  I'll answer them truthfully, compassionately, and how I would like to be spoken to.  Others can do the same, and then we'll all get the appropriate clients.

REALTORS who go on and lecture BUYERS can get the people who want someone to tell them what to do.  BROKERS who go on and trash REALTORS can get the people who hate REALTORS.  They're all welcome to those people.  I don't wanna work with them.

It's a double edged sword - on one hand, I'm embarrassed to be in the same "group" as these people, but on the other, it sure makes me look good.

Jun 09, 2009 10:50 PM #56
Marian Goetzinger
Pine Knoll Shores Realty 252-422-9000 - Pine Knoll Shores, NC
Crystal Coast Real Estate NC

Jennifer,  Loved this post and will take time later today to read all the responses, but I'm with Lenn...send them to me.  I'll treat them like the most special, important person I've communicated with today.  That's how we should treat everyone.  Unfortunately, many people are in our business accidentally and really need to find a different vocation.  I think many think that they sound "impressive" when they over qualify buyers or sellers.  Thanks for the POST!

Jun 09, 2009 10:51 PM #57
Heather Oberhau
Prudential Fox & Roach - Newtown, PA
Bucks County Real Estate, e-PRO

Oh, but the one REALTOR who trashes other REALTORS in my area infuriates me.    I'm human.  I don't like taking potshots more than anyone else.  I do think the best policy is to let him/her hang himself/herself, though.

Jun 09, 2009 10:52 PM #58
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Jon Z - Ahhhh, don't give me too much credit. I get blasted frequently for stating what seems obvious to me - be nice to people when you meet them and show them some respect - as someone else commented - it makes so much more sense to build rapport first, educate a little later. BTW - have you read your "friend's" more recent posts? All about giving other people the benefit of the doubt!!!!!

Heather - I've seen your posts on Trulia and compared to the crowd around there, you come out looking like a star. But I agree... it's embarrassing to be associated with such nonsense.

Marian - It seems so obvious to me. What cracks me up is all the people who get into real estate because they "love people" ... and then you see this stuff...!

Brian - I've never heard that saying before but I love it!!!

Chris - Thank you!

Christianne - don't you love it when you meet someone who says "I don't like Realtors?" And you really can't blame them.

Andrew - I'll remember that the next time I'm itching for a fight... www.trulia.com.


Jun 10, 2009 12:06 AM #59
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Karen - that's a topic for a different day, perhaps, but I do wonder... it seems that some of the nastiest agents have all the time in the world to be spreading their nastiness online... but then again, some of us nice folks seems to play here a lot, too.

Jun 10, 2009 12:10 AM #60
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

It doesn't make any sense to me why they would be like this to potential clients.

Jun 10, 2009 03:41 PM #61
Elaine Cooper
Fillmore Real Estate - Brooklyn, NY
Multi Family House, Co-op & Condo Specialist - Brooklyn, NY

One of the reasons I stopped answering questions on Trulia is I don't want to spend my time growing Trulia's business and helping it rank on the search engines.  I'd much rather set my own site up as a place where buyers and sellers in my area want to come to ask questions.   Next thing you know, Trulia will start charging us to answer questions about our own listings that appear on their site.   

Jun 11, 2009 04:17 PM #62
DeJaniera B. Little
Weichert Real Estate - Philadelphia, PA

Ok...after reading all these great responses, I wonder if I should continue with Truelia at all...I did notice something though..

A interested first time homebuyer asked a question about homes in a certain neighborhood in February 2009.  Her question didn't get answered until June 2009.  There was a swarm of agents spewing out their resumes in 5 sentences or less but NOT ONE OF THEM asked if she was still (given the time frame between question and answer) looking to purchase a home in the area of if at all for that matter...


Jul 29, 2009 06:34 AM #63
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