Over two years ago, I wrote a post entitled, "But I did Stay at a Holiday Inn Express!"
If you're not familiar with this series of TV commercial spots by Holiday Inn Express, it shows guests who attempt extremely difficult or complicated jobs (brain surgery, rodeo clown) because they got such a great night's sleep at the Holiday Inn Express.
Historically, ActiveRain has had a 'Question & Answer' feature on their Home Page, but it tends to get cluttered with questions from other members or SPAM from various solicitors.
Earlier this evening, I received an email alert from Zillow Advice where a homeowner down in Port Orchard WA asked the question:
"Is now a good time to sell or should we wait until summer when it shows better?"
Someone else had already responded to the question - a real estate agent in Minnesota. He began his answer with "I am not familiar with the market in Washington State, but"...
"No, I'm not a Brain Surgeon, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night!"
Unfortunately, on some of these platforms, members are awarded points for the questions they answer. The more points they earn, the higher up in the pecking order they are (gee, sounds familiar, huh?) So their motivation in responding to questions isn't always because they can offer the best, qualified answer. It's so they can earn more points.
I penned my response to the homeowner's question, but prefaced it with a short comment to the Minnesota agent. I simply said, "If you're not licensed in Washington State or familiar with the market here, then please extend the professional courtesy 'NOT' to answer.
A short while later, a Zillow 'ALL-STAR' added the following comment to the stream:
Minnesota Agent: Thanks for an excellent answer!
Rich: your spam and violation of the good neighbor policy has been reported to the moderators. (PS. I do live in Washington state and there is no policy that one must be a local spammer to answer questions).
Excuse me? Good Neighbor policy? When did I access the State Farm website?
I quickly shot back my volley response:
With all due respect, my 1st comment was directed towards the agent in Minnesota, and it in no way constitutes any form of spam or violation of the 'good neighbor' policy. I was simply expressing my concern that he was rendering an opinion that was outside of his ability to answer accurately. We owe the consumers who ask these questions the value of our expertise and knowledge within our respective markets. He even begins his comment with "I am not familiar with your market"... Real estate professionals who frequent this platform should refrain from answering questions outside of their market area, especially questions that are specific in nature.
The points or recommendations that I made in the Holiday Inn article still hold true today:
- If you're not licensed or regularly doing business within a particular State, DON'T respond to questions there.
- If the question subject matter deals with a topic/issue that is outside your area of expertise and knowledge, DON'T respond.
ACTION POINT: Do you utilize Trulia Voices or Zillow Advice? What has been your experience? Do you feel it's permissible to answer questions from outside your market area?
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An avid blogger since 2005, Rich has published over 1000 articles, most related to real estate. He enjoys using the tools of social media to brag/boast about the quality of Life on the picturesque Kitsap Peninsula in scenic WA State. He is a licensed real estate professional providing knowledgeable empowerment and relentless representation for his clients of residential properties and vacant land throughout all of Kitsap County WA and portions of Pierce, Mason, and Jefferson Counties. You can also find him at KitsapLife.com, SOUNDBITEBLOG, Crabbing in the Hood, Everyday CK, Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail: email@example.com