Question and Answer: Ask a Real Estate Professional

Real Estate Technology with ActiveRain

I was talking to Jim Cronin from The Real Estate Tomato ealier today and he mentioned that there are three things that increasingly are defining consumers on the Internet. 

  1. They want access to as much information as possible.
  2. They want to maintain their privacy and anonymity.
  3. They don't want to make a committment until they are ready.


If you try to take away their anonymity or make todays Internet consumer commit before getting information, you will end up hemmoraging potential clients.  This is one of the reasons that blogging is fast becoming such an effective tool for "pull marketing" because it allows for an exchange of information and gives the consumer control.

To further build on this concept ActiveRain is launching, "Ask a real estate professional" a question and answer service to allow consumers to get answers to real estate questions they have while maintaining their privacy.  By answering questions, real estate professionals can create a dialog and build trust with potential clients. 

This weekend you will see an link for this service begin to appear on certain pages of both ActiveRain and Localism.

Consumers will be able to use this functionality to send questions to members of ActiveRain.  These questions will be flagged with a region, so that members can easily find the questions to answer that are in their market area.  The consumer will have control over how they receive the responses from our members.  We'll allow as many members to want to provide and answer to the question, which will then be made available to the consumer who asked the question. 

It should be noted that that "Ask a Real Estate Expert" functionality won't appear on profiles or personal blogs, only more communal areas of ActiveRain.  We plan of extending it so that members can place it on their personal pages or even their own web sites in the future.  In this scendario the questions from their pages will be directed specifically to them instead of being answered by the full community.

During the initial "testing" phase we aren't going to open this functionalty up to the whole community, instead if you are interested in participating in the test send an email to us via the feedback form and we will give you access.  As always let us know if you have any questions or your concerns because your feedback will help us shape the final functionality.

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Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Sounds like a great idea to me, Matt.

Like Brian, I use meebo too, but nothing yet (just set it up very recently).


Feb 24, 2007 07:54 AM #38
  1. They want access to as much information as possible.
  2. They want to maintain their privacy and anonymity.
  3. They don't want to make a committment until they are ready.

Matt-As a consumer, I would just like to say you hit it right on the head. Basically, we are looking for someone to trust. And the only way we can know if someone is trustworthy is base their comments versus what we perceive as reality. Agents can control the conversartion by giving information with their spin on it.

I think one of the best realtors on the net for both generating discussion, showing what he does for clients, giving information, and his spin on it. Is Jim Klinge over at . He impresses me with his METRICS for evaluating the market, and his honesty in his comments. When he gives some numbers and says "This market isn't that bad" I believe him. Where another realtor might say "This market is good", my natural inclination is to think that of course they will talk up the market because they need the commission.

I think if people learn to just post the numbers (inventory, pending, cancellations, BOM, maybe chop it up versus high end and low end on pricing etc) in HISTORICAL context and (this is the key point) not RUN AWAY (like so many do) when the numbers look a little bad, you will be WAY AHEAD of the game. People will come for the numbers, and stay for the commentary. People are looking for why they shouldn't go with a redfin or Buysiderealty, because they aren't seeing the VALUE of the Realtors in their local market. Show them your value, not by saying you give value, but by actually giving away a little value (your market knowledge and your numbers on evaluating a market), this will turn into leads and sales.

Feb 24, 2007 08:18 AM #39
Kyle Frazier
Christie's Great Estates | Pacific Union International - Mill Valley, CA
Kyle Frazier , CRS & Marin CA Realtor

I would be pleased to participate.  Please include me in the experiment.  Looking forward to seeing how it works out.

Feb 24, 2007 08:51 AM #40
Jim Lee
RE/MAX Shoreline - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH

Back in the mid 90s or so the Tennessee Association of Realtors (TAR) invited a group of home buyers that purchased a Tenneessee home using a Tennessee Realtor they found via the internet to participate in a panel discussion about their home buying experience.

TAR flew them down to Destin, Florida where we held our convention and gave them a 5 day, all expenses paid vacation for participating.

One of my buyer families was selected and participated in the discussions.

They all agreed on the same things during their information and home searching days; the exact same things Matt and The Tomato said today.

  1. "They want access to as much information as possible.
  2. They want to maintain their privacy and anonymity.
  3. They don't want to make a committment until they are ready."

True 8 years ago, true today.

Feb 24, 2007 10:49 AM #41
Eric Bouler
Gardner Realtors, Licensed in La. - New Orleans, LA
Listening to your Needs
Count me in. Sounds like a good idea. it tends to work that way and they will pick up the phone and/or  e-mail you when they are ready. You just need enough content that is of interest and be where you could be seen. eric
Feb 24, 2007 10:59 AM #42
Kaushik Sirkar
Call Realty, Inc. - Chandler, AZ
Sounds great!  Looking forward to trying to answer questions that folks may have!
Feb 24, 2007 11:54 AM #43
Elaine Reese, REALTOR® in central Ohio
Real Living HER, Powell Ohio - Powell, OH
What Mariana and Renee said is very important! It should not only be state specific but also city specific, as laws and customs differ. Plus, it should be specific as to whether a Realtor® answers or a mortgage person. Having an unqualified person answering questions they shouldn't be answering, would be awful. There is some mis-representing here, so caution should be taken. 
Feb 24, 2007 11:55 AM #44
Susan Milner
Florida Future Realty, Inc. - Cape Coral, FL
Cape Coral Real Estate Broker, FloridaFutureAgents
That's very cool. Consumers do WANT this. I have been doing this on another site for a while & it's been fun. Thanks for adding it!
Feb 24, 2007 01:02 PM #45
Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton
Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC - Hilton Head Island, SC
Wow, this post got a lot of responses--Ask a Real Estate Professional is a super idea.  Love the creative genuises here!
Feb 24, 2007 11:07 PM #46
Don Fabrizio-Garcia
Fab Real Estate - Danbury, CT
Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate

Elaine, Mariana and Renee are concerned about members giving advice they are not qualified to give.  Good point.  Perhaps each "Q&A" page should have a disclaimer to the consumer, stating that they should be cautious to obtain additional information as needed from a local real estate professional, and for more information to contact the appropriate professional, such as a real estate attorney, tax advisor, etc.

Also - we as professionals should be smart enough to temper some of our responses with "Speak to a real estate attorney (or your tax advisor, etc.) for more information," as needed.  If anyone reads Bob Bruss' real estate Q&A, you'll see he always answers but then advises the consumer to speak to the appropriate professional for more information on their specific circumstances.

Feb 24, 2007 11:22 PM #47

Agents have long survived and thrived on the being the exclusive providers of houses for sale information. An industry report by Swanepoel ( says that the Internet has changed all that. So what does that mean for us homebuyers? Lower commissions maybe?

Feb 26, 2007 07:27 AM #48
Scott Gormley
Oak Valley Mortgage-California Home Loans and Refinancing - Chico, CA

I think this is a great idea! I would be more than open to participating in California for home loan topics...


Feb 26, 2007 10:19 AM #49
Leigh Brown
Leigh Brown & Associates, RE/MAX Executive - Charlotte, NC
CEO, Dream Maker - Charlotte, NC
Hey Mikey-thanks for your consumer viewpoint-appreciated!  I like this idea, Matt.  Can I ask a stupid question and ask where the feedback form is?  I clicked on the 'ask' graphic and got the blank form?  That one?
Feb 27, 2007 05:34 AM #50
Deborah Burns ~ Seattle Real Estate Agent
Realty Executives -BRIO - Seattle, WA
Hi Leigh,  To find the feedback form, scroll to the bottom of this page, in the right corner you will see "Contact Active Rain", click on that and it brings up the feedback form and voila!  :  )
Feb 27, 2007 07:03 AM #51
Jim & Maria Hart
Brand Name Real Estate - Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC Real Estate

We're late to this party, but think this is an awesome feature that you're adding!  We're sending in the feedback form right now.

Feb 28, 2007 07:18 AM #52
Alexander Harb
Knights Investing - Mesquite, TX
Dallas, Texas Real Estate Investing

I agree with Mikey....

This is an GREAT way to let consumers get info with out making them feel nervous....

Let us know when it becomes available to link to it in our websites.......and I hope we will be able to get picture links (Like the AR links) so we can spice up our sites with even MORE consumer user functionality....

WTG guys at AR!!


Mar 02, 2007 06:01 AM #53
Timothy Schwartz
Century 21 Mack Morris Iris Lurie - Marlboro Twp, NJ
Has any consumers asked any questions from this particular link yet.  I would be curious to know, I know it is new but we all now how pervasive the internet is.
Mar 02, 2007 11:40 AM #54
Sabine Pyrchalla
Colorado Springs, CO
Sorry I'm taggin' along this late...but if it's still possible to "play" with that feature? I'd love to be added....
Mar 06, 2007 03:11 PM #55
Gerhard Ade
RSVP Real Estate - Seattle, WA
What sets me apart, will set you apart.

Seattle Real EstateJim Cronin is right on the money:

Consumers want MAX access, MAX privacy, and NO commitment until they are READY. This pretty much describes our society. More and more lonely loonies lurking in their living rooms with their laptops. Is that too much alliteration for one sentence? And the graphic says "Lime"!

Mar 29, 2007 07:27 PM #56
Aug 16, 2007 05:05 AM #57
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