Monthly Notes | Seeking Better Realtors, Population Controls, The Market & Realtors -v- Zillow

Until the end of this year, I’m going to be posting my monthly notes. So far, I’ve written these note for 18 months, and the only thing that I’ve lamented about the notes is the lack of search- and link-ability. I’ve written before that the blog is my pensieve, and, simply, I want to be able to link to these stories for my clients (and for me).

So, apologies for the cluttering of your feeds for the next few days (fixing formatting from the notes to the blog is time-consuming). This is from March 2013.

The Monthly Notes category.


 

Be aware

of so-called social media credit scores Who are you? What do your pictures say about you? Do you write in complete sentences? Do you use correct grammar? Do you make racist comments? Who are your friends? What about them? These are the sorts of things that I see as an inevitable (and regrettable) evolution of social media and lending) – banks using social media to determine credit scores. While not yet mainstream (publicly – I’m skeptical) I have a feeling they’re going to affect a lot of things in the future.

What’s a realtor do better than zillow?

This is a question that all real estate agents should be asking themselves. Every. Single. Day. Consumers are.

Here’s the thing. A good Realtor can discern the difference between good data, bad data, good agents, bad agents … call it professional intuition or the application of the 10,000 Hour Rule. Data is useful, but the data has to be clean and accurate for it to be relevant. I’m going to be exploring the “what can a realtor do better than zillow” next week on RealCentralVA (actually writing thisweek, posting next …)

 

Where do you get your information?

What do you read? I try to read (and, if I’m honest, skim) a lot. I’m always looking for what folks are reading – what do fellow real estate professionals read? What do consumers read? If you’d be so kind (if you’re inclined) to tell me the three most important/relevant sites/newspapers/magazines you read, I’d be most grateful. Mine are: Charlottesville Tomorrow for local news, Techmeme & Read/Write Web for tech news, andBig Picture and Calculated Risk for economic stuff. I read a lot more on my tablets and phone(s), so keeping things together is a challenge. I’ve found the Pocket App to be invaluable. I highly, highly recommend it. That plus Evernote, of course.

Population Controls in Charlottesville and Albemarle?

I’m always torn …. I love Charlottesville and Albemarle. Seemingly the Realtors’ groups are always pro-growth. ASAP (Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population) are seemingly no-growth. I make my living representing folks who are moving to Charlottesville and Albemarle (and those who are moving from same) … and they move here (and stay here as I do) because it’s a great place to live. I’ve been invited to participate on a panel populated by ASAP skeptics to discuss their recent renewed call for restricted population in Charlottesville and Albemarle (kind of makes me think of people as deer when framed that way).

I know this – I love this place and I see its ongoing destruction as a bad thing – for the quality of life, quality of real estate market and quality of the environment. I don’t agree fully with either Realtors or ASAP, but I’d like to think I could offer constructive conversation in the middle. I’m still debating accepting the offer, but I’m inclined to say yes.

Maybe now that my term on the Realtor Board of Directors is ending I’ll be better able to speak out. 🙂

The market

It’s weird. The City of Charlottesville market is still trying to make its mind up as to whether everything’s going to sell fast or nothing will. Buyers are lining up for limited inventory, agents are having extreme difficulty finding homes to show, and many of the contracts that do get written end up being harder than ever to keep together. The definition of “normal” shifts. Seemingly every week. All I can say is that if you’re not paying attention to the market – seeing what’s new, what’s going under contract, what’s selling – for how much and how fast – when the time comes for you to make a decision (or advise a client to make a decision) you’re not going to be prepared. (This is yet another argument against part-time agents; this is not a part-time profession) If you happen to be seeking buyer or seller representation, I’d love the opportunity to have a conversation with you.

I went on a co-listing appointment recently with another agent in my firm whom I like and respect.

We’ve never worked together. We met at the house, spent a long time with the sellers and parted ways, When we met up the next day to discuss our impressions about the house, how it fits into the market, what things the seller should be doing over the next few months for preparation … My first question for her was “How did I do? What could I have done better?” And her question to me was the same. Working with professionals who acknowledge that we’re always striving to get better is gratifying. One of the most gratifying parts of the conversation/feedback was that I had demonstrated my expertise (and she had as well) in such a setting. I love and appreciate testimonials from my clients; positive feedback from a colleague is equally valuable (and moreso in some respects).

Better realtors wanted.

I hope your attention span’s not so short that you’ve already forgotten how I made the distinction above between good real estate agents and not-so-good ones.

I mentioned on Google Plus about how a Virginia Association of Realtors’ workgroup I was on talked about Realtor (real estate agent) professionalism. I’ve said for years that I wouldn’t have been able to have competently represented my clients or been successful had I not had my mom as a mentor. The value of having someone with whom I closely worked and trusted is indescribable. I still write my closing costs clause the way she taught me; attorneys have mentioned (in front of clients) that the “etc” is a crucial component to that clause. It’s weird, though – as our career trajectories crossed a couple years ago, it’s just weird. I help her with stuff as she helped me in the beginning, and it’s humbling and gratifying. I hope that my work ethic equals hers (it never will).

Last month on RealCentralVA, I talked about Zillow and Google (I’ve since ordered an Android Nexus 4 and should have working it by the time you read this newsletter) Crozet getting a new hotel, neighbors affecting market value and had a little lesson in reputation management.

 

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