I’m going to be posting my previously-written monthly notes. Since starting these in early 2013, 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 one is from February 2013.
The best education is practice. And screwing up. And learning from mistakes. But experience doesn’t satisfy licensing law requirements. So, we have continuing education. If you want a good laugh (or cry), have a look at some of my favorite continuing “education” questions and answers. I pulled some of the best from the 20+ hours I recently completed. This is one of my favorites:
REALTORS® cannot be fully informed on all matters at all times, and should therefore …
A. learn to hide their incompetency’s (sic)
B. be honest with their clients about their expertise
C. secretly request help from other REALTORS®
D. give up trying.
Really. But here’s the thing – rarely is a continuing education class valuable – either boring or time consuming or inconvenient or all three. I’d much prefer to have a three hour dinner with fellow professionals and a guided conversation and debate about fair housing or contracts or legal updates. I’ve long argued for – and worked on committees to solve – better education. But … more and better education would likely reduce the number of paying licensees, and that’s probably not something that the Commonwealth wants. As an agent, I know that the best way to ascertain the competence of another agent isn’t the number of continuing education hours, number of transactions or the alphabet soup after their name – it’s reputation and this is a confounding challenge for consumers. I’ll address this in detail next month.
By the time I send this, elections in Central Virginia will likely be mostly decided. I hope you voted wherever you are. Albemarle County looks to be seeing a massive shift in our Board of Supervisors and the City of Charlottesville maintains their party status quo.
One of the things about local politics that most saddens me (other than the fact that we have Democrat and Republican designations at the local level) is just how much money is spent in local races – Albemarle and Charlottesville both participate in the Virginia Public Access Project and I highly encourage you to take a look at just how much is being given and by whom. $130k was raised in one of the Albemarle County Supervisors races. $130k! For a position that pays less than $20k a year, and ostensibly isn’t a full-time job. That’s insane.
Either way, these local elections matter. Enormously.
Differences of Data and Opinion.
I wrote a story in which I called the Association’s automatically-pulled numbers wrong. And then I apologized for my tone and bluntness. I won’t change my opinion that when pulling the numbers in October 2013 for October 2012 – the numbers pulled in 2013 are more accurate than those pulled in 2012. Since I wrote my post a couple weeks ago, the number of homes sold in October 2013 has increased from 625 to 641. Accuracy matters.
I’ve opted to not get into the details here as I’m not entirely sure what “winning” would mean. So I’m not going to poke this with a stick, but I am going to ensure that the data I provide to my clients (and readers) is as accurate as I can possible make it. If you have questions about this, please ask. I’m happy to share.
Zillow vs the NAR.
Zillow’s been in the news quite a bit recently, notably the Washington Post after Zillow’s housing forum. Zillow is eating the NAR’s lunch. The NAR -v- Zillow debate is one that is seemingly inside baseball for those not in the midst of the conversations all the time. The crux is this – I think the NAR is losing its voice to Zillow.
I’ve been a Realtor since 2001 and every year I’ve challenged (and been challenged about) the NAR’s credibility in the marketplace. Here’s the thing – who is the NAR’s customer? Realtors pay dues, but the NAR purports to be the “Voice of Real Estate” – but they (we) are a trade association – representing Realtors. A lot of consumers aren’t happy about paying real estate commissions and frankly, I earn my living earning commissions; the two sides are in direct opposition. The NAR has so many masters while Zillow has a few – their stockholders, their customers (the advertisers), their customers (the paying real estate people) and the public.
But here’s the main question I have – for economic news about the housing market – whom does the consumer trust more – the National Association of Realtors or Zillow? Neither?
Walking a Mile (in my shoes).
I was inspired to write this story and it’s one that I think will resonate with other real estate pros, but it’s one that I think would hold more value to real estate consumers – it’s why I do what I do. The ups, the downs, the joys and the sacrifices – and the choices being a real estate agent allow me to make.
From the Blogs.
RealCentralVA – I wrote 16 stories in October; here are six stories that might be interesting to you. Zillow says (again) that their Zestimates aren’t accurate. The forthcoming Costco in Charlottesville will get a gas station. List to sales price ratios in Charlottesville vary – wildly and widely. Could Charlottesville/Albemarle become walkable?Paying for every mile you drive instead of a gas tax. Hmmmm. Interestingly, this is my most-Google-plused post –Walking a Mile (in My Shoes) as a Real Estate Agent; coincidentally, it’s one of my most favorite posts I’ve written in a while.
RealCrozetVA (a community blog for Crozet, VA) – 20 stories posted. Results of the “Does Crozet Need a Hotel Survey?”. Sidewalks are coming to 250. The Crozet Trails Crew 5K was a huge success. Recapping the Crozet Community Advisory Council meeting (a must-read for Crozetians). Help get more hours at the Crozet Library. And finally, I’ve massively upgraded the Crozet Calendar.
I’ll talk about life after the Board of Directors. I’ve spent the last six or seven (or eight?) years on the local Board of Directors and December will be my last meeting. It’s been a valuable time and an education in the maintenance of the status quo. 2014 will be the first in many years that I won’t be on any local real estate committees.
PS – If you’re interested in some scary reading, may I suggest John Whitehead’s emails?
Note the pen. I love this new pen.