Where National Realty Websites Fail the Most
Becoming a Realtor has been different than expected. For one, the hours. I thought I’d work mostly nights and weekends. I do, but I also work M-F 9-5 also. The other main thing is that sometimes I don’t sell. I un-sell. Someone has the wrong lender; unsell. Someone likes a horrible house; un-sell. New construction salesperson fails gives limited or false data; unsell. You get the point… It may come off as controlling, but its really helping people see the possible impacts of their prospectively bad decisions.
But the main thing that can be frustrating, is what normally would be commendable: having a client that likes to research. Self study. The problem isn’t with them, but the quality and relevance of the material.
There’s certainly plenty of information out there. Blogs, websites, articles…. everyone wants to help, and everyone has an opinion. No one has an editor or publisher anymore. (That’s the folks that pay attention to fact checking and sources). One thing that many clients don’t understand is how ‘hit or miss’ our industry can be regarding knowledge and training. If I worked for IBM or Apple, and my boss had an employee meeting or training session, I’d better be there, right? Not in Real Estate! As free agent contractors, we have the power of choice. For nearly all of my career, I’ve been a broker that sold, plus a trainer of other agents. So many times I had to hit the text books to confirm I was teaching the right information, then teach it. Sometimes I’d prepare for hours just to have half the agents in the office show up. The point is, its always nice to consider the source, and in real estate, that’s hard to do. Like a shepard watching over its flock, a Realtor should be concerned if his or her clients are basing decisions on reading material thats not accurate, right?
The most glaring problem isn’t about competence, its about RELEVANCE. “ALL REAL ESTATE IS LOCAL!” That means that the practice of real estate, and the act of buying and selling real estate is govened and directed by local laws, and customs. California has the most Realtors in the United States, therefore a lot of the information is either produced by, or for California. Real estate in St. Louis is different, not just in the types of trees and amount of sunshine either. In California, they practice escrow closings, and we have been un-selling our clients on that topic for years. In Missouri its just not done. Our funds are held in escrow, but usually for much less time than on the coasts. There’s even variance that occurs within the state though. Some customs in rural areas or across the state are different than customs are here in St. Louis, which affects the procedures of buying and selling. What I see as a true benefit is that the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and the St. Louis Association of Realtors came to an agreement years ago to use many of the same documents for real estate sales, which makes it easier and cheaper for everyone in the region. With standardized contracts, there’s less legal work required at Title Companies, so costs are substantially lower than in other areas. As a result, fewer buyers and seller’s elect to have an attorney involved in their transaction, a thought that would make someone in New York go into a panic attack!
So after years of hearing ourselves explaining these things over and over to our clients and customers, we established the St. Louis Real Estate Wiki on our site and hope, if you’re in St. Louis, that you find it useful. If you’re not from St. Louis, find one in your area, and do a good job selecting a Realtor that knows their stuff! We’re always looking to add topics to the Wiki too, so if you have a question or need more information about ANYTHING in Real Estate, Contact us and let us know. We’re here to serve!