STOP! Don’t answer that!!
Posted by Jenny Durling on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 5:45:13 AM By Jenny Durling / November 18, 2009 Comment
I was excited that a potential buyer contacted me via Active Rain in response to a blog I posted about some new construction in Echo Park. He emailed me to tell me he agreed with my thoughts on the property. Terrific! Then he proceeded to ask me if I though $XXX amount was high enough to offer on one of the units and ended his email with "Thanks for your help! Interested in the property!" Now I'm just as anxious to help as the next agent, but who is this person asking the question? He provided only a first name, no phone number and an anonymous email address from a trash2009.com domain address. That is a REAL domain being provided by a company at mytrash.com that provides anonymous email service to protect private email addresses. I can see where this could be very useful in some instances but if you want my help, why are you hiding from me?! How do I know who this person really is? Is it the listing agent? Is it the property owner? Is it really an interested buyer? If It IS a buyer, is he currently working with an agent? Most likely he is a real buyer, but if he's working with an agent I certainly don't want to interfere with that agency by putting in my 2 cents. If he is not represented, great, I'd love to talk to him and discuss offer strategies. I responded to him that he should discuss this with his agent or if he has no agent I would be more than happy to assist him. I have not heard anything back and probably won't at this point. Why do so many people expect us to provide specific advice to complete strangers via email or online? Because too many agents DO IT! Please STOP! I think a lot of us are taking advantage of getting our names out there by answering questions on Trulia and Zillow and other real estate sites. We're also responding to emails from people who come to our website and read our blogs. It's great to be able to impart general information and I'm all for that, but answering very specific questions just feels like the wrong thing to do. Who wants that liability?! I am forever amazed by the questions I see on Trulia Voices. Buyers ask questions about what they should do about this, that and the other thing WHILE THEY ARE CURRENTLY IN ESCROW! Most likely these people are working with agents and they should be discussing their issues with their own agent, not the agents of cyberspace! There are all kinds of questions like, "How much should I offer for this duplex?", "I'm buying an REO and the garage needs to be torn down. How much should I ask for?", "My agent says I should do "X", what do you think?". We can't possibly answer a lot of their questions in any meaningful way. By answering, agents could be putting themselves in a risky spot. They're also perpetuating this anonymous behavior. There are times when a person simply needs to have a real relationship with a real agent. Instead of trying to guess the answers to makes ourselves seem helpful, why not direct them to speak to their agent or hire an agent to get the kind of assistance they really need? Some things are worth what you pay for them and free answers to ambiguous questions falls right into that category. For information on Silver Lake, Echo Park, Los Feliz, and surrounding areas, contact me directly at 213-215-4758 or check out LApropertySolutions.com Jenny Durling Broker Associate L.A. Property Solutions 213-215-4758 LApropertySolutions.com