Thanks to the internet, one of the biggest changes in Real Estate over the last 15 years has been in the access to information for Buyers and Sellers. While, easy access to information has solved some problems, such as, not having to rely on Agents searching for you, making searching faster, easier, and in the convenience of your own home. It has created a whole other set of problems that REALTORS have to combat, such as misinformation, information overload, and misinterpretation of information. A major part of why the FSBO’s percentage is at all-time historic lows and part of the reason why agents are needed more than ever to decipher and guide Buyers and Sellers through what they need to know and what they need to remove from their cranium.

Here are some common mistakes I see buyers and sellers make when it comes to gathering information on their own:

  1. Yes, the public has more information than ever before….but our information is better. We REALTORS, still have more resources, more information, more accurate data, and we can generally find and decipher it quicker than you can because we do it every single day. No matter how long we are in the business, we are still learning and experiencing new situations day in and day out, and if you’re REALTOR is not full-time, their skills are most likely not sharp, and not up-to-date.
  2. The source…often on a third-party website like Zillow, they have forums where agents, title company representatives, lenders, buyers, and sellers can all share opinions. Some of this information is great, but the public should know the majority of these sites are for lead generation and search engine optimization, and you generally don’t know if you are talking to someone who knows what they are doing, how long they have been in the business, or even if they are full-time. Ratings help, but I can contact 25 of my buddies now and get them to write 5 star reviews for me, and it would probably only cost me a couple of bottles of wine.
  3. Location…often times it’s tough on the internet to find out where the information is coming from. Different locations have different customs, different processes, different markets, different paperwork, and different cycles. For example, in NY lawyers handle the contracts. In Florida, we don’t have to deal with basements, but we do have to deal with Flood zones and Hurricane Insurance boxes. Even within Florida, we have 4 different standardized contracts for sale and purchase, and in different regions, different contracts are used more often.
  4. Paralysis by analysis ( the state of over-analyzing, or overthinking a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect, paralyzing the outcome.)…I see this in South Tampa often, because it’s a difficult market to learn and understand. Different locations and streets command different pricing. Sellers and Buyers can struggle, because if they talk to 10 different people they may get 10 different answers. That’s if humans still talk…more likely if they go on 50 different websites, they will get 49 different answers.
  5. Numbers…I know what you’re saying, “But stats don’t lie.” Mark Twin probably said it best, “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.” Part of our job is to tell a story using numbers. If I can select and choose the numbers, I can mold you into a story you want to hear. If someone else picks…it’s going to be a different story. Neither one of us may be right, but technically no one can say we are wrong either.

Whether you are a Buyer or Seller, a knowledgeable REALTOR® will tell you what you need to know, and not what you want to hear.

Posted by Shane Vanderson on


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