Public Opinion: "Are you an Asset or a Liability?" - Community Guidelines Re-Visited

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams West Sound Realty

 A Harris Interactive poll revealed that out of 11 of the most popular consumer-oriented service professions, real estate agents were one whose advice was least trusted, 2nd to last place, just above Stock Brokers.

Obviously, as an industry, we have a credibility issue. Or a perception problem. Or both.

In some recent blog articles here in the Rain, there's been an excellent dialogue concerning our collective value proposition and how we can best articulate/justify our worth to those we serve. You might want to hop over and catch the Bolen Brothers in action. It's really great stuff!

In our continuing series on gaining a better handle on the ActiveRain Community Guidelines, we're going to discover one rather obvious way that our actions/behavior can either be an 'asset' or a 'liability' towards the public's perception of real estate professionals.

~  o  ~  o  ~  o  ~  o  ~  o  ~  o  ~  o  ~  o  ~  o  ~ 

Our next guideline reads:

  • Respect the public that this community serves and derives its living from.
  • I remember taking an elective class in high school entitled "Science Fiction Literature." One of the required books was George Orwell's "1984" where the entire society was under the watchful eye of 'Big Brother.'

    Even though this is a Network for Real Estate Professionals, the majority of what we contribute here becomes part of the public record, and as such, is under the watchful eyes/scrutiny of consumers.

    I wonder,..What kind of impact do our conversations here on ActiveRain have on their perception of our industry?

    One of my favorite writers here on ActiveRain is Maureen Francis. Her kind mentoring during my early days on this Network were incredibly helpful. She wrote a popular article entitled "Hey, We Are Being Watched, And Not Everyone Likes What They See. Another great post comes from Mariana Wagner, a Keller-Williams agent down in Colorado Springs. She wrote a rather introspective article, "Perception = Reality: Real Estate Agents Suck!"

    To me, the most meaningful way we can communicate and demonstrate our RESPECT for the general public is by the manner in which we treat our fellow professionals.

    Now granted, this medium called blogging has a history of being somewhat adversarial in nature. And many people seem committed to continuing that tradition. But does it really help to improve or elevate the public's perception of our industry when we constantly argue and attack one another in our blog posts and ensuing comments? Transparency is one thing, but personal character assassination is quite another. Do you really think that someone is going to want to work with us when they observe our petty bickering? Not likely.

    So, what are YOU doing today, both on this platform and in your business, to turn the tide of negative public opinion and perception?

    Are you an 'ASSET' or are you a 'LIABILITY?'

    For your added reading enjoyment:

    "Monsters in the Blogosphere"

    "Playing Fair in the Blogbox: The Core Rules of Netiquette"

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    Ambassador
    476,164
    Kate Elim
    Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
    Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land at LA

    Rich...This is a very important post.  When I first joined the Rain I ran (I use that word deliberately because I felt like I ran into a brick wall both times) into two bullies on different posts.  Real bullies.  If I had not read and commented on a number of posts before this happened to me I would have walked away.  One bully is a mortgage broker and the other an agent (I do not even like to think of him as a REALTOR).  I wonder what the public thinks of them when they come across their posts and comments.  We also run the risk of being painted with the same brush.  I stay as far away from them as much as possible.  They are people I would not associate with in "reality" so why do it here.

    Fortunately, just like in real life, there are so many folks here on the Rain that are helpful and good to one another.

    Kathleen

    Mar 19, 2008 12:17 PM #35
    Ambassador
    1,032,801
    Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
    Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
    (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE
    P.S. I'm an asset :)
    Mar 19, 2008 01:10 PM #36
    Rainmaker
    40,423
    Diana Turnbloom
    Escrowcoord.com - Martinez, CA
    The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

    Rich, thank you for bringing this to light! I truly believe that most of the perception problems are because of two things; 1. One of the top 10 most stressful things a person can go through is MOVING! So we are typically the procuring cause of stress! 2. A general lack of education on how to deal with item 1!

    Until Departments of Real Estate and Associations begin taking a serious look at the lack of education (And I don't mean learning how to market yourself), we will continue to see disgruntled clients. Most agents are not trying to "screw" the public. They simply don't know any better. P.S. Rich, no beer pong lately. I'm on a new diet called sober and suffer! "Welcome to My World" Diana

    Mar 19, 2008 01:25 PM #37
    Rainmaker
    1,088,019
    Joan Whitebook
    BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
    Consumer Focused Real Estate Services
    This is an important topic. I think there can be a good debate about points and it is healthy.   I don't believe we have to "speak with one voice."  However, I do agree that personal attacks are simply not doing anyone any good and show a lack of professionalism. If someone has a personal beef with another, then why not handle it outside of Active Rain.  I think we should strive to give the public the best professional face we can and still have an interesting dialogue.
    Mar 19, 2008 01:29 PM #38
    Rainer
    288,198
    Diane Aurit
    LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
    Lake Norman Real Estate
    Rich, I just wrote a post about the NAR Code of Ethics etc.  I hope that was an assest and not a liability...let me know! (I meant it as an asset)
    Mar 19, 2008 02:46 PM #39
    Ambassador
    551,324
    "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
    President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL

    Gracious Rich...

    Oh...C'mon...Splogging works...Ask anyone :)

    Okay. Okay. I'll be serious.

    I really do believe that as Blogging evolves we'll see less and less of the Splogging.

    Bloggers and people in general are starting to be put off by it. Myself included :)

    I no longer read Sploggs and there are many other's who feel the same way.

    We know a Splogger when we see one and we just move on :)

    P.S. Yeah. Yeah. A little off topic...But I still get points for it :) 

    TLW...ROAR!

    Mar 19, 2008 04:31 PM #40
    Rainmaker
    884,208
    Jim Starwalt
    RE/MAX Center - Grayslake, IL
    Real Estate Agent - Grayslake
    One customer and one client at a time, I'm working on changing the image of real estate agents for the better.
    Mar 19, 2008 04:47 PM #41
    Rainer
    130,493
    Billnulls Blog Florida Realty Professional
    Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
    AHWD
    Indeed, this is something that needs to be mentioned again and again : what we write here is indeed public record and agents need to remember that!
    Mar 19, 2008 04:56 PM #42
    Rainmaker
    34,692
    Jon Mitchell
    Classic Property Management - Santa Clarita, CA
    Awesome post.  I have seen more back stabbing here than I would care to admit to the public.  I have even seen some members get tossed for their confrontational and mean spirited comments (good riddance).  I think that overall the Rain is a good place to be.  The problem is that when you play in the rain, you have to walk through a little mud....
    Mar 19, 2008 06:41 PM #43
    Rainmaker
    536,378
    Lynda Eisenmann
    Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
    Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

    Rich,

    Respect for the public and respect for one another, is an issue for me at times in the Rain. Not long ago after leaving a comment on a public post it was met with profanity and name calling...obviously it's my last visit to that blogger. 

     

    Mar 19, 2008 06:47 PM #44
    Rainmaker
    337,606
    Gary Bolen
    McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
    CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information

    Donno, but think we're probably assets sometimes. Mostly though we're just do darn busy, who knows.

    cheers 

    Mar 19, 2008 11:07 PM #45
    Rainmaker
    251,772
    Robert Machado
    HomePointe Property Management, CRMC - Sacramento, CA
    CPM MPM - Property Manager and Property Management - Sacramento Area

    Anyone working honestly is an asset.  The problem is that many consumers have unrealistic expections of what a real estate agent can do for them.  They are disappointed when miracles cannot be performed. 

    Mar 19, 2008 11:11 PM #46
    Ambassador
    317,472
    Kirk Westervelt
    Van West Realty - Greenville, SC Realtor -Short Sale Expert! - Greenville, SC
    Kirk Westervelt, Broker In Charge, Van West Realty - CDPE - Short Sale Agent - Home for Sale - Greenville, Simpsonvil...
    Ah yes, the topic of "petty bickering between bloggers". I've seen it and it is not the least bit professional or attractive. I simply wouldn't get involved. Just move on. Be the bigger person. What is that saying? "Never argue with a fool....passers-by may not be able to tell who the fool is!" Maintain integrity and prove to be a valuable asset to your clients and our profession!
    Mar 19, 2008 11:19 PM #47
    Rainmaker
    325,147
    Esko Kiuru
    Bethesda, MD

    Rich,

    That's a good way to put it that the big brother, the public, is watching us all and those who misbehave ought to be spanked. AR is a great platform to enhance our careers, real estate, mortgage and related services, so we should carefully cultivate our image here.

    Mar 19, 2008 11:38 PM #48
    Rainmaker
    337,606
    Gary Bolen
    McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
    CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information
    Very cool about Brad. Did you know him from before? Gotta tell you, adding to the geezer with another one of us is really impressive.
    Mar 20, 2008 06:15 PM #49
    Ambassador
    529,056
    Rich Jacobson
    Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
    Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker
    Gary - yeah, I am really liking the way/where that Jonathan is leading us, and that he recognizes the value of hiring from within...always big in my book. I had only spoken with Brad once by phone a few months ago. Even talked for a while with his wife. Great gal. They'll fit in nicely!
    Mar 20, 2008 07:32 PM #50
    Rainmaker
    591,134
    William J. Archambault, Jr.
    The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX

    Rich,

    I commented directly to a non-Rainier today about us. So many seem to miss the point of our society. I wrote:

    You so miss the point of Active Rain! There are 79,000 members and unknown thousands of non-members like you who also read AR. It may look like a "rah, rah" group at times, if you only take a quick glance. The people that have discover individuals members of AR do tend to want to learn and most comments are to aid in learning. The beauty of AR is that you can learn so much. You can also learn by disagreeing, trying to sell your point of view to the opposition will clarify your thoughts and make the others justify theirs.

    If you're respectful you can be totally wrongopposed and still participate. If you can't keep to civil tryp you can start your own blog, you'll find there are always those that agree with you. There are always people to flock to any idea, divine inspiration or crackpot! You need look know feather than the Senate to know it's true, after all Harry Reed keeps getting reelected. There is no litmus tes to join or participate in Active rain!

    Most people who are active on AR are trying to be part of the solution, probably even you. There is no better voice for positive real estate than my friend Bryant Titus. One of these days we may even get him to embrace the idea of fiduciary.

    Persuade us if you can, but don't fault us for rallying around a leader that we believe represents our position! There are 70,000 other on AR many might believe as you do. Join the group and I'd be glad to send you an invitation, we'd all be better off for it.

    I love redundancy so you get it too.

    Orwell was only off by a little bit! I live in Las Vegas where most intersections are watched on camera as the people rush to the casinos where only the toilet stalls are out of big Brother's sight. Many of them drive there in their Onstar equipped cars where their every move is known, while caring a GPS equipped cell phone so they can be traced with in a few feet when they get out of the car!

    Bill

    William J Archambault Jr

    The Real Estate Investment Institute.

    Mar 21, 2008 06:01 PM #51
    Rainer
    28,230
    Abe Do
    Olympia, WA
    Thank you for writing about this topic, I think we all need to strive for better and it never hurts to be reminded of this between professionals.
    Mar 21, 2008 06:18 PM #52
    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Anonymous
    I am an asset. I am up now helping a buyer and checking active rain blogs to keep the day going while other mls pages load. Thanks for all the interesting blogs!
    Mar 22, 2008 02:35 AM #53
    Rainmaker
    65,671
    Jan Evett
    Ryan Properties - Panama City Beach, FL
    Panama City Beach, FL

    Rich,

    I hope I am always on your "A List" of AR Assets!  Interesting thread here... for the most part I've only experienced the positive.  If I click on a controversial post now I just read and move on... in the beginning I was lured into a couple of heated debates.  Now I find there is so much positive and way too much to learn that will benefit the consumer and my business that I don't care for the controversy and personal agendas.  Great post! 

    Mar 23, 2008 12:24 AM #54
    Anonymous
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