How Much Do We Know?

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408

Are you frustrated like I am, when you get an e-mail, where the anonymous ...let's use Michael Russer's term "Internet Empowered Consumer" sends you an e-mail and asks a question? One question only. Whether it is price or whatever? And you know that the answer is irrelevant to that property? Or that there is no way you can establish this relevance. When you understand that no mater what you answer, it would be the wrong answer? Because the only right answer is often "TALK TO ME". It does not  cost you a penny, I am willing to educate, to give you the best information available, I will open your eyes to things that you do not know and would not know.

But they do not call, and we send them a nice letter with the answer to their question and the explanation of all the good things we can do for them. And never hear back.

It is like someone would be making a decision on the merits of Leo Tolstoy's novel "War & Peace" based on which letter is 7th from the left margin on line 14 on page 56.

In the era of the Internet when we sit at the computer, who is the smartest, the fastest, and simply the best? We are.

We can get information by a single click, we can find anything we can think of.... And we tend to believe that the ultimate knowledge is a click away. What we confuse is the availability of information and the skills set. The fact that we can find and read any law, and any legal opinion does not make us a lawyer. Because the outcome depends not only on what is written in the books, but in major part on the experience and the skills of the attorney.

Knowing how to shoot a gun does not make you a military genius. And watching House on TV for a few years does not make you a doctor. So, why reading newspaper articles and watching HGTV make people often think that they are ready to buy or sell their property better than a real estate professional?

We have people walking into our office in the resort, which is a condo-hotel, and asking one question. "I only need prices" or "I only need to know what the Association fee is" or "what is the split between the rental company and the owner", or something else. Always bits and pieces that would hardly ever create the adequate picture.  

If they have access to the information, do they know what we know? If they think they do, they are dead wrong. I can talk about condo-hotels and all the issues for hours and hours. I recently got an e-mail requesting that I send them the monthly association fee for each of 14 condo-hotels in Daytona, so that they can make a decision based on that. What decision? Oh, they will decide which a better buy is. Heck no.

The amount of monthly association fee gives you only ... the amount of the association fee.  Nothing else. Assuming that I have some knowledge of condo-hotels in the area, would I be able to tell them what is good and what is not? No. I would need to know about the buyer. I would first need to know whether it is for them. Do they have a pet, do they think about retiring in the area in the future, how dependent they are on the income, how a potentially $10K assessment would affect them, so that they do not end in a foreclosure a year from now.

How often people come to condo-hotels only because of the price. Like in a tale, where a passerby see a drunk guy on his knees under the street light looking for the wrist watch. After fruitless search he asks

•    -   So, where exactly did you drop the watch?
•    -   Around the corner just a block from here
•    -   Why on earth are you looking for it here?
•    -   It's dark there

Yes, condo-hotels may be inexpensive, but do you enjoy losing "only" $50,000?

Take the association fee, for example. If in this resort it is $255 a month and in another one it is $528, does it mean that you get a better deal in the first one? Even if the first one splits 50/50, and in the other you get only 45%?

No. Because the other has 70% occupancy and their daily rate is $85, and the first one has 23% occupancy and are happy to discount the rate to $29 a night. 45% of something is more than 50% of nothing. Even a simple math like this often eludes Internet buyers. I used only 3 parameters, and there are dozens and dozens more. The reality is that the factors that are really important are not what they see and ever know about. The numbers may look OK but non-compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act of 1993 may potentially cost them a lot of money. And it is not readily observable, even when you are on the property, and even less when you are a at your computer.

THERE IS SO MUCH THAT THEY CAN LEARN FROM US, BUT THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND IT, AND YET THINK THAT THEY KNOW.

People wouldn't do appendectomy on themselves, even though it is relatively simple. Because the complication can lead to death. And the other big issue is that we are afraid of pain. And the only thing that really stops us from doing it is that the doctor knows how to control pain.

If we were able to convey the pain of losing money, there would be fewer gamblers, trying to buy or sell real estate without a professional.

But we are all gamblers.

Imagine bumping into an old man telling you what to do. Would you listen to him as a guru? Heck no. What if this was a famous professor, an authority on the subject, whom you deeply respect and admire, would you.

Are we professors in the street where people do not know us?

funcoast realty logo
Jon Zolsky, your Daytona Beach connection
www.BeautifulFlorida.com

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Rainmaker
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Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Good points!     You suggest the shift for a realtor from provider of "data" (which is not the same as "information") might involve becoming known as an "interpreter"??    Since the consumer doesn't really speak the language, then realtors are needed to "interpret" so there's understanding?     

Nov 23, 2008 12:27 PM #1
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William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - San Diego, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

Hi Jon, Your perspective is a good one and it goes without saying that most of the bad decisions people make are usually caused by not having the best information and then having it put into a form of relevance to the consumer. Raw information alone as you say is usually not enough to make the best decision. It needs to be relevant and in context of the question for that one individual.

Nov 23, 2008 01:20 PM #2
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Selling Daytona paradise for heavenly good prices

Li - I am not sure about the terminology. I am coming to that froma frustration over my inadequate ability to show the customers the dangers of real estate over the internet, or any other similification.

How many times in any transactions the client says "I did not know that", yet they attempt to buy and sell themselves. And if I can at least understand the Sellers (hoping to save on the commision) I am completely lost on the Buyer trying to deal directly with Listing agents.

I did  not provide the info to people who asked me to give them the maintenance fee only. I would do it if they are researchers. I replied that this is trickier than that and that the best way would be for them to call, and 5-minute converstaion would do magic. THey would know whether it is for them, and I would have a good idea what to look for.

I am so tired of writing e-mails to respond to all of those people who would send me a request from Realtor.com asking for more information. I can't afford spending an hour explaning in detail only to never hear from them.

My experience even when people leave their phone number when I call them 2 days later, they can't remember ever requesting anything. To the point that the area, type of property does not click. I think this is the result of everythhing free. Why not if it is free. Will someone have to work for providing this info? Why do they care.

But you are right. I need to write something general, save it as an electronic signature, and send along with the price, or whatever is there.

I also was thinking of haveing some general information, and before answering send it to  them, and ask to accept the rules of the engagement, send it to me and only then send the information to them. Would cose nothing in terms of time (one time general info) and will weed all those that would have to work to read and respond.

i looked at your profile, wow. Very nice, very beautiful.

Nov 23, 2008 01:33 PM #3
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Selling Daytona paradise for heavenly good prices

William - I once told my client that my value was in the 6th sense, which is the derivative of a lot of information, personal observations, experience, data fro MLS< other sources, local media, national media, curiosity, inquisitiveness and tons of other things that click together in this 6th sense.

And I am constantly honing it, fine-tuning it by practicing. And this is the reason I refuse to go witmy client to buy, let's say, in Miami. Yes, I can get all the data, but I would not have that 6th sense.

Nov 23, 2008 01:39 PM #4
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Vadim Zolotarevskiy
FunCoast Realty & Management, LLC - Daytona Beach Shores, FL

the best question is "Why is it still for sale, if it is a good buy?". you can wait and see that someone buys it, if this is what you want. People are not sure and want someone else to demonstrate to them that this is a good buy.

It does not work this way.

Nov 27, 2008 11:36 AM #5
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Selling Daytona paradise for heavenly good prices

Vadim - but this is a classical explanation how hot market operates. People buy not because the proerpty is a good buy, they do ot know about it and, frankly, do not care about it. They buy because everybody around them are either buying or thinking of buying, and the sense of collective maddness is in the air. People in hot market do not look forward, they look right and left to see that everyone else is runnig in the same direction. It is enough for people around them to stop running, and your guy loses interest in the property, and you can't now sell it to him even for 1/4 of the price. It is not about the property and not about the price.

Nov 27, 2008 12:20 PM #6
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL

Selling Daytona paradise for heavenly good prices
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