Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Agents Should Be Careful What They Say

There I was in the midst of an all too rare real estate sales story with a positive slant when a quote segment from a local agent took the wind out of the sails.

This business story about the increase in home sales during the month of March along with a dip in housing inventory 'should' be the best possible news for current sellers as well as real estate professionals to come along in quite some time.

As much as I preach to agents that I provide either media coaching or advertising critiques or assistance for that you need to get the name out there and be a local "expert", a big part of this process is most definitely saying the right thing at the right time.

Normally, being the only agent quoted for a San Diego Union Tribune story appearing in the Business section would be a wonderful thing for a local realty agent:

However, the section about agent Clemente Casillas clearly hurts the cause. Saying, in effect, that it's too soon to tell and "could be a fluke" and revealing that Casillas had a listing on which there were "no calls" until the price was reduced were actually damaging things to say.

Bad publicity is not always better than no publicity, especially in this case. Casillas seemed to have overlooked the "message" she sent out to thousands of local home owners by those quotes.

Some of the readers are certain to "believe" that if a an agent prominent enough to be quoted in the major local newspaper is not convinced that the market is improving ("could be a fluke") that there is no reason for them to think so either. And more properties will sit for even longer.

Other readers who might be considering looking for an agent to help with a sale or purchase now are aware the Casillas carries listings which are not priced right, as evidenced by publicly admitting that there were "no calls on it" until the price came down.

In other words, this golden opportunity Casillas had to make the local real estate community AND herself look good to thousands of readers went down the drain because of a couple of quotes.

I also understand that Casillas wanted to be quoted for the story and needed to have an angle to be sure quotes were included. But they should not have been damaging ones, nor did they have to be.

All she needed to say was something like "I hope this trend is here to stay, even if it is too soon to know for sure. I can tell you that I had a listing that has been getting calls lately after a slow start."

Not to make an example out of Casillas, but the point needs to be made to other realty professionals and to current and potential home sellers. An agent is supposed to be positive and show the positive about the current market, rather than telling thousands of people it "could be a fluke". An agent is supposed to walk away from a home in which the seller wants an unrealistic price in today's market, let alone reveal that it "wasn't getting any calls".

Instead, the only positive I got from her quotes is that I'm glad she doesn't have any listings for anyone I know.

It's not what agents "think" about the current state of the housing market. It is what they are doing about it that matters.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Does Houston Have Another Problem Brewing?

Whether you live in Houston or not, this rather disturbing story has surfaced by way of the Houston City Council, indicating the possibility of local officials raising property taxes, increasing the fees for garbage pickup, and a host of other costly plans:

Of course, we can all understand that city budgets are suffering just about everywhere. But to further penalize home owners would prove to be an absurd move. It was only a few weeks ago when I address some of the problems with the housing market in Houston, and how foreclosure sales are so prominent.

Perhaps instead of pumping out the negative statistics about the current market, the local realty associations should be lobbying and protesting these actions on behalf of the home owners they represent.

If these increases do go through in Houston, it will make it even more difficult for sellers than it already is. And, of course, as politicians go, if it passes in Houston then other big cities will implement it, and the real estate market will be further set back.