There Oughta Be a Law…

I was just reading an agent’s blog (not in our area) and saw a flyer with this photo on it.


Was he asking how to get the room in better condition for the photos? No.

He was asking whether or not he should use Postlets or VFlyer to spread the word 🙂 LOL

Technology does not REPLACE being good at real estate.

Marketing is not all about where, how and when to spread the word. Getting “the word” right before you start spreading it around is more important than being a “tech savvy” agent.

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ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: cell: 206-910-1000

58 thoughts on “There Oughta Be a Law…

  1. I think the staging is great. I’m attracted to the green floor lamp and the 1960’s vintage furniture. The tone is both boring and cluttered at the same time with a lived-in feel. Sort of like grandmas. 🙂

  2. Good call about technology. It doesn’t do any good if you don’t know sound real estate principles. Technology in the real estate business can be a great tool, but you have to know how to use it.

  3. Ardell: Don’t be so harsh on the agent. Now you know where I am from so it doesn’t bear repeating, but if you came in and started blogging and all that good stuff and using it as your primary marketing tool, I’d call you crazy. Now if you put up signs all over the place, put flyers up in the window at the store and took out an ad in the newspaper, you’d be in good shape here.

    Same with me going to Seattle, if I went to Seattle and took out ads and stuff, I might sell one house but no ways like an agent using Zillow, Trulia, VFlyer etc.

    Here if you mentioned Zillow we would think you’re talking about a monster. Trulia – must be some sort of flower. VFlyer – I guess that might be some sort of toy wagon (Radio Flyer, etc.)

    Heck, even through we have it, 90% of our population couldn’t even tell you what the MLS stood for.

  4. PS: I do understand your statement and I agree technology doesn’t replace marketing but my point is this, the agent asked a question. With that question I am assuming he/she is a new agent so don’t be harsh on him/her for asking.

    The agent could also be new to the area as well so that’s another reason not to be so harsh.

  5. DB-

    I believe Ardell is saying that the agent is asking the wrong questions, focusing on the wrong things. A good agent knows how to utilize the correct marketing techniques to extract the best price possible for the client. Simply using a technology medium doesn’t make an agent better or benefit the client.

  6. Ardell-

    You have details on the following? What happened to the US Open blog?

    West Lake Hills:
    15-lot SFH PUD

    Burnett Short Plat/East Lake Hills:
    1.72 acres sub into 5 lots

    Meydenbauer Townhomes:
    22 multi-family units

  7. It’s good to learn differing points of view on this subject. After all is said and done a better balance and usefullness will be appreciated by all , especially the listing agent.

  8. Q-Diddy,

    It is against our Code of Ethics and also MLS regulations to talk about specific property on a blog in the manner you are suggesting. Remember the $50,000 Redfin fine for Sweet Digs 🙂 Also, it is difficult to answer questions in the manner you have asked them, without my physically visitng those three places and getting up to the minute info re lots held by deposit, etc. I would do that for a client, of course. But not to answer a blog question.

    While I may use specific info about certain homes to write a post, I generally will change the info slightly (like saying $499,000 when it’s really $599,000) so that the info can’t be tracked to a specific property that is for sale. Especially if I am talking about something negative, but the fine is the same even if I am saying something positive. It’s a $5,000 fine per violation, though there was some talk about increasing that to $10,000 or even $15,000.

    You did see the $25,000,000 suit against a blogger for talking about a new construction project…yes?

    There are limitations when talking about property that is for sale, once you have identified the actual project.

  9. Ardell-

    I was not looking for an opinion about the properties, just general details like floor plan, lot size, etc. Basically, public information about them will do.

  10. I’ve never sold a house, but I’ve bought two, and they were both such atrocious cosmetic fixers that the photo above actually does look like a magazine spread in comparison. I find it interesting that a photo that looks like just some average person’s average house, motley furniture and all, is drawing such mockery (See #2, an odor? Like, people who don’t lay out for furniture sets are invariably stinky?)

    As a buyer, it’s always been peculiar to me to that people would pay top dollar for a place that’s presented in all its staged finery…only for the perfectly placed furniture to be moved out and replaced by what is more than likely to be the owner’s own not-perfectly-suitable possessions.

    I’m sure this has been discussed before, but I don’t know the answer, so here goes–how much does staging end up improving the final offer on a house? Perhaps more relevant to this day and age, do you think this will continue to hold up in a declining market? I wonder if more people are going to take a step back and get a little perspective on things, along the lines of this essay in New York magazine (thanks to for the pointer), as the economy cools down.

  11. Q-diddy,

    I answered your questions about Chambers Bay. Ardell posted the link to my blog about US Open. As of right now there are not any housing developments right on the course.

    Are you interested in a particular neighborhood in UP?

  12. Ryan-

    Not really. I was just wondering how something like the US Open would affect home prices. People at my work think it’s going to boost value in Tacoma by 10% or more and I don’t buy it.

  13. Q-diddy,

    I agree. Real Estate trends will continue to follow suit with the market as a whole. One event can’t dictate a sudden shift in pricing.
    If you look at the 2nd Narrows bridge going up. That event was announced in an upward climbing market. Tacoma and Gig Harbor both benefited, but market trends didn’t skew much from the regional market as a whole. It opened up last summer and prices aren’t appreciating faster because of that. The numbers are pretty similar.

  14. Q-Diddy,

    Hard to explain that “public information” is not “public information” if it is a new construction project listed by a Brokerage. The Listing Company can make this information available to the public. But a different brokerage is not allowed to talk about the other Brokerage’s listing, even if it is an entire housing complex.

    As Redfin’s Sweet Digs learned the hard way, not sure where that appeal stands, talking about publicly available info that is listed by another brokerage, is subject to a $5,000 fine for each offense.

    The reasoning is that if I were to talk about a new construction project, people might call me to buy one of those condos or houses. For that reason, MLS rules consider that to be “adverstising another Broker’s listing.

    When Redfin talked about a lot of property not listed by them, people read the blog and then used Redfin to buy other property. So it is considered using someone else’s “work product” (for lack of a better term) to gain more clients, and is a fineable offense.

  15. Q-Diddy,

    I have seen this on Trulia as well. Someone asking should I buy this house or that house.

    It’s just not a “blog question” and not a free service either. When the question gets to specifics, it’s what we do for a living, not blogtalk.

  16. Q-Diddy,

    How would you do that due diligence? If you had to physically go there to know your answer, then asking me to go up and go there is not appropriate for a blog question.

  17. Ardell-

    Totally understand. I thought I made it clear with my earlier comment. You don’t have to go there to find out, but like I said, I’ll do my own investigating.

    Much appreciated-

  18. But I would feel the need to go there to answer it in the manner that I feel is the only valid answer. Data is irrelevant unless you have the rationale. If all are sold except the three worst lots, that would be different than “only three lots remaining”. So to answer with any kind of integrity, a site visit would be required on my part.

    I don’t do things halfway 🙂

  19. I’m with you on the original topic of this post, Ardell. Even a few small changes would have made this photo better for the listing agent’s client and would improve the overall quality of any marketing he does for the property.

    In response to Angie (#15) there has actually been an uptick in agents taking staging classes in the markets where real estate sales have dropped precipitously or the market has generally softened. This info comes from Andy Capelluto who now has a staging class available nationally via RealtyU. It’s in those softer markets where helping a client stand out above the competition will come in most handy. Heck, it’s valuable in any market. Statistically, it has been shown that houses that are staged sell faster and for more money than homes that are not.

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