Gathering vs disseminating – Information is only as useful as the ability to interpret it.

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This post was heavily influenced by Leslie Ebersole’s “How many showings is ‘too many’? How much info is ‘too much’? If you haven’t read it, you should.

Amassing Information or drawing conclusions?

Many buyers – particularly younger buyers – are obsessed with amassing as much information as they can before making a decision to purchase a home.  I  sometimes call the “paralysis by analysis.”  Granted, consumers have vast amounts of data at their fingertips – but that does not mean that have the capacity to correctly interpret what they have.

As a former scientist, I was always on guard against that natural tendency to skew my interpretation towards the direction that I favored.  In other words – if I was working with one hypothesis for two years – it is only natural for a bias towards that hypothesis to develop.  Data has a way of being malleable to a certain point.  Buyers may skew the data towards a lower sticker price – sellers would tend to skew the same numbers in the other direction.

Without  a proper frame of reference, buyers and sellers a like are going to have a tough time wading through the mass of an often conflicting pile of data.

Real estate professionals can be the friendly translator.

Agents have two distinct advantages over the consumer.  Smart consumers who choose their agent well – should be able to trust their agent to help them make sense out of what seems like nonsense.

The first advantage – we are a third party and one step divorced from the transaction.  We can look at the big picture with less emotion.   Although we have an interest in the outcome – we have the capacity to look at the information with a more rational eye.

The second advantage is that we know the markets.  We have that frame of reference that buyers and sellers lack.  It comes from experiencing the local market on a daily basis.   We see trends, we even “feel” them.  We can often see where the trends are going before they can even be quantified.  We have the advantage of immersion.

Yet in some cases the trust required to properly tap your agents knowledge and their ability to interpret the data overload is not  properly exploited.  I suspect that trust is an issue here – since most regard agents as a form of life somewhere between pond scum and a used car salesman.

The bottom line…

If you chose your agent wisely- your agent should be a resource to be utilized – not disdained or mistrusted.  Using your agents knowledge turns the frustrating act of interpreting the mass of data from a crap shoot into a strategic plan.

© 2011 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – – All rights reserved.

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