The Listing Agent Minefield – Whatever happened to internet transparency?

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My series on the listing agent minefield got sidelined courtesy of Hurricane Sandy, a presidential election  a the Nor’easter that hit us a week after the hurricane.  The weather changed a lot of our plans as the pattern of our lives was put on hold for an indefinite period.

Being sidelined so long forced me to engage in an unusually thoughtful reread of what I had written jus a few weeks prior.  As I completed the process all I could do was be stunned in horror at what I had written.  It wasn’t that what was written was inaccurate. What had me banging my head against the wall was that my posts were a response to what appears to be a massive amount of confusion out there on the part of the public.   After all, the content was in response to questions and misinformation that seemed to have almost urban legend status among most sellers.

But – Why are home sellers so confused?  Why is the real estate process STILL so opaque?   Why are these blogs even necessary?


Ironically, the answer is “the internet”.  Yes I know, the internet  was always supposed to be a beacon of transparency.  It was supposed rain accurate information down on he general public and lead them out of the darkness that was the real estate industry black box into a  shining  bright light of free information.   Armed with as much knowledge as the most experienced broker, the home buyer or seller would be armed to the teeth agains all the spin, misinformation, double dealing and yes – occasional self-serving dishonesty – that our industry was famous for.   All I can say is – “boy, it didn’t work out that way.”  It seems like we are going around in circles.  Because what really shocked me was that I am addressing the same questions I was fielding six years ago when I first licensed.  At that time Zillow didn’t exist and blogs were the rare product of oddball geeky agents such as myself.

Well – the  internet has done one thing:  it has provided a TON of content for home sellers to sift through. But what none of us counted on is that  content can be as misleading as it can be informative .  Right now the accurate information that home sellers are seeking seems to be buried under a big stinking pile of half-truths, slogans, false promises and out and out lies.

This issue is by no means unique to the  real estate industry.   All we need to do is look at the last presidential campaign for proof of that.  As in all elections, each side had their own spin on the issues, but what truly scared me is that this time they also seemed to have their own facts.   I never spent so much time trying to sort fact from fiction in my life.  In fact, a new cottage industry was born in response to all that chaos. The internet started providing a totally confused electorate (yours truly included)   with the Pinocchio and “Pants On Fire Truthometer” indices…which in their turn could also be accused of bias…and so it gots.  Apparently, the republicans and democrats even had different polls and each created their own private “reality” based on spin. So much so that the  republican pollsters didn’t even believe the actual election results.

The Internet can  inform or misinform…

The interent is only as good as the content that it provides.  That content can inform or misinform as each author pleases.  For their part, real estate agents are always striving to rise above the “noise”.  The problem is that in doing so we create more “noise”.   And the public really has no idea who is making noise “Pick me! Pick me!” and who is actually creating content of  intrinsic value.   I don’t even know how to begin to address this. Except to suggest this…

Go back to my first blog in the series so at least you can  understand the “why” behind the hype.   There are too many agents all looking under rocks for a limited amount of business.   Saturated fields tend to generate more more spin than substance.  And then enjoy the video…It doesn’t show us in a very good light – but at least you’ll get your laugh of the day.


Other posts in “The Listing Agent Minefield” series…

  1. The Listing Agent Minefield…Choosing a listing agent without losing your mind…
  2. The Listing Agent Minefield – Is a “local” or “hyperlocal” agent really that important?
  3. The Listing Agent Minefield – The more listings the agent has the better! Right?
  4. The Listing Agent Minefield – Should I choose my agent from Zillow’s list of premier agents?
  5. The Listing Agent Minefield – “Everyone I know lists with ‘Big Box Brokerage’ so they must be the best”



© 2012 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – – All rights reserved.

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