Horton Hears a Real Estate Blogger

Perspective always is a good thing to have.

Perspective is the one thing that makes it exceedingly difficult for me to be merely a sports fan in the stands after a quarter of a century in the press boxes.

Perspective is knowing I don’t watch The Bachelor religiously and read Kristen Baldwin’s hilarious recaps on Entertainment Weekly because I believe true love is in the air. Rather, it’s the perverse enjoyment of watching a weekly 120-minute train wreck.

Perspective is knowing it doesn’t matter how many comments I receive here or whether I’m considered one of the cool kids of the real estate blogging world, it’s how many cats that get skinned that makes or breaks a real estate agent.

Real Estate Thought Leader Cozies Up to Working AgentPerspective is realizing that all of the “big issues” about online real estate really are debates among a small group of real estates, third-party folks pimping their own products to agents eternally seeking low-hanging fruit and those consultants and thought leaders who have attached themselves to the real estate industry like a remora fish. There’s a huge difference between those of us who do and those who do little more than observe.

Of course, there’s little currency to be found in perspective. How can every single thing that happens in the real estate online world be promoted as no less than a battle of good and evil, real estate practitioners and the general public if one admits that outside of those of us who watch these issues online, no one is paying attention.

Call us what you will – the RE Blogosphere, the RE.Net, tech dorks, REBarCamp junkies – we’re no more visible to the general real estate agent population than the Whos are to Horton. Maybe they can hear some noises now and again but, by and large, they and theirs have no idea we exist and are debating these things.

What’s worse, inside our own little pink and fuzzy world we incorrectly define the terms of the debate.

The MLS is held up to be more than what it is – an inter-agent marketing tool that attaches with the listing the offer of cooperative compensation. That’s all it ever was.

We wring our hands over buyers having to look up listings on the site of a local real estate agent to see what’s available because … well … why are we wringing our hands over this? Is it really so onerous that someone has to type “Phoenix real estate” into Google and choose a source? Don’t most of us do this with just about anything we need to look up these days?

We complain about TruZilia and its collective bogus data but, with rare exceptions, we’re not in any position to fight the Borg. We’re being assimilated whether we like it or not. The remora’s growing teeth. And because the majority either don’t get it or don’t care, nothing will change this.

When I started this blog six years ago, disintermediation was all the raise. Guess what? I’m still here. I’m not going anywhere. For all the blather, work went on.

Zillow, the boogie man of choice six years ago when it started, also is still here, still providing the public sketchy and outdated listing data and Zestimates that are part proprietary formula and part chimpanzee and a dartboard. It’s not going anywhere either.

So what can an individual agent do? Two choices are to exploit TruZilia’s inefficiencies when talking with buyers and sellers, giving weight to one’s expertise in the process or to continue wringing one’s hands and hoping the whole issue goes away when the world ends in less than 12 months.

Well, there is a third choice – ignore the seemingly major debates that truly amount to little more than a speck on a thistle in the truck of an elephant and keep grinding out a living.

Which do you choose?

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.