There are too many experts giving advice to real estate agents these days. I cringe when I read some of the advice for real estate agents by persons who do not provide any facts or numbers to back up their recommendations, and have no experience selling real estate.

They sound so authoritative, but all they have to offer is something to sell or some kind of a vision of how real estate should work.

As the housing market started to crash, the advice to Realtors came fast and furious, and it is still coming as we go through the post-crash and pre-recovery period and learn how to work in a new housing market.

For those of us on the front lines, there are far more questions than answers at this point, and what used to seem important has been replaced with the day-to-day struggle of earning a living.

There are strategies that work for prospecting and for selling real estate, and there are strategies that do not work. What makes it complicated is that some strategies will work well for some but not for all because each local market is unique and so is each agent.

Over the weekend, an expert told me that agents should be spending more time calling on for-sale-by-owner properties.

He does not know that FSBOs are rare in my area right now — I could attempt to find and call the few FSBO sellers. Going after FSBOs is not a ticket to wealth in my market.

Dale Chumbley a Realtor in Vancouver, Wash., is almost done with his "365 Things To Do" in 365 days project for his local market area, and agents from all over the country have been imitating him with similar projects.

I did some research and quickly discovered that there are a few well-established websites with things to do in my area, and even a website with 365 things to do.

The sites I found get a lot of traffic, and I don’t want to compete with them because I will lose and there is almost no competition for the local real estate information that I provide. Paying for advertising on the sites that I found is something that I am currently considering.

Imitating a project like Chumbley’s without doing some research first is not wise. It is important to know if there are any websites that already cover local events, and what kind of traffic they get.

Dale’s project was introduced, promoted and imitated before he was even halfway through the 365 list. What Dale is doing is working well for him and he has little or no competition in his market area.

A couple of years ago real estate professionals were encouraged by experts to write business and restaurant reviews on their blogs. I researched the idea and concluded that there were already too many players in the business-review arena and that competing with them would be a ridiculous waste of time and money.

Real estate is local and the experts cannot know each market. It is up to us to know our markets and to do some research before jumping on the flavor of the day or before imitating a successful person in another market.

It is best to have a sound strategy in place before using any type of social media and to identify a target audience made up of people who are likely to need real estate services.

The same applies to tech tools and toys that experts are recommending for real estate professionals. The first thing I do with any new tech toy is ask myself if it solves a real business problem or if it will somehow improve productivity or lower my costs. If the answer is yes, then I do some testing or exploration.

Shiny things are invented every day. I don’t have time to test them all and they are not always right for my business. There are too many "industry experts" who have something to sell but don’t provide the research to back it up.

That is why we need to know our own markets and do some research before trying a new strategy or buying a product.

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