The dawn of the digital age caused a seismic shift across media outlets everywhere. No longer do journalists pen a story for the printing press and maybe get a response in the mail a few days later. The one-way conversation evolved into an elaborate influx of immediate and candid voices. It’s an exciting space — one where individuals with different perspectives, backgrounds, experiences and ideas can be heard and perhaps more importantly, listen.

Here are some of our top comments of the week in no particular order, compiled here because they taught us something or stood out as thought-provoking.

Judie Williams Crawford · Commented on Why company culture is the broker differentiator | Inman

Your article is very important at this time in our industry and other industries, not just real estate.

I wake up every day blessed to be surrounded by talented and caring agents and staff. We all strive each day to do our best to support and help our agents and staff. Not only in their business but in their time of need personally.

Keeping your high standards where culture is concerned is not always easy. It doesn’t happen over night but when the entire company walks the talk one step at a time eventually in time, you will earn their TRUST and RESPECT and nothing beats that.

We Realtor’s never give up trying to be the best we can be for ourselves, our company, our clients and customers. I’m proud to be a learning-based Realtor surrounded by so many other NAR (National Association of Realtors) Realtors worldwide. Thank you for all your articles.

Jennifer Hayes Burgess · Commented on App, high splits and radical independence draw agents to new brokerage | Inman

I work for a small virtual firm with three “offices” in two cities. I too work out of Starbucks on occasion and my clients like it. It’s comfortable, more casual than an office and I guarantee the coffee is better.

There are issues with every business model, but citing agent image, reputation and possible ethical concerns as justification sound like archaic excuses for stagnation.

We all see offices filled to the brim with due paying non-producers every day and we accept that as the norm. Why is no one jumping up and down about the ethics and “direct supervision” of a desperate new agent in a brick and mortar that is financially hemorrhaging and trying to live off scrap leads and a 50-50 split?

That, in my opinion, is what compiles all the ingredients needed for a hot cup of unethical soup.

Sometimes I truly believe a majority of the complaints dressed as concerns come from a true predilection for the industry and it’s future. But wouldn’t it be a lot easier, not to mention less jerkish, to say that people need to pay their dues in this business and nothing comes easily?

Hank Miller Team/Harry Norman Realtors · Commented on Are buyer’s agent bonuses unethical? | Inman

Bonuses are sleazy and are just another reason (one of oh, a thousand?) the public has such a crappy opinion of us.

They infer deceit, deception and a “gaming” of the process, and let’s be candid — they are. I would love an explanation as to why an agent feels compelled to put a bonus on a home. Why is it needed? And please — spare me the “to encourage interest,” to “attract attention” or to “accelerate the sale” nonsense.

Try this — price it correctly. Here’s another tip — drop the price by the amount of the agent bonus. Now you have a better-priced home, the reduction is seen across every MLS and public site and many more eyes are on the listing — both agent and especially buyers plopped on the couch.

I know — too simple. After all, apparently the kindergarten bar to entry and retention isn’t enough of a reason for the public to laugh at us, we need agent bonuses to drive home the distrust.

Gloria Commiso · Commented on An experiment in branding: the power of a name | Inman

Be careful with using communities as guinea pigs. You may get backlash from agents not just because they are protective of their farms but many genuinely care about the neighborhoods where they live and work. Transparency, contribution and authenticity can go a long way in establishing a brand. Social experiments can backfire sometimes. Interesting article.

Paul Isenburg · Commented on Why are so many brokers exiting the business? | Inman

The end of this article is very interesting to me. What all the money folks and disruptors continue to miss is that real estate is a people business.

While some people may be willing to buy or sell on their own, with only some data or perspective on some data, most people want a knowledgeable guide and advisor to help them through this process. As well, while it may see logical to make this go more quickly, it is a time-consuming process and having someone help you coordinate all the events with your life and family’s events is a large part of our job.

This is why, despite all the deluge of data, without analysis, 75 to 80 percent of business is still done by repeat and referrals of clients and agents to each other. Disruptors have angles but don’t provide full, clear pictures and any ways or methods to handle surprises. In 28-plus years of this business, surprises arise, even more so if you don’t know what you’re looking at or for, so a knowledgeable agent is much more than a data source.

Kristian Peter · Commented on Can online home valuations from agents challenge Zestimates? | Inman

As real estate evolves, so do the ways that buyers and sellers interact with real estate professionals. A crowd-sourced value is so much better than an automated value, as everyone will attest to.

A tool such as Homing In allows sellers to determine from local real estate professionals what their home is worth, interact with those agents via the mobile app, and decide which agent to hire based on their responses and market knowledge. Does anyone think that the days of calling an agent to come over and sit at their kitchen table and fill out a listing agreement may be replaced in the next few years by a mobile, on-demand alternative?

Andre Cilliers · Commented on Can online home valuations from agents challenge Zestimates? | Inman

While crowdsourcing information itself may have merit, it seems to me that every one of these new programs, wherever they may be from, can only survive if Realtors/agents fund them by paying a fee.

Our incomes are being chipped away at before we have even earned it. How long will it take people to realize that the real estate sales pie is not getting that much bigger? By contrast, the number of ways we are being enticed to part with our money is exploding.

Advantage Realtors · Commented on 7 signs a neighborhood will be the next hot spot | Inman

Tara hit it out of the park — the article is spot on with regard to what to look for to spot future neighborhood trends.

In Atlanta we have an excellent example of a few urban areas that I work in occasionally and watched a complete renaissance happen in only 10 years, and it is still going strong. I am referring to the In-Town neighborhoods around south Decatur and between Decatur and Atlanta — Oakview, Kirkwood, Edgewood, Lake Claire, Old Fourth Ward and many others.

I watched as these areas transformed from blighted, high-crime and drug-saturated areas to the very hot urban areas they are today with new and rehabbed homes, great restaurants, coffee shops and pubs.

The residents in these areas have a strong sense of community, and I love seeing areas turn around and especially the restoration and preservation of historic homes and building because I am an architecture and historic-building lover. These transformations takes what I call urban pioneers to be the first to move into areas like these in the early stages — that is not something everyone would do, but kudos to the first adventurous individuals who braved it out.

Amy A Anderson · Commented on The No. 1 marketing strategy to increase sales | Inman

Building and maintaining relationships is the foundation for being a successful Realtor. While there are some that have had amazing luck and have been in the right place at the right time, this is not a get-rich-quick industry. What we do today might be benefiting us in six months but it’s planting the seed, maintaining your crop and then reaping the benefits at harvest that is the objective. Thanks for the great article Grant!!!

Jim Smoak · Commented on’s new plan to lure homesellers | Inman

We all know the stats on working Internet leads. They’re ok for filling the atrophy or dropouts from your database, but it’s a tough road to travel if you’re relying on them as your sole source of leads or business. With all the churn going on in the portal space, I think it’s critical that agents spend blocked-out time growing and managing their database of contacts that represent their sphere of influence, as that source will provide you with your best leads, and your most cost effective return on your investment.

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