In a recent social media interaction, I was completely alarmed at some of the ideas floating around our industry. More than any other time in history, we, as real estate agents, have to be careful about the advice we are taking.

In a recent social media interaction, I was completely alarmed at some of the ideas floating around our industry. More than any other time in history, we, as real estate agents, have to be careful about the advice we are taking.

An agent in this particular social media group was passing out advice about how to earn “now business,” meaning, he was advertising a proven method to find clients who are ready to buy or sell real estate within the next 30 days. 

This is not uncommon for these type of group settings.

This particular agent said that he had, on multiple occasions, put his own house on Zillow as a for sale by owner to attract buyer leads. His house was not for sale, he was just using it to attract buyers who were looking for homes. He went on to say that he had done this with other listings from his company as well.

I was utterly alarmed at the admission. Even more alarming was the little heart under the post. Someone, actually, loved this idea. It was baffling.

Finally, a few of us commented about the unethical tactic and urged him to remove his post. I don’t know if he did or not.

There are people in the world who are preying on real estate agents trying to sell them the “next big thing.” 

Normally, this will be wrapped in the illusion of more money and less work. As these ads fly through your news feed at light speed, there are three things you can do to check the validity for your own business.

The ethical qualifier

The very first question that should be answered when looking into a new strategy, proven or otherwise, is the question of ethics. 

“Does this practice match the code of ethics for me, the real estate industry and the code by which I agreed to do business?”

Given that not every licensed agent will be a Realtor, the ethical obligation can vary. However, if you are licensed and part of your local association, you have agreed to a code of ethics that includes how you treat clients, how you treat the public and how you treat other Realtors. 

We have to decide what builds our business and serves the people before taking advice from a perfect stranger. The fastest way to omit or confirm an opinion or strategy is to put it up against your ethics.

Social background check

If someone is offering advice, a program or a solution to your problem, you have to do your homework. 

Is this person licensed? Does this person do this a lot? Who is a part of their business, life and brand? How active are they in real estate or marketing? 

Basically, who is this person?    

Using Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter to qualify someone is simple, and it takes only a few minutes. If they are who they say they are, it will be in the content of at least one of these profiles. 

Just as an employer would verify information about a candidate, so should you before you drop your credit card information into the online form.

A good idea is to find someone who is already a client through one of these channels and message him or her. Ask what his or her experience was like and if he or she recommends it. 

Be brief, be kind, and just ask a couple of questions. 

Identify the problem you need to solve

This age of mass marketing also means that you can create problems that you don’t necessarily have in your real estate business.

Before you open yourself up for advice or solutions, you have to identify a specific problem or problems that you need to solve. Finding a trusted product, person or platform that solves that problem is the goal. 

Don’t get sidetracked because that can create distraction or buy things that are not going to help you.

Everyone has an opinion. That’s nothing new. What is new is the fact that everyone has a platform to voice his or her opinion without having to do much work.

We have to be careful who we are listening to and who’s advice is relevant.

Three quick steps can expose the true intention behind the marketing vultures in real estate. In recent months, I have seen some excellent agents giving excellent advice to anyone who needs it. 

Likewise, I have spotted some agents promoting things that have no place in our business. Be it unethical, outside of their ability or creating a problem for the sake of commerce, it is up to us, as individuals, to know which advice warrants a listen. 

Kevin Hoover is a Realtor with eXp Realty – Myrtle Beach. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

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