gmhTODAY 25 gmhTODAY April May 2019 - Page 10

Do You Trust Your Friends More than Your Realtor? A Top Producing Team Gilroy Offi ce, 2015, 2016, 2017 Sean Dinsmore, Realtor Intero Real Estate Services 408.710.2855 DRE #01966405 Marta Maloney, Realtor GRI Intero Real Estate Services 408.710.0571 DRE #01352339 10 m I touching a nerve here? Let me say right away that it’s perfectly okay to trust friends with their judgement on real estate matters. It never hurts (too much) to listen to several points of view, including from those close advisors dear to you. Just depends on the relevancy of their advice, the degree to which you believe it and the quality of alternative counseling, like what you rightfully should expect from a professional local real estate expert (when the word expert is warranted that is). All human beings have a point of view, whether qualified or not. If you listen to 10 people, chances are you will get up to ten different answers; different advice. Of course, all real estate agents have their own personal opinion as well. The only thing that they have in common is that, everything else considered, they much prefer showing you (and selling you) houses they like. And what Realtor A likes is not what Realtor B likes. At the end of the day, it’s your call to decide who to trust, Realtor or friend, or whoever. It better be the right choice because homes, as you know only too well, are very pricey and you cannot dispose of them overnight. Too many people offering their advice. Too many influences. Too many choices. Decisions, decisions. As if the quagmire were not complicated enough, the choices are now further confused by syndicated sites like Zillow, Trulia, and the like. These online real estate database companies propose to put a price on everything with a foundation, using arbitrary algorithms that have neither a knowledge of what’s in the house, the condition, the local market pulse, nor a myriad of other factors that go into pricing a home. I came across a few lines written by Steve Cook, from the WAV Group, a real estate think tank of sorts. His findings, based on various studies, suggest that nowadays consumers are making critical decisions about buying, selling, owning or renting in part based not on local conditions in the market where they live, but on experiences of friends who may live far away across the continent. It can get messy at a time when the various local markets, all over the map, have a life of their own and move at different speeds. They vary greatly, not even from just one zip code to the next, but neighborhood to neighborhood, based on such things as employment, transportation, demographics, etc. Not a bad idea to seek proper advice from, and work with, a professional who is making a living understanding his/her LOCAL marketplace and trying to guide a client to the right place. It’s not because an $800,000 home sold in a day in Dallas that a $3M home in San Francisco will go overnight, or vice-versa. A Facebook survey of users in LA County was analyzed by researchers from the National Bureau of Economic Research. They found that individuals whose friends experienced larger recent housing price increases considered local real estate a more attractive investment. I don’t mean to be facetious, but I could have saved the NBER beaucoup money and time by reaching the same conclusion within seconds. I am that good! (yuk yuk). The research also suggests that when social network friends experience less positive price changes, irrespective of where they live, those individuals are more likely to sell their property at a lower price. These findings, as Cook notes, may have a huge significance for the role that real estate professionals play in educating consumers who are becoming less sensitive to the diverse conditions between local and hyper-local housing markets. So here is my advice: when in doubt, call as many friends as you want (as long as they bought or sold a house recently in the same price range and live in the market as you). Then call a good, local Realtor—in that order. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN april/may 2019