WHY!? Remember asking that question incessantly when you were a kid? Or hearing it incessantly as a parent? I do. And it is still one of the most used words in my vocabulary. Why?

Why should I? What’s great about it? What’s the benefit?

Why shouldn’t I? What bad might happen if I do? What are the potential consequences if I fail to…

Fail to what, though?

My business is Real Estate. Buying, Selling, Renting, Investing, Renovating, Advising, Consulting. That’s what we have going on here. I am a professional REALTOR®, and have been for a long enough time that one could feasibly consider me seasoned. But hopefully not ever grizzled.

It’s a hard job. Time consuming. High stakes. Requiring creativity and stamina. Requiring knowledge of contracts, process, and architecture. Requiring looking at a million different personalities and agendas, and pulling it all together to get a job done – lots of times with someone I have never met as my co-pilot. A much higher than 40 hour work week, but without health benefits. It’s not easy.

So why did I decide to pursue this path? That’s for another day. The why I am concerned with here is about you. Why should you care? Why should you care that REALTORS® exist?

We are going to talk about that a lot. Caring. Why Real Estate is important. But this insertion is about why REALTORS® are important. Why are we important to you. Your future.

Recently some tenants of mine asked me about buying the home that they have been renting for a good amount of time. Over two years. It’s a perfect match for them. They LOVE it! I was game. Then came the sad part. They thought that they might be able to buy it for a figure in the 130,000′s.

WHY? Because Trulia told them that’s what it was worth. $137,000. As well as showing an incorrect photo of it.

Homes.com said $151,000.

Zillow’s got it at $123,994.

Even Realtor.com is in on it. Three estimates, each with a high, low, and “list here” type price. The lowest was $96,663 and the highest came in at $185,035. (I’d say that right now this home is worth about $195,000)

So this is a stretch, huh? From $96,000 to $185 from publicly available estimates. And still not as high as as manual valuation from a person familiar with the neighborhood, licensed to interpret the data.

How might you feel if this were your property?

Well it is! Look your home up. Do it! You may find a similar stretch between the high and low figures.

Why? Because Real Estate figures and stats require interpretation. Same reason we like local appraisers. Interpretation requires some knowledge of more than figures – although this rift in figures is quite notable.

Real Estate is like any business. If you want it done properly, hire a professional who is good at what they do. Who spends time on it and in it. Who knows the product and the potential pitfalls and systems. This person should also be someone you feel you can talk to – about really important and personal topics, too.

The Real Estate market is rebounding quite a bit in many markets. Inventory is depleating. Prices are rising. There is competition again for good products, properly priced – and sometimes the competition is fierce. Getting top market value is in your hands, and the best thing that you can do for yourself is to consult a REALTOR®. A professional who you know to be honest, knowledgable, and creative. (And pssst – they should know how houses are made, too. Not just sales…)

Your competition is not just other homes on the market that are similar to yours. Your competition is your home’s online footprint. What is the assessment? People can see that. What is the value at the 3rd party sites like Trulia, Zillow, Homes.com, Realtor.com? People can see these figures, too. And some people trust them! It’s our job to be aware of what our property’s digital footprint is in the world.

Call me and I will show you how to take inventory of these trackers, and make adjustments where necessary in order to have your internet home value reflect as closely as possible with what we find in the true and active market.

If you are thinking about selling in the Spring, the time for that is now.

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