Blogging Agents

Posted by Dave Fratello on Sunday, February 10th, 2008 at 5:31am.

To hear the LA Times' Sunday RE section tell it, realtor blogs are the next big thing.

We're skeptical. First, because blogging sounds easier than it is. Second, because realtors come to the plate with one strike against them. Readers will distrust – and therefore ignore – a salesperson unless and until they see that the person can be direct and honest.

In this story (see "Realtor blogs help reel in clients, boost sales"), the Times cites several decent agent blogs from around the country. And then the story gets a bit ahead of the facts:
[I]t seems that every agent and their brother now has a blog. And if anecdotal evidence is to be believed -- nobody actually tracks this -- agents who are still selling today are agents who blog.
Maybe if you're writing a story about realtors that blog, these blogs seems common, but they're not. Certainly not in MB, but even regionally, MBC is not familiar with many quality blogs by realtors.

And by "quality," of course, we mean thoughtful, analytical, even opinionated writing, with some useful data. In MB we've only really got Kaye Thomas' blog, though Blake Roberts is trying to get something going. (It's hard to keep it up, isn't it? Even when your job is RE!) If there are any others, they have escaped our notice, so shame on us both.

Mostly blogs just haven't made the radar of the local RE community. Look at how poor most agent websites are – off-the-shelf filler content, canned search functions and, incredibly, very rare updates of those agents' own listings. You wouldn't want to read a blog by folks who think the internet is just a place for brochures.

MBC will soon feature an interview with one of our favorite RE agent bloggers, Jim the Realtor in San Diego (click here to see his blog), who's prolific, analytical and as edgy as they get.

There are openings in lots of other markets, like ours, for pros to elevate their games by broadcasting what they think and know. That could only bring more business. (We once had a blogging-agent-in-the-making peopling the comments section here at MBC, but he has either chosen or been ordered to quit.)

Maybe most agents don't yet know what the NAR is telling them: almost all buyers use the internet in their home searches, and 1 in 3 actually first see their ultimate home online. (See MBC's story: "Web is Vital to RE Sales.")

Alas, you'll never see an agent blog doing one thing we love to do at MBC: analyzing or criticizing active listings, mainly on price. It's not like agents don't have opinions, but expressing them would be a one-way ticket to black-sheepdom. There will always be an opening for an independent/consumer perspective, too, and we like that.
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