Question Everything You Think You know, You Might Just Learn Something


I've been reading a lot of advice for newbies thanks to Patricia Kennedy's "October Challenge: Your Best Advice for Real Estate Newbies." Today I thought I'd put forth a wee bit of advice *FROM* a newbie.

Question everything you think you know, you might just learn something!

How did I come to re-affirm this concept today? Well, I was viewing a listing and came across a couple of what I saw as discrepancies between what was being presented and reality.

The  listing in question has the word timber in the home style description. That caught my eye since if hubby and I build (after we win the lottery, that is) we'd be likely to build a timber home. But oh no. No, no, no, No, NO! As soon as I saw the first picture it was a letdown. I'm not even in the market for a purchase so I can only imagine the disappointment for an actual buyer with an interest in timber homes.

It was a log home, through and through.

There's no misleading here, intentional or otherwise. Anyone who knows or even suspects the difference between a timber home and a log home wouldn't have the slightest doubt upon viewing the listing pictures (image shown is not from the listing, just a log cabin from that it is a log home. So I have to assume that the listing agent has no idea the difference between timber and log construction and thus has no idea that the misuse of the word timber could cause such ripples.


That's very sad though as it is a rather in-your-face distinction. This is not like with the Corian® vs. a generic solid surface counter-top situation such as Judith Sinnard described in her blog post. In that scenario a buyer might have to rely upon an Agent's use of a brand-name on something that can't necessarily be differentiated even with a solid {cough} surface inspection. (Sorry, I just couldn't resist the play on words.)

In the case of timber vs. log, the knowledgeable home-searcher would quickly and irrevocably know that the listing agent was mistaken. What do you think that does for the listing agent's credibility in the eyes of the buyer? What do you think that does for buyer interest in the property? Were I a buyer, I would likely quickly click on to the next entry.

As a newbie-agent-to-be, though, I kept looking at the listing out of curiosity of what else I might find and even somewhat hoping that the listing agent would redeem themselves with the rest of the listing. They indicated further in that it is a log home, yay, then went on to describe the joys of the lifestyle of the area and provide the field-driven elements. All seemed to be looking up.

When I got down to the sub-area entry, though, I'd've snorted coffee out my nose had I been drinking any.

If I had noticed the sub-area on the MLS entry before I saw the pictures I would have thought just from that value that the description was wrong without even seeing the images at all. I would  have thought the likelihood is non-existent that a timber home, much less the log home that it turned out to be, had somehow been erected in the named tightly-controlled HOA-ridden builder-developed area of look-alike stick-framed houses. When I did see it, it made me wonder what the Agent was smoking when they got to that part. You know about the things some smoke here in Colorado, yes? Tip from a newbie #1a: Don't smoke "that stuff" while writing your listing descriptions and inputting the MLS information, it might hinder your accuracy.


And then, I learned something today. I chose to use my "wait a minute, this person is experienced so what am *I* missing" thought process on what I saw as the sub-area discrepancy and set out to learn more about the neighborhood in question. Could it possibly be part of that area?

After some poking of the web and avoiding of the spiders, it turns out that the sub-area was indeed correct! There's a ranch portion and a non-ranch portion, the listing agent called it by the non-ranch name, but that might well be an MLS option limitation. The ranch portion of the sub-area has a western section. They don't even include it visually on their own community map, but if you read the print on the map it's noted with the same house count and same acreage designation as provided in the listing. The western section lies 10 miles and several communities away by road but lo and behold it's just a presumably pleasant stroll a wee bit (ok, 3 miles) across their open space by foot. I never knew!

All in all, the property is gorgeous. If I had a client in the market for a log home in the location and price range I'd sure take them there.

I'm glad I didn't dismiss the listing due to the whole timber vs. log debacle, and I'm glad I questioned what I thought I knew about the area. I learned something today and that's always a good thing.

What have you questioned lately?

Happy Friday!