WaPo: Be Wary of Agent’s “Boosterism”

  • June 15, 2009

by Mark Wellborn

The Washington Post had an interesting piece on Saturday that looked at how a real estate agent’s sunny outlook on the market (regardless of how it is doing) can have a disconcerting effect on prospective buyers.

Post real estate writer Elizabeth Razzi talks with a couple that was looking to buy late last year, but put their plans on hold when the economy began to tank. Their agent recognized their hesitancy and indicated that it was the “media” that was blowing the turmoil out of proportion. For a number of reasons, they switched brokerages and eventually bought last month.

The article is a good read whether or not you believe agents are guilty of “boosterism.” Here is one particularly interesting passage:

Even as the public has grown more skeptical of real estate industry boosterism, the National Association of Realtors, with the help of public relations giant Burson-Marsteller, has been training brokers nationwide to more effectively talk up market positives. Since February 2008, their “Surround Sound” public relations program has taught 3,500 brokers to counter negative news reports about the housing market, according to Liz Giovaniello, who directs the program for NAR.

“We really aren’t in the business of turning people into cheerleaders,” she said. “And for some people, buying a home isn’t the right thing. We’re just trying to tell the other side of the story, that every market is different, and some markets didn’t have high foreclosures. . . . We didn’t feel that it was always being told.”

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/wapo_be_wary_of_agents_boosterism/1027

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