“Why is our neighborhood being marginalized by the real estate industry?”

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“Why is our neighborhood being marginalized by the real estate industry?” MAAR was asked this in a letter from a concerned citizen. We will keep the writer’s neighborhood confidential in this report so as not to increase whatever perception some may already have. “Recently, it came to our attention,” he wrote “that several families moved here despite a poor rating by their real estate agent. Curious about this, I started asking questions of friends and neighbors to help me define these statements. As a result, I’ve discovered a pattern of behavior by real estate agents that has left me feeling disillusioned about how the industry does business.”

He wrote he’s heard that his community is being called “iffy” or “questionable” or “unsafe” by real estate agents. In addition, he’s heard that almost all potential buyers are being told not to live there and are being steered into an area agents consider more favorable. Baffled, he wrote that his neighborhood association is well organized and keeps the community looking nice. They enjoy proximity to shopping, quality public service, and a safe environment. He is proud of his neighborhood and considers it an excellent place to live.

Is his observation about agents a valid one? Are agents spreading rumor and hearsay and as he wrote “nurtured from word of mouth labeling and ignorance of the facts, and born out of laziness”? Let us hear your suggested best practices in this regard.

Posted by Jules Wade at 6:04 pm


5 Responses to ““Why is our neighborhood being marginalized by the real estate industry?””

  1. Joe Spake Says:

    I don’t mean to sound strident, but I represent people not neighborhoods. Most of my clients come to me well-versed on neighborhoods and have already formed opinions of the value of particular areas based on their own research. In an area as diverse as greater Memphis, being a real estate generalist is a virtually impossible task.
    Surely, there are niche Realtors in all neighborhoods. I learned long ago that, for many, perception IS reality. Perhaps this concerned citizen needs to address the perceptions of others about his neighborhood. I a good place to start would be the
    Realtors who work the neighborhood as their niche.

  2. Ida Reddice Says:

    I would hate to think that in this day and age, we are still possibly having this problem. That is one way the economy got in this mess in the first place. As a realtor, I would never attempt to negatively portray one neighborhood over another. Most people know where they want to live when they start looking at homes. It’s our responsibility to give them all the information about a neighborhood and let them make the final choice.

  3. Terry Roach Says:

    If an agent is working for the buyer as a buyer’s agent, it’s their fiduciary duty to make their clients aware of any factors which might affect the future value of the largest investment that they’ll ever make, their home.

    There are two very good means of providing clients with objective information, and it’s all in the public record.

    First, determine if the homes in the neighborhood are selling at lower prices than they sold for previously, a trend which rarely, if ever, reverses itself.
    Unfortunately, in a high percentage of neighorboods in the Memphis housing market, this is the case, and only a small part of it is attributable to the current economic situation. Most of the drop in value is due to the increasing crime rate.

    Which leads to the second step. Go the Daily News Crime Mapper site and research the residential crime numbers for the area immediately surrounding that neighborhood.

    You’ll be shocked. I did this recently for a client considering two homes, one in Bartlett, and the other in the Hacks Cross Road area, just south of 385.

    Using just two crime categories, and checking the 12-month numbers for both, the combined number of incidents within 2 square miles of the home in Bartlett was 50; for the home in the Hacks Cross Road area the number of reported crimes in the same 2 categories was 320, or 500% greater than in Bartlett.

    If the fellow wants to know why buyers are shying away from his neighborhood, this is probably the answer to his question.

    It’s always easier to blame someone else, however, the numbers don’t lie.

  4. Carole Ann Burns Says:

    The man is correct. Real estate agents DO talk “down” various areas in which they sell. Homeowners know this because agents talk areas down to them too. It is amazing to me the numbers of listing appointments I have attended where the homeowner says “agent says this area is not so good and if I lived in other area my house would be worth more — I want an agent who believes in my area and will work for me and not encourage people to buy in a different area.” OR a Buyer who says, “such and such agent says not to buy in__________.”
    One of these days an agent is going to say something like that to the wrong person and there will be a major law suit.
    The Cordova area is one for which I have particular concern since I sell and live there. Regularly I have heard agents say this is an area to “steer” away from (not that word but the same meaning).
    The Cordova Coalition formed a group and this was talked about and our concern shared with one another. There were over 100 agents in attendance who knew of these concerns and that is why they attended.
    Anyone who thinks agents are blind to the good and bad and in-between of areas is just not talking to other agents.

  5. Chuck House Says:

    I have heard the same thing from an area of Memphis also. This is totally inexcusable if any Realtors are practicing this they should stop it!

    I help people find homes where they want to live. They usually have a good idea where they want to buy. In rare instances when they ask my opinion of an area and I give them links to websites about the neighborhoods they are considering and show them houses in all area they are considering until they decide on a specific area.

    Steering could be illegal and it certainly can become a self fulfilling prophesy.

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