An article a couple of weeks ago in Western Investor, a Vancouver publication that highlights commercial real estate, franchises and business opportunities, caught my eye. “Social media time suck.”
The author is making the point that real estate professionals have been quick to jump on board the social media bandwagon, but slow to figure out how best to use it.
Remember that social media is meant to be social. It’s not meant as a one-way push of information, links or sales pitches. Sure, every so often you’re going to want to Tweet out your latest listing or advertise an open house – but to be most effective, it can’t just be about sales.
Think of using social media in the same way you might approach a cocktail party. You may bring some business cards when you go to a cocktail party, and if asked, I’m sure you’re willing to give one out – but you wouldn’t barge into that party, immediately start handing out business cards and talking up your newest listing, right? Take the time to engage in conversations with your followers and build relationships.
The article in the Western Investor has a few additional suggestions for real estate professionals who want to use social media:
Join the conversation, but don’t dominate it. Add value, not noise.
How do you use social media? How do you add value and limit noise?
Does anyone else find it curious that so many real estate industry professionals feel compelled to put an initial “offer to purchase” in writing but then verbally negotiate it to an outcome? Is there not some irony in this? The industry professional provides competent service, fulfills their fiduciary obligations, practices in strict accordance with the Act, places the interests of their client above everything except the law, and honours the obligations in the Statute of Frauds but only for the initial offer? Sure, it’s a common practice, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay.
In fact, there are a number of common practices in the real estate industry today, rarely discussed with clients, which may be construed as being in the best interests of the industry professional rather than in the best interests of the client. Evidence within some of RECA’s Professional Conduct Review files suggests counter offers are often not written, initial deposits often do not accompany the initial offer, certain elements of the offer are often improperly completed (i.e. financing condition “TBD”; no “open for acceptance” information; or nothing to contemplate a buyer’s pre-closing walk through even though it is expected), and notice is given and/or received by a means other than what was agreed to by the parties. These are a few of the more common examples. However, just because these practices are common does not make them acceptable, especially in the absence of client consent.
Bottom line - put it in writing!
Have you ever seen a deal go sideways because of a conflict between common practices and client expectations?
Over the past few months, the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) has heard time and time again from industry professionals that they want RECA to remain the “police” of the industry. They’ve told us that RECA is a regulator and needs to regulate.
There’s no arguing with that. Section 5 of the Real Estate Act is very clear that one of the purposes of Council is to set and enforce standards of conduct for the industry and the business of industry members. Section 5 of the Act further states that RECA is to administer the Act, the regulations, the bylaws and the rules. That’s another function and a purpose of RECA.
But did you know section 5 of the Act also says Council is to provide services and other resources that, in the opinion of the Council, enhance and improve the industry and the business of industry members? Council enhances the industry in ways that are tied to its mandate and in harmony with other industry associations and stakeholders.
While RECA has always – and will always – devote significant resources to setting and enforcing standards of conduct and to administering the Act and Rules, lately, it is dedicating additional resources to fulfilling Council’s other purpose by:
All of these activities come under the broad umbrella of improving the industry and the business of industry members. RECA attends events that Alberta industry professionals attend as it’s important that RECA is recognized as a resource for and a participant in the ecosystem of Alberta’s real estate industry.
A lawyer in attendance at RECA’s Symposium on Self-Regulation commented that when lawyers join the Law Society of Alberta, they’re made to feel like they are genuinely part of something. The sense out there is that the same is not true about professionals within Alberta’s real estate, mortgage brokerage and real estate appraisal industries.
In the past, professionals in those industries have told RECA they believe there is an “us vs. them” mentality. That needs to change and, in fact, is changing, as RECA focuses on improving the business of the industry and industry professionals. Much of this will occur through collaboration and cooperation, with other organizations, regulators and individual industry professionals.
One of the comments the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) has heard most often in the weeks since the RECA Symposium on Self-Regulation is how important this initiative was in terms of collaboration. The Symposium served as an excellent opportunity to get 100+ industry stakeholders together, from across the country, to discuss self-regulation and professionalism within our industry. That being said, it is not the only recent example of collaboration at work.
As you may or may not be aware, the RECA management team meets regularly with the AREA management team to discuss priorities and issues of mutual interest, and RECA has recently started similar meetings with the creb® management team. These meetings are an excellent opportunity to discuss projects or issues that might be better tackled collaboratively.
Other recent examples of collaboration and cooperation between RECA and industry associations:
Do you have any suggestions on how RECA can collaborate or partner with other industry organizations and associations?
The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) is an independent, non-government agency responsible for governing the real estate brokerage, mortgage brokerage and real estate appraisal industries under the Real Estate Act of Alberta.