“What you need to know!” Are you properly informed? The perils of inaccurate information.

Recently I was asked to be a guest expert analyst on a local “Business in Vancouver” radio show. Many callers who phoned in expressed frustration at the seemingly endless stream of inconsistent or conflicting information which seems to pervade our Real Estate industry. Often these discrepancies arise because so many different sources are being quoted or consulted over short periods of time, in particular when real estate is making the news. Financial institutions, Real Estate Boards, development companies, and local Realtors may all have access to much of the same statistical information, but may all reach different conclusions depending on their individual interpretations. This may arise for several reasons including; the analysis of too broad a geographical or statistical area, limited experience at the gathering or presentation of the facts, or personal or individual agendas that may benefit by the presentation of the facts with a particular slant to them.

If you required competent, reliable information and advice on a legal matter, a taxation problem, or a health issue you would seek out, ask questions, and in fact demand answers from an expert. These responses may not necessarily be what you wanted to hear, but this knowledge would be invaluable in the reaching of a prudent decision that may affect the future happiness and well-being of you and your family.

For some reason in Real Estate many times the public falls short on the gathering and challenging of the appropriate information they need. Is it because we don’t move very often and are not sure of all the questions to ask? Is it possibly that we only want to hear the answers we want to hear? One thing for sure, the buying and selling of your own personal residence is one of the most emotional processes you will ever go through. In most cases your home represents your biggest financial asset. The challenge is to ensure that good family memories, ego entitlement issues, and an emotional roller coaster do not complicate a process that requires constant prudent discipline.

So how can we become better informed? First, be determined to get unbiased statistical information pertinent to your area. Second, make sure that all the evidence gathered directly pertains to the type of real estate you may be buying or selling. Third, get information in your area over an extended period of time. This will demonstrate to you the historical highs and lows for your type of real estate.

Broad generalities can be deceptive. Sales that have doubled “month over month” are totally unimportant if last months totals were the worst on record.

Many times released information can be grossly misleading. Broad generalities can be deceptive. Sales that have doubled “month over month” are totally unimportant if last months totals were the worst on record. So called “home” sales should be separated as the pace of condo sales may be dramatically different than that of detached sales. The listing count change in your specific area may be totally different than that experienced in other areas of Greater Vancouver. Coquitlam prices may be rising, but you can’t give away a home in West Van over $3.0 mil. What are you to make of it all?

Over my 26 years selling real estate I have been disappointed at the number of times I have witnessed the public suffer devastating financial losses, to say nothing of the massive stress, all due to either a lack of education, or a stubbornness to listen. Sellers who listed too high only to have a falling market wipe out hundreds of thousands of dollars saved over a life time. Buyers who in an anxious frenzy, paid $50,000-$100,000 more than their next nearest competitor in a multiple offer scenario. Many of these clients may take weeks or months, sometimes never, to become fully aware of the mistakes they have made. The haunting question is, if they had more of the accurate information they needed, would they still have made the decisions they did?

The problem is two-sided. The party delivering the information must be willing to tell it like it is, and the receiving party should be willing to receive the information even when it is not what they want to hear. No doctor wants to deliver the news of a serious illness. In most cases however, the client is better served by receiving that knowledge, and can plan their future accordingly. Clients who have accurate information can make prudent, relaxed, and most importantly responsible decisions to protect their most treasured investment. Real estate is all timing, being in the right place at the right time, and having the courage to make the right decisions. This can only be accomplished by acquiring all the required information and controlling your ego and your emotions!

Choosing the right Realtor is the first step to a responsible home move. Your Realtor must provide you with 4 qualities. First, they must have the time to dedicate their personal time to commit to your every need. Second, they must have extensive product knowledge. Third, they must be able to provide you with both current and historical statistical information. Fourth, their negotiating skills need to be second to none. Moving does not need to be stressful. Your home is your most important asset, be prudent, be responsible, but most importantly….get informed!

This article has been authored by Brent Eilers, Prudential Sussex Realty, West Vancouver