Notes From Readers: An Upside to Newspaper Woes

A collection of letters from readers of REALTOR® Magazine this month.

May 1, 2009

I read with interest last month’s editor’s letter ("We’re All Doing More With Less," April 2009, page 6). While you lament the loss of the Rocky Mountain News and other financially troubled newspapers, I think you’d find most real estate practitioners are doing the happy dance. In my 27th year in the real estate business, I feel the newspaper industry has held real estate professionals hostage with ever-rising advertising costs, poor customer service, and an inability to adapt to changing times. A new day has dawned; the Internet has exploded and left print far behind. As for REALTOR® magazine’s future, I think you should do a survey to find out if members would be open to having the magazine move entirely online. I’m all for it, and I feel there are a whole lot more people out there just like me.— Phil Hunt, Prudential Advantage, REALTORS®, St. Louis

So Many Tips, So Little Time

As always, I loved your annual List Issue. I am an office manager of a brokerage with 80-plus associates and I can always find tons of material for sales meetings in this edition. I hope REALTORS® took the time to browse all of the lists; there’s so much valuable information for today’s market. Keep up the great work!— Darla A. Furst, CRB, Michael Saunders & Co., Sarasota, Fla.

Experience Matters Most

In last month’s Letters page, one reader wrote that too many practitioners are calling themselves short-sales "specialists" even though they don’t have specialized training ("Too Many 'Specialists,'" April 2009, page 8). I agree that we need as much education in short sales as possible to best represent our clients. However, I’ve found that many short-sales classes focus mainly on how to market to prospects. I consider myself a specialist—not because I attended classes, which I have done, but because I took the time to study the real estate market and learn the banks’ procedures (the timelines and specialized documentation, among others). Let’s face it: No matter how complex a short sale may be, the best way to gain experience is to work directly with a broker and a bank on a few short sale deals. The real education is on the streets.— Michael Warren, Century 21 Pinnacle, Richmond, Calif.

Tread Carefully With Mold

An article in the List Issue ("7 Steps for Removing Mold from Listings," April 2009) seemed to imply that real estate practitioners should tell sellers to remove mold themselves if the problem isn’t severe and is contained to a "small" area less than 10 square feet. Why open yourself up to liability if the mold problem is worse than it appears? The gravity of the presence of mold can only be determined by qualified and registered professionals, at least here in Texas. I give buyers or sellers a mold informational handout provided by my state REALTOR® association, along with a list of companies that are licensed to remove mold or perform a mold test. This is one area that is definitely out of the scope of my expertise, and all I can do is to point consumers to trained experts.— Rey Rocha, Rey Rocha Real Estate, San Antonio

Correction In the January REALTOR® Resource section, "Readers' Picks: Top 10 of 2008" gave an incorrect phone number for logo design company My Logo. The correct number is 888-869-5646. We regret the error.

Kelly Quigley

Kelly Quigley is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.