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Advertising vs. Marketing (Part 2) Know your Clients to Know the Difference July 1, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Cool Technology, Customer Sevice, Industry Misconceptions.
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This is a follow up to my original post “You’re NOT Marketing… How to STOP Advertising and Start Marketing!”. This Utterz talks more about HOW to incorporate the knowledge of your target audience into your efforts to create true MARKETING campaigns instead of Advertising.

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You’re NOT Marketing… How to STOP Advertising and Start Marketing? June 30, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Customer Sevice, Great other Sites and Blogs, Industry Misconceptions, Using This Technology.
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So, I’m driving down the road today and had to take a picture of this. Why? Because it reminded me of how so many companies (not just real estate companies) approach their marketing efforts… Even more so, it made me think about how many people, (and industries), don’t know the difference between ADVERTISING and MARKETING.

Are you investing in Real Estate MARKETING or Real Estate ADVERTISING?

Advertising: The paid, public, non-personal announcement of a persuasive message by an identified sponsor; the non-personal presentation or promotion by a firm of its products to its existing and potential customers.

Marketing: The systematic planning, implementation and control of a mix of business activities intended to bring together buyers and sellers for the mutually advantageous exchange or transfer of products.

Quick Test – Based on the definitions above, categorize the following real estate “marketing” efforts:

  • Just Listed Postcards – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Email Drip Campaigns – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Direct Mail Campaigns – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Online Banner Ads – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Farming a Neighborhood – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • FSBO’s and Expireds – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Informercials – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Grocery Carts ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Cold Calls – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)
  • Agent Websites – ___ (Advertising) ___ (Marketing)

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Here’s a newsflash though… ALL OF THESE ARE FORMS OF ADVERTISING BUT DON’T HAVE TO BE!

So, how could we turn some of these “Advertising” efforts into “Marketing” campaign?

Just Listed Postcard to renters featuring a property suited for First Time Buyers – Marketing

Email Campaigns focusing on things to do in your town, or information specific to their buying needs

Direct Mail Campaigns focusing on the psychographics of your database (See Understanding Your Clients Post Here)

Farming a Neighborhood and sending them to a website like the one of my past agents developed www.510werie.com

FSBO’s and Expireds can benefit from the information and help you can provide to them (80% of them will sign with a Realtor, 70% will sign with the first Realtor they talk to, and they’ll probably use you on the buy side if they like you and feel you helped them)

And the list goes on…

It’s time to innovate, and bring yourself and emotion into the equation. By reading, living, and incorporating the true definition of MARKETING listed above, you will be taking the first steps forward into a new level of business.

Matt Dollinger

Fear and the Art of Real Estate Success June 20, 2008

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The Only Thing We Have To Fear… Is Fear Itself

On March 4, 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt faced a country in fear, in depression and receited one of the most eloquent speeches in Presidential history. Entering the Presidency in the middle of the Great Depression, Roosevelt inherited 13,000,000 unemployed and almost every bank in our Nation closed. In his first “hundred days,” he proposed, and Congress enacted, a sweeping program to bring recovery to business and agriculture, relief to the unemployed and to those in danger of losing farms and homes… sound familiar?

Fear was not an option for FDR. Having battled to use his legs after being stricken with poliomyelitis, the challenge of facing a Nation at its knees was simply another battle.

Today we face issues ourselves. Homes, Jobs, and a fluctuating economy strike at the heart of each of us, and for those of us in the Real Estate profession it is our turn to overcome this fear. Fear is not simply an emotion, it is a debilitator, it is a paralyzation, it is a disease that can only be overcome by action.

And so I urge those of you with the strength to stand up against this fear to combat with the tools you have amongst you. Educate your clients. Arm youself with knowledge. Embrace new technology. You are the solution… not the disease, and rather than pointing fingers and throwing blame assist in rectifying the problem. Action will combat your fear. Knowledge will rise you above. Education will move you forward.

The Utterz below was recorded after talking with a friend, facing unemployment, and struggling to rise above the Fear.

Matt Dollinger
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Understanding Your Client and Creating a Long Term Experience June 16, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Customer Sevice, Great other Sites and Blogs, Industry Misconceptions.
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So, what do you actually KNOW about your clients and referral sources?  You probably know the following demographic information:

  1. 1.  Where they live.
  2. 2.  What they do for a living.
  3. 3.  What their general income looks like.
  4. 4.  Their race, sex, and family status.
  5. 5.  Possibly their educational level.

But the question becomes, “Does this truly make them people,  or are these just demographic factors that we often draw assumptions from?”  I think this is a huge difference between knowing your clients’ Demographics and their Psychographics… and I believe that the Psychographics are what we really need to know.

What’s the difference between the two?  According toWikipedia

Demographics – refer to selected population characteristics as used in government, marketing or opinion research, or the demographic profiles used in such research. Commonly-used demographics include race, age, income, disabilities, mobility (in terms of travel time to work or number of vehicles available), educational attainment, home ownership, employment status, and even location.

* Psychographics– are any attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles. They are also called IAO variables (for Interests, Attitudes, and Opinions).

I made my first post this morning on www.Utterz.com(this site is incredibly cool.  Audio-blogging) talking about how I am working with my agents to develop marketing campaigns geared around creating a Long Term Customer Experience throughout the course of the relationship… not just the transaction.  Where this is pretty Real Estate specific, I believe that it could easily be incorporated into any business that depends on the word or mouth advertising or referrals of clients. 

–> If you’re interested in putting together a long term email campaign for your clients like this, listen to my Utterz post here:  http://tinyurl.com/5hqztl

I think that the important thing to focus on when developing this type of email campaign to your clients is your target, or “Top Ten” list.  These are your “Top Ten” client and referral sources that you would like to  clone into ALL future business.  These might not be your most expensive clients, or most likely to buy tomorrow, but they are people you enjoy working with, respect you as a professional, and think highly of the service you provide.  Below are the steps I recommend you take to develop this campaign:

1.  Send the email below to your “Top Ten” list of clients and contacts

To get a copy of the Psychographic Variable Introduction Email click here http://tinyurl.com/5d2qmg

2.  Follow up with a phone call afterwards to go through the fact finding questions with them.

To get a copy of the Psychographic Variable Questions for clients click here http://tinyurl.com/6s3z2r

3.  Review the answers that you get from your “Top Ten” and find the 6 degrees of separation between them.  The typical shared interests will usually be food, drink, family, travel, fun, etc.  These will determine the “Personal” content of your campaign.

4.  Print out a 12 month calendar and determine what your campaign will look like over the next year.  (i.e. July might be an Al Fresco dining recommendation, August could be day/weekend trips before school starts).

5.  Determine what “Professional” elements you are going to include in the campaign. (i.e. market data, links to articles of interest, etc.)

6. Put these elements together into a short (2 – 3) paragraph email with a couple of hyperlinks together for your database to review.  (1 paragraph intro, 1 paragraph personal, 1 paragraph professional).  The idea is that even though the campaign’s content is based on what those MOST IMPORTANT TO YOUR BUSINESS would find valuable, it will probably appeal to a much broader database. 

Our goal is that our clients and contacts will:

*Find it VALUABLEenough to pass onto their personal sphere of influence

*Brand us as a local community EXPERT, and increase communication between us

*Open the lines for referrals, because referrals are a Two Sided Business

*Take the first steps in becoming a LOVEMARK to our clients, and not just a brand

Ask yourself this question.  “When you’re driving down the street and see a For Sale sign from your company that isn’t your listing, don’t you feel just a little proud of that?  Don’t you feel that because you have contributed to that company, that the agent’s success for that property is partially yours?”

Usually, the answer is YES.  And just like that situation, we want to make our clients and contacts feel part of our business, feel like contributors to YOUR success, and most importantly… special.

The thing to remember here is that this is target marketing.  We are not trying to be all things to all people… we are attempting to truly understand and deliever information to those that effect our business most positively.  On top of that, I believe you’ll probably feel much more confident (See Become the Jame Bond of Real Estate Post) in your communication with clients when you provide something of value to them. 

Matt Dollinger


Become the James Bond of Real Estate – 20 Ways to Boost your Confidence June 13, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Cool Technology, Customer Sevice, Great other Sites and Blogs, Industry Misconceptions, Using This Technology.
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“He who has confidence in himself will gain the confidence of others.” – Leib Lazarow

So what do James Bond and the most successful Real Estate agents that I know have in common that so many others lack?  It’s simple really… they all have an unbelievable amount of confidence.

Seriously though.  Would James ever face a time sensitive situation with SPECTRE, the end of the world at hand, and face whatever beautiful damsel was with him, (personal favorite was Honey Ryder ‘aka Ursula Andress’ from Dr. No), only to say, “Ummm… yeah… I don’t really know how to handle this.  Let me call Q and figure this out.”

HELL NO!  James would have done his research, know EVERYTHING about whatever Hans Blofeld was threatening with, disarm-blow-up-stop it, order a martini, and end up sailing into the sunset with gorgeous woman in tow.

My point is that James, like many other admirable people in business, film, etc. has confidence, true confidence.  Confidence isn’t bought, or scripted, or sold to clients… confidence is learned, earned and projected through knowledge.  In real estate, it is one of those almost emotional intangibles that allows one agent to differentiate themselves from others in their field… and to go against common belief from some, it does not come from an expensive suit and a foreign car.

To Me, ( and this is only my opinion) confidence in real estate comes from the following:

*Market Knowledge

  1. What does the currently inventory look like, new developments, projected developments, etc.
  2. What is the average market time in the area for SOLD properties and what is the average market time for UNSOLD properties.
  3. Asking price, selling price, # of price reductions, etc.
  4. Appreciation rates year over year and trends

*Neighborhood Information

  1. What school districts are in a particular neighborhood, what are their scores/rankings, who would your client contact to enroll their children.
  2. Parks, restaurants, nightlife, etc.
  3. Shopping, grocery, fire department, police, post office, crime rate, projected commercial development
  4. Public transportation, commute time, etc.

*Current Financing Opportunities

  1. Current traditional loan rates and requirements
  2. FHA possibilities, knowledge of process, requirements
  3. New/Changing State Legislation
  4. Declining Market requirements
  5. City Tax Smart Programs and Other Bond Programs  

Short Sale, Foreclosure, and Pre-Foreclosure Homes

  1. Benefits/Cautions of purchasing one of these homes
  2. Understanding of the short sale and foreclosure process including paperwork
  3. Why these homes might not be a bargain

(Good, Honest, Researched) Answers to some of the most common questions

  1. Why should I buy a home right now and not in 1 year when home prices have declined?
  2. What is FHA financing and why should I consider this?  Isn’t this only for low income?
  3. Am I going to make money on this home when I go to sell?
  4. Can’t we go in 100K under asking price and see what we can get?
  5. What’s your role as a Realtor/Why should I work with you?

If an agent can answer even 60% of these questions I think that they should have a pretty hefty amount of confidence in the Marketplace.  Maybe not to the level of Mr. Bond himself, but allot better than a majority of their competition.  Where would someone go to find this information? 

  • Pricing –
  • My all time favorite program available to most Realtors is Agent Metrics.  www.terradatum.com  Check to see if they have an agreement with your association or if you have to pay for the program.  Either way, it’s worth your time to gather a good understanding of this program and blow the competition away.  Ave. Sales Price, DOM, Inventory, and Absorption rates in both chart and graphical format.  Enough to make a numbers nerd like me salivate.  (CAUTION)  STAY AWAY FROM NATIONAL REPORTS LIKE THE S&P CASE SCHILLER REPORT.  READ MY POST HERE TO READ MY THOUGHTS ON NATIONAL REPORTS.



  • Current Financing Opportunities –
  • My feelings are that if your current mortgage broker isn’t taking it upon themself to help educate you on the different options, programs and rates out there, you need to work with another broker.  It’s not enough to say, “I have a mortgage broker for that.”  YOU need to know what the programs are, how they work, and what you could recommend to your clients. 
  • Fannie Mae has an unbelievable amount of information on their website regarding programs and insight into the industry 
  • Freddie Mac also has much of the same information.  Stay with the big boys as far as information unless you have a trusted local lender.


  • Short Sales/Foreclosures/Pre-foreclosures
  • Check with your local association.  Many are offering GREAT training programs to their membership
  • Sean O’Toole over at Foreclosure Truth has a GREAT forum for answering and asking questions
  • The Inman Blog – search short sales, foreclosures, etc. for leading industry insight
  • The NAR Website has a great section on short sales, how to manage them, etc.

Confidence effects people in many different ways.  Lack of it can paralyze you from doing anything at all including the simplest of prospecting activities, phone calls to your closest of clients, negotiating the proper price of a home, or even talking to clients at an open house.  Knowledge is power, and by becoming empowered, you will always come out on top, and ready to take on the world.  “Shaken not stirred”

Matt Dollinger


“The You Factor”



180 Things a Realtor Does During a Transaction… Earn your Commission June 6, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Customer Sevice, Industry Misconceptions.
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I think that one of the most common questions that a Real Estate agent gets from their client has to do with justifying your commission. As the video, “I am not a Lead” from 1000Watt Consulting states, “I’m happy to pay 6%. Just tell me what I get.”

Well, thanks to a friend I met on ActiveRain, now you have a (very) thorough list to justify your commission. Connie Olson, a Realtor with Realty World in Orange Park, Florida has put together this INCREDIBLE list entitled, “The REALTOR®’S Critical Role in the Real Estate Transaction”. These over 180 points outline everything from pre-listing activities to your part in the negotiation. Although, some of Connie’s points might not apply to us here in Illinois (as an attorney state), I promise you will still find nearly 100 points that should assist you in justifying that commission.

To access the article that Connie has been nice enough to share with all of us simply CLICK HERE Also, any referrals you might have in the Orange Park, Florida area (See the Map Below if you aren’t sure where this is), send them down to Connie.

Her website is located at www.flemingislandsrealestate.com

Matt Dollinger

Google Reader Part 2: Recommended Industry and Technology Blogs May 30, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Cool Technology, Google Gadgets, Great other Sites and Blogs, Uncategorized, Using This Technology.
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Since the Google Reader post got such good reviews, I thought that I would make it easy for you to get “plugged in” (or Turned On for you 1000Watt Readers) to some of what I feel to be the best blogs out there.

Where I believe that these represent many different types of elements that could be applied to the real estate industry and business 2.0 and as a whole, this is just a sampling of what’s truly out there.

Below is a list of blogs that I highly recommend. I have used some from the Inman Blog Network, some that I simply enjoy reading for ideas and insight, and have tried to categorize them for you. Also, I have included a short 30 second video at the end of this post on how to simply copy these URLs below and paste them into your Google Reader.

Technology – Blogs that focus on integrating the latest and greatest technology into the real estate business world.

Industry – The movers and the shakers of the real estate world are reported here, as well as a heft dose of opinion and heart.

Business 2.0 – These are the voices of the new business world. Who I look to for inspiration and insight.


Future of Real Estate Marketing


Geek Estate


Transparent Real Estate


My Tech Opinion


Tech Crunch





Agent Genius


1000Watt Blog




The Real Estate Tomato


Luxury Insights (The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing)


The Future of Real Estate Technology


*Business 2.0 Blogs*

1000Watt Blog


Seth Godin’s Blog


Tim Sander’s Blog


Malcolm Gladwell’s Blog


Fast Company’s Expert Blog


Good Luck and Happy Reading!

Matt Dollinger

Begin Your Blog Reading Behavior with Google Reader May 14, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Cool Technology, Google Gadgets, Great other Sites and Blogs, Using This Technology.
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Read any real estate magazine, talk to any coach, or read any literature, and they will most surely say the same thing… “GET BLOGGING!” 

Where I have recommended this to a number of the agents that I work with, my first recommendation is to take your time, find your voice, and read some to find out what differentiates a blog from a good blog.  But with all of the blogs out there, how do you find time to read and manage them?

Once again… Google to the rescue!  Google has released another fantastic (and FREE) gadget to help you simplify your life and introduce you to the wonderful world of blog reading. 

Google Reader allows you to stay up to date and organize your favorite blogs, as well as access your updates on line anywhere.  Best of all, it simplifies your reading experience by giving you updated headlines so you can click through instead of logging on to multiple sites.  Here’s how it works..


 An easy way to add blogs to your Reader Subscriptions it to visit a particular blog and to click on their SUBSCRIBE Button which is usually indicated by a variation of the RSS icon.  This icon is the standard for RSS Feeds (Really Simple Syndication)  When you click on this icon you will probably see a button like this     .  If you do, simply click this button and it will automatically be added to your Google Reader.

If this button is not available, the site should offer an option that reads VIEW FEED XML.  Click this button, and a new page will populate.  Copy the web address from the top of the new page

(SAMPLE:  http://feeds.feedburner.com/TechnologyForRealEstate?format=xml – THE FEED ADDRESS IS DENOTED BY THE END LETTERS XML),

Go to your Google Reader Page, Click on the icon in the middle of the left hand column that reads ADD SUBSCRIPTION, and PASTE the the XML address into the space.  That’s it!  You’ve now manually subscribed to a blog’s feed.

Some Samples of what I feel are GREAT Blog formats:







If you’re considering writing a blog… take some time.  Find your voice.  Consider what your clients would actually like to read and then give it to them.  Don’t think that this is simply a way to prospect or “capture” leads (ughh)… If you want to capture anything, capture their attention, capture their readership, and become their true provider of knowledge and insight. 

A post by an individual named Marc Davison (who encouraged me to find MY voice and speak with it) is noted here http://www.1000wattblog.com/2008/05/the-masked-ball.html  While you’re at it, subscribe to their blog, comment on a couple of their insightful posts, and tell them you’re searching for the “You Factor” of your voice.

Matt Dollinger


Performance Coach


More Great Press for the 2007 Chicago Neighborhood @Report May 9, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Cool Technology, Hometown Chicago, Using This Technology.
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In the latest issue of Chicago Magazine (www.chicagomag.com), Dennis Rodkin has written an article about our recent release of The @Report – A Local Look at the Performance of 21 Chicago Neighborhoods. This report, in comparison to others in our area, was born with the idea in mind that real estate is local… very local.

“It’s like talking to an agent who works the neighborhood: You will find specifics on how prices have changed in the neighborhood at various price tiers, and what are the hottest-selling sections or developments within the neighborhood.” – says Rodkin

Our plan was to integrate neighborhood data compiled over the last few years and present it with a consumer focus, and consumer understanding. Where the report is still in its first release stage, and our hope is to integrate advanced charting and even geo-coding of neighborhoods down the road, it seems that we have hit our mark of appealing to the consumer and delivering it in a format that they want. How’s that for listening to the masses?

Matt Dollinger
Performance Coach

“Sell By Owner” Misguided Information from One Inside the Industry May 5, 2008

Posted by mattdollinger in Industry Misconceptions.
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I know that I am veering away from my second installment of Web 2.0 statistics but after reading this post (http://www.inman.com/blog/2008/05/2/take-it-agent-sell-owner) on Inman yesterday, I decided I needed to comment.  In fact I URGE everyone and anyone of the real estate community to read this article, forward it, and make sure it is recognized what generalizations are made.

In the post entitled, “Take it from an agent — sell by owner”, foreclosure and investment specialist Dr. Danielle Babb lays blame to Realtors and their commissions, for hindering the recovery of the real estate market.  Babb has also written a post on her own blog (http://findingforeclosures.entrepreneur.com/2008/04/30/real-estate-agents-hinder-real-estate-recovery/) going further into depth with her theories and findings.

As you would expect on both her blog and Inman, this posting has issued a peppering of posts from Realtors and discount brokerages alike condemning and praising Dr. Babb.  In her article, “Real Estate Agents Hinder Real Estate Recovery” Dr. Dani starts the article by leading in with the following:

But I have to say that agents–while protecting some home buyers and sellers–are adding an incredible amount of extra work and effort to the real estate recovery. Their added fees are creating inflated home prices, keeping sellers and buyers from reaching deals.


“(Realtors) are adding unnecessary work, rules and negotiation to an otherwise easy process.  In addition, sellers, knowing they have to pay 6 percent to an agent (5 percent if they’re lucky), simply add this to the price so they still get their ultimate bottom line out of the house. This means the buyer actually ends up paying, even though the documentation shows that the seller is paying the agent’s commission. Therefore, we could have a faster home recovery without agency fees!


On top of all this, the agent adds to the process wasted energy and time, which could be spent house hunting, financing or moving.”

Babb then goes on simplify the home buying process into a sugar-coated journey through cyberspace to find their dream home, (although she is good enough to stress the fact that this is how the process SHOULD WORK). 


  1. A buyer goes online
  2. They find their dream home and submit an offer
  3. They come to terms on price (or not… where they simply walk away)
  4. They sign contracts, assign escrow, and find a title company
  5. If anything goes wrong, they call in their lawyers.
  6. Happily ever after

She then goes on to talk about how an agent complicates the process (or hinders it by playing tag-along).  I’m serious… EVERYONE has to read her play by play with regards to how an agent simply focuses on the money throughout and only slows the process moving forward.  Babb, goes so far as stating the following:

  1. Buyer has to find an agent to represent him or her, or buyer gets “dual representation” from seller’s agent (thereby increasing seller agent’s commission for doing little to no extra work, but adding 2 percent to 3 percent to the purchase price).
  2. Buyer still looks at the same houses he/she would look at it with or without an agent.
  3. Seller’s agent has to take offer to the seller, present it, “mull it over,” discuss it, decide how much can be squeezed from buyer and present a counter offer to the buyer’s agent.
  4. Buyer’s agent presents counter offer to buyer. Buyer tells agent what he or she wants to counter with, and steps 4 to 6 repeat until everything in the situation without the agent is finished–the same process that could have been done in one hour with the seller and buyer together.
  5. Seller’s agent and buyer’s agent “stay in touch” throughout escrow to make sure they get paid.
  6.  No direct communication exists between seller and buyer, so anything the buyer or seller needs must go through an intermediary, thereby justifying ridiculous commissions and inflating home prices.

She then ends this wonderful post by stating that unless you have an overly complicated situation, you’re better off selling by-owner.  So… I don’t know about what market Dr. Babb was selling in, or if this is a representation of how she treated her clients, but working in the Chicago Market for the second largest company in market share, I know for a fact that there are glaring holes in this “Simple” equation.

Pricing – How does someone come up with a price?  Zillow?  (82% of their home appraisals fall within 20% of sales price here in Chicago)  http://www.zillow.com/howto/DataCoverageZestimateAccuracy.htm

More Money? – According to the 2006 NAR study on FSBO’s, not only did over 80% of all FSBO’s end up listing with an agent, but those that initially listed sold on the average of 32% higher than those that sold By Owner.  http://www.realtor.org/research/research/fsbofacts  (Yes, I know from her past posts that Dr. Babb blasts all NAR research, but I will honestly say that no one has spent more money on the subject)

Finding the Dream Home – So, say your dream home is a 2 bed 2 bath condo in Chicago for under $350K.  Log in to Realtor.com and prepare for some homework.  ONLY 13,000 matches!  Take into consideration schools, transportation, hi-rise, mid-rise, parking, pets, pets under a weight limit, proximity to lake, assessments, etc, etc… 

Attractive Offer – So you want to make a strong offer but only have a fixed amount of money to spend?  Well take into consideration things like home sale & mortgage contingencies, closing date, money down, and a number of other things that I’m sure are in Babb’s book, can help your case.

I could go on and on with this topic, but I think we get the point.  I refuse to blast Dr. Babb’s post any more than to point out some glaring loopholes.  I’m sure she has helped countless individuals build wealth and succeed through her many ventures.  But DON’T… I repeat DON’T reduce the real estate community to money hungry peddlers.  You’re casting stones to those that have helped millions of Americans achieve the goal of home ownership or home sales and simplified their lives.