Generation “Do it Yourself”

As many of you may have seen in some of our recent blog posts we have been addressing a small trend in our industry to forego the expertise of a realtor and try to buy or sell real estate on your own.

Initially I thought this impacted only our industry but a visit to our doctor recently opened my eyes.

My wife and I are expecting our second child in June. Upon visiting our OB we had our typical checkup to ensure everything was moving along as planned. During this visit our OB said something interesting to us-

“Remember stay off the internet!” We laughed, and he said “No seriously stay off the internet”.

He elaborated to say that he has many patients who are continually reading different things on the internet whether they are true or not and working themselves into a frenzy of stress and fear. They often call him with “self diagnosed issues” and question his advice at every opportunity they get.

We left the appointment heeding his advice. I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to our own experiences in our field of business. It amazes me that people will listen to the internet before listening to a doctor who has 10-12 years of post-secondary education and 20+ years’ experience in his field.

I quickly realized this effects all industries and it is more of a mindset brought on by the internet age. Information is so readily available (right or wrong) that we no longer consult experts- we think the internet is the expert. But when looking at information on the internet we must be very careful to examine the nature of the source? What is the author’s education, training and experience? What is author’s motive for writing the article/post? For investment advice, is it someone who is really trying to sell you a mutual fund or stock? Even this article I am writing now you could argue is bias as I am trying to get people to use my services.

No matter what your position is on a particular topic you can find sources on the internet that support your opinion or position right or wrong.

Information is readily available with the internet age- but is this a good thing? My fear is that we are watering down the expertise pool. We have so many people out there sharing advice, or giving “how to” Youtube tutorials. Don’t get me wrong some of these are great for simple tasks. I even used a youtube video tutorial the other day. I was trying to figure out how to remove the tail gate on my Toyota pick up truck. I simply typed it into you tube and voila – a 2 min video showed me the steps and I turned a 30 min task of trial and error into a 5 minute job.

These “how to” videos are great applications for time savings but I think we need to draw the line when it comes to things like health, pregnancy advice, major home renovations, accounting, legal, investment advice and buying and selling real estate. Unless these tasks are in your core competencies they are much better left to the professionals.

We see this time and time again in our industry with the “do it yourself” home renovator who has very little construction knowledge. They decide to take on a project to save money but the finished product is so poorly done that no buyer is willing to compensate them for the work they did. In the end they wind up losing all the money and time they committed to the project because the buyer see’s no value in it. Had they hired a reputable contractor the project would have been completed in a timely and professional manner netting them more money from a potential buyer.

Now, there will always be those that have horror stories to share of doctors, lawyers, accountants, contractors, realtors, etc that they have (or know someone who has) used. We certainly are not suggesting that you don’t do your due diligence in selecting a professional. Ask around, speak to those you know and trust, and go with a good recommendation. If you don’t have a recommendation to draw on, do some research yourself, and interview a few. Sometimes it just comes down to a gut feeling and a strong professional rapport.

A fair approach to health, wellness, finance, real estate etc. is to find a happy medium; a balance between doing your own research and seeking out professional advice. At the end of the day, “professionals” in various categories, have spent years studying and practicing their trade. Leaning on and leveraging their experience, in addition to what you’ve been able to learn on your own can make some of these more daunting life tasks seem a bit more manageable.

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