Matthew Ferrara, Philosopher

Do Realtors use a Ouija Board or an iPad?

Please, make it stop! If one more REALTOR writes about burying St. Joseph in the yard, we’re going to throw up!

Ok, this is a rant, but after 20 years of trying to help real estate professionals act, well, professional, we think we’ve earned a little indulgence. So, here it is:

Will future real estate agents carry an iPad or a Ouija board?

Where does this question come from? Yet another “bury the Saint Joseph statue” post, by another real estate expert, distributed on Zillow, which certainly will reach a lot of consumers. Really? This is the advice we’re giving consumers who are weathering the worst housing downturn in a century, watching their savings, equity, retirement and kids’ college tuition evaporate before their eyes? The solution to selling a home is to stick a totem in the ground, upside down, facing heaven or hell (nobody’s quite sure)?

The advice for selling your home costs only 8 bucks purchased on Amazon? Whew! No need to pay a real estate commission then!

Look: It’s not cute. It’s not quaint. It’s not even politically correct! What do you bury in the backyard of your Jewish or Islamic clients? Oh, we’d better not go there, huh…

For an industry that continues to struggle to get off the bottom of the public-trust list, this kind of stuff makes everyone look ridiculous. For agents who have been pouring their time and money into training and technology, it’s almost insulting to hear this stuff even joked about. For consumers who are desperate to find someone who can tell them the facts, help them with tough decisions, and reconstruct their financial standing, it’s disheartening.

Never mind about analyzing market data. Who needs to practice counseling consumers to price it right. Staging, video marketing and negotiation skills are irrelevant when you’ve got divine intervention on your side. Heck, you could even argue that consumers shouldn’t even hire an agent, because for eight bucks, they can get a Saint to sell it for them!

Should Massachusetts agents call in some witches or flying monkeys?  Maybe we can rearrange the furniture to get align the astral energies?  When real estate boards start handing out continuing education credit on how to become a 15th level Wizard, we’ve reached the epitome of foolishness. What’s next – stop by Olivander’s Wand Shoppe to pick up a Wand of Mortgage Finance?

No, I don’t think we’re over-reacting. No, it’s not all just good fun. Unless we want our doctors to go back to using leeches and our lawyers to see if defendants burn like wood, it’s time REALTORS stopped carrying a ouija board and started carrying an iPad. It’s time for websites that have the customer’s attention to stop repeating this nonsense. Most of all, it’s time for consumers to work with professionals who don’t relying upon divine intervention to get the job done.

  • Kmbrewer2

    yea but it cant hurt…i have a st christopher medal in my car and hes not even a saint anymore….just kidding its primitive and not very professional,,,,,

  • Well, let’s see; an $8 investment versus a $500+ investment = DOLP!  Until our industry ( most agents) accepts and understands ROI, it will not be able to sell it to it’s customer!

    As for Zillow publishing it, they are doing a phenomenal job of pandering to the masses…

    Just my nsho,


  • Jim:

    Sometimes the industry is it’s own worse enemy! This article was written by a “top agent” supposedly, too. As for Zillow posting it, anything to get eyeballs, I guess. If I were a Zillow customer, I’d be incensed that they published such trash “on my behalf”….
    Thanks for your comment!

    — Matthew

  • Good old Zillow. Friend of the Real Estate Profession (not!). Yeah the author is HGTV star and all that but so what?

    You’re asking for someone to stand up for the real estate professsion like one person can stop Zillow from publishing this trash.  That ain’t gonna happen until lots and lots (and lots) of companies pull their listings from syndication.

    By the way, I’ve had clients tell me they’ve prayed, affirmed, visualized and buried St. Joesph.  Of course, they also took my advice on pricing, staging, access by other Realtors as well as other more “conventional” ways of selling a house. I’ve had clients I’d known were stone cold humanists (well, Unitarian Unversalits but it’s almost the same thing) and they buried St. Joesph.

    There is no accounting for the irrational.

  • I love this post.

    But in full disclosure, that is only because I floated the statue of St. Jedadiah – The patron Saint of Good Blog Posts. When floating him facing up in my toilet tank it insures that every post I read in the next “cycle of my flushing” will be a god one.

    Congratulations on being one of the posts I read during this time.


    PS Jedadiah is the cousin of the Tidy-Bowl man so not sure what that tells us but guessing the outcome stinks either way

  • Your comments are spot-on, spot-gone, Sean!

    Thanks for your support!
    – Matthew

    Matthew Ferrara & Co.
    (t) 978-291-1250
    (cell) 508-878-6223

  • Andrew Johnston

    Little tightly wound are we?

  • Laura

    Hummmmm…As one who calls herself a Hedge Witch and a Realtor I believe there is room for a little Magic. Having said that, I completely agree with you. Hocus Pocus should remain behind the curtain while we are enlightening our clients as to why they need our services and that we as Realtors offer value. I appreciate your posts and videos. Thank you for making them available even for those who don’t spend $$$$$. Laura

  • Laura:
    Thanks for your comments! I agree – some things should be left “our secrets” :>
    Glad you like our videos, too!

    — MF