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Beyond the Headlines: Navigating Information in the Digital Age

As we speed down the information highway of today, we still see a serious carry over from the last century when Newspapers carried the burden of delivering the news.  You guessed it: Headlines.  In years gone by,  most people learned to deal with the fact that when readers would be covered in cheap black printer’s ink (like the NY Times used) it really never helped them read what was behind the “Headlines.”  Today, with the proliferation of Facebook and Social Media in general, it almost feels like no one can get past the Headlines. Ironically today, people will swear more than ever that they are better informed in 2023 than they were in 1923.  How is that for a major disconnect?

Here’s an example of what I am talking about so you can better appreciate it.  I was driving into the office today and listening to David Belavia (Medal of Honor recipient and a great talk show house on WBEN radio.  As they broke for the news and station identification at the bottom of the hour, the News announcer read the following headline.  

 “Good News For Renters:  Home prices are up because of the effect of supply and demand, but Rents actually fell this past month.”

That was a headline that actually originated from the National Association of Realtors, so it had to have been a credible news flash.  Wow, RENTS are going down. What great news this is for Renters. Ok, so now let’s actually try to consider what they were really saying and read the rest of the article.  Rents fell on the average nationally by 1% last month and this was the salient point. So let’s bring it home for you. If you are renting an apartment in the 716 and your rent is on the low side at $1250. a month, even though rents have NOT gone down here, if they had followed suit with the national trend it would have been a decrease of a measly $12.50. Wait a second. The original Headline was supposed to grant some psychological as well as some financial relief to renters.  In their own best case scenario, what possible impact does a potential savings of just over 12 bucks afford anybody.  I neither blame the writers nor social media.  Human nature simply dictates that people will look for shortcuts, however, reading no further than the headlines can create serious breaches in understanding the true nature of just about anything.  The net result of this kind of shallow reporting is it creates an extra challenge for Realtors because we are the ones who get to actually explain the reality of the complexities of the Real Estate market.  We recognize and fully appreciate that there are almost too many moving parts to it to offer simplistic analyses.  

So if you see a Headline that surprises you or seems to be provocative or controversial: Do two things.  

  1. Read the entire article or (posting) and if it hits a nerve with you or is remotely concerning Real Estate;
  2. Call your agent and ask them to explain or give their opinion on the subject.

What you just read could in fact be great news. It could also be a non-event with little to no benefit to you (as this Headline was) or others like yourself who are in a similar situation.  There is also the possibility that even if you have the complete picture, it may not help you at the moment. But it should, however, prepare you better as you get closer to making your best and most educated decision to buy instead of renting, and as in this case, to get YOU out from under the rent trap.

Now that would be GREAT NEWS for YOU.

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Hey, I wrote the book on Real Estate, literally.”

Author Brendan J. Cunningham is a New York Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker, lead of the Platinum Team at HusVar Real Estate, as well as an accomplished writer, Shakespearean trained professional actor, and podcaster.
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