As most of you know, I am a Real Estate agent. I love what I do and I do it for many different reasons. I don’t talk much about it in this blog, but I think it’s important that I start because it is part of what contributes to my mental health…or a source of the crazies, depending on the day/week/month. It is a part of who I am right at my core and I have learned that as long as I have clients, I feel a balance in my life. I hate the slow seasons. I get cranky and feel out of place. Give me a house to show and a client who wants to sell or buy a home, and I’m right back in the swing of things! I’ve noticed this year after year. This business energizes me.
Unfortunately, we get a bad rep. Not entirely undeserved, in some cases, but still its not a “One Size” business. Just like not all lawyers are snakes, all Realtors® are not cheaters, unethical, will say or do anything for money, immoral, or lazy. These are just a few of the things I have heard or read people say about Realtors. We apparently drive expensive cars, hate showing property that we didn’t list and never show up on time for appointments. Ok, so I am occasionally late to a showing…but those are usually north of Polaris at 6 on a Friday!!! C’mon!!! Who can get anywhere up there on time???
I digress. I am not going to sit here and tell you why all those stereotypes aren’t true because I can think of at least one agent who for each of those claims. Those are the agents that need to quietly find a new profession. I work with many more agents who love what they do and would never stoop to the levels of the list above. The expensive car one really makes me laugh…there is an agent around here who drive his gas sucking Hummer with his name all over it. If I was selling my home and this jackass drove up in that thing, I would definitely question how hard he would work for my piddly little $150,000 home when he clearly doesn’t need the money. Not that I’m against a nice car, I just think the whole “image” thing can work against you as an agent, as well as for you. There’s a fine line that is probably a touch above my Pontiac Vibe, but a few steps below the Hummer, that says “I will work my ass off for you because you trust me to put my all into my job”.
Now, I want to talk to the other agents out there. There are a few of you who think because you have been in this business 20+ years, you’ve got it all down and don’t need to learn anything new. Get out of the business now. This thing changes on a daily basis so if you’re not willing to change with it, you are just going to get bitter so save yourself! The following list is for those who are still reading that do NOT fit into the stereotypes I have listed and know that we need to continually evolve. These are the agents that I will be working with in the future, because you will LAST. You know what it takes to be successful here and so I just want to lay down a few suggestions as we move further into our careers together:
1. Leave your showing as you found it unless otherwise instructed. If the door to the garage was not locked PLEASE, FOR ALL THAT IS HOLY – Don’t lock it before you leave! You have essentially locked the owners out of the house if you do!
2. Please DO NOT give your clients financial advice…EVER. A short sale WILL affect their credit. We have mortgage officers and financial planners in this world for a reason. DO NOT do their work for them.
3. If the title company you typically close with has an automated estimated seller net sheet…USE IT!! Things change too often for you to be handwriting one at the listing appointment. Too often I come in after you and my net sheet is WAY off from yours because you are using outdated numbers.
4. I am begging you to HELP your clients find a home inspector. DO NOT, under any circumstances, let your client talk a walk thru the Yellow Pages or search Google for their inspector. Nothing is worse than having an inspector who thinks all homes are new builds and scares the bejeezus out of your client because a shingle is missing.
5. Prepare your buyers for their inspection by telling them that no home is perfect. I tell mine that the inspectors job is to find anything that may hint to a possible problem with the home. But the major stuff we are looking for are safety hazards and issues that could compromise the value of the the home. A chipped outlet cover does not constitute either and so we are going to ignore issues like that. Like Boys Scouts, preparation is key here, people.
6. Relax! We all want to get to the same place! Your job is to protect the best interests of your client. It is not to go after my throat and draw first blood. Be nice! It makes for a much more fun closing when I don’t feel like jumping across the table and shaking some sense into you!
7. I’m not sure how to put this…I always thought it was obvious. But I guess I have to say it. I cannot and will not tell you what my seller’s bottom line is before you make an offer. Write it up and we’ll see if it sticks. Without all the terms, I cannot even advise my seller if it is a good offer or not!
8. Do not look down on me because I am not involved in every Realtor event known to man. Just like you have your reasons for being uberinvolved, I have my reasons that I am not. We are both still members of the same profession and we will run into each other occasionally. And when my life changes and I’m uberinvolved, you may not be. Be nice.
9. Talking fast and telling the world how busy you are is not impressive. What is impressive is the agent who is really busy and always has the time for a lunch with a collegue AND to listen to each client. Even better? When the client doesn’t realize how busy you are!
10. Manners People! Send me feedback when I ask for it, leave a card when you are instructed to, return my call or email, let me know you have submitted the offer to the bank…or that you have not…and don’t laugh at me when I send you a ridiculously low offer on your listing. I SWEAR I have told my clients and schooled them on the fair market price…they won’t listen…just counter offer without laughing at me, please. You KNOW you have been in my position before and will be again!
I love what I do and I love the people I work with. Of course I think those in my company are the best in the business, but I have a ton of respect and admiration for many, many agents that I come into contact with often from many other Brokerages. We all need to be reminded sometimes to try and make it better for all of us… That’s all I got for now. I’m sure you will be waiting with bated breath for my next pearls of wisdom…HA!