Category Archives: Real Estate Agent Life

Unspoken Laws of Real Estate Agents

7c8e965bca0a1cc5001a2ae35cd9ba9eTypically, the end of the year for those of us who make a living selling real estate can be slow. Usually by November, potential buyers and sellers put their home plans on hold to accommodate the busy nature of the holidays. This has been my experience for the past few years anyway. We drop our super hero capes off at the cleaner and take the time to rest and recharge our selling super power muscles until the early spring selling begins.

After a very productive fall, I assumed that the slow down would follow. I was never more pleased to be wrong in 2015. Naturally, I decided to plan some vacation time right before the holidays expecting that I would be able to put down the phone and just enjoy a well-deserved break.

I was reminded very quickly that the laws of real estate are as unpredictable as a lender making a decision about a short sale. When I assumed that I would be less busy during the holiday season, I broke the first law of real estate, expect the unexpected. 

This law should appear front and center on the membership card for the National Association of Realtors. I was both surprised and grateful when my calendar from the beginning of the New Year included closings that I had not anticipated but could not help to chuckle a bit as I sat at a river house and answered email and scheduled inspections.

My spouse did not find it as entertaining as I did, but thankfully she understands what the life of a real estate broker is like, and is especially understanding of the inconvenience when the bank account grows after a successful transaction closing.

Which brings me to the second law of real estate. Planning a vacation is the sure fire way to guarantee that unexpected contracts or listings will materialize. This is as certain as the laws of physics. I have taken informal polls of my fellow agents and all agree that this one is a given. We all also have come to the consensus that there are worse things to deal with than having to be on the phone and answering email while on vacation.

I am seriously considering the risk benefit analysis of scheduling vacation at least once a month, but suspect that testing this law may be a sure fire way to tempt fate and render the law ineffective. Which brings me to the third law real estate.

Do not attempt to manipulate laws one and two. Never. Doing so increases the chances of inviting another well known law to walk right in the front door of your real estate career. Murphy’s Law is a terrible guest in any home, business, or situation. I am positive we can all agree on this one. For those who need a refresher, Murphy’s law states if anything can go wrong, it will, and usually at the worst possible time.

As real estate professionals, we deal with this law more times that we can count and often on a daily basis. It comes primarily in the form of difficult and uncommunicative lenders, indecisive buyers, and unrealistic sellers but can pop up at any point during a transaction from any number of possible sources. For example, I once had a meddling mother in law kill an entire deal because the “feel” she got in the house was not acceptable. You just cannot make this stuff up.

We all know the dread of waiting for an inspection, appraisal, or final loan commitment while sitting at the closing table or Title Company’s office. Definitely not the most fun aspect of what we do. I believe that this career is not for the faint of heart, or the impatient, but I also believe that there are few career that are as rewarding as real estate.

Most agents I have encountered agree and believe that this group is among the more determined class of workers. I also mention that as a group we have very healthy egos, which works for us, most days anyhow.

As we begin the process of creating and implementing our carefully thought out marketing plan for the upcoming year, I implore every real estate agent, broker associate and broker/owner to remember and consider these laws. These particular laws, however tongue and cheek they may be, exist to remind us all that while the job of a real estate professional may be challenging and often times frustrating, it is also ripe with countless opportunities for growth and success.

My business plan for the upcoming year definitely includes a heavy dose of gratitude for the laws of real estate land and a healthy respect for each of them. Wishing my fellow real estate super heroes a healthy and prosperous 2016!

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The Best Day Ever in Real Estate

Joy-ShameThe past few months have been quite busy for McBride Realty Group, LLC. Our office is having a fantastic year and this past month I was fortunate enough to have all of the stars align for three closings in one day and two more the following day. When my listings got contracts, I did not notice that they all had the same date for closing. When I did notice, I naturally figured that there was no way that everything would actually close on time.

I was never happier to be wrong. My disbelief is well founded. We all know that the probability of a deal closing on time can decrease as the closing date approaches. I spent the three days prior to the closings holding my breath and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I am an optimist, but admit that closings scare me. There are numerous things that must line up in order for a property to close. There are so many moving parts and variables in any deal that the fear is warranted and legitimate. My experience has been that a majority of deals do not close on time despite the best efforts of most of the parties involved.

Real estate professionals are well versed in dealing with Murphy’s Law. There have been plenty of times where deals have fallen through, or been delayed at the last minute due to the buyer, seller or lender. Sometimes getting paid feels like hitting big at a slot machine in Vegas.

The only thing that is guaranteed when working in real estate is the fact that nothing is guaranteed. I have talked to many other agents and we all have the same anxiety as a closing date approaches. On this particular day the title companies were on the ball, the lenders were excellent and the agents were all on the same page. The communication between the lender and the other agents was frequent and flawless. My sellers were a pleasure to work with and the one buyer that I had was arguably one of the most organized and on top of things that I have worked with. On that day, I achieved transaction nirvana.

As the newly created TRID statement is put into place, my hope is that the closing process will be even less frantic that it has been in the past. I am sure that there are some wrinkles that will need to be ironed out, but overall I am optimistic. I may not know what to do with myself when the final closing statement is in the buyer and sellers hands days before the closing. There is nothing more stressful to buyers than getting the amount of funds they need to wire only hours before the closing.

Often buyers, especially first time home owners, are already anxious enough about the biggest purchase they will make in their lifetimes. This advance notice will definitely help to make closing day less hectic for them. I would love to see buyers feeling the excitement that purchasing a home brings without the emotional exhaustion and anxiety associated with receiving their final figures at the last moment possible. Remembering and telling the tale of my perfect closing day in real estate will definitely help carry me through the holiday home sales slowdown that most of us experience this time of the year.

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Real Estate Rollercoaster Ride

real estateSelling real estate is one of the few careers where on any given day anything is possible. These possibilities are great when it means waking up and getting that unexpected phone call from a buyer who has a pile of cash and needs to find something today.

These phone calls are the holy grail of real estate. If you are lucky the buyer is also an easy to please type who finds exactly what will work for them in only a matter of hours. A regular day can turn into a wonderful day just like that.

Unfortunately, there are also those days when things blow up and fall apart. Just last week I had one of those days. A seller that I had been working with for a few months listed her home with my brokerage and we received multiple offers within a week. She accepted the highest and best offer and we were on the way to getting her home sold.

During the inspection period, the seller, yes, you heard that correctly, the seller decided she did not want to sell. For a variety of reasons, she changed her mind. This is never a good thing, and in fact, had never happened to me before. A seller backing out? Seriously? This was not a great situation, but it was compounded with the fact that the buyer was rather difficult to deal with. Her agent was a super hero and I was impressed with how she dealt with this.

The negotiation for this sale included an argument over curtains that almost killed the entire deal early on. Yes, curtains. My seller cancelled the contract before the buyer inspection period had ended. She had to pay a cancellation fee to my broker and I had to tell the selling agent that the deal was off.

The seller reimbursed the buyer for the cost of the inspection that had taken place the night before she decided not to sell. I felt like that selling agent got the worst of this unfortunate decision because she had to tell her buyer.

It is frustrating when people change their minds and infuriating when it pops up out of the blue. Working with buyers and sellers can be joyful and exciting when the stars align. I have learned over the years that nothing is for sure until I am walking away from the closing with a check in my hand when it comes to a transaction. We have to be resilient, patient, and able to put up with the inherent uncertainty that working with a variety of personalities brings each day.

Real estate professionals have to be thick skinned and able to roll with things as they happen. Sure, I was not happy that my listing was cancelled in mid transaction. I was equally upset when later that same day a buyer I had been working with nonstop for three weeks called to let me know that she was going to buy a For Sale Buy Owner from a friend. Time is money.

Remembering the importance of letting go of the frustration and disappointment when things happen is critical to keeping a positive outlook. We need to recover quickly and remain determined as we move forward. Becoming gun shy and suspicious of working with people who are not sure of what they want to do is not an option.

No matter how professional and accommodating we may be with our clients, the truth is they will decide what they are going to decide and it is our job to do as they ask. Our goal should be to minimize risk where possible and to make sure that we make good decisions about who we choose to work with.

This may not always protect us from all bad outcomes, but it will go a long way to help reduce the odds of it happening. In both of these instances, my gut was uneasy. Neither one of them did anything obvious that would lead me to think that they were not quality clients.

They were demanding and a little flaky. I just got a vibe that these were going to be challenging deals base don their personalities and how they communicated with me. If nothing else, I have learned that listening to my instincts about people saves me more time and money in the end every time.

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The Real Estate Agent’s Guide to Rocking A T-Shirt

_MG_7494Yesterday I drove by a new home that was just listed in my neighborhood. I had a potential buyer who I thought may be interested in this new listing. I had just come from dropping of my son at a friend’s house nearby. Just prior to that I was out in my yard trimming one of my oak trees. I was a mess. Sawdust in my hair, wearing an old t-shirt and some athletic shorts. I was a sight to behold. As I drove up on the home I noticed that there was another agent who was just finishing up a showing with some clients. I could not tell the difference between the agent and the clients. I am sure he thought the same of me as I walked up the driveway looking as I did.

This home was an appointment only showing. I had just happened by at the end of his appointment. While he was in showing the home I called the listing agent to see if it would be okay for me to view the property as well. I did not get a response. I decided to go speak to the agent who was leaving. He looked at me, then glanced at my car. He saw the magnet on the side of my vehicle that said Realtor. When I approached him, I asked if the owners were home or not. Had they been home I would have not gone in until I spoke with the listing agent.

I introduced myself and explained that I was an agent previewing the home for a buyer. After exchanging pleasantries he apologized to me for how he was dressed. I thought that this was hysterical given the fact that I looked like I did. We laughed and exchanged cards. What struck me about this conversation was the fact that even though we were both looking a little worse for the wear and dressed in what would be considered a little too casual attire, we communicated professionally. The two of us were looking like landscaping staff, yet our conversation sounded like it could have been taking place in a conference room at a closing.

They were not home. I immediately submitted a showing request on my smart phone so that the listing agent would know that I was there. I left a card on the counter, previewed the home and locked up. My attire on that day did not alter my professionalism. There is something to be said for those who are convinced that dressing for success is the ONLY way to experience success as a real estate professional. Granted, there are times when professional attire is always expected, such as at a closing. The nature of our job means that there may be times that we are coming back from one of our kid’s baseball games or school activities and we receive a call from a client to see a home. There may not be time to get cleaned up and get to the client.

Letting a client know that you are coming from somewhere else is usually the best way to mitigate any questions about your level of professionalism on the front end. Clients may be more willing to overlook the t-shirt and athletic shorts you may be wearing when you have given them advanced warning.

New clients will appreciate your quick response to see a property and are probably more focused on the home they are looking at than what you look like. Just make sure you keep some smell good spray in the car at all times, because smelling bad will be something that they will never forget.

What makes us professional is our ability to be professional regardless of the clothes we may be wearing. We are all bound by the rules of professionalism regardless of how we are dressed or where we have just come from. This particular exchange reminded me of the fact that you can take a Realtor out of their professional clothes, but you can never take the professional out of the Realtor.

 

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Real Estate, Rinse, Repeat

Throughout the course of my day I am bombarded with information and tips about how to grow and improve my real estate business. I have signed up for newsletters, monthly reports and received a variety of other handy tips that are aimed at helping me achieve greater success as a real estate agent. There seems to be a constant barrage of ideas and suggestions for the newest and latest thing that will set us apart from the throngs of others who are in search of success. 

What I find interesting is that there is nothing new in these tidbits that I read. Aside from updates about new apps that may be on the market I find most of what I come across to be repetitive and quite honestly, a little pedantic. I have personally spent many hours delving in to the intricacies of social media and how to best use these avenues to help keep me connected to my present, past or future customers. I can day that I am a big fan of using social media for this purpose. I view these outlets as primarily supportive in nature. I mean that my social media is a way for me to keep connected with those who I have already made meaning full contact with.

Within the pages of the marketing tips I have received is always a call to network and grow my sphere of influence. This is good old fashioned real estate sales at its best. There are many ways to do this and getting out in front of people has proven to be the most successful way to generate new customers or referrals. These marketing materials have also implored me to make sure that I answer my phone when it rings. I laughed at this because any serious real estate agent knows to do this and those who regularly break this first commandment of real estate and are not my competition. Have a plan for overcoming objections. Got it. Be ethical. Create strong marketing materials such as business cards and lawn signs so that you are advertising at every turn. Got it. You get the idea of where I am going with this right?

While there are those who may think that creating a 300 part series on “implementation of systematic marketing for the long term” is a great idea, I did not. I am not sure what that even meant, so I passed on that free PDF. The realization that I had was information and ideas have their place in any field of work. While there are many new and exciting ways to practice the art of selling real estate there is no substitute for being a hard worker, reliable, honest and ready to share the information and qualities that matter most to our customers. This list may include rather simple things such as how to properly fill in a contract, how to communicate in a friendly way and how not to seem like a cheesy sales person. Spending time with clients and understanding that each customer is as unique as the thousands of properties found in the MLS on any given day is the key to success in real estate, or in any other field for that matter.

There comes a time when information overload, especially if repetitive, can distract us from the central purpose of connecting with people and working with them to achieve their real estate goals. Not a single client has ever asked me about my marketing plan or if I have read any good articles lately about using social media to grow my business. I assume whatever I am have in place is working because I am face to face with a potential customer. However, I have noticed that they all ask about how the market is doing or about the home buying process or what their home is worth. Being able to answer these questions correctly is the best marketing plan I have come across. There is no better feeling that when my phone rings and a referral from a happy home buyer or seller is on the other end of the line. 

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Realtor, Baker, Candlestick Maker

I was recently asked by a fellow new agent to write a job description for a real estate sales associate. At first I thought that they were joking. They were not. This conversation was sparked by their last experience with a seller. This had been a marathon process for them, even though the deal from start to finish took less than a month. My inquiry as to why they wanted me to do this was met with a sigh and I could sense an obvious frustration with whatever had happened during this deal.

I did not ask for any specifics because I did not want to be influenced by the details of their experience as I tried to objectively create an accurate representation of what we do as Realtors. I began with the obvious roles such as creating listing presentations, listing homes, negotiating deals, showing homes, marketing properties and researching market prices by compiling CMA’s. These were easy to nail down as they are usually what people think of when they call an agent. We deal with real estate and every aspect of the home sale process. Communicating with lenders, title companies and outside vendors for the purposes of inspections also made the list.

Suddenly, I had a flood of other job related functions swim across my brain. I considered the lesser known jobs that a Realtor often must undertake throughout the process. These had to do with how to handle objections, deal with wishy washy or uninformed buyers, difficult sellers and the art of educating people about the real estate process. Working with people in real estate is more than filling out paperwork and arranging showings. As I thought about these things, I realized that the vast majority of the things I do on a daily basis are very similar to what a therapist, teacher, cheerleader or life coach might do all in a day’s work.

Real estate sales is a service industry and that presents the need for a certain amount of intimacy when dealing with clients. Whether we realize it or not, we are key players for major decisions in the lives of those who seek our services out. The first time home buyer is often very afraid and overwhelmed by the process of buying a home. A significant amount of my time spent with this group is focused on easing their fears and creating a very supportive relationship. These first time buyers are especially needy at times and requires that I act not only in a real estate capacity but also as a source of emotional support as they maneuver through the mental ups and down of the process. Some agents may despise this part of the job but I find it to be the most rewarding part of what I do.

Yes, we are in the business of selling real estate. That is the end goal. This goal is impossible unless we come face to face with people, many many different types of people at that. The ability to work well with a variety of personalities is something that every person who interacts with the public must deal with during their day. After I had finished compiling my very informal list for my fellow agent, I followed up. This particular deal was only the third transaction they had. The first two had been for investors and quite easy. The third was with a first time home buyer. After the closing, they felt emotionally drained and like they had been in a month long therapy session with this particular buyer. This was not something that they were prepared for and wondered if this was normal.

I offered my reassurance and they seemed relieved. The psychology of working with customers in the real estate capacity is not covered in the pre or post licensing. Being prepared for the scope of this job is key to being a successful agent. I shared a bit of advice that I received from a seasoned Realtor when I first began.

“Filling out paperwork is easy. Dealing with people is not. Remember that and it will change your approach to both.”

This simple bit of advice prepared me for a life in real estate. It reminds me that the most important job related function I have is to also support the people who are interested in buying or selling properties. Making an honest effort to help these individuals work through their fears, worries, or confusion about the process is what will help cement your status as “Realtor for Life” in their eyes.

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Choosing a Brokerage

Which Brokerage is Best?

When I became a full time Realtor, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about whether or not I would choose a larger, national real estate brokerage over a smaller, independent one. While their overall function is similar, I found that the business models varied significantly from one another.

As a real estate agent, I am in a constant state of evaluating the state of my business. Do I need more listings? Am I spending wisely on effective marketing?  Could I be doing more to improve my bottom line? Of course the answer is always yes to each of these questions.

My suspicion is that each of us who have made real estate our line of work are also ruminate on these questions as well quite frequently. These line items can take up quite a bit of mind space, especially in the slow times.

During those slow times, that we all experience from time to time, I have to admit that on a few occasions I wondered if I had made the right decision. It was then that I would reach out to fellow agents who hung their licenses with the larger brokerages to check in to see if they were slow as well.

Without fail, I would be encouraged by the fact that my fellow agents would validate my belief that a lull in the market or inventory was the cause and not a result of being with a small brokerage.

Among the things I considered in my choice of broker were initial cost, commission structure, flexibility, training opportunities and overall feel of the office. I interviewed quite a few brokers before I ultimately made the decision to go with a smaller, locally based broker who was well known in the area. A few years have since passed and I have realized that this decision was the best for me.

The first day that I went into the office I was offered the opportunity to take over seven short sales that he had on his plate. He literally handed me the files, gave me background, told me what stage they were at and what needed to be done. It was my introduction to real estate agency or as we later joked trial by lenders.

Some may have said no way, but I accepted the challenge after many, many moons had passed I closed all but one of them in the end. Looking back, I am grateful for this opportunity. This could have easily resulted in the shortest career in the history of real estate. These were by no means fun to handle, at all. I learned more by doing these than I could have learned sitting for hours in training seminars.

I have found equal evidence on both sides when it comes to understanding the advantages and disadvantages of working with an independent broker. Personally, my decision to sign with a smaller “outfit”, as one of my charming elderly customers once called us, has been perfect for me. It has been an education and forced me to seek out training not only from my broker, but from other avenues that I may not have had access to had I gone with a big brokerage. It has also pushed me to become very resourceful and creative in marketing my business.

I have had numerous opportunities to spend one on one time with my broker and have enjoyed very quick response times when I have needed guidance when one of the many possible odd issues have popped up with contracts, inspections or closings. Our entire office has a team mentality, which means we are each other’s biggest cheerleaders and competitors. It is a great environment given our individual personalities and interests and it works.

 

Figuring out the kind of brokerage that best fits an agent can be a daunting task. If agents are able to spend time understanding the environments that they naturally feel most comfortable in they will certainly be set up for success. I was lucky, I discovered which was best suited to me on the first shot out of the barrel. I know that as I prepare to take the broker’s exam in a few months that my experiences will definitely be valuable when I create my own brokerage in the future.

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The Business of Real Estate

This past week, I found myself imagining what the future will look like when I obtain a broker’s license. For the past few months I have been studying for the brokers test. I have always been told by my mentors that one of the most sure fire ways to success is to use positive mental imagery to help create the future you envision for yourself.

I know, it is very “The Secret”, only not really. It has been proven, time and again, that those who approach new endeavors with confidence and resolve are more likely to see those goals reached, in whatever the field may be. Being resolute with intention is definitely a good practice even if you just need the motivation to go to the grocery store.

In my experience, resolve and determination paired with tenacity and the ability to never give up are keys to success in life, especially if you have chosen a life in real estate.  My mini mental vacation took place in between the highly exciting legal descriptions chapter and the always informational taxing real estate investment chapter.

I imagined my modern and minimalist industrial office space that overlooked the bustling city. I envisioned the line of agents lining up at my door step to be a part of the hip and exciting brokerage that I created. You get the idea. The silliness of this is not lost on me, but it works.

As a result, I found myself researching domain names for my future company. I came up with a few that have real potential and of course I am keeping those under my hat for now. In researching my options I came across many “helpful” sites. One of which was more like a message board than an informational site. What I found here stopped me cold in my tracks and is the motivation behind writing this blog post.

Right before my eyes was an entire board filled with real estate professionals who were asking others to help them come up with a name for their real estate business. Yes. You read that correctly. Do people really do this? According to some, namely my wife, I am a bit of a control freak.

The notion that there are some who seek out counsel from strangers online about naming a business is shocking to me. This concept would never even float across my consciousness. In fact, this would be found underneath the four millionth thing on my list of things to do in life.

Once I shook off the shock of it, I realized that if I were a customer looking for a broker that knowing they were unable to name their own business would probably send me running in the opposite direction. Customers want confidence and creativity in the professionals that they choose to work with. I would have serious questions about their effectiveness and drive. I may be simplistic and a little too wavy gravy in my approach, but to each their own.

Obtaining a broker’s license is something that any licensed agent can decide to do. Some will pass the test, others will not. For those who do pass the test, the road to success will be dependent upon their ability to run an office, recruit quality agents and a million other things on any given day.

I venture to guess those whose pleas for help in naming their brokerage may not be the ones who blaze trails in this industry. In my humble opinion, whether you are in real estate or selling bananas at the local farmers market, your brand is something that only you can truly decide on.

I tend to be more philosophical than most and I believe that an important part of the beginning stages of creating something new is being able get inspired and that the right name will present itself when the time is right.

The real estate business brings just as many rewards as it does challenges. My hope is that we all remember that approaching any challenge is worth every bit of time and energy that it requires and that the potential for reward is infinite. When we are allow ourselves to imagine our futures we will find all of the answers we need. Oh, and closings, many many closings.

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Realtors Survey Says…and the number one answer is trust.

If you are like me, the start of a new year is a great time to take stock of the things that worked the previous year and to make adjustments for the coming year. Evaluating the annual budget for our businesses is a large part of what we do on a daily basis. Allocating dollars for marketing and advertising is one of the most critical activities that needs to happen in order to chart a path to success. It is true that 20% of the agents do perform 80% of the work in our industry. Of course, the business end of the spectrum is what many often focus on. Expanding our network and contact list is key to guaranteeing ongoing success in this line of work.

As Realtors, the importance of how we manage our business is one part of the whole puzzle. Recently I created an informal survey that asked what qualities buyers and sellers found to be the most important in choosing their agent. Surprisingly enough, not one response had to do how they marketed, budgeted or long term planned their business.

 

Dawn Waters Debary Realtor

I found overall that the most important thing that buyers and sellers considered in choosing their agent was trustworthiness. This is not something that appear in any business plan that I know of. As agents, we are not only selling properties, we are selling ourselves. The ability to convey trustworthiness is directly related to how we deal with not only buyers and sellers, but with the other professionals that we interact with. I believe that our customers, regardless of which side of the transaction they may be on, are like children. They are sponges that get a sense of how we do business by watching and listening to how we speak and the amount of confidence that we show in our ability to get the deal closed.

Having an honesty first policy is something that has been key to my success as an agent. This approach is often overlooked when evaluating what should be first on an agent’s to do list. There is much to be said for implementing this practice in all things. I was surprised that things such as knowledge of the area, negotiating skills and the ability to accurately reach a listing price were mentioned after honesty in my informal survey. I believe that being found to be trustworthy and honest played a role in whether or not customers expressed confidence in the other areas.

When we pause and reflect on the things that make past clients more prone to refer their family and friends to us, we are reminded of the intangible qualities that our customers are most likely focused on. Remembering the simple things and occasionally looking at things from the customer’s vantage point is an activity that I highly recommend. When Realtors practice the art of trustworthiness we benefit on all levels. On a business level, aa Realtors ability to be honest with their own marketing plan is just as vital to our success and presenting that honesty in our dealings with the public. Staying focused on these things keeps us honest and reminds us that our success is based on more than a marketing plan or our advertising budgets.

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Long Strange Trip

As a Realtor, I am fortunate enough to meet many diverse people on a daily basis. Between networking with potential customers and keeping up with past clients there is never a shortage of interesting people. I have been working with out of town customers for almost two years now as they search for the perfect Florida home for their family. Working with this family has become somewhat of an adventure. We have had the good fortune to find some amazing properties together, however none have panned out up to this point. There have been many opportunities but for some reason not all of the stars have aligned for them to this point.

They are not cookie cutter kind of people. From our first phone conversation I knew that these buyers were not representative of the typical kind of buyer that we all work with on most days.  From the start, I knew that they were looking for something unique, and in Florida, aka the land of subdivisions and HOA’s, that this was going to be a challenge. They wanted acreage, a workshop, a pool and something that they could put their own stamp on. Together we have toured a vacant monastery, complete with bell tower and a chapel that was missing portions of the roof. Initially they considered opening, renovating and operating a bed and breakfast property that could also double as a residence for their family.

Given that these clients are from up north, they have had to make special trips down when they have had time to get away. We have built a relationship over the past two years and at this point I pretty much know what they want and do not want. Last summer, we put a contract on their perfect home, however there were issues with the financing given that it was a VA loan. We named this one the EPCOT house as it was a custom home built in the 1980’s and literally looked like something from Future World. This broke both of our hearts for many reasons. Even now, this home is still the measuring stick for what their new home should feel like. Throughout this search I have always reminded them that when the time and place were right that things would fall in place and become a reality.

To date this has not happened. Each go around we have made more progress toward the goal of homeownership for them in Florida. As a Realtor, I often hear complaints from other agents about working long and hard and not having a commission check to show for it. I have also been told that some agents have dropped clients because on paper they were losing money in the end because the time spent with them had not yielded a pay day. I suppose I could be one of these agents. I am not. I am honored and rewarded by the fact that these clients have chosen to stick with me this whole time. My business model has always had loyalty and hard work as its top priority. Sure, it has taken some time to find them something that feels like home and fits their needs, but all good things take time.

On their last trip down a couple of weeks ago they wanted to tour a home about 90 miles from my main area. A home that was dome shaped and a peachy flesh color. We agreed to refer to it as “The Boob” home. It seriously looked like a boob. We all got a middle school chuckle from this property for sure. Did I mention that these clients are perhaps one of my favorites of all time? They felt awful about my having to drive so far to show them this home. They even gave me the opportunity to refer them to a new agent given that their latest round of unique properties were out of the immediate area. They let me know that they wanted to continue working with me, but understood if it would be too far for that to happen. Their consideration is something that I truly appreciated. Of course, I let them know that I would be happy to work with them. When you invest time in high quality and kind buyers, you have no problem going the extra mile, literally, to show them homes.

At this point I am just as invested in seeing this happen for them as they are. I love a challenge. Weeding through properties trying to find that one unique home out there that was meant for them is high on my list of things to do. The lesson that I have learned with these particular buyers is that selling homes for a living is much more than paperwork and commission checks. Realtors work with humans, with wish lists, and questions about schools and inspections. We console disappointed buyers when contracts are not accepted or banks change things and financing hits a wall.

Our need for patience with the deals that may take years to complete is something that cannot be stressed enough. Our job depends on our ability to remain as loyal to our long term clients as are with us. I have had more fun with these buyers over the course of the past two years than any other to date. It hardly seems like work given the relationship we have built while we waded through muddy fields, laughed at weird floor plans and discovered really awful record collections in dilapidated workshops with mold. Working with this particular family has been a long strange trip indeed and I am certain when their buying journey is over that my compensation will include not only a commission check but things that money cannot measure.

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