Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Broker Goes Extra Mile--Literally

Before you think that this is a sappy story that tugs at the heart strings, it's not.

I blew it. Listen to this.

I have been working, building a good relationship with a potential seller who wants to sell a home Union City CA. We will feature it on our site soon. The other day, at the office, I ran some comparable properties on the MLS so that I could update the market value for the home soon to be listed. A property came up that I knew I should preview in order to get a good indication of the market and how we might compare our property to the one on my computer screen.

I called the agent, set the appointment, and off I went. Wait, better idea. Call the future seller that I have been working with, and invite her to the listing preview with me so she could see for herself how her property compares. I did. I showed up at her door and off we went--or so I thought.

In haste, we did the car scramble. That's where you do the dialogue.
She says, "Do you want to just get in my car or do I follow you." Never being in her car before, I thought quickly.
"No, that's okay," I thought, what if she was just being polite, but wanted to just drive by herself? "I could just follow you. I have to run to an appointment right after anyway." That part was true.
She then said, "Okay, I know where it is. Just meet me there."
We both hopped in our respective cars and started to drive. She drove. I did not.
R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R. My car would not start.
She turned the corner and went out of site.
I kept cool while my mouth dropped. My car would start. I'm sure it will--in a minute.
R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R. Nope.
Okay, should I embarrassingly call her on her cell? Nope. She didn't bring it.
R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R. Argh.
R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R-R. Aaargh!

Okay! It's a good thing I run in the mornings, but in my black leathers? Here goes!
Out in the rain, I ran off to the new listing. Let me tell you that either I am soft, or shoes make a big difference in performance. Huffing and puffing I arrived at the property where my seller was waiting. She was surprised to say the least. I talked and explained the best I could injecting humor mixed in with an uncontrollable cough. I'm pretty well-liked by all my clients, and after mixing a bit more humor and coughs, I still had her won over perhaps more out of pity than professionalism.

"This will be a good dinner story to tell your husband when he gets home--something to talk about at least." I said. She laughed as well as I.

Our meeting was humiliating, but a success (face time is always good). My car eventually started, and off I drove, like a fool in the rain.

by Jeff Pereyda
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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Agent Seeking Relationship

With home searching on the Internet becoming the more popular choice for home buyers to do their initial house hunting, agents can become displaced very early on in the process of working with a home buyer.

Take my site and I for example: It uses google/api integration for its Livermore CA home search engine. At the time of writing, we receive 21,000 hits each month. But, when an email arrives at the inbox or the phone rings due to a call to action on the site, the commonplace afterward is to just have the agent provide links, updates and e-notifications for the soon to be home buyer.

There's the disconnect. We are no longer in control. Most of the time, the home buyer does not want to form a relationship yet. They just want their stuff. I can relate. I only want my stuff when I go to a site for info or downloads. I don't want to be called or put on a mailing list. But the very definition of agent means relationship. We cannot be doing our jobs until we have one, a relationship that is.

But, being with an agent is the best thing that could happen to a buyer.
It's the same as:
  • Having an open house wherever you go. The agent has the permission to enter and holds the key
  • Getting a local, professional opinion on the home being viewed
  • Receiving immediate answers to questions concerning HOA, reports, disclosures, etc.
  • Using a buffer to speak to the seller--keeping the buyer in a safe negotiating position.
  • Not to mention the free ride from house to house.
So, what do we do? We introduce ourselves throughout the Internet communication process and initiate small steps of commitment. Not necessarily in this order, but we hope to get just a little back:
  1. A reply to an email-nice
  2. A return of an opinion to a home that was viewed by the home buyer-ok
  3. A return phone call-ok
  4. Coming into the office-super! 
We continue to follow up by way of phone, email, etc. After all, we cannot blame them for keeping their distance, but I'm sure a lot of agents will agree that we feel displaced, they feel like it is just a one way street where the agent gives and gives and gets nothing in return. However, the preamble of the Realtor remains the same that, we will stand by our would be home buyers and give them what they need--it would just be a bit quicker if we made the one way street into a two way street.

by Jeff Pereyda
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