Lately I’ve had the privilege of gaining several buyer referrals, where the previous real estate agent, for a variety of reasons, was not able or capable of getting the job done. One agent was in the business part-time and did not have the availability to do the follow through. Another situation, the agent said to the buyers, “You are too picky… you need to expand your search and buyer something [now].” I’ve retold that story many times… how crazy is that?! I mean, there are thoughts that might go through my head about certain buyer characteristics (especially if I’m hungry, tired, or unbalanced)… but let’s just say, FILTER! Let me say it again, FILTER! If I said everything I was thinking, I might get beat up (and that’s just my wife – ha ha ha). Back to the subject… My point… plain and simple I’ve had the good fortune of capitalizing on other agent’s inability to do their job (well). One frustrated client said, “Our agent wouldn’t return our calls!” Most recently, I received a referral on a client whose previous agent decided that they could not make a living in real estate any more (this is pretty common these days).
While this phenomenon has been good for my business and is a nice pat on the back, as I imagine the ones referring these clients say, “Call Keith, he’s the most solid (best, most professional, gets-the-job-done, intelligent, savvy…) Realtor I know!” Okay, emphasis on I imagine. Bottom line, I call people back, am full-time, and don’t say (aloud) everything that passes through my head. It’s been good to get these referral, however, I find myself having mini-counseling sessions to give these beat-up buyers real estate therapy. These are wonderful people now on edge due to their past agents. For the one client, she kept asking me during the showing process, “Do you think I’m too picky?” My response, “Why yes I do, let’s stop right now, I can’t take it any longer!” Of course not! And I wasn’t even thinking that 🙂 Here’s the genuine and right response, “You should be picky. You are making one of the biggest investments of your life. My role is to assist and help you find your ideal home that fits your buying criteria.” Agents, takes notes – this is real estate 101 / Socialization 201.
You will be helping yourselves as well as your clients when you help them focus their search. If they don’t want a swimming pool… don’t show them homes with swimming pools. If the client can only afford a $250,000 home, then don’t show them homes that are listed at $300,000. If they are using a down-payment assistance program that requires that they buy an REO (bank owned property)… yep, you got it, only show them bank owned properties. I know, not rocket science, however, it requires that the agent listens, and asks questions, and takes notes, and is actually engaged. The other day I met a clients for the first time that was frustrated and burnt out on her last agent. I found out through listening to her story that they’ve looked at 40-50 homes over the last 5-6 months. Naturally I asked, “What were some of the things about those homes that did not work for you?” She replied, “Well, most needed too much work, and I don’t have a lot of money to do a lot of work. Many had swimming pools, and I definitely do not want a pool. Others backed up to a busy street, and I don’t like the noise.” She went on. I took notes. Wen she was done I ask more questions and learned that she also was allergic to cats, loved gardening, and has a niece that would be living with her. I asked specific questions like, “What do you mean by ‘a lot of work’?” And, “How much money could you spend on fix up costs.” And, “what is your favorite thing about this house?” And, “Does your niece need to be in walking distance of the school?” And, “What matters most in buying a home on the list we’ve created?” Again, this is not new or an unusual tool in the agent’s belt, but I am surprised how little it is used.
I’ve found it a refreshing experience to have these real estate therapy sessions. The client finds relief from frustration. They feel cared for and in good hands. They get motivated and excited to find that home, as they now know we are not going to just look at anything that pops up. The homes we look at will all be potential purchases.
My therapy sessions are free.
What are some experiences you’ve had as an agent or a buyer? I’d love to hear your story.
Keith Klassen – Real Estate Broker