It's Got To Be About Them

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Equity Group

Last year was a tough year for many fellow realtors that I know. What I think I have found in common with those who did do good business is the dedication back to the client.

From 2004 until mid 2006, our market was just as hot as some of the other major cities. Heck, all you had to do to list a home was put a sign out front and you received multiple offers. Today, with the subprime problems, the slowing economy, and yes, the uncertainty of who is going to take over that large white house that none of us should want to sell, we have to get back to the client and be more adjusting to their needs.

Yes, I am available to show you homes this weekend. Yes, I can come by your house this evening and discuss writing an offer. Yes, I am willing to go to bat for you and ask for a lower price. YES, I am here to really work for you. We now have to get back to making some concessions in our life or changing our schedules to fit our clients needs, we no longer have enough business to force them to fit our schedules or chance losing them and not care.

Let's all get back to what we used to enjoy and hopefully started in this business for; The Clients Needs. I would love to hear any thoughts on this and also if anyone sees it the way I do.

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Rainer
3,639
Sarah Tongstun
Townsend, MA

I disagree with changing our schedules to meet the client's needs.  IF these clients really need to buy, they will A. be efficient in their searching by doing drive-bys, being realistic about their own needs, etc.  B. Start to respect REALTORS as a professional and work to our schedules.  After all, you do not expect a doctor/lawyer/dentist, etc, to work after hours or all weekends.  WHY should others expect that of US????  I think if we all banded together then we would have more respect as a profession.

MY buyers don't have an issue with my schedule.  I work 1/2 day on the weekend and during the week.  I try to keep my schedule to 9am to 5pm (though sometimes I have to do paperwork after hours for family time), and I always put my family first.  I'm sorry, but real estate is a business, and without my personal life intact, there is no way my business life can be intact!

That said, I DO go out of my way for my clients in some ways (like if they are working and I need them to sign something - I may drop in and have them sign it, depending on where I am!), and I am 100% THERE when I am with them.  I take notes to make sure their questions get answered, and I always follow up in a timeframe in which I set.  ("I will get back to you by xxxx with those answers.")

I hope some of this gives you some different perspective!

Jan 31, 2008 01:32 PM #1
Rainmaker
559,008
Keith Elliott Jr
KEIRE Realty Group - Manassas, VA
Principal Broker/Owner

Hi Tim,

Welcome to Active Rain and congrats on your first post! The opportunities to learn and network are incredible here. Best of luck to ya!

-Keith

Jan 31, 2008 04:14 PM #2
Rainer
13,464
Chanel Shavers
Re/max Equity Group - Portland, OR

I think that Sarah's comments are not true.  We don't expect Doctors to meet us after five or on the weekends, but we also don't pay them a 3% commission on a $300,000 house.  I think that some Realtors have a tendency not earn that 3% and sit back and collect their checks.  If you broke down how much money you would be making per hour on most transactions, its ridiculous.  I believe that this job has its financial rewards and with that we have to work to our clients needs/schedules as most of them have full time jobs and this is not their job, its ours!  I think Tim is correct in stating that we do have to go the extra mile now, especially if we want to succeed in this "media hyped" gloom and doom market.  You will find that clients will be respectful of your time, most of the time, but they also appreciate seeing their Realtor go above and beyond the call of duty to put their mind at ease!

Cheers Tim!!!

Feb 01, 2008 03:58 AM #3
Rainer
4,458
Tim Saeland
RE/MAX Equity Group - Beaverton, OR

Sarah, yes a home and family life are more important than anything and they do get my time, and often. My family does uderstand that my job does involve these odd hours and we have had a pretty easy time scheduling family and down time around that. Each of us work differently and that is the joy of being self-employed. Each of us have a different driving factor also. One of the benefits of being a successful realtor is being able to afford, financially and time off, to go on an extended vacation with family. I have been able to somewhat predict what months are the slowest for me and take that time off and spend entirely with family. At least for my family, this time makes up for some of those nights and weekends that I am not always there.

Just in my experience here this past year, I found that lack of availability just allowed a potential client to find someone else who was and I have lost a few for this reason. I'm sure each market is different. I remember my first year in RE where I was still doing floor time: What has turned out to be my best client to date with much referral and personal business, had originally called in on the weekend after trying 4 other offices loking for someone who was available to show them a home right now. I took it and have profitied much form that call since then.

I am happy for you Sarah, that you have and can maintain a schedule with the hours you have set and be successful. Happy Selling All!!

Feb 02, 2008 03:23 AM #4
Rainer
3,639
Sarah Tongstun
Townsend, MA

I wanted to get back here and respond to everyone regarding my thoughts on setting a schedule.

I am not saying that I don't have extended hours on certain days, and I'm also not saying I don't work one weekend day.  I do work "late" hours on Mondays and Thursdays.  Late means as late as I can show, keeping in mind that we are in the middle of winter (ARGH!) and it gets dark here around 5:15pm.  AND the majority of my showings are on bank owned homes, which do not have electricity (and may also be in high crime areas).

My team generates so many leads that it is hard to drive everyone and anyone around at a drop of the hat.  We have an EXTENSIVE triage system, which even requires buyers to be pre-approved before taking them out on these bank owned homes. 

With this in mind, YES, we DO get people who don't follow up on their part of the bargain (don't go and get pre-approved).  Does that bother me?  Not necessarily.  Sometimes getting people to think this way up front makes them realize they are not ready to buy.  In my mind, it is better to have them learn that without  making me waste gas - and it also is a value add to them because, during our "triage" we develop a relationship...which means I can follow-up with them in a month, two months, whatever, and keep track of them...so when they ARE ready to buy, they come straight to me first.

Again, my team is very lucky right now.  We work very hard and reap good rewards.  I can guarantee you that if we did NOT have these types of systems in place, we would all go crazy and be burnt out in less than 2 months. 

I wish *all* agents had my problem :)  Give it a few more years and we'll be back there again!

Best wishes!

 

Feb 11, 2008 12:46 PM #5
Rainer
4,458
Tim Saeland
RE/MAX Equity Group - Beaverton, OR

SYSTEMS!! I do agree it is all about systems. I highly recommend to anyone to get your systems in place, after you have fine tuned them to you and your market. Good point Sarah.

Good luck to all ad thanks for your feedback on this topic.

Feb 13, 2008 12:43 PM #6
Anonymous
Jeff Wiren
I appreciate your comments about serving the client, Tim.  And I appreciate your comments about keeping your personal life a priority, Sarah.  The balance between the two is always a challenge, but only the people with clients get the priviledge of having to worry about that.  Obviously, you both are blessed with tremendous business and you are each to be congratulated for doing what you do extremely well!
Mar 18, 2008 04:26 PM #7
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