This post by Ryan Shaughnessy is an excellent explanation of how the relationship between a realtor and their buyer clients are similar to dating. This is the first time I have ever re-blogged anything so you know that it made an impression on me. Thank you for writing this, Ryan.
In December, 2006, Kelle Sparta, a real estate consultant, wrote a great piece for the Sales Coach column in the Realtor Magazine entitled "10 Dating Rules That Can Help Your Career." I enjoyed the insights of author contained in the article so much that I clipped it and saved it in my sales training file and have used it and similar materials in our sales training program.
Now, the article had some great advice. However, it only covered one side of the relationship. Today, I would like to explain what real estate agents are looking for in their relationships with buyers so consumers know what to expect and know how to get the most out of their relationship with their real estate agent when purchasing a new home.
Here are my top 10 dating rules that every buyer should use when working with a buyer's agent:
Rule 1 - Arranged marriages don't work. When you are searching for a real estate agent, it is important to get recommendations and suggestions from friends and family. However, it should be more of an introduction. In dating, you would probably agree that arranged marriages are anachronistic in today's world. If you agree, then why would you blindly accept and feel obligated to use the person suggested by your family or friends.
Rule 2 - Don't fall for a pretty face. When you are searching for a real estate agent, it is important to interview several agents and to have written criteria to compare the real estate agents based on their experience, knowledge of market conditions, and other criteria. When dating, you don't commit to the first person who shows interest in you. If that is true, then why would you decide to work with a single real estate agent based on a chance meeting without meeting and interviewing other real estate agents to make sure their business philosophy and approach are compatible with your needs.
Rule 3 - Take it slow. It is important to take things slow and understand where you are in the creation of a relationship with your real estate agent. It is good to solicit proposals. It is fine to try to get a real estate agent to woo you with a proposal. However, it isn't much different than dating. You generally don't talk about marriage or children on the first day. Similarly, you don't assign chores to your date. Until you commit to the real estate agent, it is unreasonable and unrealistic to expect them to actively and thoroughly search for homes for you or to show you anything except their listings.
Rule 4 - Be honest and upfront. It is important to be honest and upfront with real estate agents. Don't pretend that you are still selecting an agent to obtain information or to find someone who will show a listing when you have already selected an agent to write the contract when you have found your home. In dating, it would be akin to using someone for a free dinner.
Rule 5 - We are looking for a commitment. When a real estate agent agrees to assist you, we are looking for a commitment. We are looking for exclusivity. If you don't intend to work exclusively with a single agent, then you should tell the agent. It isn't that we won't work with you. We still want to get you to commit to us. However, if it isn't an exclusive relationship, then don't expect the real estate agent to meet every whim or to show units on short notice. It is like someone calling at 6 p.m. on Friday night. It may work out if the agent isn't busy or doesn't have plans - but don't expect them to rearrange their schedule when you are unwilling to commit to working with a single real estate agent.
Rule 6 - Don't bring your mother on the date. Real estate agents are there to provide advice and assistance. When you bring third parties on a showing, it can interfere with the dynamics and interfere with the free flow of information. It is like taking your mother on a date. Is she going to cancel dinner reservations and select a different restaurant - whether or not you like the food there or not? Are you going to have candid conversations on the date? While it may be important to have your parents meet your suitor before you are married, initial showings should be you and only you.
Rule 7 - Cut the ties with your last boyfriend/girlfriend or former spouse. If you have previously worked with another real estate agent or have been referred by another real estate agent from another state, it is time to cut the ties and start working 1-on-1 with your real estate agent. It is similar to dating. No one likes being second guessed or competing with some unforeseen person in the background.
Rule 8 - Be exclusive - Don't stray or cheat on your new boyfriend/girlfriend. After you have had a few dates, it is time to commit. Pick one and be exclusive. It is no different than dating. When you find the right real estate agent for you, stop shopping and pick just one. After you select an agent, don't cheat on them.
Rule 9 - Be yourself. On a date, you don't pretend to be someone that you aren't. So why is it okay to search for homes and request showings for homes that are outside your price range, don't meet your minimum requirements or aren't in the right neighborhoods. Real estate agents can and will see through the charade and dishonesty. Before you start searching, get prequalified so you know what you can afford at the outset and provide your agent with a clear set of criteria as to your minimum housing requirements.
Rule 10 - Be on time. Whether you are meeting at the office, home you are viewing, or somewhere else, it is important to be on time. If you can't make a meeting or showing, call at the earliest possible time. In the dating context, I am guessing that you would find it impolite, thoughtless and rude if your date didn't show or called after you were dressed and at the restaurant. Real estate agents are no different. They prepare for showings and it is rude to simply not show or cancel at the last minute.
Rule 11 - Recognize boundaries. It is good to keep in regular contact with your real estate agent. However, don't call constantly. Some real estate agents turn-off their telephones during sales meetings, conferences with clients, and showings. That is, they turn off the their telephone when they are meeting with you so that they can focus on you. Similarly, there are real estate agents that are willing to take calls at all hours. However, before you place that midnight phone call, consider your reaction if someone you are dating called you out of the blue that late at night.
Interested in professional buyer's representation? Contact Ryan Shaughnessy at PREA Signature Realty at 314-971-4381 or by e-mail to Ryan@PREASignatureRealty.com.