An Open Letter to All REALTORS - from a Prospective Buyer (and Potential Client)

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Education & Training

Dear LetterDear REALTOR,

Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Prospective Buyer.  I am the person that all of your marketing and advertising dollars, when applied properly, appeal to.  If all the stars align, I’m your client.  I’m even already pre-qualified to buy a new house.  While my credit score is not quite perfect, it is in the excellent range. 


Quite unexpectedly, I found myself in unfamiliar territory (outside of the state that I currently reside in) looking for a new home.  As the majority of today’s buyers do, I started my search on the internet.  I looked through the local MLS and determined a quadrant that appealed to me.  My search included four local cities within a 25 mile radius of my new office location.


After two days of searching (without a local REALTOR to help), here is what I determined:

 

House For SaleFor re-sale homes:

I visited approximately 26 single family homes with for sale signs posted in their front yards. Out of those 26:

12 had no fliers at all

10 had no price listed on the flier

1 flier’s information did not match the sign in the front yard (different agent!)

0 fliers invited me to call for more information (or to make an appointment)

 

 

From the new home communities:

 

Who we'd hire:     

Who we  would not hire:

 

 

KB Homes representative was very nice to my family & smiled a lot!

Agents that did not greet us upon entering or did not offer their name.

 

 

Beazer Homes REALTOR took time to explain what set his homes apart from others (even showed us).

Agents who talked about items that were of no consequence to us. Like the Agents who warned us of how terrible Arizona’s real estate market is!

 

 

Beazer Homes REALTOR who personally showed us around the first model to explain upgrades vs. standard options.

Agents who did not explain their product, build outs, incentives, phases, etc.

 

 

REALTORS / Agents who referred to us by our names & pronounced them correctly.

Brochures with incorrect information, misspellings, etc.

 

 

The REALTOR / Agent who opened the door for us & obviously ready for business.

Model home offices that closed prior to the times listed on the door – even though their car was sitting there!

Now, as I mentioned that I did not have a local Real Estate Professional and before you ask, I want you to know that I did contact a few of them – 4 to be specific.  I called on Sunday afternoon to see if they could show us around on Monday.  What I found was, 2 did not answer their phones, 1 already had a meeting and could/would not refer me to another agent in their office and 1 didn’t work with new home communities – so I felt this left me on my own.  (Remember, I said I was there unexpectedly).

If you are spending your money, energies and your time to sell your listings and catch the attention of perspective buyers, then it shouldn’t be this hard to do business with you. 

Here are my suggestions:

 

  • When your phone rings – answer it. 

 

  • If you’re too busy to answer my questions, please refer me to someone who can.

 

  • Be patient with me.  I’m going to ask questions that you have answered a hundred times, but it’s all new to me.

 

  • Update the fliers and keep the tubes/boxes filled.  Even black/white copies are better than nothing.

 

  • I know it’s probably inconvenient, but could you please put the price on the flier?

 

  • Consider including additional information on the back of the flier – how about your other listings? More info on the house?

 

  • Tell me why I should hire you as my REALTOR?  Even if it’s over the phone, I really want to feel/hear that you like – no make that LOVE – your chosen profession.  (There’s nothing worse than working with someone who hates their job. Right?)

 

  • Use the Internet.  If you can’t include info on the fliers (which seems like a loss of opportunity), at least point me to an Internet website that will fill me in.

 

  • When posting your listings on the local MLS, please, please, please provide me with as many photos of the actual property that you can.  I don’t care about the community pool as much as you think, but really want to see what makes this particular property worth my time to call you and schedule and site inspection.

 

  • Take advantage of out-of-state buyers and blog!  Share yourself, experiences, education and listings with me – appeal to me like you really want my business.

 

I want you to know that I DO want to hire you.  I do want to be able to utilize your skills, talents and education to my fullest advantage when either buying or selling property.  This is not an area that I am comfortable in and am willing to pay you to share your expertise and represent me in this transaction. 

Thank you for taking your time to read my letter.   I appreciate your time and look forward to working with you in the future.

 

Most sincerely,

Prospective Buyer

 

(The above story is true and based on this bloggers recent experience. On a personal note - I work with incredible and professional REALTORS and real estate professionals every day.  I have been well educated by them on what is a fair and acceptable expectation...this is probably why my recent experience caught me so off-guard.  In my naivety, I thought most agents operated the same way.  (Obviously my mistake)).

 

 

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Rainmaker
320,267
BILL CHERRY
William S. Cherry & No Co., Wealth Coach - Dallas, TX
William S. Cherry & No Co., Wealth Coach

Ron, I wish that Tonya hadn't written her criticism as a piece for the public to read.

Billycherry

Nov 21, 2007 06:58 AM #43
Rainer
55,837
Calie Waterhouse
Chandler, AZ
Education & Promotion Specialist
Ron - I am, in no way, judging any real estate professional based on their professionalism - as you stated.  I was merely recanting my recent experience as more of an inconvenience. To me, there is a difference.  Was it a waste of time?  I'm not sure.  Did we go all that distance to look at houses?  We actually didn't know that till after we arrived.  Was it unexpected?  Absolutely.  Would we do it differently in the future?  You bet!  It's been quite a few years since we purchased a house and actually was under the impression that houses that are on the market and listed for sale - are actually wanting to be sold.  I guess the bottom line is - convenience.  Thanks for coming back and setting the record straight.  (BTW - I can understand not wanting to sign papers on the hood of a car - I live in Arizona).  Happy Thanksgiving to you. - Calie
Nov 21, 2007 08:00 AM #44
Rainer
55,837
Calie Waterhouse
Chandler, AZ
Education & Promotion Specialist
Bill - I absolutely love your jewelry store comparison. It so works.  Thank you for sharing your insight.  Come back anytime.  Sounds like you have a lot of wisdom to share. 
Nov 21, 2007 08:02 AM #45
Rainer
68,895
Charlotte Home Loans Your Charlotte Mortgage Lender
Charlotte, NC

Here is what I don't understand about no prices on flyers...

If I find a home online, via MLS, on your website or other means, isn't the price listed there? So why in the world, if I am driving in the area I want to live in and am interested enough to stop at the home you have listed and grab a flyer (if there is any), why would you make me now jump through hoops? If the home is within the budget, I will call to ask more questions and allow someone to justify the asking price. If the home is outside my budget, then I can move on.

But if I as a possible customer can find the info online for free with no hassles, why would you make it more difficult to get the information I need in real life? Isn't that fostering a desire to avoid the conflict of calling someone just to go online and remaining anonymous until I find what I think I want?

Just curious.. not challenging anyone... just thinking out loud.

Nov 22, 2007 08:58 AM #46
Rainer
55,837
Calie Waterhouse
Chandler, AZ
Education & Promotion Specialist
Ed - I think you make a very valid point.  Interesting - that it's never been brought up before (at least in this post).  Hope you're enjoying your Thanksgiving. 
Nov 22, 2007 12:35 PM #47
Rainmaker
320,267
BILL CHERRY
William S. Cherry & No Co., Wealth Coach - Dallas, TX
William S. Cherry & No Co., Wealth Coach

The value of a marketing scheme is in direct proportion to the amount of information that 1) can be understood and easily interpreted by a prospect and 2) answers at least the major questions he's going to have.

When I first opened my own residential real estate company in 1975, I only had one thing to sell; a rent house I owned.  I needed to look like I was starting with a bang.

So I wrote charming ads about houses other companies had listed, left the address and price off, and ran them in the paper.  I did that until my agents and I had accumulated enough listings to make a decent showing against our competitors.

That was the very last time I ever left an address or a price off of a listing in an ad or on a brochure.  So how long has that been.....32 years or so ago?

GOD Blesses!

Billycherry

Nov 22, 2007 10:18 PM #48
Rainer
13,033
Jeanette Hemmer
Coldwell Banker - Clarksville, AR

 

That is good.  I always forget to put myself in the Buyers shoes.

Jeanette Hemmer, Johnson County, Arkansas

 

Nov 23, 2007 10:42 AM #49
Rainer
55,837
Calie Waterhouse
Chandler, AZ
Education & Promotion Specialist

Bill -  Interesting marketing idea.  It obviously worked out well for you (and your agents).  Thanks for sharing!  (Can't wait to see what pearls of wisdom I'll be able to share when I've been in business 30+ years!) 

Jeanette - It was a hard lesson for me to learn. As a home stager, I've been part of the R/E industry for years - but this was just about as eye opening of a lesson as I could get.  WOW - really made me stop and think about my own business practices.  

Nov 23, 2007 10:48 AM #50
Ambassador
389,479
Tracy Santrock
Fonville Morisey/Santrock Realty Group, Inc. - Cary, NC
Raleigh - Cary Realtor
I like this approach. It's very thought provoking.  Nicely done.
Nov 23, 2007 02:30 PM #51
Rainer
55,837
Calie Waterhouse
Chandler, AZ
Education & Promotion Specialist
Thank you, Tracy for popping in & commenting. Hopefully, it will make a difference for the next buyer.  Have a great weekend!
Nov 23, 2007 02:44 PM #52
Anonymous
Tonya Schulte

Several have asked how I made the letters red in my last post.  As a web developer, one of my favorite tools is my browser, Mozilla Firefox.  As opposed to the standard Internet Explorer, which has very little depth, Firefox is extremely customizable and user friendly.  You can go to their web page and download it for free by clicking here.  On a different note, I do want to say that my criticism was not really so much of Ron's English or his writing style.  In the blogging environment, we usually write with more of a loose style, often similar to the way in which we speak.  I was offended by his rude comment on Calie's lack of English knowledge or lack of education.  I hope that, in the future, we can comment on someone's ideas and what they have written rather than attacking them personally.

Calie -  Sorry to have hijacked your post a little bit there.

Nov 23, 2007 09:34 PM #53
Anonymous
Tonya Schulte

Well, proof positive that we all make mistakes in posting is my last comment.  I had written a whole list of instructions after saying you could click here to download Firefox and I see that while I was re-reading and proofreading, I apparently deleted them.  Whoops!  Here they are:

 

  1. Type your blog or comment in a word processing program such as Microsoft Word.  (This is nice, anyway, because it allows you to spell and grammar check your post.)
  2. Make any font and color changes that you wish.
  3. Copy and paste the words into the comment box in your open activerain.com browser window of Mozilla Firefox and chango-presto abracadabra you have cool commenting accomplished!
Whew!  I hope that clears things up!
Nov 23, 2007 10:52 PM #54
Rainer
17,548
Stephanie Heron
Dressing Rooms LLC - Scottsdale, AZ
Weeber - Dressing Rooms

Calie - not sure anyone else has asked the $64,000 question - are you moving?

Stephanie

Nov 24, 2007 09:15 AM #55
Rainer
55,837
Calie Waterhouse
Chandler, AZ
Education & Promotion Specialist
Stephanie - you're right.  No one else has asked me that question. As soon as I have an answer, I will be sure to let you know.  Hope all is well on your side of the world :)
Nov 24, 2007 06:37 PM #56
Rainmaker
342,819
Marti Garaughty
garaughty.com - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type. The Art of Mar
 Hi Calie, after a very hectic month I'm just catching up on my reading here on AR. I loved this post of yours and wanted to stop by and thank you for another great contribution to the marketing group.
Dec 03, 2007 01:52 PM #57
Rainer
55,837
Calie Waterhouse
Chandler, AZ
Education & Promotion Specialist
Thanks Marti.  I visited your website and see that you have indeed been quite busy.  Looks like you've been inspired. Your new paintings are absolutely awesome.  I now have one as my wallpaper, too. - Calie
Dec 04, 2007 07:30 AM #58
Rainmaker
205,921
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing (www.b4uclose.com) - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

Interesting and thought provoking post.

Am I meeting my prospective customer's needs?  I'd like to think so, but it never hurts to review it from someone else's perspective.

Thanks for sharing.

Dec 04, 2007 07:39 AM #59
Rainer
55,837
Calie Waterhouse
Chandler, AZ
Education & Promotion Specialist
Thanks for stopping by, Erby - I would think that being a home inspector would require some kindness, efficiency & the art of being tactful.  - Calie
Dec 04, 2007 07:45 AM #60
Rainmaker
205,921
Erby Crofutt
B4 U Close Home Inspections&Radon Testing (www.b4uclose.com) - Lexington, KY
The Central Kentucky Home Inspector, Lexington KY

Hmmm,  it does.  It almost seems that you are implying that I didn't utilize those qualities in my post above.  If so, it was not meant to be that way.

I appreciated the fact that you made me think about how I'm meeting my customers' needs.

Dec 04, 2007 08:01 AM #61
Rainer
55,837
Calie Waterhouse
Chandler, AZ
Education & Promotion Specialist
No, No, No - Erby - not that at all!!! Just the opposite - I was saying that as a home inspector one would need to possess the qualities of kindness, efficiency and tact.  (Obviously something I need to work on).  Please take it as a compliment. - Calie
Dec 04, 2007 09:30 AM #62
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Rainer
55,837

Calie Waterhouse

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