Just Truly Care About the Consumers, and Not the Agents So Much

By
Real Estate Agent with Sound Realty

Every agent should stop going into the office and start working from home.  Just you and your clients.  Connect with them and not the agents.  Once you are one of them and not one of each other, you will begin to embrace the client the way you are trying to connect, here and elsewhere, with one another.

Don't let someone buy a house unless it really is the best they can get for their money.  Not just the best they can get today, given what is for sale.  If you are not ruling out most of what is for sale, and looking for the next price reduction or next property to come on market, you likely are just selling someone a house.

Peope really need us badly to look out for them.  Look out for their best interests.  I know I you think you do, but most just don't.  That's why the public is crying for lower fees.  Because they just can't find someone who has their back.

Stop being so damned professional and really care about your client.  Never charge more than YOU would pay for the service.  Agents NEVER want to pay a full 6%, especially when the sale price gets higher.  What did you pay $30,000 for this year?  Anything?  Did you just hand anyone $30,000 and say "Thanks" for a service?

If you find yourself manipulating a situation, STOP and think.  Forget all the "answering objections" stuff you learned and the crap about if you can't negotiate your fee high, how can you negotiate the price high.

Connect with your client.  Try to pretend they are your mother or your daughter or your son or at least your nephew.  Treat everyone as if they are family.

THAT is how we will raise the bar.  Not by being more professional.  But be being more human.

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Rainmaker
686,649
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX Solutions - Springfield, MO
RealtorĀ®, Springfield Mo Real Estate
Ardell, this is why we end up with repeat customers.  They trusted us once and they know they can trust us again.  Thank you for raising the bar!
Feb 11, 2007 07:13 PM #40
Rainmaker
296,448
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Sound Realty - Kirkland, WA

Tricia,

I know it is really hard, but can you define professionalism?  I'd like to know what you meand be that.  Everyone seems to have a different definition.  Some think it means a suit and a tie.

Feb 11, 2007 10:53 PM #41
Rainmaker
296,448
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Sound Realty - Kirkland, WA

Raul,

I never charged my clients junk fees.  Even when I was with CB and others that introduced it.  Broker gave us the option of paying the $150 coordinator fee or passing it through to the client.  I always hired the coordinator.  Seemed she was hellping me do my job, so that seemed fair.

Feb 11, 2007 10:56 PM #42
Rainmaker
296,448
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Sound Realty - Kirkland, WA
Renee!!  Me too!!  I couldn't believe the focus and increase in business.
Feb 11, 2007 10:58 PM #43
Rainmaker
296,448
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Sound Realty - Kirkland, WA

Valerie,

I run into cold, cheesy and greedy less often than just plain stupid :)

Feb 11, 2007 10:59 PM #44
Rainmaker
296,448
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Sound Realty - Kirkland, WA

Kay,

That's why I tell agents, don't badmouth anyone who steals your client.  No one steals my clients.  Look in the mirror and figure out why your clients are leaving.  Somehow they left for someone better.

Feb 11, 2007 11:00 PM #45
Rainer
38,859
Valerie Baldwin
John L. Scott Sandy - Gresham, OR
Harvey, Gresham Oregon Real Estate

Ardell,

I will have to agree that the stupid variety does run rampant, but there is the survival of the fittest for that ;) Great post!

Feb 12, 2007 12:16 AM #46
Rainmaker
215,249
Tricia Jumonville
Bradfield Properties - Georgetown, TX
Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense

Ardell, I thought I had defined professionalism, but I'll try again. 

Professionalism means that one, while caring about one's client, brings a very valuable objectivity to the client's business dealings.  It means that one's fiduciary duty to the client overrides any personal feelings one might have.  It means that the client is paying however much they're paying for the skills and education of the person being paid and for that person to give them advice untainted by subjective emotion. 

This doesn't preclude being human with a client or caring about them, or even becoming friends with them along the road to their new house or the sale of their existing house, not by a long shot.  But professionalism is NOT the dirty word you seem to be trying to make it in your blog.  It's, in fact, what the client is paying for, your professional, experienced, trained, objective guidance through the process of buying or selling property, and if you don't provide it, no matter how "caring" you may be, or how little you charge, they're being cheated.

 

Feb 12, 2007 03:56 PM #48
Rainer
2,874
Angela Sonia
Axis Financial - Seattle, WA

Ardell

I loved reading this post, I just became a mortgage consultant after being an loan coordinator for 10 years.  I left because I felt disconnected to my clients, I had a lot of idea for those clients but somehow couldn't find my voice.  As I start on my journey I am finding it easier to find my voice and to educate my clients.  They can tell that I have their best interests in mind, it is more than quoting rates or product knowledge, it's about giving sound advice that is in their best interest NOT yours.

This is how the professional bar should be set for all RE agents and mortgage brokers.

Please allow me to be added as an associate.

Feb 12, 2007 05:36 PM #49
Rainmaker
296,448
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Sound Realty - Kirkland, WA

Tricia,

We'll agree to disagree here as my clients higly value that my opinion is tainted with emotion...their emotion.  Particularly with husbands and wives, they often need someone to take on their emotions and keep the emotional needs at the forefront of housing considerations. 

But then I do residential primarily...it is not a business were emotions can be left out of the equation. 

 

Feb 12, 2007 06:26 PM #50
Rainmaker
296,448
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Sound Realty - Kirkland, WA

Angela,

So right.  And often you have to help them move in the right direction if they are veering off into the wrong direction.  To do that, they have to feel we are acting in their best interests.  It's easy to agree with people, it's hard to steer them in the right direction if their thinking is off.  I know my job is a whole lot easier than yours, in that regard.  I do not envy people in the lending industry...never did. 

Feb 12, 2007 06:29 PM #51
Rainmaker
215,249
Tricia Jumonville
Bradfield Properties - Georgetown, TX
Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense

Ardell, I, also, do residential primarily.  You're right, emotions ARE part of the house buying process - the buyers' emotions, not the agent's.  To make it all about your emotions about the client is, in my opinion, doing them a grave disservice and, again, they're not getting what they're paying for.  Acknowledge their emotions, feel for them if you must, but then put those emotions aside when it comes to the professional service and information that they're paying you for, part of which is being able to look at the situation without emotion and determine what's truly best for them from every other standpoint.  Then, give them that information and let them decide whether their emotional attachment to a home outweighs everything that you've objectively put before them. 

While you may be a friend, as their agente you have to be the kind of friend who can hold their toes to the fire when they're carried away with the bliss of love at first sight.  (And I've had friends of many decades who valued me precisely because I could and would do this for them about things other than houses.)  

Thanks, I feel a blog coming on! 

 

Feb 12, 2007 06:50 PM #52
Rainmaker
296,448
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Sound Realty - Kirkland, WA

Tricia says: "you have to be the kind of friend who can hold their toes to the fire"

Ardell Responds:

Nope!  Not holding anyones toes to the fire!  Like I said.  Let's agree to disagree here.  It's going to be their home.  Their emotions are VERY, VERY important. I'd rather seem them wait, or rent for a bit, then hold their toes to the fire. 

Someone ever tries to hold my toes to the fire...they are likely going to get popped in the eye.

It is never best for them, in my experience, for them to put their emotions aside.  Especially when you are dealing with a couple.  One may be saying yes and meaning no, and their emotions are a sign that they are getting into something they would rather not do, or getting convinced to buy something they would rather not buy.  No toes in fires. 

 

 

Feb 12, 2007 08:28 PM #53
Rainmaker
215,249
Tricia Jumonville
Bradfield Properties - Georgetown, TX
Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense

We can agree to disagree, but from what you're saying, I don't think you understand what I mean. 

They're in love with a house.  They think it's the most wonderful house they've ever seen, they want to marry this house it's so fantastic.  Now, I can jump in with those emotions and we will get them this house no matter what.  Inspection?  Why would we want an inspection, we love the house, we don't care about anything an inspection would turn up!  Priced 30% higher than all the comps in the area?  But we're in looovvveeee!  It doesn't matter!  Cracks in the foundation?  But just look at it - it's perfect!  Why worry ourselves with a few cracks? 

That's where you have to care enough about your clients to point out some cold, hard facts to them, to get them to look at those facts.  That's holding their toes to the fire -  yes, the house is beautiful, but you really need to think about these things before you sign any pieces of paper, okay? 

That's the objectivity and professionalism that I'm saying we need to maintain.  We're not dating these people, after all, nor are we an escort service.  We're professional real estate agents and that's what we're being paid to be. 

I sure hope that's more clear, because I don't know how to say it any more clearly.  If you disagree with it, then we will, definitely, agree to disagree!

 

Feb 12, 2007 08:38 PM #54
Rainmaker
296,448
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Sound Realty - Kirkland, WA

I'd tell them I think it is way over priced. They say they don't care they want to buy it.  Discussion over.  Their money...their choice. It's my job to tell them I think it is over priced and why, not to hold their feet to the fire and convince them not to buy the house they love, and go buy a house they don't love that is a better "value".

I've seen plenty of people pay more than the house was worth.  That's how the West Coast has 35% appreciation in a short time sometimes.  People sometimes pay 35% more than the comps.  We watched a guy pay $11,000,000 for a place worth $7,000,000.  It's probably worth $22,000,000 today.  Anyone buying a house for $11,000,000 cash is a big boy, and clearly doesn't need me holding his toes in fires.

I say I see foundation cracks.  They,don't want an inspection clause because it is in multiple bids.  Maybe they say, so what.  I want this lot with this view.  I'll tear the house down and build a new one if I have to.

We give them advices.  We do not hold their feet to fires. 

I found that in Jersey and PA agents, I was one, had a whole lot to say about houses being listed for too much.  Appreciation was much lower as a result.  I got to CA and prices were going through the roof and learned one of the most important phrases I've ever heard in real estate:

"You can't be smarter than the market."

I just saw someone pay $75,000 for a wedding.  Who are we to tell them they can't pay $50,000 more for a house than it is "worth".  We can tell them how we feel about the price, and I do.  But I do not hold peoples toes in the fire. 

Feb 12, 2007 10:10 PM #55
Rainmaker
215,249
Tricia Jumonville
Bradfield Properties - Georgetown, TX
Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense

Again, you're missing my point.  Simply telling them that there are issues that they need to consider, giving them the information so that they can make an informed decision (no, I never make a decision for a client, but I do make darned sure they have all the information they  need before they make it), is holding their toes to the fire for some (and it appears you may be among them).  If I am so busy "caring" about them that I won't do this because it would spoil their fun, or because I'm caught up in their emotion, then I'm not doing the job that I'm paid to do, nor am I truly caring about them, in my opinion.  I don't bludgeon, but I do say, "You need to consider this and this and this when deciding on the best way for you to get the house you love."  That's "holding their toes to the fire" when they're in love - it's also my job. Not as much fun as being their enabling buddy, perhaps, but there it is, it's what they're paying me to do because it's one thing that they're likely to have the most difficulty doing for themselves.

 

Feb 12, 2007 10:22 PM #56
Rainmaker
296,448
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Sound Realty - Kirkland, WA

Tricia,

Maybe I just don't like the visual of holding their feet to a fire or their toes either :)  I call that "not letting them be their own worst enemy".  I remember when I hired an attorney for my divorce, I said, "I'm a smart cookie, too smart for my own good at times.  Don't let me be my own worst enemy."

I don't have clients who overlook things because they are in love very often.  I deal with a lot of "engineer" types. The emotions I am talking about are when they have misgivings. 

But now that you mention it, I did have a client this year who just had to have something.  She was so elated.  I warned her about many things, including that she really couldn't afford it.  But she is so happy.  Really, really happy.  She bought it.  I just hope it works out OK and she doesn't need to sell it.  I told her I couldn't likely sell it for what she paid.  But no, I didn't hold her feet to the fire.  When someone loves something that much, you just have to be happy for them sometimes.

When it is someone's home, you have to let them have the option to just love it for their own reasons.  I love my home.  I know it's not the most marketable property, but it's perfect for me.  It's my home. 

 

Feb 14, 2007 02:36 AM #57
Rainmaker
215,249
Tricia Jumonville
Bradfield Properties - Georgetown, TX
Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense

Hey, Ardell, we bought a place that needed $30,000 worth of foundation repairs because we loved everything about it.  (This was before I was an agent.)  However, the agent we had at the time DID "hold our toes to the fire" and say, "You really need to have a good inspection" (1930's house moved onto a farm from the city) and "You really need to consider these things and decide what you want to ask the seller to do".   Result - rather than paying asking price "as is" because we were in love, we got the house for $15,000 less than asking price along with concessions such as having the wiring redone (we decided that we'd live with the foundation issues or pay to have them fixed ourselves, but it was a conscious decision rather than our initial impulse to just buy the place because it was "wonderful"). 

That agent that did exactly what we paid him to do?  Is good friends with us and just about every client he's ever had, and until I became an agent I referred everyone I knew to him, because he cared enough to take care of us when we were head over heels in love and not taking care of ourselves. 

I've never talked a buyer out of a house, or tried to, but I have made sure they had all the information they needed to make an informed decision, and looked at it, before writing up an offer so that it would be an offer that would get them what they loved without losing things they'd find equally important,  or perhaps moreso, when the bloom was off the rose.

You may not like the wording I use (which I got from my lifelong friend when I did something similar for her when she was having a midlife crisis - she thanked me for holding her toes to the fire out of caring - even though she went ahead and did what she was thinking of doing, she did it clear-eyed and knowing what she was doing, and she did it in a way that would ameliorate any damage as much as possible), but I don't think you can fault the meaning, can you?  It sounds like we're closer to being on the same page than it would appear at first blush.  

 

Feb 14, 2007 08:53 AM #58
Rainmaker
296,448
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Sound Realty - Kirkland, WA

I had a marguerita for Valentine's Day...so Yes!  You are absolutely correct!  I always was a cheap date :)

Feb 14, 2007 09:25 PM #59
Rainmaker
215,249
Tricia Jumonville
Bradfield Properties - Georgetown, TX
Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense

Oh, heck, I used to get blotto on half a glass of wine!  With practice, I can now make a mean Margaria (3 parts Patron Silver, 1 part Cointreau, 1 part fresh-squeezed lime juice, rocks, salt) and still be able to walk and talk. 

To make this more Valentines' Day, a long-time friend once told me I'm the only woman she knows that when I get drunk, I fall in love with my own husband!

 

Feb 14, 2007 09:28 PM #60
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ARDELL DellaLoggia

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