By Jason O’Neil
I believe that we as a country, a world, and a species are suffering a crisis of confidence. I know, that’s a bold statement. But the magnitude in which our world has changed over the past 25 years is nothing short of overwhelming.
Confidence used to be something that was a part of our fiber, woven into everything we did. People not only had confidence, but they instilled confidence in others. Confidence was derived from neighborhoods, communities, religions, political parties, long standing jobs, and pensions. But many of these have been derailed and forced, even the most ardent of supporters, to question some very core tenets. Rightfully so, skepticism tends to be the norm.
I have heard it said, and I believe, that confidence is the single greatest asset one can have. Do not confuse my use of confidence with overconfidence, arrogance, conceitedness, or big-headedness, because it is not. Confidence is what gives us the ability to do what it is we are good at. Without a bit of confidence the world would never have heard The Beatles., we would not know the name Bill Gates, and Phil Mickelson would be a really good country club player. It is scary to raise your hand, to stick your head out and make progress. It is confidence that moves us forward step by step.
But confidence, the type of confidence I am talking about, isn’t just results and dollar signs, or awards and progress. It is the way we make people feel. I’ll go further, it is what we bring — our passion. It is the value that we, as REALTORS®, add to a transaction, a deal, a negotiation. Jim Collins wrote, “Genuine confidence is what launches you out of bed in the morning, and through your day with a spring in your step.” We are, in fact, handling the transfer of a exceptionally large assets. While easy to forget, it’s important to remember that the average person will move every six to nine years. Extrapolated over a lifetime, the average person will sell maybe seven homes. Many of you reading this sell that many homes in a given month. The last time that the average seller in 2012 sold a home, nine years ago, the real estate market was drastically different than it is today. Zillow, Trulia, REALTOR.com and Red Fin did not exist, computer-based forms were in their infancy, and not everyone e-mailed. Continue reading »
By Chris Nichols
There’s a story about a group of students that goes a little something like this:
A Harvard professor was fielding questions from his class regarding the upcoming midterm exam. The questions were varied, but all seemed to carry a similar theme. Upon realizing this, the professor stopped the questioning and said, “Even though your questions sound different, they are essentially all the same; ‘What is the minimum I have to do to pass this test?’”
As of writing of this blog post, the London 2012 Olympics are just two weeks away. Athletes from around the world will be gathering to compete in various events. I can guarantee you, without a doubt, that none of these world-class athletes are asking themselves, “What is the minimum I have to do to get a gold medal?”
There is no question that the real estate business can be viewed as a “test” at times. But are you falling into the trap of finding ways to do the minimum necessary to just pass this test? If you are, I’d recommend you find a way to adjust your thinking and instead “GO FOR THE GOLD!”
By Scott Newman
Real estate is back in 2012 in a big way. Many markets are seeing price increases in response to dwindling inventories as more and more buyers are getting off the fence every day. With that in mind — especially since it’s been so long since we’ve had the opportunity to use the phrase “multiple offer” — I felt it would be pertinent and relevant to go through some best practices for handling multiple offer situations to make sure you’re in line with ethical and fair business practices.
Don’t Forget Your Loyalties: This is a big one, and it’s obvious, but many agents forget that you can’t disclose information that your client doesn’t authorize. No where is it written that you must disclose whether or not you have other offers on the table. Unless your seller has specifically directed you to do so, you should not automatically answer that question if asked by a buyer’s agent or buyer.
I have seen situations where a buyer will pull out of a deal because they think there is too much competition, and you can be legally liable for any negative consequence that results from your disclosing information you shouldn’t have.
To summarize, don’t ever forget that your ultimate loyalties lie with your seller, and just because you’re asked a question doesn’t mean you have to answer.
Treat Everyone the Same: This is another obvious one, but it’s important and bears repeating. To avoid accusations, legal action, and overall negative impact to your reputation as a professional, it’s imperative that you treat everyone the same way.
If you’re sending out a request for highest and best, send the exact same e-mail, forms, etc., to all interested parties who have seen the property so there is absolutely no doubt that everyone was informed of the status and had a chance to make an offer if they wanted. It’s better to e-mail an agent that showed the place six months ago along with everyone else, than it is to have your deal blown up by a lawsuit from a buyer who feels they were unfairly kept from knowing the latest update and opportunity to place an offer.
Keep Unbelievably Good Records: Continue reading »
By Laura Rubinchuk Schwartz
I met with a very nice couple looking to retire and relocate out of the area, which means selling their home of 20+ years. It had been many, many years since they needed the services of a REALTOR® or learned of the new way things are being done to sell a home, prepare for listing, and the paperwork involved in the process. After a brief tour of the home and some chit chat about their situation and goals for selling their home, we got down to the nitty gritty details, like commission.
After discussing commission rates and such, they asked my favorite question of every listing appointment: “Well, what would your commission be if you sold the house?”
My answer: “I never do dual agency. I think it’s a conflict of interest. I represent you and your interests in this transaction, and at the end of the day, I want to make sure you’re happy and you feel like you got the best deal possible. If I am representing both parties, I don’t think that’s possible.”
With total blank stares, and then a smile, the wife said, “You’re too honest.” My response? “I’m honest, but I also think agents have a bad reputation and we’ve earned it. It’s not about the paycheck in front of them, it’s about the long term happiness of both parties.”
I am sure this is bound to stir up some strong opinions on both sides of the argument, but I wanted to lay out my thoughts on dual agency:
- Agency relationships mean I sign a paper that says I represent the interests of the seller. I am trying to get them to meet their goals with this transaction. I always keep that in mind when reviewing offers and be sure to point out specifics that may be issues for them.
- I always show the property when asked, regardless of representation. Continue reading »
By Dave Robison
Ever had a buyer working with more than one agent? Ever had a seller who you spent a ton of time with, gave them your advice, and then they used a discounted service? Ever had a buyer who kept changing their mind or made offers on a lot of properties?
I knew an agent who had a hard time with one of these scenarios. “Tina” broke down crying one day, saying, “How am I going to pay my bills now that this closing fell through? I’ve worked so hard this past month and now the buyer is backing out? How can they do this?” Many agents have been there. (This is a real story, however, and I changed the name above.) I had to explain a secret to Tina, on getting deals done.
The secret to success is not being emotionally affected or attached to the outcome of the transaction. Whether it fails or closes, you can’t be attached to the outcome you want. It’s a Nordstrom Way Secret.
Eons ago, I had a buyer who planned to purchase a multimillion-dollar property. I remember spending hours on end, educating and reassuring this person about the home buying process, in anticipation for what was about to be their biggest purchase ever. During the process, the buyer was concerned with the inspection. The items did not seem of major importance to me, however, they caused stress for the buyer.
The buyer asked the famous question: “What should I do?” This is the point where many REALTORS® might say something like, “It’s a great time to buy,” or, “I would do it,” etc. A secret to being unattached to the outcome is that you tell yourself: “It’s okay if they don’t buy the home. I still can pay my bills. There will be other buyers.” Even if you feel these statements aren’t true, you are going to have to say this to yourself anyway. There are many buyers I meet who will tell me they felt like their previous agent just wanted them to buy something and get a deal done. Those buyers left their agent to look for someone who would help them, rather than an agent who just wants a deal.
The right approach: Continue reading »
By Cory Brewer
Having a buddy who is a handyman, or a friend of a friend who paints in their spare time, is great…but trying to save a quick buck or two now could cost you, your brokerage, and your client a lot more down the road.
When prepping a home for the market or making inspection repairs, thoughtful consideration must be given to those who are hired to do the work. Movers, stagers, plumbers — they all fall into this category.
One recent example from my brokerage where this comes into play: A vendor was brought in to do some cleanup work in a top-floor condo unit of a multi-story building. Oops…he stepped on and broke sprinkler pipe up in the attic/roof space and damaged not only the unit he was working on, but the two units below as the water leak went wild. The insurance claim reached six figures and involved multiple home owners. Our brokerage policy is to only use vendors who are properly insured…and this is exactly why. This particular vendor came forward and processed the claim through his insurance.
Hiring someone on the cheap may sound good at first – especially when on a budget – but the time and money it costs to fix something that wasn’t done right the first time can really add up. Scrutinize your vendors and make sure that they will stand behind their work. If anything goes awry, your clients will thank you for recommending the right people to work with.
Cory Brewer is a REALTOR® in the Seattle area and Operations Manager at Windermere Property Management / LGA in Bellevue. Connect with Cory at www.wpmnorthwest.com.
By Toby Boyce
Sitting in the classroom taking licensure classes to become a licensed real estate agent in the state of Ohio, suddenly it becomes very obvious: They want to make sure you know people don’t like you.
“You are spoken in the same breath as used car salesmen,” a local real estate attorney is fond of stating. (Of course he often neglected to mention that the other half of the comparison is to his own profession.)
However, are we in the same class as used car salesmen? Nope. Not even close according to the U.S. Better Business Bureau’s recently released 2010 numbers . In fact, the number of complaints against real estate agents isn’t even in the top 50 industries. The most complaints in 2010 were registered against:
1. Television – Cable, CATV & Satellite: 30,408
2. Cellular Phones Services & Equipment: 24,876
3. Auto Dealers – New Cars: 23,906
4. Banks: 22,609
5. Collection Agencies: 14,966
6. Auto Dealers – Used Cars: 13,902
Real estate agents slipped in the 54th position on the list with 3,034 complaints. Which I believe was made even more impressive by the fact that more than 400,000 inquires were made for real estate agents of the Better Business Bureau in 2010.
So next time you look in the mirror, remember, “Dog gone it, people like you.”
Toby Boyce, MBA, is a real estate practitioner with Keller Williams Consultants Realty in Westerville, Ohio. Visit his Web site: www.delawareohrealestate.com.
By Toby Boyce
According to Dictionary.com, one definition is that ethics are “the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.”
As members of the National Association of REALTORS®, practitioners agree to abide by the Code of Ethics as established by the organization, and are bound by state and federal statutes that keep the business from descending into chaos.
But who is minding the gates when it comes to enforcing ethics? Local boards are often overworked and understaffed and the smaller boards are “offices of one” that are struggling just to keep the place running. NAR has too many practitioners (1.2 million members) to even consider this type of monitoring throughout the program. Ultimately, REALTORS® have to self-regulate our own industry. The practitioners are the ones in the fire every day.
However, are we doing anything with this? Continue reading »