Story From The Street… September 2016

One of the good things that Amazon does, and Amazon does A LOT of good things in my opinion, is they have unfiltered reviews of their products.  I don’t know about you, but when I go to buy something on Amazon, look at the stars and check out the reviews.

Recently, I was considering buying a new microphone for my Podcast, Frederick Advice Givers.  I did hours of research and read 40-50 reviews until I knew everything about the product.  I didn’t pull the trigger at the time.  I will soon, but I researched and researched.  I did my due diligence and gained more knowledge on the product.

I imagine, if you are anything like me, if you are unfamiliar with a product, you want some additional insight, knowledge, and maybe a first-hand account of the product from someone who has already purchased.

I call this thirst for knowledge and reviews, The Amazon Effect…

              What amazes me, and I blame consumers just as much as I do the agent, is that people will spend hours researching a new blender, a new coffee maker, makeup, or a new gadget but will pick their real estate agent because they saw some goofy sign or met them at an Open House.

Wouldn’t it make sense to do a little research first?  Maybe see if that agent has any online reviews?  Ask a few people that have used that person before?  Find out if they have a documented Approach for helping sellers achieve hidden profits?

Makes sense to me.

However, throughout the last few years, it has become evident to me that there are key problems in the Real Estate Industry with Buyers, Sellers and other Agents.  The problems that I see most often are the lack of communication between the Agent and their Client, and the formal education process of buying and selling within the industry.

Recently I was called to an appointment with a potential seller who had their house listed with another agent.  The seller was referred to me. Upon meeting them, their number one complaint about the other Agent was the lack of communication.  The Agent lacked giving feedback from potential buyers.  If they liked the house, if they didn’t like the house, the seller was completely out of the loop.  There should be a systematic way to follow up for feedback with an Agent, to convey to the client.  It should be that simple.

I guarantee if these poor sellers had asked around to a few of this agent’s prior clients that they would have been forewarned of the lack of communication.

The next problem the seller faced was that they would ask questions to their agent and the response would take about two to three days!  That is unacceptable!  Imagine, you’re about to make one of the most important investment decisions of your life, and you have a specific question that requires about a ten second response.  It could take a quick text, phone call or email to answer.  It doesn’t take much time to respond.  But the Agent throws you to the back burner and makes it apparent that they’re too busy for you.  They aren’t as invested in your investment as you are.

I know how stressed clients are during this time of uncertainty in the buying and selling process.  You are on pins and needles about every little aspect of your transaction and you wish that your agent would care 1/10th as much as you do.  You are relying on an agent to ‘have your back’ and to answer questions that you may have in a timely fashion.  Yes, we are all busy and immediate responses are not always possible, but any agent should be able to respond in a timely fashion to your most important investment.

Keeping clients in the know is Ultra important.

I pride myself on educating my clients.  What happens after they get a contract?  What happens after the home inspection?  What happens while they’re moving in?  Buyers and sellers don’t know the process.  Just because the Agent may think this process is common sense, it doesn’t mean they should leave their clients in the dust.  Don’t suffer the Curse of Knowledge.  Inform your clients!  Keep them educated on the process, don’t assume they already know or that they will figure it out.

Do your research.  Find an Educator…

As a purchaser or seller there are about 97 aspects and minuet details that occur during each transaction.  It is the agents job to keep you informed and educate you of the process and to keep your expectations in line with what is actually happening during the transaction.

I know when I was building my first house, I had no idea what the process was going to be like and what to expect.  I constantly thought, who was going to be my next call?  What’s the next step in this process?  I leaned heavily on Lou, Susan’s father for help.  He was no novice at building houses.  He told me exactly what step I needed to do next-call a plumber, get the electrician involved.  Whatever his advice was, it helped me immensely.  I had no clue how to do any of this until my father-in-law taught me.

Buyer and Sellers?  They have no clue what happens after they get the contract.

They don’t know that within seven to ten days they should do a home inspection.  They don’t know that two weeks after the home inspection, they should be calling in movers and calling their insurance company.  Buyers and Sellers don’t know this because they don’t do it on a daily basis like we do.  They don’t go through the trials and tribulations of being a Real Estate Agent like we do. They just don’t get it.

Sellers typically move three to four times in their lifetime; it isn’t frequent and so they forget the process.  The most frequent complaints with Real Estate Agents are the lack of communication and education.  They don’t inform.  They forget to keep their clients in the know.  This could easily be rectified if in the first few meetings the agent should inform the client of timeframes, lay out the facts, the process, in order to keep their clients in the know, so their clients can go back and reference it.

When I first sit with a new Buyer or Seller, I typically can layout a timeframe for the process.  I’ll remind them during the process what they need to do and how to do it.  This doesn’t catch them off guard.  It keeps them involved and educated.  On the buying side, I’ve had Sellers not know that they had to be out of the house on settlement day.  They didn’t understand the process and I blame this 100% on the Agent.

The lack of communication, the lack of instruction, the lack of attention to detail- I consider it the lack of caring.

It’s almost malpractice what these agents do, assuming that the Buyers and Sellers know what to do, suffering from the Curse of Knowledge.  It’s like anything in life.  The more you do it, the more immune you become to the process, taking for granted what clients should know.  Reminding sellers, that they actually have to be moved out of their house by settlement day.  Let them know the process from the beginning.  People like to plan.

I think the number one thing that sets us apart- and I’m not perfect by any means, I mess up and sometimes I overlook things- is that our clients had a good understanding of the process of Buying and Selling.  We have constant communication with our clients via text, email or phone call.  Typically, with text, I can respond almost immediately a couple hours time.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a client say that I wasn’t in constant contact with them and answered their questions in a timely manner.

But I digress…

Sorry for this more negative Story from The Street.  Sue-Mart and I are extremely tired of having to do other agents’ jobs to make sure they’re taking care of their clients their “To-Do’s” so that there are no surprises for our clients.  If there isn’t communication between the two agents, there is probably not communication between that Agent and their Client. Communication and education are key factors in the relationship between Agent and Client.  Use the Amazon Approach when finding your Realtor.  Research, Research, Research.