I haven’t posted here in a while because I’ve been moving and the new house didn’t have internet for the first couple of weeks. Considering that I don’t usually write here other than in the middle of the night, that explains the absence. I’ll try not to let it happen again.
Being a Realtor and selling your house is quite possibly the best opportunity to literally put yourself in your clients’ shoes, get a taste of your systems and processes firsthand, and make changes to benefit the growth of your business. It should also, speaking personally, be the only time you run this experiment because moving sucks. Seriously, it’s the worst.
Don’t miss out on the best chance you will get to experience what your buyers and sellers go through when using you as their Realtor.
Warning: You might be surprised what you find out. As it turns out, my Realtor was kind of an asshole.
Take it Seriously
It’s really easy to just get your own transaction done the easiest way possible because you’re busy, you know what to expect, and it’s just habit to you at this point. Two things on that note. First, if you’re married and your spouse isn’t an agent, they aren’t used to it. It isn’t habit to them. And, most importantly, they are experiencing the same emotions that your clients experience. Take advantage of that and use it to get a front row seat to your own show. Second, by not taking it seriously and going through the process step-by-step, you miss out on really being able to analyze each part of your process and revise as needed.
That being said, the one spot where I screwed up in this process was not doing a full listing presentation on my wife. I wish I had done that. We did have a pretty serious discussion on pricing. We are in the middle of a pretty hot market here in Houston right now. I wanted to push the market. My wife did not. She wanted to make sure the home sold very quickly as not to put our purchase in jeopardy. I pushed back and insisted on the higher price. She trusted me to do the right thing. For the record, that’s the first time I’ve won in eight years. And, now it’s in writing, forever. As it will likely be the last time I win, I will relish it for just a minute.
A-Hole Realtor Lesson 1: If your client is wrong and you’re sure you’re right, stand your ground tactfully. Back it with data and make sure they know you are doing the right thing for them. Otherwise, they might end up with a bad taste in their mouth when they realize they were wrong.
A-Hole Realtor Lesson 2: Listen to their concerns and don’t dismiss them because you think you know better than they do.
One night a couple of weeks before we put the house on the market, we walked the house and made the dreaded “list”. Our home was in pretty good shape, but like any house you’ve lived in for awhile, there were things we needed to do to get the house market ready. The next morning I picked up the “list” and immediately hated myself. I had really called my baby ugly and didn’t want to admit it.
A-Hole Realtor Lesson 3: No matter how ugly the baby is, make the fix as painless as possible. Be resourceful and help your clients get the home ready for market as easily and quickly as possible. Don’t just give them a list. That being said, make sure the list is thorough and puts the final product in the best condition possible for market.
Finally, the day to list the house came. As strange as it may sound, having done this hundreds of times, I was nervous. One hour went by and nothing. Then two. Then three. Why didn’t anyone love my house?!? Why? I mean, for once in my adult life I made my bed. My kids picked up their toys. It wasn’t getting better than that, so why wasn’t there, after three hours, a line of buyers around the block?
A-Hole Realtor Lesson 4: Setting expectations, based in reality, is very important. The nerves and anxiety once the house goes on the market are very, very real.
Seven hours. It took seven hours for our home to sell. Once we signed the contract, there was a serious amount of relief. I sure as hell didn’t make the bed the next day. Instead of really enjoying it, I immediately started panicking about inspections, appraisal, packing and moving.
A-Hole Realtor Lesson 5: Even though you did the job as promised, the feelings described in Lesson 4 either don’t go away or get bigger and, no doubt, anchored in even more reality. That’s sarcasm for those of you keeping score at home.
And then the day came, the day that would undoubtedly be the unravelling of everything, inspection day. There was little doubt in my mind that with one wrong move the entire house would come crumbling in on itself crushing everything inside it including my hopes and dreams. Like I said, fears anchored in even more reality. Despite having lived in the home for 8 years and knowing it inside out, knowing that there was nothing to worry about, I was worried. As it turned out, as I should have known, there was nothing wrong with the house. A couple of minor things and we were moving forward.
A-Hole Realtor Lesson 6: Despite the anxiety and fear, this is where keeping perspective is important. Being the person who can, logically and without emotion, explain the inspection report and all that comes with it is pivotal in the overall satisfaction with the client.
Side note, the repair we made was greatly assisted by the fact that we had a good home warranty in place. If your client is getting one paid for by the seller, encourage them to keep it in place after it expires year one.
Once we got past that point, the rest of the transaction went very smoothly. I still kept going through my processes, including a list of things to do before closing like cut utilities, insurance, etc. That part went well and didn’t change after the fact. We were very fortunate to have a great agent on the other side and awesome buyers. We couldn’t be happier that they are starting their life together in the place we started our lives together and hope that they make great memories where we did.
At the end of the day, my systems and processes didn’t change drastically. What changed in a big way, and what I truly hope I never take for granted, is the emotion, the fear, the excitement, the relief, the work, all of it. It was, in addition to being a giant pain in the ass, a great experience. I feel like my ability to relate better with my clients and what they are going through is at its highest level since I started in this business. I will do my very best, based on the rules in this post, to be less of an a-hole with my sellers.
Next up, what it’s like to be a buyer.