9 Clues You Might Be Hiring A Bad REALTOR®

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Every workplace has its ‘Staff Only’ closed door. Each industry has its seedy underbelly.
Do you ever wonder what happens when the professionals take down their showy smiles?  And how can you know what they’re saying behind the scenes?

I just happen to be the fly on the wall. And I’m dying to tell you how you can know whether or not you’re about to hire  a bad Real Estate Agent.

9 Clues You Might Be Hiring A Bad REALTOR®

1)     They approached you after your listing with another agent expired. They tried to sign you. That kind of thing flies in the States, but here in good ole Canada, it is federally not okay.

2)     They know that you have a verbal agreement to work with another agent, and continue to try to get your business anyway. Translation: they do not respect other agents

3)     They intimidate or pressure you in any way, especially to get your signature. Translation: they do not respect you.

4)     They tell you negative things about specific competitors. “Ah, they don’t know what they’re talking about” or “That agent isn’t even local”. Competent business people don’t find it necessary to put someone down to climb their way up.

5)     A name-dropping gossip will as easily splice you verbally as anyone else they’re bashing. This is how they talk about everyone, everywhere. Translation: You’re next.

6)     If you feel guilty – about hiring or not hiring them – there is a possibility you are being manipulated. Either they are pushing emotional buttons, or you easily feel guilty about a lot of things anyway. Translation: don’t let guilt make your decision. It doesn’t usually lead anywhere good.

7)     They lie. Even white lies. A business professional that places a low value on honesty and integrity- do I need to say this? – can’t. be. trusted. Please stop trusting them. Translation: If you’re okay with someone lying for you, just know they will also be lying to you.

8)     They refuse to talk to, look at, or work with a particular agent. This is a sign of a huge power struggle. It could be a whole-office boycott against a particular agent (these things happen), or it could be their own control issues.
Translation: They won’t take offers from an ‘enemy’ agent because of their own office attitudes. You will lose out on offers and showings in these games. In this game, you are the pawn.

9)     They tell you to break contract and hire them instead. Translation: umm… illegal counsel… theft… need I go on?

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What clues would you add to the list?

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It’s Okay To Eat Fast Food – And Like It!

 

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Eating healthy on the road or at home is kind of  a no-go for me, and I’m okay  with it.

The jig is up. I am not on the bandwagon of healthy eating. All the organic, vegan and raw food diets sound like great, healthy ideas. If I had a little more time to prepare and plan and research, I might even change a few things. But it’s one of those ‘one day’ things I’d like to do – like taking up pottery or learning to play the banjo – I probably won’t ever get around to it.

I confess! I eat out. A lot. And when I do, I’m not always buying salad. I love pizza. Premade, meat laden, overpriced, highly processed, chemical infused, no-good-for-anyone, delicious, crunchy, make-me-drool pizza.

And I’m okay with not boarding the healthy eats train right now. Kudos to those who do. And to those who don’t… I understand. It would take a lifestyle change and we’re not all there. We won’t even all get there. Part of health is being okay with who you are and the choices you’re making. So I’m going to eat my delicious pizza slice piled high with cheese, and be happy.

Are you a closet fast foodie or have you boarded the healthy eats train?
What’s your eating lifestyle like?

 

You Might Be Rude If…

What makes people rude? Maybe it’s DNA. Or parenting. Or maybe their big toe really, really hurts.
Either way, the irony is that obnoxious people don’t even know they’re obnoxious.

… are you that guy? And, if you were, would you know?

If these describe you during the home buying process,
you might be rude… 

I expect a showing at a moment’s notice. This is the hallmark of excellent customer service.
What’s so rude about that? Showing times also affect the seller. Families could find they are required to wake babies from naps. People would have little to no time to prepare for the showing beforehand. Tip: Be flexible, remembering there are many more people involved in the transaction than you and your agent. Allow sellers preparation time.

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I arrive late to appointments with my REALTOR®
What’s so rude about that? Your agent represents many people and has many appointments. Your lateness may cause her own lateness, rippling through her day and affecting many people’s schedules. Tip: consider other people’s time valuable.

I arrive late to showings.
What’s so rude about that? You rarely know where the seller is during a showing. They’re not necessarily working. Sometimes  they’re waiting down the street in their vehicle with crying, hungry kids. The later you are, the longer their wait. Tip: remember that many people and schedules are involved in every decision in this process. Respect the time and needs of others.

I’m the one spending money, so I’m in charge – of the REALTOR®, the seller, the lawyer, everyone.
What’s so rude about that? Yes, you get to decide what you will spend and whom you will hire. But others have choices too. And feelings. And needs. A good king or queen recognizes the needs of the people beneath them. Evil dictators don’t care. Tip: The seller, lawyer, real estate agent, property inspector… they all are people with needs. Approach others with that in mind, and you’ll do well.

I will, during a showing, point out to the agent how unclean, disorganized or unhealthy I believe the owners to be. I have an eye for these things, and consider it a kindness to voice my observations.
What’s so rude about that? Basically, it’s none of your business. You’re there to look at the house, not peek in on someone else’s lifestyle. Bestowing your lofty know-how on those who did not ask is not a gift. It is critical. Tip: Imagine how you would feel if someone shared their ‘observations’ about you with other people. Please keep your opinions of people to yourself and focus on the house.

I offer 40% less than asking price.

What’s so rude about that? Would you be eager to sell something of yours for 40% less? You would likely be insulted by an offer like too. The seller and real estate agent have gone through alot of effort to prepare for the listing and properly price it. A low ball offer implies they both don’t know what they are doing, or that you believe them to be highly desperate. Tip: work with a buyer agent – one who represents you as a buyer – who can help you navigate the transaction. Or, if you prefer to act alone, find out what is standard practice in your area and make offers accordingly. (Example: sometimes the listing price IS a low one, designed to start a bidding war. Offers then exceed the list price.)

I disregard my agent’s advice. I don’t trust him anyway.

What’s so rude about that? The agent can not properly do their job if their every move is discounted. You don’t know everything, and you need an agent to help you cover all the bases. To frustrate the person you’ve hired to be on your side is not a smart play. Tip: Hire a reputable agent. Work with people you can  trust.

If my agent does not answer my phone call within 8 minutes,
I get a new agent.
What’s so rude about that? Agents are people too. Sometimes they are in the hospital with dying parents. Or having a shower. Or showing a property to another client. Or right in the middle of a conference about how to serve customers excellently. Remember – Real estate agents are often a one-man show. They do not have teams of people working to give multiple simultaneous showings. Tip: Give them time to get back to you.

I expect my agent to know everything about each property he shows.
If he doesn’t fully research each one ahead of time, I consider hiring another agent.
What’s so rude about that? It’s not so much rude as a miscalculation. Thousands of listings daily multiplied by the hours it takes to research a property in depth (it’s actually days of research with all the phone tag and testing to be done) equals an unbelievable amount of time for an agent to invest. This is not practical or realistic.
Tip: Look at many houses. When you find one that you are seriously interested in buying,
THEN ask your agent to do in depth research.

I insist on bringing my dog to showings with me. It will be her house too, and she deserves a say.
What’s so rude about that? Sellers (or agents) may have severe allergies to animals. Tip: Check with others about allergies before ‘insisting’ on bringing animals. 

How did you do?
What would you add to this list of things that might be rude?

 

9 Things Real Estate Agents Don’t Know

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I like that people think I’m awesome and have access to all knowledge related to the property we’re looking at. Being put on a pedestal has its pleasantness. But in the end, people fall off of pedestals. You need to know the truth.

When you are touring houses with your agent, definitely ask questions. Find out everything you can about the property. That’s just prudent. But don’t be surprised when your agent doesn’t know some things on the spot. She may need to look them up or consult with a professional. Because the truth is, there are things Real Estate agents don’t know.

9 Things Real Estate Agents Don’t Know:

 

  1. Furnace components. Their age, brand, reliability- even their names and locations- may all be a mystery to your agent. We know where the furnace is and can tell if it’s old. Plumbing and Heating 101 was not in our training manual.
  2. Concrete. Age, density, or techniques used to pour are all gibberish to me. I’ll be passing your concrete related questions to a specialist
  3. Location of all light switches in every property. Nope. I really don’t. Sorry.
  4. Whether there is condensation in the attic. I know. It’s surprising that I wouldn’t poke around in the attic and moisture test the insulation. I do a lot of things, and go above-and-beyond like crazy, but that is not a REALTOR® thing. It’s a home inspection thing.
  5. What kinds of bacteria are in the water. Banks often require a water test for financing, and it is a necessary thing to be aware of, but I don’t have that knowledge on hand during the showing. Water tests are done later.  As part of the financing process.
  6. How many nests are in the chimney. I rarely walk on a roof, and never do so in heels. Home inspections (by professional home inspectors) should cover this.
  7. Whether the roof trusses are constructed and attached as they should be.
  8. To what degree the water is rusty.
  9. When the house was first built, by whom, and what building codes they did and did not follow at the time.

There might be a few more things Real Estate agents don’t know,  I just don’t know what they are right now.
What else would you add to the list? (Did any of these surprise you?)

How Our New Floor Is Giving Me New Perspective

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Our new floor has taught me a few things about preparing for a sale. 

I want sellers to experience a fast sale I also want buyers to be impressed with the property and fall in love immediately. To increase the chance of all that happening, I often advise clients to make some improvements before listing. I suggest they replace outdated flooring, repair what’s broken, and give everything a fresh coat of paint.

This month we’re having new flooring installed on our entire main floor. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? Easy even. I thought so anyway. So it came as quite a surprise that the whole process requires every piece of furniture to be crammed in to the basement. Everything’s weird. The fridge is in the bedroom, and there are men crawling around on the floor. There is hammering and yammering and music blaring all day. In my home. Where I work and live and am. It’s surprising how involved and demanding this whole process can be.

But I’m glad for the experience. I understand now why clients sometimes take months to prepare their home for a sale. I get how they would feel stressed out. It’s a big undertaking. Now, when I recommend improvements, I’ll be able to offer compassion. I’ll be more patient when they’re not done in two weeks. It takes time. I get it.

If you’re an agent and get frustrated with your clients ‘dawdling’ with preparations, can I just encourage you to be patient with them? It’s harder and takes longer than we realize.

If you’re in the middle of preparing for a sale and your furniture is everywhere too, I feel your pain. Hang in there – it will be worth it! In fact, the difference may be so huge, you may decide to keep the place after all!


What have you renovated recently?

Why I Will Never Advertise On A Pen

ballpoint-penI will never advertise on a pen. And here’s why.

We all have to figure out this marketing thing for our own business. Unfortunately, there are thousands of voices shouting into the online who have the need-to-know ‘top ten secrets to market for maximum results’. Every one of them claims to be right and know their stuff.

One marketing ploy I don’t understand is advertising on a pen or calendar or magnet. The premise, I suppose, is that people will keep it and, when in need of your services, will think of you over anyone else.

…Can I just ask? How many people have you called because of their subliminal pen and magnet messages? If it’s even once, I’ll eat my hat.

I know I have never thought, “Gee. I need a plumber. Let me consult my pen collection.”  So how this became a big marketing thing for any old business, I don’t know. I could see it for the guy who makes pens – putting his name on an elite, high quality pen that makes its user adore scrawling notes with that one special easy-glide pen. Maybe. But for every Joe-blo? Umm, no.

I have sat at a client’s kitchen table signing a deal with them, while their fridge featured a calendar from another agent. That agent’s free gift had stared them in the face for months. When it came time to hire though, they went with a friend’s recommendation to hire me.

Referrals are the highest quality marketing you can get. They’re more work than inking a pen, but the return on investment is way higher. Referrals are the gift that keeps on giving.

Here’s the key: focus on people, not gimmicks.

To discover how to build referral marketing into your business, check out  this series on being client focused (instead of gimmick focused) and remember these four words. It’s a people thing.

 

Prove me wrong – I’d love to hear of your successful pen or calendar marketing endeavors.

 

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3 Secrets to Writing Kick-Ass Property Descriptions

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“When I think of kick-ass write ups, I think of you.”

That’s what one agent told me recently. The compliment had me reeling a bit. I actually went back and reread some of the descriptions to see what he was talking about. As I looked them over, I discovered three things I used to make those property descriptions so awesome.

Three Secrets to Writing Awesome Property Descriptions

1)      Open by Overcoming Objections
For example, side-by-sides are viewed as low-end starters. This view keeps most people from even considering it. So, in my ad for a side-by-side, the first thing I said was, “Rethink the side-by-side”. Those 5 words accomplished two important things.
a) acknowledged the existing objection
b) aroused curiosity by implying another way to think about it.

2)      Surprising Statement to Draw Them In

I sold an igloo with this fun secret. During the longest, hardest winter our region has seen in over a century, I was marketing a dome-shaped house. It is the only one like it in the area, and had been on the market for months.
So, to refresh interest in the property I started advertising it as an igloo. Yes I did. It was unique, fun, interesting, and it worked!
The basic secret is to throw your readers off balance just enough to make them wonder what on earth you’re up to.

3)     Emotional Appeal

And I do not mean manipulation. This is about helping someone find the house they are desperately searching for. Help them see how this fits their lifestyle, their dreams, their goals. It’s about them.

This is where it often falls apart for the men. Sorry guys, but it’s true. Listing property facts won’t win a woman’s heart. And, if you want someone to fall in love with a property, you’ve got to speak to their heart.  Telling readers about a large living room and large kitchen with a large deck and large yard won’t win anyone over. Telling the family that will one day live there that the neighborhood is filled with the laughter of children though, gets a little closer to what they hope for.
Sell them their dreams.
Do you have any secrets to add?
What was one of your best opening lines on a property description?
I’d love to read it!

 

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