Working in real time

One of the unique things about working in real estate is that we are working in real time. Things are moving and changing constantly and we must be able to react appropriately and often very quickly.

There are lots of details to coordinate on every sale and lots of Clipart Clockpeople involved; buyers and sellers, the title company, inspectors (often several), a lender, the lender’s underwriter, the appraiser, an insurance agent, and a Realtor or two. Each of these parties has a specific part to play in the process between contract and closing.

Buying a house is still a big deal for most people, whether it’s the first one or the 10th one. Not every detail is urgent, of course, but each and every detail is important.

When we have successfully negotiated a sales contract, people immediately start making plans based on the closing date agreed upon.  Both the buyer and seller needs to get packed up, hire a moving company, arrange for utility service, notify the post office, notify the kids’ school, etc., etc., etc.  The details are endless. While the date can be changed, if necessary, it is an important date and must be respected.

We can’t delay closing just because someone — any one in that long list of people involved in the process — was on vacation or had a migraine that day. The transaction must move forward because it is in real time.  I love working with a team because we can cover for each other when we need to.

Another example of working in real time is when someone finds a house they like and want to buy. They can’t wait too long to make an offer because we can’t know who else looked at it 10 minutes prior and who may also be making an offer. Many times, I’ve had a listing with no interested buyer for weeks and then I receive 2 offers on the same day.  Sometimes, when you snooze, you lose.

We use the term “time is of the essence” to convey that time periods in our contracts are important, they really do matter.  Each step has it own sense of urgency.

Moving is one of the most stressful of life’s events.  Working with a great Realtor will help reduce the stress because he/she can assist in the coordination of all the details and keep everyone on track.  They  can also recognize small problems before they become big problems.

Pushy? Me?

People in the sales business are sometimes considered pushy and we get a bad reputation for that. Think car salesman, think Realtor, think life insurance salesperson. We’re all just trying to make a living selling something you actually need. So what’s wrong with that?

Based on my 17 years of experience in selling real estate, the largest and most important investment most people ever make, I think I know why people think we’re pushy and why we need to be.

Real sales professionals don’t want to be pushy and truly want to help people who are making important investment decisions. We want to be consultants who educate and guide our clients through the process. When clients are properly educated, they can make decisions with confidence and without regret. We don’t have to push because the process makes sense to the client and the steps feel logical when the client is ready to move forward.

If the salesperson is ready to move forward before the client is, that’s a problem. That’s where some salespeople may be tempted to push. It is really time to reconnect with the client and reconnect the client with their own goal(s) and the problem(s) you are trying to help them solve.

I’ve also discovered that a certain portion of our population doesn’t like to make big decisions. They know they need to, and they may even want to, but they are afraid of making a mistake. So, they keep shopping when they could be buying. A skilled salesperson/consultant can help them overcome their fears with education, information, encouragement and, sometimes, a little nudge.

Sometimes, the right question will help a buyer start making little decisions that can give them the confidence to start make big decisions. What other information would you like to have? What do you need to know in order to proceed? What’s holding you back? Often, buyers don’t even realize they are emotionally stalling.

Selling real estate is the best job ever because we help people make big, life-altering decisions. I’m not pushy; I’m just extra helpful.

And so it is started …

For at least 5 years I have wanted to write in a blog.  I’ve started a couple of times, but have never had the proper platform and/or the proper frame of mind to stick with it.  I hope the third time’s the charm.  I’ve always been pretty good at stringing sentences together, in part, I’m sure, because my mom is a writer.  It was a focus in our home when I was growing up.

(Here is a recent picture of Mom and me.)


I’ve been thinking about what a blog is supposed to be and what I want to accomplish.  I am expecting to write about what I know best, which is real estate and personal relationships.  Those two subjects are very intertwined in my life.  I seek out people and develop relationships so that I can help them with their real estate needs and in helping people with their real estate needs, I develop a personal relationship with them. That is not how everyone does it, but it’s how I do it.  I LOVE what I do so it makes it easy to be pretty consumed with my work.  I hope people reading the blog will gain some insight into my world and how I work and will, ultimately, want to work with me when they need to buy or sell some real estate.

I think I will be successful this time because I have an accountability partner. I set a goal that, every day, I will write a post or learn more about how WordPress works, or read other blogs for research for at least 20 minutes.  Every night, I send an e-mail to my accountability partner to let her know what I did that day.  We have both agreed to do this for 66 days in a row.  “In a row” is important and I’ve already had to start over once.  After 66 days, it will be so ingrained in my routine that I will no problem doing it going forward.  I will be figuring things out as I go so I expect to make mistakes along the way.  I can live with that.





High Tech, High Touch

With today’s technology, we can sell property without ever meeting our client.  We can actually sell property without talking to them!  As much as I love technology, I don’t think there is anything more effective than meeting with a client face to face to go over listing or contract documents.  Buying real estate is an important event and we must convey that to our clients.

Most clients don’t read all the documents when we are face to face, much less when they are in front of a computer screen or trying to do business on their smart phone!  If we want the clients to understand the importance of what they are signing, we need to make it important.  I believe many people are quick to buy and then quick to try to back out because they just don’t understand the importance of the decisions they are making and that these documents are legally binding.

Tonight, I spent over 2 hours on the phone with a new client who happens to be in Florida.  I would have loved to sit across from her at the kitchen table but that wasn’t feasible.  She wanted to go over the listing documents page by page, paragraph by paragraph, and she deserved that!  I was able to send all the documents to her electronically and she chose to print them out so she could hi-lite and write her questions in the margins. She initialed and signed a clean copy as we went through them and she’ll scan and e-mail that copy back to me in the morning.  It was a blend of high tech and high touch that worked for her.

Last week, I was able to send a client a complete sales contract that he signed electronically and had back to me in about 15 minutes!  He had recently purchased a house and was very familiar with all the documents and comfortable with the paperless system.  We communicate via text most of the time.  I love that, too!

The technology we use must be flexible enough that we can use it the way WE want to use it so we can adapt to the needs of each client.





Brush with fame

One of my beautiful listings in Raymore was selected to be featured in the popular HGTV show, House Hunters.  I was not on camera at all but it was an interesting process and — NEWS FLASH — there is nothing real about re20140604_103103ality TV.  The crew spent about 6 hours at my listing to come up with, probably, 7 minutes of footage.  Each moment was recorded over and over again from different angles and with slightly different words so the editors back in LA can piece together the right bits of footage to tell an interesting story.

The buyer was a local single mom who had auditioned to be on the show.  Her agent was a family friend.

The producer promised to let me know when the episode featuring this house will air, but it may be weeks and weeks from now.

I have since learned that Kansas City is a frequent location for the House Hunters.  I know the director and film crew were all amazed at how much house a person in this area can get for $150,000 to $175,000.  They said a comparable home on the west coast might cost 3 times that.

The same week, a friend of mine who lives and works outside Oklahoma City was seen on an episode of The Housewives of Orange County because one of the characters (err, I mean people) is considering a move to that area.  Needless to say, the property featured in that show was much more upscale than my humble listing in Raymore.

My listing in Raymore is still available, by the way.  The TV people were fun for a day but now it’s time to get back to some serious marketing to find a buyer!