Realtors, Lenders, Inspectors, Title Professionals--We Can All Try a Little Harder!

Dear Realtors and colleagues. Allow me this gentle reminder: You are not the only person in the business that is busy.  We are all busy and having a little common professional courtesy goes a long way in this business.

Some things that might help us all--

When you send a contract or document to another Realtor, call them or text them and let them know. If you did not get a response within 1-6 hours, the document is probably lost in email. Conversely, if you received a contract communication or document--respond to the email. If you don't respond, there is no way of knowing if you did or did not receive the communication. You have a smart-phone--don't be afraid to use. This will save everyone time and energy.

Try to be polite. I can't tell you how many emails I get from Realtors who believe that rudeness is the foundation of a good negotiation. Sorry, but I don't believe it. While some times you may feel as though you need to be more aggressive, not every email, every phone call and every engagement has to start out on the defensive and have a nasty tone. We are all in this together.

Contract dates. With all the class certifications that you have listed behind your name, you should be able to get this one right. When getting signatures on a contract document, if your clients are the last ones to sign, you know you need to execute the contract document and copy the title company and Realtor. It is never enough to just get signatures and not follow through with all the necessary and required steps. You are not the only person who is busy.

If you have an assistant(s) who help you with your transactions, that's great, but that's your business and your process. Don't push this on the rest of us with a revolving list of people to add to communications. If you have people that need to read your email, change your email address to a group email so that your team can read your email. This is a convenience to your process, but if it is a burden to everyone else--you are not going to get the results you desire.

Your phone. When you put a phone number in the MLS that only works during "business hours, Monday thru Friday", you are not helping your clients or your colleagues. Most of us are working hours that are convenient for our (working) clients. Be accessible to other Realtors. We all have families and lives outside of work, so don't make it so difficult for other Realtors to reach you on weekends.

Builders. Learn how to be obvious and transparent in your communications. Don't assume that the Realtor who brought you a buyer intended to "leave them at the door." The first communication should not be the last communication. Create systems that include your Realtors in all email with the buyer. Walk-thru's. Inspections. Closings. Everything!

Lenders. You may be some of the chief offenders. I used to have a colleague who loved to say "Under promise and over deliver." Bull hockey! This is the platitude of a lazy person and people who consistently make no promises and seldom deliver on what they do promise. Don't be afraid to over-communicate, over-communicate, over-communicate! Then there is no reason to have to under-promise and deliver mediocre results. Try a little harder. Everyone is busy these days--not just you. (My top lender takes the time to respond to EVERY email that I send and she follows up with EVERY communication. Even when she is on weekend vacation, she acknowledges every email that I send out to her! Unbelievably professional discipline).

And these things apply to title companies as well. Be proactive in your role. Over communicate. Don't think that your job is a reactive one. We are all busy...

Here is one for Inspectors of the world. An inspection is only as good as how well you can explain it and how well the buyer understands it. If you are comparing a home built in 1977 or even a home built in 2000 to today's electrical code and you fail to explain how and why the electrical code was different when the house was built, in my opinion--you are not very good at your job. The buyer did not hire you to scare them out of buying their dream home and your job is not to try to make sure buyers get a complete remodel or re-build of a particular home--that is what we call in the business "a new home". Resells homes normally have some flaws. Unless the home is new construction, it is not going to be up to current code--ever. So, when your review of the home is complete, it is my opinion that your primary job is to interpret and explain what your inspection really means in light of the health and safety risks of the property. Here is something for you to think about: Consider your own house the next time you talk to a buyer and ask yourself, "Would I change this if it were on my home? Do I have the same or similar "issue" in my house? Is my house the same vintage as this home?" I suspect you will find that some of the things that you live with every day at home, are some of the issues that you are now telling a buyer that they should not live with. And if you live to a higher standard that if something in the building code changes each year, you change it on your own home--then let your buyers and Realtors know what kind of inspector you are. You expect current perfection in everything that you touch. If not,  don't pretend that your job is to bring every home in the city up to this year's building code when a home is sold. I think this too is being lazy. You can do a better job of communicating what an inspection means and does not mean to a buyer. Try a little harder.

We are in a "Services Industry". If that sounds like hard work--well, it is hard work. Often time good service means trying a little harder to get the job done. I hope your year continues to be a good one and I hope our communications will continue to improve as we tackle our clients greatest needs in 2013!


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