I can recall a few years back getting a last minute request from another broker to show one of our larger, more complicated listings. After a number of questions from me (aka putting them through the ringer to be sure this wasn’t just another looky loo), I convinced my seller that I really thought it was a viable option so we really should try to make it work if at all possible. They were teachers and had left for the day without anticipating the showing, so I offered to run out to the house to straighten things up. After a very long pause, Mrs. Seller gave me the green light and off to Talent I went. They knew I had been in the business long enough not to get excited about every little showing and since this seemed like we had a decent shot, let’s go for it. Little did I know what I had in store for me: breakfast dishes, check. Pajamas piled up on the bathroom floor, check. Thirteen-year-old boy’s bedroom smelling like a pair of dirty socks, check. Forgetting to flush the morning poop, check. I busted through that house like a Merry Maid and it looked pretty good. We had the showing and we got an offer. Hot damn. I never did tell them about the encounter in the bathroom, but I can tell you I never could look their son in the eye for fear that he would see right through me and die of embarrassment. I know everyone poops, heck my kid has a book entitled this, but to a pubescent teen… this could’ve damaged him beyond repair. I suppose it could’ve been worse. In fact, I KNOW it could have been a lot worse.
I have always said a trained monkey can open a door so when you’re looking for a real estate agent, be sure it’s someone who you really connect with. Buyers and Sellers spend a considerabl amount of time with their agent before completing a sale, not to mention the intimate details of your daily lives. Over the years, we have been interviewed by scores of home sellers and buyers. Each brings a new twist to the excitement of this business. It also brings a friendly reminder of why we are so dog-tired at the end of a week when “all we did was drive around and look at a few properties.” Divorcing couples, a deceased spouse, first time home buyers, investors, newlyweds…. the list goes on.
We are constantly reminded of the importance to work with clients who fully trust you, who know wholeheartedly that you have their best interests at heart, and who also have your back as much as you have theirs. Not too long ago we worked with a buyer who by nature was anxious and easily frazzled. She wanted what she wanted and when she wanted it. She would fret over the tiniest of details and would call incessantly until you answered your phone. Initially, it was a tough one to adjust to because her stress was causing a great deal of unsettledness among us and it was hard to explain. After a team meeting, we decided we really just needed to have a heart to heart with this gal to make sure we were the right fit. One thing about Dyan and I is we take on others’ stress as our own. Our business is very personal to us and we pride ourselves on providing a high level of service. After the third sleepless night, it was time to re-evaluate if this was going to work. The wise words of my therapist, “be truthful but be kind” sat with me when I had an opportunity to spend some time having a heart to heart with this client. What we interpreted to be doubt in us was simply her inability to be trusting in any relationship. When I told her I needed her to sleep at night so I could get some sleep, you could see her body language change dramatically and at that point she realized we really did have her back. Realtors are often pegged as car salesman (no offense, Russ… you are top notch and in a league of your own), so I think she had this notion that we would sell her a home just to get the fee and regardless if it was the best fit for her. After mentioning to her on more than one occasion that it seemed she was talking herself into the home and in some ways just settling, she seemed to finally understand. We want her as a client for life, not just one closing. We received a beautiful flower arrangement from her within a few hours of the “come to Jesus” meeting and the whole energy around her home search changed. She ultimately found her dream home and she couldn’t be happier. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we are the best fit for everyone, but we sure appreciate being in a place where we can openly talk with our clients not only about their expectations, but also about ours.
Real estate is not for sissies. It’s hard, maybe not physically hard, but definitely mentally exhausting. We are constantly juggling personalities and, literally, in some cases, multiple personalities. It is about being a listener when there is heartbreak and grief and sometimes a pin cushion when there is a disappointment. It is also very rewarding. The joy of delivering keys to a couple preparing for the arrival of their baby, a grandparent who has relocated to be closer to her grandchildren, or selling someone’s home in record time for considerably more than they ever thought; enabling them to snatch up the dream property they have had their eyes on for year. Our husbands, who risk their lives every day at work, don’t get it entirely, but that’s okay. For one, they are guys. For two, more often than not the general public perceives our jobs as latte-drinking, lunch-having, tour-guides who make fists full of money for putting a sign in the ground. I suppose our business could be like that if we weren’t so darn competitive, passionate, and stubborn. We love the challenges in this business, though we gladly welcome the little gifts the universe sprinkles upon us every now and again.
Having each other as a sounding board, a shoulder, to share a cocktail… all brings its own level of comfort. It also brings me immense amounts of joy to see my former, Type A, “everything perfect and tied with a bow Dyan” with the same disheveled look every now and again that I have possessed for the last decade. I know with all my heart she can now appreciate why my car is never pristine, why wine is one of my favorite food groups, and why I wear a disguise when I go to the gym. You wouldn’t believe the number of random strangers who ask me what their home is worth – “just a ballpark.” Uh… I don’t know you or where you home is… so let’s go with $425k. They are thrilled and I just smile. Not to fret…. I haven’t been to the gym in years so if you were one of the above mentioned strangers, it was so long ago that you should probably have us over and we can give you a more realistic value.