Saturday, August 2, 2008

I Am Interviewing For A Job

Found this interesting post over at Bloodhound Blog. Normally I just lurk over there from time to time, skimming and browsing and trying to avoid the flying fur from the commentary wars that erupt all too often.

For those too busy to click over, Greg Swann's post is simply advice to Realtors that you buy gas with clients in the car. Why? It reminds them that you're spending your money for their benefit.

Readers. Dear Readers. I'm so glad you're here! Thank you! I hope you come back often. I hope that you find what you're looking for. I hope this blog is a useful tool for you and helps you figure out how to handle this topsy-turvy real estate market we're all living through. I hope that my readers eventually become my clients.

If you don't find what you're looking for during your browse, email or call me and ask for it. I'm happy to provide any advice and information I can. That's what I do, 8 or 10 hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week. You're not bugging me when you call or email. If you're in need of advice about real estate, please contact me. Contact me even if you're "not ready" or "just looking" or "thinking about it". Contact me even if it's "your friend" you're calling about. If I know the answer I'll tell you, gratis. If I don't know, I'll find out for you.

I'm happy to speak with you and provide all the advice I can about your unique situation. But please remember that in every contact we have, I'm auditioning for a job and hoping for a future paycheck.

This is one of the few professions I can think of where all the expense comes out of the practicioner's pocket up front and there's no guarantee of payment. You pay your doctor before you leave the office. Lawyers take a retainer to cover out of pocket expenses. Accountants won't release your taxes unless you pay them. Teachers, fire fighters and police are guaranteed a salary. That salary is lower than it might be, but that's a topic for a different blog.

Realtors do not get a salary and most make middle-class wages at best. Realtors do not get sick days or vacation days. Most brokerages do not provide a Realtor with any help towards marketing, advertising or buying materials like signs & flyers, toner cartridges and businss cards, lunches and closing gifts. Those expenses all come out of my pocket, up front.

Ultimately, I do not get paid for the work I do unless you acknowledge me as your agent, in writing, when you buy or sell a piece of property. For most people, this seems like a reasonable proposition - I spend a lot of time and expend lots of my expertise to find you a home or sell your current home, and then I get paid at the end of it all. If you're someone who thinks it's OK to use someone else for their time and expertise without paying for it at the end of the deal, well then I invite you to keep reading but I implore you not to contact me.

Putting you in my car and driving you around town - at $4.00 a gallon and 112 degrees - is only fun because I know that I'm helping you find The One. I like watching people react to houses, I like finding the perfect home for you, and I genuinely like hearing about your kids, your dogs and your last summer vacation. I'm going to give you the most up to date information about area comps that I can find, and help you negotiate the best possible price and terms on the home of your dreams. I'll watch your back and make sure you don't inadvertently get into a situation where someone could sue the pants off you. But I'm also hoping that you'll buy through me when the time comes, and then I'll get to pick up that commission check that I worked so hard for.

If I provide you lots and lots of personalized staging advice, a comparative market analysis on your home, and a unique-to-your-house marketing plan, well that's because I genuinely like spending time analyzing MLS statistics and creating individual marketing programs. But I'm also banking on being able to trust that you'll list your home with me when you're ready to sign the listing agreement. Just like you, I need to pay my mortgage, the electric bill, and buy food and clothing.

Plus I must pay the dozens of little invoices associated with my online presence. The Internet is free, except when I have to pay a little fee here and a little fee there to maintain my website, host this blog, network with colleagues so I have an extensive database to which I can market your home, advertise on various websites, continue my lockbox and MLS access, and so on.

Of course things can change while we're working together and I understand that. Maybe you thought you needed to sell because of a job transfer, and then it didn't happen. Or maybe you thought it was time to buy but a setback at work or at home shook your confidence, or a promised bonus didn't come through. Please be honest enough to tell me why you broke up with me (so to speak). Otherwise, I'm left thinking I disappointed you but not knowing how.

If I spend time and money helping you find your way in this crazy real estate world, I'll only ask for 2 things in return. Please acknowledge the time & money I've spent helping you by actually using me as your Realtor when you sign the contract. Then, when it's all over and the keys are exchanged, please remember to encourage your friends and family to call me too.

Oh, and one more thing which (I admit) is totally selfish: please put me on your email distribution list when you send out pictures of the kids, the house, the dogs and your vacation. Your photo updates always make me smile.

Dear readers, thank you for visiting! Thank you for coming back! Thank you in advance for becoming my client someday when you're ready to buy or sell! Finally thank you for remembering that I am working for you and no one will pay me if you don't.