I like to say that one of the reasons I write my blog is to help agents make fewer mistakes. I use the stories and experiences of other agents to drive home certain points. I write about agent best practices and sometimes I write about agent worst practices. The point is, even though it is on a small-scale, my hope is that we can all be exceptional Realtors and continue to prove our value to the consumer. Unfortunately, as with every industry, there are always a few bad apples, but I’m not here to call them out. Of course if they cross my path and the complaint is valid, I will pretty much always file a complaint. The reality is that I prefer to work at raising the bar of professionalism rather that bash those few that don’t meet our expectations. I got into a heated debate about this a few weeks ago when an agent I know made a disparaging remark about those few “less than competent” (or more specifically, unethical) agents out there. Maybe I prefer to be a “half full” kind of guy. I’m not out to build my Klout score by being shocking. But the debate did spark an idea in my mind. We talk about professionalism in our industry and I would be the first to admit this is a very hard goal to achieve given our sheer numbers, so my question is simple…..could you come up with one or two words, that describe who you are and what you do? In essence, if someone where ask you to describe yourself, what would you say? Here’s the catch though, you can’t use the word “professional”, “knowledgeable”, “ethical”, or “honest”. While they are good words, they are overused.
I put it out on a Facebook group that I’m apart of. Check out Real Estate Corner, it is well worth it. I got over 50 responses. Great to see so many great answers. I took a screen shot for you to look at. Always grateful to this group for their stellar insight.
So, what’s my word? RESPONSIBLE. While equally important, this is NOT my elevator pitch, however I may include it from now on. To me the meaning speaks to everything I do (At least I hope it does). I take responsibility for my actions and decisions (right or wrong), I believe in doing things in a timely matter, keeping people in the loop, understanding the needs and opinions of others, not deflecting blame, keeping good accounts, being honest, etc.
Happy Wednesday. Two interesting comments came out of today’s Mastermind centering around the conditionally sold status of properties, both worth mentioning here. In the first discussion, an agent had a client who was interested in a home that was recently sold conditionally on financing and a home inspection. The agent said that he had tried to book an appointment on the house despite its status and the listing agent had refused the request. He felt that the conditions would be met and the deal would firm up therefore showing the house would just be a waste of time. As it turns out, the deal firmed up BUT it should be noted that not every deal firms up. In fact, there was a time when deals, both conditional AND firm, fell apart all the time. It got me thinking about those unsteady deals… You know, the ones where the buyer asks for a couple of extensions on the conditions. Something doesn’t sit well. The buyer is simply buying time. What can you do? As an agent the job is simple. Pick up the phone and rustle up another offer. But wait, you can’t sell a house to two people. No problem. The second offer is conditional on the first deal falling apart. It’s worth the effort and as we move further ahead in our sales cycle, and see more conditional sales, you need to be prepared to entertain a different kind of “multiple offer”.
Here’s another one. An agent finds herself in multiple offers on a loft condo. Unfortunately the listing agent’s offer is accepted (big surprise). Ok, I will suspend judgement on how that happened, but what was surprising about this scenario is that seven days passed before the conditional deal was reported on TREB. Just so we are clear, TREB rules are pretty clear on this, conditional sales have to be reported (posted) within 48 hours. Yes, sometimes it takes a bit longer, like you’re waiting on a cheque, but 7 days? Checking with TREB’s DIS or Data Integrity Service, the fine, if convicted is a couple of hundred dollars. Let’s back up a second….I’ve got a lot listing, the phone is ringing off the hook, it’s sold fast but I can land a whole bunch more leads if I drag my feet on reporting it sold. I can hear the phone call now….”oh hi, yes that’s our listing. Well actually we just received an offer on that but as it turns out there is another one in building that we will be getting.” I only wish getting leads like that cost me $100.
It seems like this is just another trick of the trade we need to watch out for. FYI, I’ve got TREB on speed dial.
Check out the latest guest post from my good friend and stellar Real Estate coach Suze Cumming. If you haven’t already, please check her out and subscribe to her blog because it is awesome. Suze has trained many top agents in Canada and is responsible for my of the successful agents at Bosley Real Estate. You can check out her website http://www.thenatureofrealestate.com/
How do you get good at pricing homes? Twice now I’ve lost a listing because my price was wrong. Once it was too high and the other time it was too low and the house ended up selling for $40k more than I thought. I am not only losing the listings, I’m starting to second guess myself all the time. Is there a course or something that I can take?
Pricing matters in real estate and unfortunately, it’s not an exact science. By definition, market value is uncertain as it estimates the value based on what we think buyers and sellers will agree on. To make this estimate, we look at what different buyers were willing to pay for different properties in the recent past. There are a lot of variables in this process and this creates a large margin for error.
Let’s look at the formal definition of market value:
“The most probable price (in terms of money) which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably, and assuming the price is not affected by undue influence”
I recommend that you keep a copy of this definition with your listing presentation material. It will help you focus on what you are trying to estimate when you are pricing homes and it will help your potential clients understand that your price is an estimate based on factors that we cannot always determine accurately.
The most difficult thing about market value is that it can change very quickly. It can jump up if there are several buyers desperate to get a home in a certain neighbourhood and there is nothing for sale. It can drop significantly due to changes in the economy, world news, threats, rumours, and such. Many of these things are beyond our ability to predict.
I had several listings when the World Trade Center Disaster occurred and their value changed significantly in an instant.
To get good at pricing, understand the definition and then practice. Inspect as many homes as you can in your market place. Estimate what you feel they will sell for. Think deeply about how buyers will perceive this product in this market at this time. Make notes about what you think the home will sell for and why you think that. Then go back when these homes sell and see how accurate you were. If you are way off, speak with your broker or other agents in your marketplace to uncover what information you are missing when estimating values.
I use to underestimate home prices on busy streets. It was my own personal bias because I really value quiet and couldn’t imagine living with the traffic noise. As a result, I only ever sold one home on a busy street in 28 years in the business and I felt guilty about it. (They are still living happily on Mt. Pleasant Avenue in Toronto after 16 years). It’s challenging to keep our biases out of the process but awareness and practice will get you there.
A course on pricing? Good idea. I’ll work on it.
Columnist, The Nature of Real Estate