Most mornings I like to get up early before the rest of the family. I make a half pot of coffee, turn on my laptop and read my RSS feeds: Real estate, News, Marketing, KW bloggers… After about half an hour and my second cup of coffee, I like to write. I like to write about things that interest me, like real estate because real estate is my business and it is an endlessly interesting subject I think. By reading and writing, my thoughts crystallize and make themselves clear. This morning ritual is a good habit I’ve developed over the years. It has not only developed my real estate knowledge, it has helped me become a prolific blogger. And for me, that is a good thing.
I’m a “free writer”. I don’t outline how the blog post will develop. It is a stream of consciousness. It is a kind of improvisational art with me. As a result, I end up with fragments of story ideas, random rabbit holes and contradictions that are half developed. Today is spring cleaning day. Here are the fragments.
Real estate is like the weather. It is always sunny somewhere.
Real estate reporting is like weather reporting. People are only interested when a big storm is coming.
I had a new real estate agent knock on my front door last week. It was the early evening and he was out prospecting for business. I introduced myself as a fellow realtor and invited him in for a brief chat. He told me that he got his licence two weeks ago. I like him and we exchanged business cards. He told me that he only has 70 people in his database and that he has a full time job and hopes to do real estate working part time in the evenings and weekends. He is a really nice guy and I sincerely hope he succeeds. But door knocking is an interruption. I can’t help thinking that he is starting a potential relationship with future clients by being a pest.
Instead of just knocking on a hundred doors a day and hoping to happen upon someone who is thinking about selling or buying, I think he should invest some time beforehand researching local listings and offer to take neighbours through. Everyone is interested in houses that are selling in their neighbourhood. That’s added value. That is a chance to spend some time with the potential client and a chance to learn and bond.
It does not take a year to sell a house
A neighbour has his house listed with one of the for sale by owner companies. I can’t mention the company’s name because every time I do I seem to get a cease and desist order from their lawyer. (You know who you are – you suck!) Anyway, he bought the house about two years ago and put some work into it and now wants to sell it for more than double what he paid for it. He’s a nice guy. He’s a new neighbour. He knows I’m a real estate agent, so when I asked him (gently) how he determined his asking price, he said, “I’m just trying it out to see if I can get it. The listing is good for a year.”
He is wasting his time. In the information age we all know when a listing is grossly overpriced. It does not take a year to sell a house.
Remember when you used to take your film to the mall or grocery store photo developing place. For a premium, the great ones would develop your film in an hour while you shopped or hung around the mall. The old days were so inconvenient. One of my favourite local websites is the Waterloser. She has been on a bit of a tear this winter posting a lot of old pictures of Waterloo days gone by.
Google an address of a house for sale
Here’s one. Google 64 Benton Street, Kitchener. It is a listing that I currently have for sale. The results are a little confusing, eh?
He’s sending me stuff
One of the questions I ask potential new clients is, “Are you working with an agent?”
The answer is either “yes” or “no”. It is black or white. Either you are working with someone or you are not. It is like being married or pregnant. You either are or you aren’t.
But to this simple question, I often hear, “I’ve got an agent sending me stuff, (but I haven’t signed anything)”.
That means “yes” as far as I’m concerned. In the current real estate market, you have to partner with a realtor, someone you trust to put your goals ahead of his. And, you have to commit if you are serious about shopping for a new house. Otherwise you’re just browsing.
You don’t need a contract to look for a house
In a related thought, you don’t need a contract to look for a house. Buyer’s Representation Agreements are something that brokerages encourage agents to sign with their clients. I don’t particularly like them. A contract is a terrible way to begin a relationship.
For the birds
The first thing I heard this morning was a bird chirping outside my window. Spring is here, finally. I love the smell of new listings.
March break. The calm before the storm
Real estate always slows down around holidays. Last week was no different. I had a couple of clients comment that the number of listings seemed to cease. I think a lot of people used the break to get their home ready and next week we will see a uptick in the number of listings. I hope so. The situation is becoming desperate for some home buyers.