Your Buyer Calls
Imagine this… Your buyer calls you to ask you about a property for sale. The home just came back on the market today after going under contract several weeks ago. As you’re talking to your clients, you look up the property on the MLS. There it is, “Pending Release”.
Then your buyer says to you,
“The buyers backed out due to severe water damage and mold issues. Do you know anything about that?”
You pause…and then say “no”.
Right about now, you may have a knot in your stomach because you feel like you should have known about this. You may even wonder if you’re doing your job correctly. Even worse, you wonder if your buyer no longer views you as an “expert”.
But then your buyers says to you,
“That’s cool. I don’t expect you to spend 4 hours per property searching the web for information on it. I found out about what happened because the previous buyers had posted about it on a DIY home repair forum that I ran across using Google. I found it after a few hours of searching and looking around online for anything having to do with the property.
But what about…
But do you know what the laws about disclosure are once the sellers have been told about a problem like this? And if they get it repaired, does the warranty convey even though it’s being sold ‘as is’?”
You sigh and feel like your shoulders just got 100 lbs lighter. At the same time, you’re in awe of the fact that the client found that out.
The buyer did not expect you to know about the water damage or mold. Rather, they expected you to advise and guide them through the legalities of the situation.
Consumers no longer view us as the gate-keepers of information. Consumers can (and will) find the information themselves whether it be by word-of-mouth in person through friends, neighbors, groups or online via social networking, forums, blogs, etc.
The traditional Real Estate Agent is no longer… Today’s consumer wants and needs a Real Esate Consultant.
Once consumers have the information, they need to know how to interpret and act upon that information. They want to know how to best use it to their advantage and how to avoid pitfalls and potential land mines. They need a guide and a consultant that will protect them and look out for their best interests at all times.
This Part’s About You
This is where you come in as their Real Estate Consultant. Be there to guide them through the sea of information they’re swimming through. Advise them accurately and be the expert they can turn to with questions at any time. Be available to them when they need you. And most importantly, keep their best interests at heart at all times.
If you do these things and realize that you’re their Consultant and not their agent, you will have more than just a happy client. You will have an advocate for life.
P.S. The example above is a true story and happened to me yesterday.
June 5, 2008 at 12:19 pm
Uh Oh..first post and may need to duck already…here they come!
Genuine Chris Johnson
June 5, 2008 at 12:32 pm
THIS is a good, actionable article. WELL DONE, BRAVO.
June 5, 2008 at 2:29 pm
Great first post!
I remember when I was a new agent, the broker discouraged agents from using the term, consultant. he said it appeared we were advisors – eeeks! Even then, I thought, surely the consumer wants advice. Nope, was the answer! Just give them data, translate the data, but no advice.
Last year, a client asked me, pointedly, “If I were your daughter, which home would you recommend?” , when she could not decide between two homes. She didn’t want me to dance around the question, she wanted an answer. Being from out-of-state, she knew nothing about the area. I knew the builders and their community track record. I knew which I believed would have the best resale value.
After a year here, she is happy I told her. She wanted a consultant!
June 5, 2008 at 2:33 pm
Can You Say Home Run Post! This is today’s reality…and we are loving it! Great work Danilo….well put.
June 5, 2008 at 2:53 pm
You are right on the money! Clients many times know much more about a particular property before their agent. It’s everything else that agents offer in terms of negotiating, knowing the laws, having the proper disclosures, etc., that makes the agent a valuable piece in the real estate puzzle.
June 5, 2008 at 3:15 pm
Better watch out for the pitchforks…I agree completely.
June 5, 2008 at 3:56 pm
I agree for the most part, although I think we’re more than just consultants. But the internet has re-invented our business and we are now more consultants than ever. It makes it nice for paperwork as well. Our “buyers advisory” is online and covers multiple issues that we used to have dislosures for. Great post!
June 5, 2008 at 4:09 pm
A great Agent or Lender is more than just a paper-pusher…a GREAT Agent or Lender can respond appropriately to the phrase:
“Just tell me what to do…”
while keeping a clients best interest at heart. That’s what they’re really thinking when an issue comes up and they’re hoping you’re the right person to guide them.
June 5, 2008 at 5:17 pm
I agree as well. There’s an overabundance of information available. We’re bombarded daily with advertising through every medium we view and listen to. Gathering and understanding all the options available for a particular event in a purchase/sale is impossible. Transactions themselves are going to continue to be more difficult to transverse as the disclosures and laws for consumer protection are expanded. The consumer will continue to need a professional to guide them through the possible pitfalls during the process.
Your example shows what a valued professional you were to that client. Congratulations.
June 5, 2008 at 5:24 pm
I was just having this debate on another forum two days ago and I stated that what I consider the older model of real estate salesman is dying vs. the new model of real estate professionals/consultants. Buyers and sellers need us in varying degrees of partnership and for a few folks serious handholding, but I completely agree that what people want is to know WHAT TO DO with the information they have.
June 5, 2008 at 7:38 pm
If we do not embrace change… we will be mowed over by it. Why? Because change don’t wait for no one.
The definition of what it means to be a real estate agent is ALWAYS changing. It used to be important how quickly we could run down to the office and look at the MLS book… Oh, those were the days. Oh wait. I wasn’t an agent back then.
Consultant is definitely part of my job description, but I still am acting FOR the best interests of my clients, which does go a little beyond consulting.
June 5, 2008 at 8:20 pm
Danilo’s in the house!
What a concept and what a great article. Thank you.
June 5, 2008 at 8:40 pm
Great post, I’ve copied it to share with my Broker Manager class tomorrow. I still cringe at the semantics of “consultant” versus “agent”, as consultant tends to not obligate one to the fiduciary duties that are imparted to the licensee. But your point is well made. We just need to educate the consumer of the paradigm change.
Mack in Atlanta
June 6, 2008 at 5:52 am
Should we change our title to “Licensed Real Estate Consultant”? I don’t think that would be necessary. What this article promotes is relationship building based on what the client needs. Identify their problem, solve it and guess what, you have become their consultant.
June 6, 2008 at 7:05 am
Dead on Danilo – or Danilo Dead On (either way – awesome post)
Completely relate to that sinking feeling that you aren’t “the man” replaced by the “OMG I still am” feelings. We need to be more then gate-keepers – we need to be the path (though hopefully without being walked on)
I agree with you completely that the world is changing and embracing that change is imperative (and we all need to either lead, follow or get out of the way) But I’ll tell you that the consulting portion of the business has been the key to having a great career for a while now – I think it just got lost in the cascades of business at the start of this decade. Glad to see it coming back, and props for pointing out that a well informed consumer means that we, professionals need to step up our game.
Really enjoyed reading and you can count on being repreated!
Jennifer in Louisville
June 6, 2008 at 10:03 am
Excellent points. For a great many agents, the days of “throw a sign in the yard, put it on the MLS – and write up the deals” is a thing of the past. You have to bring greater value to the picture now in order to be competitive in today’s market place.
June 9, 2008 at 5:37 am
Same scenario here … I’ve got buyer clients who live next to – literally 30 yards away – from their targeted neighborhood. They won’t look outside of that neighborhood, and so all of our efforts to turn up a home with their requirements has been focused there. Yet, they repeatedly find the homes before I do. They’ve plugged themselves into the HOA (even though they don’t live there – yet), they’ve made friends in the neighborhood, and when I send them listings they bring back critiques of why it won’t work. I know why it won’t work, we’ve been working together for some time, but it’s nice to know that we’re on the same page with our thoughts.
At first, I was nervous … they know more about the neighborhood than I do. But over time I’ve realized it’s because they’re committed to being there, and they include me on every showing. I’m not just letting them in the door, they’re using me for the value we can bring to the table. I didn’t always see it that way – I had that OMG feeling every time she’d tell me that such and such house was for sale, then she’d follow that up with why it wouldn’t work.
I know that feeling. We all do, I’m sure. Nice to hear that it’s not unique to just me!
June 9, 2008 at 8:28 am
Glad to hear that I’m not the only one out there that has seen and experienced this either. Wasn’t sure if it was just a Northern VA and/or tech-savvy-area trend or not.
Thanks everyone for the comments and feedback!