Hello, I’ve been watching you.
I was sitting across from a couple enjoying their food and to my left sat an older woman quietly enjoying her lunchtime. I’m a people watcher, been one all my life, so I noticed the woman seemed to be looking at the couple a little more than one might do ordinarily. As my plate of lo mein arrived, the woman was just finishing up her meal and putting on her coat. As she thanked the waitress, I saw her edging toward the couple’s table. My people watching voyeuristic skill took control and I stopped shoveling food into my mouth for a few seconds.
“You have a beautiful face,” the old woman said to the roughly 20-something girl, “I just had to tell you.” The young girl, slightly embarrassed, smiled at the woman and thanked her and they chatted about the weather for a few moments. Not exactly something I expected to hear the woman say I thought to myself as I went back to my noodles. As I continued with the shoveling, my mind wandered to how funny it would be if I had walked up and said those same words.
I imagine there would have been a few simple responses. The man getting up and smacking me upside the head. The woman thinking I was creepy. Everyone looking at me in an awkward silence. The thoughts would have been all the same…what’s this guy’s motive?
I’m a Realtor®, it’s okay.
We talk to people all the time…friends, clients, strangers. We walk up to people without a second thought about whether we know them or not. We’re Realtors®, it’s ok. All we want is a chance to tell the world how we can maximize their sales price or about this charming one-story we think they’ll love. We want to share our love of real estate with the world, right?
Motivation is a strong thing. Everyday, we are motivated to talk to people, engage with people, and build relationships with people. Our motivation? You can look at it a couple of ways, but it really boils down to the basics – we want business, business makes us money. Sure, we all do it because we love to help people and truly enjoy what we do for a living (at least I hope we all do), but if this career isn’t paying the bills (or at least has potential to pay the bills), it certainly makes it seem like a dumb idea to be doing it day in and day out.
So let’s admit, we always have a motive, it’s not outlandish to say that we want others to be our clients. I have no trouble with that. But what if we dropped the motive and entered into conversation? What if we listened to what others had to say without thinking, “when should I hand them my business card?” What if we didn’t ask if a consumer was interested in buying or selling, but instead got to know them for who they are – not what property they do or don’t own? Yes, the motive can exist without being at the forefront of everything we do. The motive is not going away. Nothing is going to change the fact that we will always be interested in a person’s real estate situations. What can change is how we present the motive.
Drop the motive.
Next time you’re meeting a consumer, think of them as a person first. Think of them as someone you’d like to get to know. Think of them as someone who has dreams, hopes, and problems outside of the real estate world. Find that person and connect with them. Find that person and be the person they want to talk to. Be the person they trust. Be the person they know is a Realtor®, but doesn’t need to tell them every five seconds how many houses they sold last week.
This is the Realtor® I would work with. This is the Realtor® I want to be.
Before we all chime in “Hooray for Consumers” in the comments and pat each other on the back for being so consumer-centric, seriously take a moment to think about it. Where do you keep your motives? What’s the vibe you put off when meeting strangers or prospective clients? Perhaps it’s time to step away from the consumer and consider just what it is you do. We all want to be great Realtors® and it’s easy to write about being a great Realtor®; but are we capable of stepping back, looking in, and being objective with ourselves? It’s not easy and I know I have room for improvement, but it’s necessary if we are going to move forward as agents and as an industry.
photo courtesy of Roomic Cube
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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