Then again, what do I know?

Ernie Cabrera posed the question “What do you do?” in his blog. The question involved someone calling you on one of your listings and asking to see it. Ernie tossed in the caveat that the person calling was represented by an agent. Would you go out an show them your listing?

There were not many responses, but most of them agreed that you should show the house, even if the buyer is represented by another agent. I think I mentioned that it would be like holding a private open house and honoring the relationship the folks had with their agent.

The Ernie threw me the curveball. He mentioned that he suppossed that showing the house was the thing to do in this market, but a few years ago when you had to fight buyers off with a stick it was a different story. I went back and read the comment again just to be sure it said what it said. It did.

And the lightbulb went off……..another clue about our current market.

You see, I am convinced that along with allllllllllllllllllllll the factors that have facillitated our market reaching a snails pace, the experience of the agent is close to the top of the list. A significant portion of agents working today became agents after 2002. They literally poured into markets across the country… following the booming economy. Soon after their arrival, the markets began to heat up. They received the same limited training every other agent receives… knowledge is on a need to know basis… go sell houses.

What did they face? The competition was for listings. If you could get in the front door on a listing appointment and secure the listing, it was money in your pocket. Some experienced agents faltered. We really had never seen a short term boom like this. Listings were secured. Signs were put in the yard and offers were made.

We had the birth of the “e-bay” selling strategy. You simply waited until Wednesday to place the house in the MLS, announcing your open house on Sunday and then adding the following ” all offers to be reveiwed on Tuesday at 7pm. Seller reserves the right to accept or reject any offer”. The race was on.

Full service agents showed up for the open house (it was often like the opening night of a major book sigining), unlocked the doors, had folks sign in and usually had a stack of disclosures available. Most homes were not staged and the air had a “take a number and wait until you are called” feeling. The agent locked up and waited for the offers.

It was during this period that the new generation of real estate agent did not learn that there job was to get the most for their client. I suppose it was hard to realize that showing the home one more time might produce a better offer when you have five,ten or fifteen in hand. The more experienced agents knew. The next offer just might be better than all the others.

It is your job to present the property to any potential buyer until an offer is accepted. Every pair of eyes that views the property represent the possibility that a better offer may be made.

So, I understand Ernie’s confusion. Many of the newer agents suffer from the experience of the last five years. It was so easy to make money, you didn’t have to bother with actually doing your job. You were able to get paid after filling out a listing agreement and reviewing offers with your client. You were able to get paid after writing an offer for your client and having it accepted. Gee, you did not even learn negotiation skills, someone in your office handed you a blank “acceleration clause” and it became you negotiating tool. (did you ever realize that it only placed your clients, stark naked, on a platter before the seller? you exposed the maximum your client would pay for the property. a counter offer did not have to do anything other than mention your top price. the seller was not required to show you anything. you were faced with telling your clients that you had a counter and it was for their top price. sure, they could counter that they would pay it only if they could see the other offers, but then they risked losing the house and the escalation clause already exposed how much they would pay.)

While we wait for the market to regain traction, we might want to read up on how the world operated in the good old days. It might even be time to learn the practical side of real estate. No offense to Brian Buffini or Mike Ferry, but it may behoove agents to learn what their selling before attempting to become experts at selling.

Then again, what do I know?

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