Rarely is real estate sales chosen as a first career

Heaven knows that real estate sales lacks the glamor of, say, school crossing guard, exterminator, barista or subway conductor.

Of course, there exist those brokers and agents whose social credentials rival Britain’s royal family and whose transactions involve properties in the double-digit millions from the outset of careers that have been their first choice.  But the rest of us have tended to select real estate for a second, third or fourth career when the economy or age has left us with few options.

Although many starting out in the industry may feel like second-class members of the community, Continue reading

The High Road: No way around silent brokers

(flickr photo by E>mar)

When listing brokers won’t return telephone calls or e-mails to schedule an appointment, the buyers and their representatives understandably become frustrated.

I, for one, entertain fantasies of turning those brokers into the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) for violation of the Code of Ethics, contacting their managers or firing off nasty e-mails.  I also imagine ways to let the listing broker’s seller know.

Of course, doing so would be counter-productive, wouldn’t it?

Instead, Continue reading

The High Road: Today gives poor appraisal advice

While sipping my second cup of coffee the other day, something I heard on the Today show had me sputtering in disbelief.  What a mess!

Okay, I exaggerate, but MSNBC financial analyst Vera Gibbons was providing poor advice to homeowners on how to get a fair appraisal when selling or refinancing their residence.

To be fair, television demands brevity, but some of her comments struck me as uninformed or disingenuous.

With respect to folks refinancing with the same lender that directly holds the mortgage, Gibbons basically urged pleading with the loan officer to choose an appraiser who is skilled, competent and state certified.

Correctly, she notes that “you can’t go out and pick your appraiser.”  Seemingly skeptical of her counsel, she does creditably say that homeowners may have just “a little bit of say.”

So far, so good.

But Gibbons then remarks Continue reading

Consumers give brokers a piece of their mind

flickr photo by kalavinka

At a recent conference for real estate professionals, a panel of buyers, sellers and renters got some concerns off their chest.

Among the qualities they said they appreciated in their agents and brokers, according to an account in Inman News of the Real Estate Connect event:

  • Being”upfront and honest;”
  • Supportiveness via the provision of professional expertise and advice on the process;
  • Trustworthiness;
  • Accessibility;
  • Responsiveness;
  • Understanding of a customer’s needs and wants;
  • Improved presentation of properties online;
  • Willingness to wait as long as it takes a customer to make a purchase decision;
  • Connections;
  • Flexibility to break out of long-standing industry models;
  • Professional marketing, including exceptional Web sites.

One panelist told of Continue reading

Who died and left you. . . the buyer?

Flickr photo by Shaheer Shahid

When it comes to purchasing a property in which someone died, good luck easily finding out that was the case. One reason for secrecy: Such a property generally takes longer to sell.

It doesn’t matter whether there even is a suspicion that someone perished from natural causes, accidental ones, murder or suicide, but state law protects brokers, owners and mere occupants from having to disclose that information.

Nor must they disclose Continue reading

It is up to brokers to ground clients in reality

flickr photo by mademoiselle suzanne

The pleasure anyone takes in an experience — whether job hunting, waiting for a traffic light to change, gambling, watching a football game or undergoing surgery — varies according to what the individual believes will be the outcome.

A piece on expectations in the New York Times over the weekend is what reminded me of that verity.  Notes the author, Alina Tugend:

Knowing what to expect colors so much of our life’s experiences, often more so than the experience itself. If we expect to pay $21,000 for a car, $20,000 seems like a deal. If we expect to pay $19,000, it seems like highway robbery. Either way, the car is still $20,000.

To me, the article underscores Continue reading

Do buyer representatives look out only for No. 1?

Patrick Healy

Patrick Healy, who heads Lucky Strikers Social Media Club (LSSMC), sounded a favorite theme of his at one of our recent monthly meetings.  So taken with his ideas was this social media guru that he followed up with a long blog post.  Alas, I am moved to rebut him.

In a nutshell, Patrick maintains that those of us who represent buyers don’t actually represent buyers.

Patrick — founder of Phacient management, marketing and technology firm — contends that we work only for the sellers.  Why?  Continue reading

How to separate broker wheat from chaff

flickr photo by RachelEllen

How do you define a good broker?

I’m sure the answer depends on experience, and the experiences of commenters in a blog I came across suggest that many consumers believe “good broker” is an oxymoron.

Yet some buyers and sellers may praise those brokers who are some combination of responsive, patient, supportive, efficient, expert at marketing, creative, charming, connected, aggressive or a host of other qualities.

None of those is unimportant, but I argue for Continue reading

The days are numbered for dinosaur brokerages

The hulking real estate brokerages whose names leap to mind will cease to exist in their current form five years from now.

That’s my prediction based on changes in the industry that have moved from evolutionary to revolutionary.

In the last few years, Continue reading

The High Road: Me and my shadow are plenty

And THIS is my frisbee. (Flickr photo by Grozz)

You find them everywhere, salespersons in boutique clothing stores, in auto showrooms and, of course, in properties looking for buyers.

When it comes to real estate, they may represent either buyer or seller.  But the biggest offenders are those on the listing side.

They trail you like dogs hungry for the treats in your hand, eager to point out everything about the apartment or townhouse that’s good and hopeful to distract you from any defects.

“This,” they might say triumphantly, “is Continue reading