The late morning silence that typically pervades my home was broken by expletives emanating from my bedroom. From my study, I yelled, in a similarly frantic tone, if all was OK. My wife responded, “No, all is definitely not OK!”
What did I do?
Lori is a quiet, introspective lady. Those who know her can attest to her gentle demeanor. And she is quite my opposite in her reserve when it comes to four letter words. So I charged upstairs concerned about what was not OK.
She was at her desk, facing her computer. As I approached, she swung around and pelted me with a verbal assault. “I’m so damn frustrated,” she said. “This whole real estate thing sucks and it’s not gotten any better over the years.” “I know it’s not your fault, but you can do something about this. You have too. People listen to you.”
No, it’s not okay
The bone of her frustration was clear. She was searching for homes with a sense of urgency. We are seriously considering moving. Next week she will be flying out to what could be our next destination for three days to visit schools, meet with an agent, and tour homes. She is madly surfing websites, saving searches and participating fully in the online real estate experience.
But all is not OK. Many homes lack a sufficient number of photos.
Or contain bad photos that illustrate elements that have no bearing on the property.
Or contain no photos at all.
“Gavin is 7 (referring to our youngest son) and he’s already filled the picture library in my cell phone with hundreds of photos of his Webkin,” she ranted. “And they’re all good photos! If he can do it why can’t every agent take a lousy dozen photos of a home and post it? Why?”
I stood in silent agreement. I’ve been asking that question since 1998.
“Maybe we can hire Gavin out to agents and put the income away for his college fund,” she said.
Lori pointed out homes with agent comments that sounded great. But descriptions of homes aren’t enough. Not if you are serious about buying one.
According to my wife this presented her with two distinct problems:
1) She could not make an informed decision on which properties to tour with her agent
2) She would have to email said agent and ask her to go look at the homes, determine if they are right for us, take pictures and send them to us ASAP.
In her mind…
Neither prospect is OK
Not for her and not for our agent, who is now burdened with the task of performing the job of the listing agent.
As I stood accepting punishment for all that is wrong with real estate, Lori reminded me of a task I performed a while back for a broker who wanted to market a $3.5 million listing here on the Central Coast that wasn’t moving. I drove over to the home, took a few pictures and used the Wifi inside the house to get online and upload the photos to an account I set up for her with Real Estate Shows. I spent a few minutes writing the subtitle copy and pressed submit.
In no time she had a compelling tour of the home ready to be syndicated all over the web.
A day later, I had one of the voice artists we work with at 1000watt record the audio of the script and sent the file to Jeff Turner (President of Real Estate Shows) and requested he customize the tour for me just a tad. After all, this was a $3.5 million home.
This is the result:
I know, no big deal. And that’s my point. In less time than it takes an agent to explain to a seller why a listing is sitting on the market longer than it should, a simple show (minus the audio track) that effectively merchandises the listing was created.
Such an effort also creates a better experience for the prospective buyer (My wife, for example).
“Real estate is stressful enough,” Lori said. “Agents should be doing what they can to reduce the stress, not add to it.”
Settling a great debate
Not long ago, Rob Hahn’s post What Makes a Realtor Good launched a debate that tendered only a vague definition of what makes a Realtor good or bad. Well today, I can clarify that definition:
A bad Realtor is one whose marketing effort for a six figure listing pales in comparison to a seven-year old’s playful regard for his $11.95 pet dinosaur.
A good agent is one who says “no problem, I’ll take care of that” when asked to compensate for the bad agents job.