best sacramento real estate agent
On a real estate agent community website yesterday, an agent asked what makes good customer service. Some agents said under-promise and over-deliver. Others admitted it varies from each client’s perspective, while a few went off on whether customer service should be good or like Tony the Tiger says, GREAAAAAATTT.
I find this to be an interesting question because I’ve always employed just one tactic to provide good customer service: Keep the client happy. It seems so simple but it’s not. First and foremost, a Sacramento REALTOR needs to figure out what will make the client happy. Levels of happiness and the types of actions that make a person happy vary across the board. While one client might be happy that a REALTOR answers her phone, another might expect that phone to be answered on the first ring and disappointed if it takes 7 rings before the REALTOR picks up.
A potential seller who has several homes she wants to sell down the road and I talked yesterday about her listings, objectives, and how I work. She doesn’t like pushy agents who force an agenda or those who will say anything to close a transaction because they’ve got a mortgage to pay. Most of us don’t like high pressure sales or dishonesty.
I explained that her schedule is my schedule. If she is not in a rush, neither am I. If she wants to accept only an offer at X price, regardless of how long it takes, that’s fine with me because it’s what will make her happy, providing that X price is attainable. I’ll tell her if it is or if it isn’t. She can count on me to perform.
She’ll never wonder what’s going on in her transaction because I will tell her. Email, text, phone, pigeon carrier, whatever she prefers. Just joking about the bird. I will send a drone, heh, heh. Communication and keeping clients informed goes a long ways toward client happiness. I also know that when a person has a question, typically that person wants an answer and doesn’t want to wait forever to get it, which is why I try to always immediately respond. I hear more and more clients tell me that a fast response is what makes them happy.
Every client is important to this Sacramento Broker. I want that 5-star review and will earn it. Call Elizabeth Weintraub, Broker, #00697006, at 916.233.6759.
Got the screwiest new offering for Realtors yesterday when I received an email to congratulate me on placing in the top 15 agents in Sacramento. As though my production was news to this Sacramento Realtor. But even weirder than that was the way this company has gone about trying to promote itself. Of course, everybody is always trying to make a buck off of Realtors. It’s rampart in this industry. Blatant or otherwise, it is always present. Feeling like somebody’s mark.
What makes this company different is it is wants to sell a product that does not exist to a Realtor. It claims it can improve a Realtor’s SEO ranking by paying to be included on a website that doesn’t really rank very well in Google. Unlike the guys who swoop in at Annual Agent Awards time, stick you on their list and then try to sell you a plaque. Because these guys just go for annual membership of $250.
The company is STL, which is an acronym for States Top Leading News, kinda hokey. At first glance, I thought it was for St. Louis, and maybe it is since the company is based in Missouri. More power to these guys. They’re not roping me in, but I imagine they will find a lot of other agents. Primarily because most agents do not understand how SEO works. I barely know it myself, and Google constantly changes algorithms. Panda almost killed me.
This company simply goes to Zillow, pulls out the top 15 agents in Sacramento, whether they are agents or not, and puts them on a list. I was a bit astonished when I saw how one real estate company with about 30 agents in their office signed up to be a Premier Agent and Zillow took their money. To me, that is misleading. Maybe there should be a category for brokerages? Separate from agents?
I suppose the thinking of STL is agents pay to be Premier agents on Zillow so they will pay STL to be on some weird little website? I guess. Never underestimate the Bell Curve.
In any case, they are republishing what already exists on Zillow. Skimming data. Mixing it up some, though, and they can’t be reading the stats correctly because some of the agents on their list whom they rank above actually rank below me. So I don’t know how much credence I put into their list of top 15 agents in Sacramento, except I know my spot is earned.
When I share the fact that I’ve been writing a Sacramento real estate blog every day for going on 12 years now, it shocks people. They cannot believe that I would do it. Every day, I write a blog. Why? Because I believe I have something to say. Further, I’m opinionated as all hell. You ask me what I think and I’ll tell you. I might volunteer if you don’t ask. I have a ton of opinions. Who are those people who answer surveys without an opinion? When it’s yes, no, or I don’t know, they choose I don’t know. Why is that?
Some agents tell me they can’t write a Sacramento real estate blog because they don’t know what to write. I write about what I do. For better or worse, I work every day. Stuff happens every day. There are ways to talk about the inner workings of real estate transactions without disclosing confidential information. Even after 43 years in the business, I still learn stuff I didn’t know. How can an agent have nothing to write about?
Of course, my Sacramento real estate blog is not always about real estate. It could be political, especially in today’s world, lots of shit there. Odds are it could be extremely personal about myself. On the other hand, my blog could be about exotic places I travel, a restaurant, a movie, a musical, a concert, life, death, love, happiness, sorrow or, like most of my posts from my house in Hawaii, it might feature a gecko. I write whatever I want because it’s my freakin’ blog. There is really nothing off limits except anything that could potentially upset a client. I would never do that. I will upset other people. In a heartbeat. Just not my clients.
Finding inspiration for my blog comes from what happens during the day. For example, it rained all day yesterday in Hawaii on the Big Island. But I was happy as a clam out on my lanai, working, occasionally glancing up at the fog creeping across the ocean. I put another listing into escrow, third time is a charm. Too many flakey buyers out there right now. We’ve had two cancellations on this listing already and for no reason. Put it back in MLS to reset the days on market and bam, sold.
Knock, knock. My scheduled quarterly pest control company showed up at the door to ask if I wanted them to spray the exterior of the premises. Hmmm . . . it was raining. Seemed like a waste of money to give them the go-ahead. “It’s mostly under the eaves,” the worker offered. Spoken like a worker who doesn’t want to reschedule. Like rain water doesn’t hit the house and travel. I think a drier day is better.
About Buyers Who Suddenly Cancel Escrow
Then, earlier in the week, I talked with an agent who said her buyers want to submit an offer on a listing. I asked if it was possible for her to have a long conversation with the prospective buyers, to inquire if they really and truly intend to buy a home. Because I’m increasingly growing tired of buyers who say they do and then change their minds.
I hate what a cancellation does to my sellers. It tears them apart. I’m not that concerned if I have to sell a home twice or three times and get paid once because I’ll eventually get paid. I’ll sell it again. My listings all close. I’m loyal to my clients. But watching my sellers’ world turn upside down because some idiot buyer walked away, though, that’s what I find most bothersome.
I’m wondering now if that agent took my advice and talked to her buyers because I don’t have an offer from her. Ha, ha.
Oh, well, checked on my closings, and two escrows are rolling into January. Even with those gone from my production, I’ve still got $37 million closing this year. Best year ever. It just keeps getting better. And that’s why I just keep writing my Sacramento real estate blog. It brings business. It saves my sanity.
Sure, I was awarded #1 Top Producer at Lyon Downtown office, but all the awards in the world don’t make a difference in regular life. I’m still the same person. Take today: no breakfast, a car that suddenly won’t start, and here I am sitting inside a medical waiting room with a creepily low ceiling and no internet service; this is not really the way to welcome the day after picking up my award yesterday. Well, she was in all the celebrity clinics; the first time she went to Betty Ford . . . , blabbed some loud woman sitting toward the back of the waiting room, like we all want to listen to her yak about her family’s personal issues. The only thing that makes this experience even lovelier is being forced to listen to the shrill voices from Fox News TV, which some person felt was a good idea to turn on. Esto no me gusta.
Thank goodness there is an adjacent room featuring a long sofa to which I can adjourn. My husband is here for a medical procedure, and I am the designated driver. This is what you do when you’re married. You sit at a medical clinic at the crack of dawn without internet, dreaming of sugary doughnuts, even though you would never eat such a non-nutritional fat bomb, and try to look on the bright side of things, such as the fact that it is not YOU who is a patient here.
Every year lately for the past 5 or so years, I have received the #1 Top Producer at Lyon Downtown office. That means the agents who used to rank above me no longer do, and I hope they aren’t upset about that, but if they are, there’s nothing I can do about it. When I think back to the day I sat in the lobby of my office as a buyer, years ago when my husband and I first moved to Sacramento, I recall suggesting to him that perhaps Lyon would be a good place for me to work someday. Sure, I eventually talked with a handful of other players in Sacramento, including Coldwell Banker and Dunnigan in Land Park, but I chose Lyon Real Estate.
Geoff Zimmerman told me I was basically not a team player and would not fit well into that office. Hey, I was new to Sacramento but not to real estate. Coldwell Banker just rubbed me the wrong way. Lyon is now celebrating its 70th year in the community and claims it is the #1 real estate brokerage in Sacramento. My office is eclectic and I love the comradery. I feel like I should wear a I survived the Mike Lyon fiasco button but why bring it up? Heh, heh. Hey, I didn’t bail when many other agents freaked out and split.
And maybe that’s one of the reasons I am the #1 Top Producer at Lyon Downtown. I keep my nose to the grindstone. But more likely, it’s because I am team leader and work with 3 exceptional agents on my Elizabeth Weintraub Team, coupled with solid supporting relationships, both professionally: like our transaction coordinator, escrow officer, mortgage lender Dan Tharp, and personally: like my husband. The guy I don’t mind taking to the doctor, even if I can’t get on the internet.
From many home sellers’ point of view, they really don’t know what a Sacramento listing agent does to sell a home because all they see is the peripheral stuff. When the home first goes on the market, they see the for sale sign in the yard, maybe open house activity on Sunday, strange business cards showing up on the kitchen counter, ripe for drawing mustaches on. After an offer is accepted, there is an escrow, disclosure paperwork, an appraiser, and some guy who doesn’t wear booties and tracks mud everywhere traipsing through tearing the house apart. Maybe a pest inspector who might cause you to run screaming into the yard with a baseball bat: hey, moron, stop poking holes in my house!
The sellers might even believe they are doing all of the work because they have to pack up the house and move. Their Sacramento listing agent is not in the dining room helping them to roll crystal stemware in bubble wrap. They don’t see what is really happening, but if their transaction closes smoothly, it’s most likely due to the efforts of their listing agent.
My clients generally know exactly what I do as their listing agent because I tell them as we go along. I try to keep them informed of my activities. There are some Sacramento listing agents, for example, who won’t tell a seller that an offer is about arrive for fear that the seller will build expectations and be disappointed if the buyer later changes her mind. I try to put myself in the sellers’ shoes, and I would want to know this information. It doesn’t mean I email a seller with the good news that an offer is in the works, but I let them know it’s a possibility and why it might not happen.
My sellers know I’m on their side and say it the way it is. Which is why I actually told a seller yesterday that I am sorry to see their home sell. OK, I was half kidding. They laughed because they understood. I’ve been working on it for a long time and have become intimately familiar with the property, am used to checking on the stats daily in my MLS reports, drumming up feedback from buyer’s agents’ showings, taking photos out of order to tweak and rearranging the order, lining up open houses, moving up the ranking on other websites by publishing more data, blogging about the home and its features, checking the comparable sales and new listings every week and working other angles to sell the home, relentlessly searching for untapped strategies.
Now the home has left my active inventory and moved into pending status. I’ve already anticipated all the ways things can go wrong in underwriting, the possible challenges of inspections and handled them in advance. Smoothed out almost every possible wrinkle because that’s what 40 years of real estate experience from this Sacramento listing agent buys my clients. I take the hell out of the transaction for them. Of course, they don’t realize this when they choose me to be their Sacramento listing agent, and they might never know what hell could happen because it generally doesn’t.
My continual goal is to find a way to convey this to a seller who is on the fence about whom to choose as a Sacramento listing agent. I am fiercely dedicated 100% to my clients. It shows in the work I do and the delighted reviews I receive. There is a difference among Realtors.