Just how do successful Sacramento realtors roll with the flow? Well, everyday living is a good example to answer this question. Work is a part of daily life. Most challenges require problem solving and adapting to change in the middle of unexpected issues and challenges.
Tonight, I was getting ready to work on three market analysis studies and write a blog. Lo and behold, I sat down on my laptop and boom the power is instantly out at 7:30 PM! I am sitting in the dark. SMUD reports more than 1,000 homes are out of power in my area. My mom is here, and it is dark and the dogs and cats are tearing around underfoot. First things first, the flashlight app on my phone, I turn it on. Next, I suggest my mom stay put, as we do not need her falling!
Authenticity seems to be a rare commodity in a search for authentic Realtors. You seem like a real person to me, is what many of my clients say when they call for the first time. Of course I am a real person. Do you think I am a robot? An alien? A cat reincarnated in human form? But what I think they are trying to say is I don’t seem like a salesperson.
As though a salesperson is an evil creature to be avoided at all costs. Because you know what a salesperson will do, right? They will sell you something you don’t want. Which is a real fear of many people when dealing with agents. People worry that a salesperson will take advantage of them. So they search for an un-salesperson, what we call authentic Realtors.
Grounded is another term I’ve heard tossed about. But that’s just trendy. Besides, if you’ve been following the massive 7.5 earthquake in Indonesia, you will learn about liquefaction. This is when the ground turns into soft mud after an earthquake and swallows up people. In Petobo, in the Palu area, when the soil turned into mud, it caused houses to change direction, slide miles away and many sunk below the mud, with only the roof tops poking out of the ground. There is no such thing as grounded. It’s simply a perception.
But authentic Realtors are a reality. These are people who don’t read scripts because they don’t need it. They’ve been around the block enough times to know what to say to people and how to say it, which is with kindness and respect. So many agents I know are afraid to counter a client’s belief or statement. Because they are trying way too hard to be “friends.” They don’t want to make an enemy or cause bad feelings, so the bad news doesn’t reach their clients. The bad news is whatever they think the clients should know but are afraid to disclose.
Give it to a person straight and then offer solutions, that’s my method of operation. Yet some Sacramento Realtors will say: well, it sucks to be you and walk out. Which is what an agent is doing when they know a client is thinking the wrong things and, by extension, doesn’t possess enough information to choose the right moves. When that agent could deliver the information the client needs, but she doesn’t.
Authentic Realtors share information freely. Real agents aren’t worried about competition or how other people will view them. They are not self conscious; but they are self aware. Delivering the truth about a situation is not always easy, but it is necessary. If the client still rejects the notion after that, well, at least her Realtor extended the effort.
Without a doubt, I know a huge population exists that does not realize there are many types of Realtors in Sacramento. Quite often the person who doesn’t realize this is the person who thinks they already know everything. Although, by god, the one thing they know is all Realtors are the same and there are no different types of Realtors. I hate to say it, but that “one type of Realtor” in their mind is generally an agent they do not like and they do not trust. I can sense that when I talk with some prospective sellers. It’s in the language they use and the attitude. For some silly reason, I try to change their minds. Sometimes, it doesn’t work.
I feel it’s not fair that they lump us all together just because they had a bad experience. It’s fairly easy to have a bad experience in real estate, unfortunately, Further, they don’t know what certain types of Realtors do. No idea. They only peer over the fence. These guys are not down in the trenches. In fact, I’ve told sellers that if all they want is a Realtor who will plop a sign in the yard, I am not that agent. That’s not what I do. Those are the services offered by a discount agent.
Lately, as we move into the fall real estate market in Sacramento and prepare for winter, I have had to turn down more listings than those I’ve accepted. One seller claimed she did not need to meet with me and refused to let me see her house. Why? Because she already calculated the price she expected to get. After all, she has sold a number of homes that she could count on one hand. Moreover, she rambled on about her importance. How valuable her time is, the type of advanced degree she possesses, and then detailed her work life. Her point? She clearly had no time for “condescending or rude people.”
Ha! We agree on that issue.
As for types of Realtors, the most common type of Sacramento Realtor is the agent who sells 4 or 5 houses a year. That agent probably sells homes close to the neighborhood where the agent lives. These guys are not sitting in front of their computer every day working. They enjoy a life. They have hobbies, friends, spend time with family. Hang out at the office. Play golf. These types of Realtors will often haggle over commission and undercut the competition if it means they will get the listing.
Next, there is the discount Realtor whose main calling card is they will work for dirt cheap. Perhaps their company foots their salary or maybe they figure volume will make up for the money they lost. Maybe they just aren’t worth more. I dunno. But they do know how to stick a sign in the yard and plop a listing into MLS. Do they answer the phone? Generally not.
Other types of Realtors are generally full-service and either a veteran, somewhat experienced or brand new.
The type of Realtor I fall into is unusual because I charge the most. My focus is getting the seller the highest amount a buyer will pay. That amount might not be at appraised value. In fact, the appraisal might come in low because I’ve sold the home for more than it appraised. Every transaction is unique and custom to me. Each listing is my baby. My actions produce ecstatic sellers. I specialize in listings. Not buyers. I do not work with buyers anymore, but my highly trained and educated team members do.
There is no real estate school for Realtors. Agents learn on the job. The higher the number of transactions an agent closes, the more knowledge an agent accumulates. When an agent specializes in doing only one specific type of function, you can imagine the level of sophisticated strategy she offers her seller. Most of my listings tend to sell over list price. Sellers working with me rarely do repairs and their transactions are smooth.
Many of the sellers I’ve been meeting with lately to list homes in Sacramento have been interviewing Realtors. It makes sense to ensure it’s a good fit between client and agent. On the other hand, most of my sellers already know they are going to hire me just by talking to me on the phone and reading my online reviews. I also encourage them to hire me. You betcha. I mean, who else has as much experience as I do? I’ve worked in real estate since the 1970s, and I am not ashamed to admit it. I don’t sell 3 or 4 homes a year like 90% of the agents in town. I have real hands-on, day-in and day-out experience that saves my sellers a world of future headaches.
One seller told me yesterday that she’s already interviewed a couple of agents. One agent suggested to her that she should interview more agents; said the seller should talk to at least 3 agents. What kind of agent would say that? I don’t know. I tell sellers they don’t have to interview anybody but me, but if they insist, I’ll probably look that much better by comparison. That always gets a laugh. When the seller said one of the agents told her we are in a slow market, I razzed her, “Hey, was this the same agent who accused you of doing a bad job of interviewing Realtors?”
Our market in Sacramento is still red hot. Listings that are priced right are getting attention and quickly selling. We have more buyers than we have listings. Some lucky sellers are the only game in town, the only home for sale, so you can bet I’m going to position them to attract top dollar. It’s what I do. It’s unusual for me go on a listing appointment where the seller is interviewing Realtors and not walk out with the listing.
Success breeds confidence. But even when I wasn’t so overwhelming successful, like when I first moved to Sacramento and was getting to know the marketplace and everybody in it, I never felt like a failure. I was talking about this topic with my husband yesterday because some people, like BoJack Horseman, OK, he’s not a real person, well, some people are insecure. They second-guess their decisions and down deep worry about everything.
An example. We watched the new Mike White movie, Brad’s Status, at the Tower Theatre in Land Park on Sunday, starring Ben Stiller. A very adult-looking Ben Stiller, unlike the guy from Midnight at the Museum or Zoolander, where he sucked in his cheekbones and pretended to be a model. In Brad’s Status, he has a mid-life crisis, worried that he’s failed in life. It also stars the guy from Masters of Sex, Michael Sheen, and Luke Wilson, who was also in Roadies. Stiller imagines everybody else is better than him. I’ve never had that feeling. I’ve always known I had the ability to do whatever I wanted to do.
Motivation is not a problem for me either. I am self motivated. I set goals and achieve them. Winning listing presentations when sellers are interviewing Realtors is one of those goals. I believe in myself and my clients do too. It comes through loud and clear.
Sacramento Realtors who answer the phone probably do ten times the business of agents who send calls to voice mail. That’s what I’m betting. I mean, I don’t have any hard statistics to back up this theory, but the reason I say this is because I get calls from buyers and sellers who often start out by saying, “I found you on the internet.” Just by sheer reasoning, you can pretty much figure if I don’t answer my phone, there will be another agent they found on the internet they can call. One thing that separates me from others is I am one of those Sacramento Realtors who answer the phone.
Well, THAT, and I’m so incredibly non-opionated and humble. Ask anybody.
Because I’m one of those Sacramento Realtors who answer the phone, I get all sorts of phone calls that aren’t necessarily related to me making any money. Here are some of the calls this Sacramento Realtor has received recently.
Newbie real estate agent:
Hello? This is an agent with XYZ Realty and I’m calling to tell you I have a listing in Carmichael.
How wonderful for you! Why are you calling me?
Well, it’s a beautiful home on ABC street, priced at $400K, plus I am paying a good commission.
Why are you calling me?
I thought you might have a buyer.
I don’t work with buyers. And any other agent you call is likely to be a bit irritated that you’re calling, even the agents who actually work with buyers.
Oh, I’m . . . fading into distance . . .
(See, this is why we have MLS. If we want to find a listing, we go to MLS. It’s how Sacramento real estate works. We are in the middle of one of the hottest seller’s markets in Sacramento. I wonder if she has heard we use computers now?)
Hello, Elizabeth? Do not hang up.
I am calling from hot sexy real estate dot com.
Hey, Elizabeth, I’m on your website.
Well get off before you hurt yourself, click.
Phone call before 9 AM on Sunday:
I read an article you wrote about agents not selling their own short sale, and I have my own short sale listed.
Here’s some free advice. Don’t try to sell your own short sale because the bank won’t allow it, and even if your home wasn’t a short sale you should not be the listing agent. Too much liability.
But I already disclosed everything I know.
You don’t know what the buyer will sue you for now, do you?
Can I get a referral fee if I send the listing to another agent?
See, it would be a secret agreement the bank has no knowledge of, and that could be short sale fraud. You can’t profit from a short sale without the bank’s knowledge, plus you will sign an arm’s length saying there are no under the table dealings going on.
How would the bank find out?
Don’t you work for a broker you can talk to?
Your listing says go direct, no calling required. Does that mean I don’t have to call the sellers and can just go over there?
Yes. Go direct. Just get in your car and go.
Guy walking a dog:
I’m in front of your listing. Is it for sale or rent?
Agents don’t work on rentals so it must be for sale.
How much is it?
Where is it, what street is it on?
I don’t know. I’m just in front of it walking my dog. I want to rent a house.
I’d like to talk about State Farm.
Trust me, I have more insurance than I need.
Wouldn’t you like to buy a State Farm franchise?
(And just about the time you start thinking to yourself that maybe it’s not a good idea to be one of those Sacramento Realtors who answer the phone . . . )
No Caller ID:
I have a home in Elk Grove I would like to sell, and I’d like to talk with you about listing my home.
You’ve come to the right place. How can I help?