As we roll into a very hot spring real estate market, one way to find a home is to seek Sacramento’s hidden inventory “pocket listings.” I did just that when looking in the Boulevard Park area of Midtown Sacramento. A long term client of over 21 years was looking for a home in the area. She had now, of course, become a dear friend. When we were house hunting, it became quickly apparent there were so few homes for sale in this area.
I called an agent in Midtown who works Boulevard Park and he had lived in the area for many years. Mentioned I was looking for something updated about 2400 square feet. There was nothing like this in the MLS. He said he actually had clients who had talked about selling, let me ring them. They were away on vacation in a very exotic place in the world at the time.
Does the public care whether their Sacramento real estate agent is a top producer? Does the public even know what a top producer is, and why should it matter? It doesn’t. And I say that as a top producer, not as some aspiring real estate agent who hopes to make it big someday. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a seller announce that she needed to hire a top producer. That’s because the public tends to think every Sacramento real estate agent is a top producer. The truth is you’ve got closer to your 1% in this business, and then there’s the other 99%. But who really cares?
Some agent was mentioned in a REALTOR magazine about having sold more than 200 homes in 2 years. I thought, wow, that’s a lot! It made me wonder how many I have sold. See, I’m so busy selling real estate in Sacramento that I don’t always have time to count my big ‘ol stacks of money. I pulled up MLS and entered my ID, and asked it to show me sold transactions for the past 2 years. My number for October 11th was 199 transactions. My jaw dropped. I kid you not. That’s pretty spectacular, especially when compared to my early days in Sacramento, after I moved back to California from Minnesota.
I recall sitting at the manager’s desk at the Lyon office in midtown Sacramento. I was looking at my performance for the year. I think back then I sold around 20 homes a year. Respectable. Decent. More than enough to qualify for Master’s Club at the Sacramento Association of REALTORs. I was complaining and asking why I wasn’t doing better, that I had so much extra time on my hands which I could be utilizing in my business, and kibitzing in general. I felt that I was capable of doing more, selling more homes, but I wasn’t doing it.
It’s not like I had some grand plan that I implemented. No big epiphany. I just put my nose to the grindstone and didn’t look up for several years. Grabbed every business opportunity I spotted. Held open houses every week. Handed out my business card to strangers. Took Floor Calls and talked with walk-in traffic at the office. I did not discriminate except to try to weed out the crazy people. Somewhat nutty people are OK. The downright screwballs and looney-tunes, not so much. But by not discriminate, I mean I did not turn down a listing for a $30,000 condo anymore than I would reject a $1,000,000 listing in Granite Bay. And I agreed to work on short sales.
An agent in San Diego said the other day that listing short sales was so much easier than listing a regular home with equity. She said there was no need to address commission nor sales price. I believe that those two things generally are not really a big issue in a regular transaction. But maybe that’s just the way I do business. I look at the bigger picture. The bigger picture is a satisfied and happy client. A happy client means referrals. Referrals means I don’t have look for business. I make a client happy when I give them what they want.
If I am selling a client’s home quickly, with minimum fuss and at the highest price we can possibly get in the market place, that’s what a client wants. They want to trust their agent. They don’t want to sell real estate themselves, or that’s what they would be doing. They’re not really hung up on whether they are paying me X amount or Y amount, because I am giving them what they want. I tend to exceed expectations.
Today, I am meeting with a seller of a duplex in Foothill Farms. It’s a regular transaction. He also wants to buy a home in midtown Sacramento. I am taking a probate listing in River Park, over in East Sacramento. That home needs a bit of work. I might list a home in Fair Oaks, but that seller hasn’t yet decided whether she wants to finish remodeling the home or sell As Is. I met with her yesterday, and she needs to make some decisions fairly soon.
I’ve got two short sales to put into escrow today, an Active Short Contingent and a Pending Short Lender Approval. Just finished filing the purchase offers. I’m writing this in the dark. The sun hasn’t come up yet. So, if you’re an agent reading this and wondering why your life doesn’t mirror that of a top producer, you might try getting up earlier in the morning and squeezing more into your day. None of this sleeping-in-until-noon business. And don’t focus on becoming a top producer. Focus on the business at hand. The rest will follow.