This is my 20th anniversary as a real estate agent in the Tri-Cities. I’ve learned a lot in those two decades! Throughout the year, I’ll be sharing some of the lessons I’ve learned from my time in real estate.
I think the first lesson I learned is also the most important. I was going to save it for the end of the year, because it’s so important, but here you go.
In 2004, I had a client looking for a small house on an acre or more. She had a horse, and the property didn’t need to have a barn — she could build it. But the house had to appeal to her, and we had to find it in an area where large animals were allowed. We were also constrained by a budget on the lower end.
We spent the morning driving all over looking at options. We returned to the office, dejected. There wasn’t anything that was fitting the bill. I suggested we look at the office computer (so quaint!) to see if anything new had come on the market that morning while we had been looking.
An established agent was nearby, and we poured out our tale of woe. His name was Curt. Curt said, “I have something that sounds like it might be exactly right for you. It’s under contract right now, but it might fall apart, and I’d much rather work with you, Cari, than the other agent we’re in contract with.”
I’D MUCH RATHER WORK WITH YOU…
The moment he said that, I thought, “Wait a minute…*I* can be the deciding factor for my client getting a home? *I*, by being a pleasant person to work with, and not a jackwagon, can help my client get the deal to the finish line?”
It sounds kind of simple, right? Like, “Duh, Cari. No one wants to work with an a-hole.” But until that moment, I had thought it was all about numbers, about what made sense for the seller or buyer’s bottom line. I didn’t see how I could affect a sale.
But from that moment on, I realized the agent on the other side of the transaction is also my client.
Real estate is a relationship-based business. I hadn’t realized before, though, that one of the relationships I need to spend time cultivating is the relationship with my colleagues, the other agents with whom I work.
In the intervening years, I’ve heard on more than one occasion, during a multiple-offer situation, “The terms were the same, Cari, but we would rather work with you, so your client got it.”, or, “My client was trying to decide between this house and another, and I’m so excited they decided on yours, because you’re so great to work with.”
I’m not tooting my own horn. I’m letting you know that if you’re an agent, you only help your clients by being helpful to other agents. If you’re a buyer or seller, you help yourself by working with an agent with whom other agents want to work.
Again, it’s a relationship-based business. ALL the relationships matter.