One of my favorite agents at the brokerage is a guy named Lee. Lee has been in the business for longer than I’ve been alive, I think (actually, I’m employing hyperbole there). But he’s pretty old and has been selling real estate for a loooong time. He stopped by my office the other day to ask how the new year was treating me. I told him it was starting off well, as I had just had a listing go under contract. I shared what the seller had just said about me, ” I’ve bought and sold a lot of houses, and you’re the best realtor I’ve worked with. You called me every week with updates. You really took care of me.”
Lee then told me about a couple that he sold a house to several years ago, and as a result of doing his best with that couple, he has recently begun his 9th transaction that evolved from that first contact. We spent a few minutes talking about relationships and how it didn’t matter how high-tech our business becomes, at the end of the day, it’s about meeting people, finding out what they want, and building relationships with them.
My broker and I were e-mailing each other at the end of the year about Zillow.com and its plans for a real estate ‘wiki’. He ended the e-mail volleys with this:
I hope when zillow rules the world and relationships are the new dinosaurs, I am on a slow boat to some place hot. And I will not be coming back.
Now, I really like my broker. I have for most of my life, put leadership figures in my life up on pedestals, or at least bestowed a halo in the vicinity of their hairline. I will completely admit right here that I have done this with my broker. But, even if I just thought he was a regular guy, I’d still have that sentence he wrote reverberating in my head. He’s right. Lee is right. The day people are more comfortable clicking their mouse than talking to me, I’m hanging up my real estate hat and driving to the nearest bookstore and reading myself sick.