Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Tuna High Road

Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand -- Homer Simpson

Last Friday evening I received an internet inquiry regarding one of my property listings. It was almost 7:00 p.m. and I had just walked in the door at home when I saw the e-mail. I sat down at my home computer, read the e-mail, researched the question and responded to the consumer. The time from his inquiry to my response was 29 minutes. The next afternoon (Saturday, 3:30 p.m.) I received a call about the same property. I determined that this was the same individual to whom I had responded the previous evening. The caller said that he would like to see the property . . . that afternoon. I asked if about an hour from then would be a good time and said that I would have to confirm with the owner as the home was occupied. I then asked two questions: I restated the price and asked if this home was within his intended price range; I also asked if he was currently represented by a real estate agent. As people sometimes do, he side-stepped the price question. However, the answer to the other question got my attention.

Yes, he said, he did have a real estate agent, but his agent does not work on weekends. This was a variation of another answer that I sometimes hear, "I did not want to bother my agent on the weekend." There is no twelve step program for smartass people like me, so it's sometimes hard to control my urges.

However, I politely explained to him that, since he had a representative, his interests as a potential buyer were best served by seeing the property with his agent, not with me, the seller's agent. (For a description of how North Carolina real estate agents work, click HERE). He continued to press me to show him the house and I continued to explain how I would be happy to cooperate with HIS AGENT, how easy it would be for HIS AGENT to make an appointment and that his interests would be best served by working with HIS AGENT. He was clearly annoyed and disappointed that I would not now show the house myself.

Later that evening, I received an e-mail from that gentleman in which he a) told me how disappointed he was that I did not want to show him this home, b) that he had found an expensive home that he was going to buy in a swanky subdivision and c) that he hoped real estate agents would someday understand that the general public was often available to view properties only in the evenings or on weekends.

So, at 6:30 p.m. on a Saturday evening, I sat down at my computer to respond to him once again. I explained that when he sent his inquiry on Friday evening and I responded --- I was working. When he called at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and I took his call --- I was working. And, at 6:30 p.m. on a Saturday evening, typing an e-mail response --- I was working. I further explained that my advice that he work with his agent was honest, sincere and sound -- and should not be confused with laziness on my part.

I said a few other things as well, but had the foresight to ask my wife to read my response before I hit the SEND button. She spotted a couple of well written but, apparently, unnecessary sentences (see smartass reference above) and admonished me to take the HIGH ROAD. What's wrong with the low road, I asked. Here is a guy who may or may not be serious, who may or may not be financially qualified and who says that he has a real estate agent, but HIS AGENT does not work on weekends so he wants me to do his agent's job. He's such a jerk that he feels the need to tell me that he has found and purchased a home in the most expensive neigborhood in town (so presumably he tricked some other well intentioned real estate agent into showing him a home that, if he did actually buy it, the agent would not be his representative and would not be compensated for his/her work). And, he wants to lump me in with his lazya**, non-weekend working agent. Needless to say, the contents of this whole paragraph were deleted before the actual message was sent.

Here is how I and my professional colleagues work. We will give you our time and expertise. We've worked weekends, nights and holidays (I wrote an offer on New Year's Day this year). We've missed meals, social engagements, time off and sleep to assist our clients. We will work as hard and as long as it takes. We are delighted to do so. In return, we expect your loyalty.

If you have an agent who does not return your calls, answer your questions or is unavailable to work with your schedule . . . FIRE YOUR AGENT! There are plenty of hard working, savvy service-oriented REALTORS who can assist you. I'm one of them. Give me a call.

Finally, just so you know, I have contacts with top flight agents throughout the country. Know someone who has a home to sell in New Jersey? Somone in Arizona who wants to buy a home in Forida? Call me. I can put your family and friends in touch with agents throughout the country who will provide the same high level of service that I provide for my clients. Let me know how I can help.

The low road. That was fun. Scoot on.