I’m a Lazy Realtor Not Long for This Business

avatarthumbnail.jpg… and don’t even get me started on the Mayor of Naptown, Tobey.

As I wrote the other day, there was a fairly lengthy debate about the nature of real estate marketing. What should a seller expect from their agent. What type of marketing. What doesn’t. What might and might not.

Buried in the thread were a couple of things that were worth discussing in further detail.

“Refusing to do Busy Work Makes You Lazy”

“The agents that say they don’t sit opens is in my opinion lazy and they use the excuse of “open houses does not sell a house”

Of course, that’s followed immediately by …

“in most cases this may be true, but a good majority of people that do visit opens are looking for a house and would not even come in if the house did not fit their criteria on paper.”

Let’s revisit the open house process. Most people discover homes for sale via open house how? By driving past a sign and following the arrows. Agents are told during training that when having an open house you should pull the flyers out of the box by the curb so people have to walk in to get the details.

So how exactly did the buyer have a chance to vet the property on paper before walking in the front door and discovering the house was everything they didn’t want?

In a market like this, when there are multiple homes for sale in any given area, it’s only a matter of time before the following conversation takes place.

BUYER: “What about that house? It’s not on my list”

AGENT: “That’s because it didn’t meet your criteria. You wanted a single level with a three-car garage and that looks like a two story with a two-car garage.”

Naturally, the buyer still asks to see the house even knowing it’s not what they want. When I’m driving with clients and am only three houses away, I have little issue taking the time to view a house I know and the clients know isn’t going to work.

But I have a substantially larger issue with spending four hours that could be spent in far more productive manners, waiting to see if someone walks in and if the house just happens to be what they’re looking for, in the price range they’re looking for … and to make sure they’ve spoken to a lender in the last month to get qualified.

This isn’t laziness … this is an attempt to avoid false expectations. When I kick you out of your house for four hours, your expectation is a flood of people will come to view the house and someone will be writing an offer. Except it doesn’t happen.

Think of it this way … if all you needed to do to sell a house was stick an open house sign in the yard, you wouldn’t need someone with marketing expertise, would you? Just post the sign and you’re done. Some owners do this. So do some agents. Weekend after weekend after weekend after weekend after weekend.

It also was during this thread that I discovered that I’m not long for the business because I conduct the majority of my marketing online:

I have found is that the agent who relies on the internet almost exclusively does so to save money as ads, signs, flyers, etc costs money and they are unable or unwilling to spend any. These agents, in my opinion, are not long for this business…in fact, I call them Dead Agent Walking.

Cost does play a part in how I decide to market. In short, I’m not going to spend the money unless there’s a legitimate chance of that marketing method selling the home. It’s a business decision: is it really productive to place a newspaper ad and hope someone’s still reading (ask the LA Times if they are)?

When I go on a listing appointment the seller usually thinks they have an idea of what their home is worth, not based on comparable sales but based on the list prices on the flyers they’ve taken out of every box in the neighborhood.

These are the folks taking your flyers … people who want to know what you’re selling for so they can set their own price. Even if it is a prospective buyer, how do I ever track who someone is when they take a flyer. DNA samples left at the scene?

With an 800 call-capture system, I get their phone numbers and can make a follow up call immediately to see if they’re really interested or just checking on their neighbors. I can tell them about the house and not have to rely on bullet points. And I can gauge their interest and make sure they’re qualified with a lender so I don’t waste your time with a showing to someone who’ll never buy.

The writer above is write in that I am unwilling to spend my money (and since I’m only paid if a home sells, it is my money.) That is to say, I’m unwilling to spend my money foolishly. Throwing money at a problem doesn’t solve a thing if the money’s being spent in all the wrong areas.

Contrast all of this marketing with the call I received today from someone looking for homes in Westbrook Village. As the call progressed we realized another retirement community in the Northwest Valley might be a better fit. So I passed her on to my site for such homes, PhoenixRetirementRealEstate.Com.

If your home was advertised in such a place, it would be the first thing she saw when she logged onto the site. You would have a focused, serious buyer looking specifically in your area viewing your home’s details.

You’re going to tell me that a print ad that’s almost completely ignored (and next to useless given how little space we have to describe a house in the classifieds) really is that much more effective?

But what do I know. I’m a lazy Realtor not long for this business.

[tags]Phoenix real estate, real estate marketing[/tags]

About Jonathan

Jonathan Dalton is a 30-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.

  • WOW, JD,

    What are you going to do after real estate?

    Sports writer? Naw, you still do that.

    Professional blogger? Naw, you do that too.

    I’m intrigued, will you let us know soon? or maybe not.

    I know I’m destined for the same after RE carrier, No Open Houses for me either. I had no idea I was lazy. Geez I work 18 hr. days as it is, now I have to give another 4.

    Please, help me find a new carrier, some pointers, a few breadcrumbs. . . I need a nap.

  • JD.
    some personal stats:

    27 years in this business.
    I never added the total opens during that time but you can extrapolate.
    not one sale as a direct result of the open
    thinking back – nor did another agent who was touring with their client

    Here’s the BUT: today a great majority come with web information in hand and use the opens as a convenience factor – more houses in less time.

    Today, I do question the commitment level and consider it equivalent to “informed” window shopping. Great afternoon for them, waste of time for me.