Listening Isn’t Too Great a Request

avatarthumbnail.jpgBeagles smell.

Wait, that didn’t turn out right.

Beagles sniff – scent is their dominant sense, becoming of a member of the hunting class of canine. And so on a trip to the veterinarian, it’s normal to watch a beagle sniff absolutely everything within sight to absorb the vast array of odors and scents within reach.

Sometimes, this search for scents carries beyond the limits of the leash and the beagle finds themselves coughing as they literally choke on the leash before relenting (assuming their owner either forgot the harness or only has a harness that fits a 45-pound beagle behemoth and not a newly-adopted 31-pounder.)

This takes us to last week’s trip to the vet for Charlie, the newest member of the Dalton household. Charlie was sniffing up a storm and straining at the end of his leash. One of the issues that arises with dogs picked up from the Humane Society is “kennel cough” – a bit of a cold that comes from life in doggie prison.

As we waited to be taken back, one of the receptions commented on Charlie coughing. And in truth, he had coughed every now and again at home but not to the degree as when he was straining against his leash to sniff the four corners of the veterinary office.

In any event, we’re taking to the examination room and a vet tech walks in. The first words out of his mouth were, “So I hear we’re coughing quite a bit.”

Well, no. The receptionist happens to think we’re coughing quite a bit but she clearly didn’t listen. But she did take the time to pass along her perception of the situation rather than the reality which I already had explained.

After a few minutes, I was able to convince the tech that Charlie really wasn’t walking around like Doc Holliday near the end of his battle with consumption. But it did get me thinking of how often it is what we say and what we get differ.

One real estate company had an ad several years ago where a couple was adamant about not getting a ranch-style home, yet that’s all their agent showed them. And from what I have heard anecdotally from clients, it’s an all-too-familiar problem. Agents spend much time trying to pigeon-hole someone into the property they believe is right even when it’s clear it doesn’t meet their clients’ needs or expectations.

This is one of the reasons why I rely on the Internet when working with buyers. Taking into consideration that photographs can lie (as evidenced by the photos of a bank-owned home my client saw online that failed to match the cat urine-soaked reality of the trashed home), sending listings electronically and allowing clients to sort for possibilities allows for clients to be in charge of the search.

I can provide guidance (within the rules of the Fair Housing Act) and gradually alter the search until the perfect home is found. But the search is driven by the client – not by my perceptions of what I think they might need.

Which reminds me … for those considering listing their home, skip the agent bonuses and higher co-brokerage fees paid to buyers’ agents, especially when the home seems to be on it’s last legs. This may be an enticement to some but for those who actually follow the Code of Ethics and put client first, it’s a waste of effort. The extra few hundred dollars I stand to make isn’t worth trying to talk a client into an ill-fated or inferior home.

Back tomorrow with some news about searching for bank-owned homes getting easier.

[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-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