Once upon a time, when I first started in real estate, I advertised my phone number as my “24-hour cell number.” Another agent in my office used the terminology and I thought it sounded impressive – 24/7/365, I’m here to fulfill your real estate needs!
In time, though, I realized I’m not a McDonalds drive-thru. Twenty-four hour service was not only unnecessary, it was downright silly for one person to claim to deliver. (When I was at Charles Schwab, the active trader division came to the same realization.)
Anyway, inspired in part by the example of Tutas Towne Realty in Florida, I set business hours for myself. Call me between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. any day of the week and if I don’t answer, you will hear back from me within 59 minutes. It’s a policy that both sounds good and seemed to meet the needs of the vast majority of real estate sellers and buyers.
Apparently not. I was fired by a seller this morning. My crime? Going to a Phoenix Coyotes game and not answering my phone after 7 p.m.
I’ll tell you a secret. Most of the time, I’ll check my messages after 7 p.m. and often return calls the same evening. I don’t guarantee this because I can’t, but I try. Last night, I never heard the phone ring at the game. And answering messages wouldn’t have worked.
An agent called and left a message that he would be at one of my listings in 15-20 minutes. Agent arrives and since it was after dark and not expecting the visit, seller decline to show the house. Agent is angry even though the notice was ridiculous. Seller is angry, even though they would also have been upset about a Saturday night showing with nearly no notice. And I’m to feel guilty that 11 hours of guaranteed daily availabiliy is insufficient.
Except I don’t. I’m not a 24-hour drive-thru. I have carved time into my schedule to spend with my family and otherwise to recharge. That time comes after 7 p.m., a time when there are virtually no showings scheduled and little work to be done.
In any event, whoever takes the listing next will be the sellers’ fifth agent in just over a year. And despite being fired, I wish the seller well. If I find a prospective buyer, I’ll still show the house. And I’ll do it before 7:20 p.m. on a Saturday night.