I’m happy to announce that I was recently invited to be a contributing author to the Virginia Association of Realtor’s blog, www.VARBuzz.com . So you will be seeing posts here that I have written for there! Stop by and check out the other posts at the blog; there is a wealth of good advice and information to be found there. Here is my first post, just published yesterday:
It just happened again. I’m sitting on an open house, and a couple walks in; immediately I can sense that their desire to see the house has overridden their non-desire to speak with a REALTOR® inside the house. They clearly don’t want to talk to me, don’t want to sign in, are looking around, not making eye contact.I’m welcoming but trying to not get in their way. I ask if they found their way to the open from directional signs or from advertising, and they do answer me. The wife heads downstairs as I ask the husband if they have been to many open houses today (a few, apparently). He says he’s had about enough of opens, trying to look beyond what’s there to what could be there to meet their needs. I’d love to encourage the conversation, but he’s still not making eye contact. I say, “I understand” about the time the wife hits the top of the steps to declare that the house is too small for them. They do explain why, and as I point them in the direction of some slightly larger homes, they are backing toward the door, ready to escape. They say they appreciate the suggestion and take off.
Now, some agents would hold them verbally hostage, force a business card in their hand, make them take a brochure they didn’t want.I know that I gave them an opportunity to talk to me further about their needs, but they obviously didn’t want to. (They may already be working with another agent, they didn’t say.)As they shut the door behind them, I couldn’t help but think, “Too bad!”
Too bad that they wouldn’t let me help them. Too bad that they didn’t ask the questions that they needed to ask.Too bad that they wouldn’t put the expertise of a professional to work for them.For whatever reason, it seems like many buyers don’t recognize how much help an agent can be in recommending a property, a neighborhood, a home design that might work for them.I could have suggested which townhomes they could focus on that would have given them enough room for a grand piano on the lower level, and an entrance for students, because I know my market well enough to know which homes inside each community have the proper elevation to allow for a walkout downstairs.
How do you engage a customer that doesn’t want to be engaged? Are they just doomed to struggle on their own until they get frustrated enough with the process to ask for help? I’d hate to think that those buyers are going to end up traveling from open house to open house until they hit upon one that works for them, only to possibly be preyed upon by an agent willing to take advantage of their lack of consumer education about agency and representation.(I’m not knocking dual representation, but if the buyer doesn’t understand the rights they are signing away it’s a problem for everyone.)
As REALTORS®, are we not explaining effectively what we can bring to the transaction that a buyer would find valuable? Buyers need to know that their buyer’s agent will hold their information confidential, and look out for their interests above all else.That we will listen to their needs and help them find the best city, neighborhood, and home that suits them.That we will negotiate fiercely on their behalf to help them get the best deal. That we will put knowledge and experience to work as they progress through the loan process, the inspection process, and the closing itself.The goal is for the transaction to feel so smooth that the client doesn’t realize all the hard work the buyer’s agent has put in to make it that way.
So for the couple that came through my open house that didn’t give me the chance: I’m sorry that I didn’t get to show you how I could help.I sincerely hope that you are working with a good buyers agent that will guide you to the home of your dreams.And if you aren’t working with one yet, please consider doing so…a buyer’s agent will be able to help you more than you realize.