Note: This is the latest post in my collection dealing with the ABCS of Buying, Selling and Investing in Real Estate. Each post, I select a letter (S for this post) and write up a fictional story around it. The story is fake, but the advice is real(ty).
This post continues the story found in Three Super Sites for Introverted Sellers to Use When Selling their Home
I received an email from Sally one day asking to meet me at my favorite coffee shop. She wished to speak to me about representing her on the sell of her house. The email was very formal and to the point. I gladly responded and we agreed on a date and time. I was happy to hear from Sally. She had called me one day in the recent past asking about websites she could use to research how to sell her house. Since Sally was an introvert, she liked to control her interactions with others. Unstructured social encounters did not set well with her psyche and she was physically tired after one. I arrived at the coffee shop fifteen minutes early and she was already there waiting for me. Once I got my coffee, I sat down with her ready to exchange pleasantries. However, Sally jumped right to the point. She said she was going to interview me along with three other agents in her effort to find an agent to sell her house. The one who answered her questions to her liking would get the listing. I nodded and thanked her for the chance to speak to her about selling her house. For the next thirty minutes, she drilled me with some well-thought out questions. When she finished her last question, she thanked me for the chance to meet with her. Before I left, she caught me off-guard with final question. She said she was very concerned and stressed about the upcoming sell because she was an introvert. With her job getting busier, she was not sure how much more stress she could handle. Since I had given such good advice about websites introverts could use to sell their house, she was wondering if I had any suggestions on set ups she could employ with her listing agent to alleviate the anguish she was dreading with her upcoming unstructured visits with others.
This is what I told Sally….
I first told Sally that I was going to frank with her despite me being in a competition to win her business. I told her bluntly that it would be impossible to get through selling her house without some unstructured interactions. It is unfortunate that most of the world does not work to structure their interactions with others. Although, introverts tend to make up a higher percentage of the population than extroverts, our culture tended to rely on quick spontaneous interactions versus planned ones. Real estate was no exception. For example, there might be a time when a buyer wants an immediate answer to a question such as making repairs on a house for sale. This repair amendment usually comes in the option period and nine out of ten times, the buyer’s agent will give no forewarning to when this repair amendment will be sent. It will just show up in the listing agent’s inbox. The agent has no choice at that point but to reach out to the seller for their input on the repair amendment. It could be that the buyer’s agent waits until the last second to send the amendment and an immediate response is required. There are just times in the process of selling their home that sellers will have to have some unstructured interactions. Sally said she understood this, but there had to be some structures that could be in place to limit the amount of unstructured encounters she will face. I told her about three that came to mind right away.
- Do Almost Everything Online – It used to be that if the real estate agent wanted to interact with his clients, he or she had to go down to meet them physically. There was very little options beyond arranging a time to drop by their house to talk about business. In today’s world, you can do a majority of real estate tasks online without ever having to physically interact with the customer. All contracts can be electronically signed by the customer via a service like dotloop or zipforms. Sellers can text or send an email to the listing agent with any questions that might arise. Buyers can even do most of the house hunting online before ever meeting with the agent to look at the property in person. By doing everything online, the introverted individual can control their responses more readily and do it on their own time when they are ready (exception being when time is of the essence). With the various online systems in place, introverts can look forward to planning when and how their interactions with others will happen.
- Structured Showing Schedule – As introvert, I can think of nothing worse than to have your door bell ring and open the door to find a buyer agent with their clients looking to view the house. Although this rarely happens, some buyer’s agents, and their buyers, will do things more spontaneous and might see the yard sign in the front yard and want to take a look while they are in the area. The best way to control this interactions is to set up a very structured showing schedule with your agent. Tell your agent when you wish to allow showings. Most sellers when selling their house will want to allow showings between certain hours, like 9 to 8, so they can organize their lives more easily. around requested showings. You can tell the agent how much forewarning you wish to have with each appointment. Most will do 30 minutes to 2 hours, but you can request a 24 hour notice requirement. You can limit how long each buyer is in the house looking at it. Most agents find their buyers will vary on how much time they need with each property, but most can easily look over a property in an hour. You can also make it where no two showings overlap with each other to better control the crowds coming into the house. No matter how much of an introvert you are, you can set up a showing schedule to your liking and then force the agents to stick with that showing schedule.
- Planned Communications from Agent – I do this with all my clients, but most agents do not do it. Before I leave our first meeting together, I will ask them how often they wish to receive communications from me and their preferred communication method. Most will only want to hear from me on a weekly basis with an email outlining the events of the previous week. Some sellers will want daily reports on all that happened. I also ask each client if they wish me to set up a time for a phone call, or do they prefer me to just contact them directly as needed. When I do have a client who wishes to set up times for phone calls, I always make a point of telling them the urgency of the situation so they know whether it can be done after work or something that needs to be done within an hour or two. In this way, the client is once again in more control over the social interactions. In other words, agents need to flexible to the needs of their clients with differing approaches to social engagement.
Sally nodded her head and said she was glad to have asked me that question. She knew that she could most of what she needed to do online so it was nice to hear me verify this for her. She was unaware of the level of detail she could impose on showing schedules and would make a point of clearly outlining her parameters with her agent. Finally, she was going to discuss her own unique requirements for a communications plan with whatever agent she selected. She said it was nice to hear that some agents would do this for her. She promised me an answer within three days. Three days later, she called me to set up another appointment where I found out that she had selected me.