As I transitioned to a career in real estate, I started to take closer note in how people choose their Realtor. I’ve heard people say “Well, my uncle used this guy 20 years ago,” or “I saw her face on a bus shelter,” or “I’m going to go with the same person we used last time, even though I didn’t find them very useful or helpful.”
It surprises me! Do you use a financial planner based on the number of their website hits? Or do you want to talk to them first? Do you keep going back to a hairdresser after they gave you a bad cut?
When interviewing prospective Realtors to list their home, some people are motivated by price only. They automatically go with the one that promises to sell it for the most money – even though the price is not realistic and the inevitable pressure for a price reduction starts a week later.
Some Realtors market themselves as accredited ‘luxury home specialists’, or ‘certified condo experts’ on their business cards to create the impression they are better qualified than their competition. But don’t be fooled: more designations doesn’t necessarily mean better customer service. It just means they have taken a short course at the Calgary Real Estate Board.
I’m not knocking marketing – it’s necessary and can be very effective. But just like any product or service, choosing a Realtor should be “caveat emptor” – Buyer Beware.
The best way to find a Realtor? Talk to people; get recommendations from friends you trust and family members you respect. Interview full-time, practicing Realtors to get a sense of how they work and what they know. Ask lots of questions. And never feel pressured to sign an agreement with a Realtor until you feel comfortable they are the right fit for you.
If they pressure you to do that, they’ll aIso pressure you into purchasing a home that’s not right for you, or to sell your home at a price that benefits only them.
You will get a lot further this way than by looking for letters on business cards or faces on bus shelters. There are over 5,000 Realtors in Calgary and, like any profession, there is an enormous range of personalities and levels of competence.
Amie and I have ongoing discussions on how to differentiate ourselves from the pack. We’ve started to look at increasing our social media presence – a must with millennial customers and most professionals.
But for us, attracting clients always comes back to something very basic and unglamorous – we build relationships and trust on a basis of respect, empathy and integrity. And we count on our current clients to advocate and refer us to their network (It also doesn’t hurt that if you refer us to someone who buys or sells with us, you’re entered into our year-end sweepstakes draw for fabulous prizes!).
I don’t want to sound as if most Realtors are difficult and unethical. Just remember that you deserve to get high-end treatment and service. If you don’t like your Realtor’s service, attitude or expertise – don’t put up with it. It’s too important a transaction to work with someone you don’t trust or like.
Have a great start to Summer and get out there and enjoy the gorgeous weather!