I have a new listing on the market and it’s generating a lot of excitement — a few dozen visitors in the first week and a half it’s been listed. As a result, I have not only seen clients in various shapes and sizes, I have also seen just about every style of buyer’s broker imaginable. In a world where the listing is in play (and people don’t necessarily know that they’re going to be written about) I don’t want to be too specific, but here are some composite impressions that might be helpful to buyers and buyer’s brokers everywhere.
It’s OK to talk to me. There seems to be a type of buyer who plays his or her cards close to the vest by adopting a stern, impassive expression, making the circuit through the apartment, and saying nothing. You know what? There are other things I can use to gauge a buyer’s level of interest, like the length of time she spends in the property. If a buyer doesn’t say one word but spends twice as long at the open house as every other visitor does, I’m going to assume that she likes it. If you’re the buyer, you’re already betrayed, so go ahead and smile.
If you yourself are the buyer and you bring a friend, I’m going to sell to the friend.
Desperation does not equal seriousness. In other words, the people in most urgent need of inconvenient appointments are not my buyers. Yes, I will try to accommodate them to get a good reputation in the brokerage community, and to up my traffic numbers so I can tell the seller I’m showing my tail off. But if someone is a "quick decision-maker" who is "financially qualified" but only available for "those two hours" — they’re probably not a buyer. Or they are the buyer of a property that’s not mine, and they need a stalking horse. If you’re their broker, I will help you if I can, but I’m not cancelling my doctor’s appointment for you.
If a broker has a very technical question, then their customer is interested in the property. But if the customer has a very technical question, they will never come back to the property again. Corollary on buyer language: If a buyer tells me, "my wife needs to see it," that usually means, "my wife needs to see it." If a buyer tells me, "I’ll be in touch," I’ll expect his call right around the time I’m getting Brad Pitt’s.
Good agents paint the picture. "You could put the dining table here or here"; "if you wanted to move this wall and open up the space, you could"; "this location would be so convenient for you to get to work" — all these were good comments, and when they were made by buyer’s agents, I saw the sparkle in their customers’ eyes. If a buyer’s agent is silent, they’re all comments I’m gonna make anyway, so you might as well jump in ahead of me and look smart.
The friendliest agents tend to be the agents who are right around my age. I assume this rule holds true for everybody, and that agents in their 30s are nice to other agents in their 30s, that agents in their 50s are nice to agents in their 50s, etc. But there’s a quality that’s even better than friendliness, graciousness. The wealthiest agent I met — judging from her clothes, her jewelry and her handbag — was also the most gracious agent. I’m taking a cue from that, and putting "go to charm school" on the list right next to "take more technical Web classes."
Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of "Diary of a Real Estate Rookie."
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