I wake up feeling awful, like I’m hungover, but I’m not. I make myself a cup of coffee and search the house for anything with sugar in it, which turns out to be a square of chocolate with a photo of a Midtown condo development on it. I am not particularly hungry for anything else, which leads me to wonder if I have brain cancer.
I have nothing to do till 4:30 – when I have an interview for a writing assignment – so I decided to spend the day trolling for and playing with buyers. First I go to a craigslist forum, first time I’ve ever done that, and reassure the guy who has been told that the closing costs on a $250,000 house will run him $25K. I write a well-reasoned, reassuring, top-financial-guru kind of post, and only later notice that he’s in Philly. D’oh!
Then I have a FSBO in my building that’s an open listing, so I spend some time crafting a craigslist post on that. I go over and over the copy about the apartment, honing it to perfection so that a reader would buy just this apartment and nobody else’s, and then I notice an hour has gone by. An hour! Is playing on the Internet really working?
Time is so elastic with me, it feels like nothing ever gets done. I have a strategy to fight this, which is that I am going to go forth in the world and buy a day planner. Sure, I’m being too reactive now, but once I have a Filofax and a fistful of colored pencils, lookout, world!
On my way to the stationery store, I work on my column for two weeks from now, a sort of complicated idea that will take a while to pull off. My lips must be flapping because people move away from me on the sidewalk, ever so slightly. They’re probably not potential clients anyway.
Back home, my buyers who are looking for a share e-mail me. These are clients who came in the classic way: I dangled my listing on craigslist, they asked about it, and I showed enough knowledge and personality that they agreed to look at properties with me.
Unfortunately, the thing I’ve picked out for them is a Wallpaper Magazine-like dollhouse, with a 10-foot bedroom, a 7-foot bedroom and a bar fridge in the kitchen. The agent isn’t releasing square footage, but 500 is a safe bet. Not only is it too small for two full-sized people, my buyers have seen it before. I wonder at this, because of course I’d sent them the floorplan, and you’d think a 7-foot bedroom would be kind of memorable.
To make up for the fact I haven’t shown them anything new and good, last night I had written a sort of overview memo, saying, sure there are 10 listings, but they really just fall into four categories and this will help you think about them. Now they want more info, and I send them directly to some of the selling agents’ Web sites. Am I an Internet-savvy client servicer, or a moron who just kissed her commission goodbye? Too early to tell.
Another buyer, Joe, is back, with a slightly elevated price range, so I run him a new search and try to book a couple of new appointments.
Then the day is almost gone. I’ve been on the phone and the computer all day with absolutely nothing to show for it. My friend Kevin calls.
“How are you doing?” he says.
“I can’t tell. I’m flogging my listing, and that will eventually get sold, so that’s a commission, but my two buyer clients I can’t tell. One may not have enough money to truly buy anything and I may have given the others enough information to walk.”
“Why’d you do that?”
“They were young and tech-savvy and I positioned it as part of my terrific client service. I had a writing assignment, and I didn’t want to not hold up the speed of the transaction while I did it. I’m hoping they’ll feel grateful, and not skip.”
“Well, you’re learning,” he said. “If they don’t skip, you’ve got a commission, and if they do you’ll never do that again. It sounds like you’re doing the right things. It’s not like you’re sitting around eating bonbons.”
No, he’s right, I’m not. Photo chocolates of luxury condo developments don’t count as bonbons, do they?