A client I met in the spring is close to buying, and we did our walkthrough today. I don’t know if lots of you have encountered the “smaller/bigger” phenomenon (or even if it has a real name) but that’s what I call a client’s reaction to seeing a place for the second time (“it looks so much smaller than I remember it”) and then for the third time (“it looks so much bigger than I remember it.”)
Because most buyers and renters seem to have this response, I usually try to make sure that the client has gotten in at least once during the acquisition process so that the walkthrough can be on that magic visit #3, when everything looks bigger again.
That way, at the same time that they’re feeling a magical sense of ownership of “Wow, this place is going to be mine,” they can feel that it’s big as well.
So anyway, no major problems. All the kitchen appliances worked, and we even remembered to turn off the stove at the end. Plenty of water pressure and no leaks in the plumbing (unlike the apartment I currently live in). There were scratches in the floors from the seller’s move-out, but nothing huge, nothing that couldn’t be sanded out. And for once, the standard that the apartment should be delivered broom-clean was actually met. The seller was even nice enough to remember to leave manuals for all the appliances in the cabinets, which is one of those bonus-point things I’m going to remind all my future sellers to do.
And it really is a beautiful apartment. I’m not yet selling in volume — I’d better learn some of those tips and tricks soon if I want to find money to pay my taxes — but the upside of my little artisan business is that I really like my clients and the properties that I put them in. I’ve only been doing this for a little over a year, but I’ve never yet put anyone in a home that I wouldn’t have bought myself — it will be a sad day when I’m no longer able to say that, I think.
But back to walkthroughs. What I love about them is that they present an opportunity to focus on the re-affirmation part of selling. You want to always be closing, right, even if it’s not in a David Mamet-y way, and here you have this poor little buyer who’s just been crunching all the numbers about how expensive it’s going to be to move. They’re worrying about the wisdom of spending all that money. They’re worrying about the hassle of putting all their worldly goods, most of which are breakable, into boxes. And then you get to watch their eyes light up when they take the apartment out for a test drive.
All the stuff that you’ve said before, that patter along the lines of “imagine yourself behind the wheel of this shiny new Lincoln!” Well, suddenly, you’re standing next to them and they are imagining it. You get to pull them out of icky, icky reality with its grungy procedural detail, and then get them back into that fantasy place again.
What’s more, they do most of the work. Leave a buyer alone in the living room (OK, I work in NYC, so sometimes it’s the only room) and they’ll start running around telling you where the sofa and end tables are going to go, and asking your advice on window treatments. Meanwhile, all you have to do is flip a few light switches and make sure there’s a smoke detector.
Lots of parts of our jobs are tough, but this one doesn’t take much labor. And on that note, happy long weekend everyone!!
Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of “Diary of a Real Estate Rookie.”