I’ve been finishing up my continuing education (five hours to go) so I’ve been in the office nearly every day for a week.
This is pretty unusual for me, because I’m almost never in the office. If I’m meeting a client, I go to where the client is. If I have to run a computer search, I sit in my apartment.
I notice as I’m hanging out that the office is LOUD. All those other agents, yakking away about their own things. There’s a lot of trading info back-and-forth (“I have this listing, any customers for it?”) but nothing that I couldn’t get if I stopped in once a week.
The main reason to go, it seems, is that I can eavesdrop on my sponsoring brokers. Now whenever I have something complicated going on, I call in. My higher-ups are very good about assessing a situation and telling me how to react (“Well, if you lost that customer to another broker, here’s what you say so you sound classy and not sour”) but they also handle their own situations with their own listings.
And so, by eavesdropping, I’m learning – here’s what you say to the seller when the buyer breaks contract; here’s what you say to the landlord when he gives you a limited listing to drive him towards an exclusive; here’s what you say to the buyer to point out that interest rates have rarely been lower than they are today.
It helps strengthen my own internal agent voice – which is helpful, because sometimes the voice that comes out on the phone can sound squeaky when it’s unrehearsed.
I am now going into a new situation, which is that I’m going to pitch a listing to someone I had been courting online. I was excited to hear that they had a two-bedroom to sell – roughly a million-dollar property given the neighborhood they’re in – and not so excited to hear that their last agent had failed them.
I found out why as I did my research today – lousy floorplan; some strong design choices that make the place seem too aggressively individualistic; and, oh yeah, overpriced by four hundred thousand dollars.
That’s 40 percent. Now maybe I’m wrong, and that property is worth $1.1 million, so it’s 30 percent. Either way, pricing it at $1.4 million wasn’t just aggressiveness, it was wacky.
For one thing, who has the money to keep advertising a property above market? Even on the weeks when I only saunter in the office once, I know that’s the kind of expense my sponsoring brokers do not approve.
Secondly, let’s say the last agent turned out to be a genius and actually sold it at $1.4 million (she didn’t, of course, but bear with me as we voyage into the hypothetical world here).
What lender was going to approve a mortgage of over $1.1 million on a $1.1 million property?
Okay, in 2005, plenty of lenders, but in 2008?
So I am rehearsing in my head my speech that a seller can’t overprice that blatantly. (I’m not sure the phrase that is running in my head, “look, you’d need two idiots, one to buy and one to lend” is going to come off as charming).
I do not expect the sellers to suddenly get religion. If they overpriced heavily, they may well have needed the money, and my telling them I can’t get it for them might not necessarily coax them into being fans of mine. In fact, I do not expect to snag this listing at all, which takes the pressure off considerably. I am just looking forward to walking in and seeing another property in my area’s inventory. To me it will be a win if I can keep smiling, and end up sounding a fair bit like the senior people in my office.
Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of “Diary of a Real Estate Rookie.”