Friday: I make plans for a renter to come in. He is relocating from, dig this, Iceland. This to me is so exotic that I could just die, because I grew up in Arkansas, and Iceland to me is as far away and exotic as the moon. I have a client who’s a moon man; I will be excited just to meet him.
Saturday: Iceland guy — let’s call him Leif, since everybody gets to be anonymous in this column, and my stock of Nordic names is not large — and I go to see an apartment. I bring my electronic measurer so I can tell him dimensions in meters, which I think is quite cross-cultural of me. Leif is shocked, but not too shocked, at how small the apartments are here. He is a little too early (we are looking at March inventory, and he would actually move in May) but the other broker is very nice about us pretty much wasting his time. Afterwards Leif and I go for a walk in the snow and he tells me about his country. This is the coolest job anyone could ever have.
Sunday: A different renter calls — this one, Karen, is a referral from a college friend. She is relocating from L.A., so I have no real desire to hear about her country. Still, I want to do right by my classmate, so I patiently go through the "I will find you stuff, but I know you will look on the Internet, so share what you see with me" drill. She is in a cab as I talk to her — I assume she is going to see friends. I spend three hours on the computer sorting through listings for her.
Monday: I go back and forth with Karen by e-mail on the merits of various apartments. I find out that when she was in a cab, she was on her way to an apartment, which she saw and liked, but doesn’t have any listing information for. So now I am selling against a black hole, with a client who doesn’t share information. I know how this is gonna end. I send the broker whose time I have wasted a tin of cookies from Zabar’s. I serve on a panel and find an old colleague who is house-hunting in the audience. She is excited to see me and tells me her business is "up for grabs."
Tuesday: My old work colleague remembers that she and her husband have been working with a broker after all. Well of course. I get a nice note from Leif — we make a pact to think about more apartments as it gets closer to May — and I send Karen a note that I have found nothing new, just to stay in contact. There is a birthday party for one of my old and dear friends so I go to it. There I meet clients whose business I lost when a competing broker got them to buy something he had — thus getting their sales listing. Well, now, looks like their listing isn’t selling for what the competing broker told them it would. I am a little smug about being right, but I would have rather had them as clients. Talk to another friend — let’s call him Bill — about taking a listing in a few weeks.
Wednesday: I do some publishing work and pay some bills. It has been awhile since a closing check and I think how it would be nice to have one. I hire a designer for a Web site for Bill’s property — I hate to spend money in advance of having the listing but I feel like it is the kind of market where I had better be proactive. I don’t hear from Karen at all.
Thursday: I have a lunch with the guy who is going to fix my life — one of those smart young whippersnappers who I am going to hire as a "tech shrink." We spend one hour together and already I feel more energized and productive — we’ll see if the glow stays or fades. I write my former work colleague that I would love to see her for drinks whether she needs me as a broker or not. I leave Karen a "Hey, whassup?" phone message. ("I haven’t gotten a response from you so I assume you’re settled but please check back in. …")
I know I am doing everything right, but did I mention that it has been awhile since a closing check and that it would be nice to have one?
Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of "Diary of a Real Estate Rookie."
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