Yet another sign that my market is slowing down: Everyone is paying waaay too much attention to me.
I have two open deals, a sale and a rental. (Or I suppose I should say, two immediate deals where I represent the owners. There are multiple deals where I’m tangled up with buyers, but in this climate those people could be buying three years from now.)
So anyway, I found out last week that I was going to need surgery on Monday. So I told my sponsoring broker, handed him keys so he could show on Monday, and called everyone I was working with on the deals and said, "Hey, I’m having surgery, the clock is stopped for 24 hours."
At 9 p.m. the night before the procedure, I was being asked for my sponsoring broker’s phone number, so some other agent’s boss could call my boss and get an explanation as to why I wasn’t making a handshake deal on the rental then and there. (My answer: because I’d been working for 12 hours straight and wanted to get some sleep before dealing with doctors. My boss’s more politic answer: because the owner wasn’t available, just as I wasn’t, until Tuesday.
When I bounced back up, a bright and shiny Energizer bunny, on Tuesday, everyone I dealt with would inquire politely after my health — and then proceed to overcommunicate with me. No matter what I said, I couldn’t really change the minds of others on this one. My idea of "taking it easy" is to sleep late and start work after 10 — thus providing for a nice, relaxing, merely 12-hour day — and I felt like I was explaining to other agents over and over again that I was doing this, like some sort of slacker.
And then it dawned on me — it’s not me. The other agents really don’t have enough to do.
It is standard, in New York, to make rental appointments 24 to 48 hours in advance. Some people try to slide that to 12, to accommodate last-minute clients, and some people will schedule on Wednesday for a weekend because they are just that efficient, but suddenly I had an agent asking me for an appointment nine days in advance. Nine days, do I know what’s going to be going on in nine days? I have no earthly idea. More importantly, even if I were the most organized Realtor in the world, neither do the current tenants who have to be worked around. But I truly think it’s just the climate, that agents are nervous and have too few clients, and are thus just trying to be too solicitous.
I was trying to explain this to someone who wanted to know my owner’s response to an offer on the rental that he’d made two hours ago. At the time, I had acknowledged receipt of the offer, and then, like the devil-may-care, just-had-surgery gal that I am, wandered off to the supermarket to buy some dinner. I had to bite my tongue to withhold the sarcasm of telling this broker that my client had not responded to an offer between 6 and 8 p.m. because I could not actually transmit an offer from (a) my underground train ride home and (b) a sub-basement grocery store.
Did I mention that this is for a lease term that doesn’t start for six weeks? By the time you read this, the owner still probably won’t have responded — like a normal person, she is off having a three-day weekend with her kids.
I was not yet a working agent during the real gold rush days, the days when buyers bid on things sight unseen because they feared "losing out." But I bet this is what it felt like, with a constantly ringing phone. I was on a conference call for an hour yesterday afternoon and got six messages. It’s crazier still when you consider that I’m still a relative newbie and my universe is limited, so I’m probably talking to all of, say, a dozen people.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re wonderful people, and they’re doing great jobs for their clients. It’s just that, in the current climate and with too few clients, they’re doing them constantly.
I’m not travelling anywhere for the holiday weekend: I hadn’t planned to before, and, though I’m feeling better, I’m way too pooped to make a run for vacation at the last minute. I’ll do some paperwork, and I’ll show a couple of times, and both properties now have offers so I’ll try to shepherd them along towards contracts. But I’m also going to take two whole days of rest, and I urge that as a plan for everybody else. If you’re reading this column at your desk, go home, or at least to the park to throw around a Frisbee. Not only is your presence at home a gift you can give your friends and family, your absence from the office is a gift you can give your colleagues!
Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of "Diary of a Real Estate Rookie."
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