Realtors are Scardy Cats!

Happy Halloween Everyone!  And this is not a Halloween spoof it’s TRUE, some realtors are plenty scared these days.  At least from what I hear and see in the field!  The other day I met with a broker and what I heard and noticed was well, daunting and interesting to say the least.

Meeting with this broker was my second occasion but quite honestly, he didn’t remember me – Oh well, I’ll have to work on that..ugg!  Anyway, what I noticed when I laid eyes on him this time almost made me stutter.  

Three years ago he was well put together with a trendy fresh haircut, snazzy cloths, and a sparkle in his eye.  I was very impressed by him and his energy screamed ‘leader’.  What I saw the other day was more like a man who you know is clearly handsome but, someone had put him in a punching bag and beat him up a number of times.  He was visually worn, exhausted and almost frail.  It was so sad to see him this way.

During our meeting my goal was to help him.  I was asking for an opportunity to speak at one of his realtor sales meetings.  I had a FREE home staging service to offer sellers with vacant homes.  After all, in this market sellers need all the help they can get and FREE is exactly what they want.  What he said to me was nothing short of daunting.  Here’s how it went…..

Broker: (not a quote but a summary)  Well Lise, although I appreciate the service you offer and know it well, I’ve made a decision to stop all vendors from coming to our meetings until our spring season.  You see my realtors are just tired of being sold.  (I’m thinking, I’m not selling anything to your realtors, I never do!)  I can’t even get them to the meetings these days.  This is partly because they’re feeling pressured by vendors who are asking them to ask their clients for money or worse, asking them for money for services and this is turning them off, shutting them down.  In fact, the agents in my organization who were once top producers for many years and I mean the ones who have been around this business for a very long time, are not adjusting well.  Right now, I’m focused on getting them to transition from traditional selling strategies to more Internet savvy professionals. (Well that made plenty of sense to me, realtors must get on board.)  It took me three years in my last office to get the agents to adjust, I just don’t have that kind of time.  Next year is right around the corner and I need to work on that.  I just can’t risk my realtors feeling sold!

End of meeting pretty much!

I could see clearly by the energy in the room it was pointless for me to continue.  The fear was as thick as a foggy night in London and as spooky as a haunted house.

Having said that, I want you to know this broker and his reputation are both very good. I know for a fact, he is a very good leader who’s enjoyed a great deal of success with many awards and achievements.  But really, if his realtors aren’t making money then I would think helping them do so would be the first priority when it comes to retention. What is the point of teaching them to adjust to the new world market if they can’t put food on the table in the meantime with services that help them sell their listings? FREE is FREE and quite honestly, I’m not saying FREE just to the realtor (all my services are) this service is FREE to the seller.  Here’s what I know about selling a vacant home….

1.  A seller with a vacant home is the most vulnerable as buyers especially today, are looking for distressed properties.  The assumption all buyers make when viewing a vacant home is ‘This seller must be desperate!  He surely has another house to live in and is likely paying two debts.’  100% of the time a buyer especially now, will low-ball the seller.  Never do they offer to pay the true value of a vacant home. 

2.  In a market such as this I consider it a reatlors fuduciary responsibility to present all marketing options to their clients, particularily those that are cost effective and I believe FREE is.  If these are the toughest times any of us have seen in our industry then realtors should gather every bit of information available and make it their job to advise their client.  It’s the sellers responsibility to determine what’s right for them. After all, it’s the seller who has the most skin in the game.

3.  When times get tough the tough get going.  Here’s the thing, I’ve been training and managing sales forces for years and what is always clear is tough times is a good time to let those who really can’t cut the mustard go.  The ones who want to change, grow and learn from the adversity and will make the transition.  We’ve all read ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’, haven’t we?  Shielding sales people as though they are weak will only keep the dead weight around.  By the way, there’s nothing worse then unmotivated or uncooperative people in a sales environment.  They can effect an entire group – like wildfire!

4.  This is not the time to hold back.  Getting aggressive now is the only way we’ll get through this mess.  Marketing real estate with purpose and getting it sold is the only way for us to recover.  Doing all we can like introducing FREE services or anything of value to a seller can only help, never hurt.

5.  Realtors should never pitch a home stager’s services.  That’s right, and I don’t expect them too.  In fact, would a realtor send a mortgage broker into a listing presenting to present the realtors value proposition?  I doubt it.  The realtor only needs to understand what the FREE home staging service is about.  It would be easy for them to refer their seller to the home stager who is the most qualified person to explain the value.  So, I wasn’t asking the broker to let me sell the idea to his realtors.  I want to sell the service to the seller.  By the way, here are the sellers financial advantages with this FREE service.

1.  Sellers get a FREE staging service therefore, saving thousands of $$$ in staging fees.  NICE!

2.  The utilities are paid for through the service offering therefore, helping the seller save that expense.  Also, the home will be maintained at a comfortable temperature for buyers to linger in.  All too often sellers of vacant homes think they’re doing themselves a favor by saving on utility bills. Read this blog to learn more why that never works.  http://www.homestagingatlanta.net/sellers-save-money-turning-down-thermostats-i-say-not/

3.  Vacant homes are vulnerable to theft.  The insurance industry agrees.  When a seller no longer has a vacant home he saves on insurance premiums, not to mention the anguish of a home invasion.  Have you ever had anything stolen?  It’s absolutely terrible.  The loss of property makes you feel violated which is bad enough.  The time it takes to replace the items and the expense of deductables and increased insurance premiums make this experience a tragedy.  

4.  Staged properties sell in half the time according to USA Today.  In my experience, even faster.  The last mid priced home I staged sold in 60 days.  The home before that was in a higher priced neighborhood that had not seen a sold property in more then 18 months, it sold in 4.5 months.  How about them apples!!!

5.  A staged home allows the buyer’s impression to be elevated.  Let’s face it, where is the emotional value in an empty space?  There’s none whatsoever.  Since a buyers assumptions and impressions are so heavily involved when it comes to an offer to purchase a home, let’s not give them any reason to low-ball a seller.  Do the math, what do you think a seller can gain from being offered this FREE staging service?  

Clearly, FEAR is the worst emotion for any professional or seller to feel while trying to sell a home. This emotion will get you nowhere fast and worse, it will only prolong the misery.  All real estate professionals need to be creative and think outside the box. Whether that means learning more Internet skills to get up to speed with our new global economy (which I strongly recommend) or learning about every possible marketing strategy that will help to make dollars and sense.

Attitude is EVERYTHING if you plan to manifest success!

Final Comments:

Some of you may think I’ve taken this opportunity to vent.  That’s not the case. Rather, I saw an opportunity in an adverse situation to share some truth about the times we live in.  If I had a dollar for every realtor I know who is not only adjusting to the times but is seeing success in this market, I’d be a very rich woman.  These realtors are making it happen and making it happen for my home staging business as well.  I only wanted to share this experience to help those who are working in fear. There is nothing to fear but fear itself.  Change is good, even the changes were faced with now.  What you feel about change is what will make the difference.  I sincerely hope we all change when needed for the better.

Hope this helps! 


Lise Desormeaux

Founder | RMR Real Estate Marketing Results, Inc.

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