Asking The Right Questions
Being a good, able listener is one of the most important characteristics a Realtor can have. It's important to be able to listen to what my clients are telling me, and be able to process it in a way that ultimately adds value to them in their home buying or selling experience. Equally as important, is knowing what my clients are NOT saying - this can often tell me just as much.
That being said, part of being an effective Realtor is the ability to know how to ask the right questions. So, I thought I'd share a quick story about my grandfather. He was an old school, old fashioned kind of guy. He grew up in the Depression in a poor family in New Jersey as one of ten children. In seventh grade, he dropped out of school and shined shoes and delivered newspapers. He noticed the Business section one day and thought the high school economics classes should get daily copies for the students to read. So he asked around, found out nobody was doing it, and and soon became the supplier to the high school. He'd buy the papers for a penny and sell them for two. The school loved it, and he provided a valuable service. He knew how to ask the right questions.
Knowing how to ask the right questions is what frequently helps me get the job done for my clients. Just recently, a client of mine wanted to write an offer on a home that we knew was drawing significant interest. The listing agent said all offers would be reviewed in a couple days at a certain time. Naturally, I asked the listing agent what was important to the seller (aside from price, of course) so that we could structure our offer in the most attractive way possible, in addition to asking detailed questions about the home. It turned out the sellers needed a little extra time in their home after close for some personal reasons. I advised my client to consider allowing the seller the option to stay in their home after close (commonly referred to as 'seller occupancy' or a 'rentback period') for several weeks. We included this is our offer, which I presented in person to both the listing agent and sellers at her office. We were one of four offers, though I was only one of two agents who presented in person (the other two agents emailed their offers in). After sharing the details of my clients' offer and why he loved the home with the sellers, I waited in the hallway. I felt I had given a thorough presentation and represented my client well. About twenty minutes later, the listing agent came out to tell me that our offer was accepted. She said it meant a lot to her clients that I was the only one who had bothered to ask what was important to them and what they were hoping for, and that was why they wanted to work with us. I then went back into the room with the sellers and they said how excited they were to be working with us and they knew they had made the right decision (this is important as it set a positive tone for the rest of the transaction). It just goes to show that showing up, exercising "common sense", and knowing what to ask can make the difference for getting the home, or going back to the drawing board. And, in an ultra competitive real estate market like Burlingame, Hillsborough, or San Mateo, having the right Realtor piloting the plane for you can make a big difference.