As I sit here on the lanai, warm ocean breeze blowing in, palm trees swaying in the wind and I’ve just poured myself a glass of Merlot. My wife and I are celebrating our anniversary and I can’t imagine a better place to be than the West Side of Maui.
Even with the beauty and serenity of Maui, business must go on, and thanks to laptops, smart phones and a great assistant, I’m never completely out of the game. Places like Maui are great for reflection, and this trip has been no different. Most brokers know that once a vacation is planned, that’s precisely when business picks up, loose ends start multiplying and we start second guessing if we should really go away.
So sitting here, glass in hand admiring the beauty of God’s creation, I was reflecting on what we do, and why it is that we love the very things we also hate about this business. And for those of you wondering, I’m still working on that first glass, so this is not a drunken rant.
1.Clients- I really like people, and enjoy the privilege of being part of someone’s major life and financial decisions. I consider it an honor that people invite us into their life and trust us in these big decisions. Frankly, the more trust someone puts in me, the harder I work and the more I look out for their best interests. We have a fiduciary responsibility and I guard that sincerely.
The flip side are the clients who treat us as expendable, dictate how we should do our job, blame us for things out of our control, disrespect the work we do and challenge us every step of the way.
2.Realtors- I really like the honest professional realtors who understand the business, answer their phones, return calls, follow through on timelines and paperwork, and treat everyone with courtesy and respect. There are hundreds of these high quality realtors and the difference they make cannot be quantified. On the flip side are the other guys. They never answer their phone, don’t return messages, listing info is vague or inaccurate, and if you are lucky enough to track them down, they are rude and uninformative. Unfortunately they get away with it because in this market almost anyone can post a listing and get offers. The seller may get their property sold but in no way have they maximized their return on investment.
3.Laptops and smart phones- Boy are we connected, and with all the technology available there is no getting away from it. Just yesterday was the offer acceptance day for a home we have listed in San Jose. With 10-11 offers, the PDF’s were coming in and I spend the better part of the day reviewing offers, discussing the information collected by my assistant and then making recommendations to our client. Just a few years ago, I would have been sitting next to a fax machine waiting for it to ring. Now, whether I’m sitting in the room, walking on the beach or at dinner, all the information is in my hands. It’s great for connect-ability, but it’s difficult to turn off. As for me, a serious type A, the ‘always on’ nature of our devices doesn’t allow much down time.
4.Escrow- These are the unsung heroes of this industry. They sort out all the loans, payoffs, legal descriptions, ownership and vesting issues, find lost re-conveyances, and generally clean up all the messes. At the end of the day, both the buyers and sellers are completely taken care of and protected. From my point of view, both sides of the transaction pile a bunch of paperwork on their desk, they sort it out and hand us a check. What’s not to love about that! We use Chicago Title in Morgan Hill and they are simply the best.
5.Termite Companies- Most termite inspectors are good, honest hard working people who really want to do a good job and make sure that homes are bug free and no termite damage exists. However, some inspectors are a bit over zealous in what they report. Some of my pet peeves are the unnecessary shower replacements, the ever popular “mask and re-inspect” and almost every house has cellulose debris under it. We all want the inspection to be accurate, but calling out thousands of dollars in unneeded work just costs the seller money and risks the transaction closing.
6.Assistants- enough cannot be said for a good assistant. They keep files moving, timelines on track, buyers and sellers on task, agents focused on what’s needed, and brokers from becoming raving lunatics. Frankly, they make the office work and without them we would all have more grey hair.
There are certainly other areas I could comment about, but there is a half glass of Merlot and a captivating view I need to get back to.