This last month, I celebrated 17 years of selling homes full-time in Austin. Well, I didn't really celebrate offiically, but I passed a milestone nonetheless. During my career, I have worked directly with hundreds of clients, and I've trained and counseled agents on their transactions as well.
I'm thankful to report that our company has never been involved in a lawsuit or mediation. We've had a few situations go awry, but I've found that with the right combination of honesty, communication, and being proactive, almost every problem can be solved.
My last three clients came to me (one by referral) after firing their last agent. I don't know if this is a sign that there are a lot of new agents flooding the industry, or if it's a larger, more sweeping issue. I know that I've had to deal with my share of ineptitude and bad training from time to time.
Whenever I hear that someone has parted ways with their previous agent, I always want to hear the details, not because I'm interested in gossip, but because I want to make sure that their rationale is reasonable, so that I'm not next on the chopping block, so to speak.
In the most recent cases, it seems as though good communication skills would have gone a long way toward retaining the sales. As the eventual beneficiary, I'm not complaining, of course, but it's instructive to me.
One client mentioned that they were 5 days away from closing when they found out that the house didn't quite appraise (I think it was off by around $3,000). They weren't able to get it worked out, and it resulted in walking away from the deal and the agent as well.
Another client found a couple of homes that interested them, and their agent told them that he had placed offers on both of them. They were very clear with me that they had not signed ANY paperwork of any kind. Despite the fact that the agent obviously didn't present any real offers, that wasn't the reason that they decided to go in a different direction. Instead, they were upset that he had shown them a good number of properties, then when it was time to write an offer, he "demanded" a pre-approval from them.
Needless to say, this could have been avoided early in the process, by sending them to a good lender and getting them pre-qualified. Instead, he somehow managed to present this as a hurdle rather than a necessary part of the process before they found the home of their dreams.
Both cases were strong reminders that it really doesn't take much to lose a sale. I've always tried to communicate clearly with my own clients, although I've certainly made mistakes in this department. I can't remember the last time I lost a client, thankfully, which is a blessing.
Quick lessons: Be honest. Communicate openly. Be proactive about admitting your mistakes. Apologize if needed. Keep your clients.
Thanks for reading!
If you're looking for a home in the Austin area, you can also visit my primary website at www.austintexashomes.com. Thanks!