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Monday, January 14, 2008

Just say no to a part-time effort…

It’s bad enough that 30-40% of the agents that you’ll meet in this business are only part-timers, now more and more of the small franchise operations in the area are becoming part-time companies – open for business only 5-6 days a week. Real estate is a seven-days-a-week business and the majority of the potential buyers only have weekends in which to look for a new house. It’s also an impulse-driven business, with many on-the-fly requests for showings.

So, as you re trying to choose a Realtor to list your house, ask your potential listing agent if his/her company is open seven days a week, with a real, live person on duty who can set up appointments to show your house. If the answer starts out “No, BUT,” run, don’t walk in the opposite direction. There are no "BUT’s" that really make sense or which will really do the job.

Many of the little, under capitalized franchise offices can no longer afford staff to answer the phones, especially on the weekends. Almost none of the little 1-2-man operations that are picking up lots of the foreclosure business these days have weekend hours. Call one of them to set up a showing on a Sunday and you’re likely to run into some telephone answering message that drones on about whether or not you know your party’s extension. The same thing happens when other agents from other companies try to set up appointments with them, too. Whose listings do you think get shown? Not theirs. Not yours, if that’s who you have representing you.

The same is true if your Realtor tells you that he/she has a day job (most times they won’t tell you that unless you specifically ask, and sometimes not even then). Having a part-time Realtor might not be as critical as finding out that the surgeon you’re scheduled to be operated on is only a part-timer, with a real job as a sales clerk at Macy’s or as a hair dresser at the Golden Locks Salon; but it does mean that he/she can’t possible react to the “I’m sitting in front of your listing and wondered if I could see it now?” calls that are so much a part of this business. You just aren’t getting what you deserve with a part-timer.

It’s a tough time in the real estate business and I don’t recall that famous saying (to paraphrase it a bit) going – “When the times get tough, the tough close up for the day.” As a consumer or a seller you deserve a full-service effort from your Realtor and the company that he/she works for. Ask the tough questions and don’t put up with the BUTs for an answer. It’s noon on Sunday afternoon, do you know where your Realtor is? Is he/she working for you? Is their company open and setting appointments for your home? Or, can you only leave them a voice message, if you know your party’s extension? Just say NO to a part-time effort.

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