Friday, October 4, 2013

Playing Words with Friends and Selling Real Estate with Ethics

I have always loved to play Scrabble; so much so that my family will groan at the mere mention of this game as a potential pastime.When I received a Kindle last Christmas, I quickly installed and became hooked on Words with Friends and my family rejoiced!

I have a few people I play games with every evening. Some of the other players are really my friends and some are random opponents who are apparently as hooked as I am. (FYI—I refuse to put this or any other game on my phone or I would never get anything done.)

The other day my college student son saw me playing and said, “You know people cheat at that game, right?”

I said that yes, I did know. I know there are apps that will give the best words and online resources to find words ending with x or z. I could play that way too, but I don’t. There’s more sport in a game if you don’t cheat, plain and simple.   

Because it comes down to one word, ethics. But I am not naive; I do realize not everyone has the same ethics as I do...whether playing online or working in the real world.

When I do a market analysis, I play fair. A past selling client recently referred me to a friend of theirs by saying I was a “straight shooter”. I kind of liked that label. 

Even though these particular clients didn’t like all of the things I told them in regard to getting their Forest Lake home sold, I laid it all on the table, the good and the bad. And with work on both of our parts, their house did sell. It was sold within their time frame, budget and they now happily relocated out west.

With their strong recommendation, I was called in along with several very good agents that work the north metro to do a market to do a market analysis for another property. As always, I was honest with my market analysis and recommendations. A week later, I got the call. These sellers went with another agent. I was not surprised or upset by this…it happens when we are all good agents. So, I asked how the final decision was made and who they went with.

The wife’s answer floored me. They chose an agent from out of the area but who said she worked in the north metro. This agent also told them she “sells most of her listings in a day or two via word of mouth”.

Though were selling very quickly this spring certain metro communities, was an anomaly in the Forest Lake area when there are several new construction developments within a few miles selling brand new houses in the same price point. Most homes in this particular development stay on the market 3-4 months at the very least before receiving an offer. This was true even as the market activity increased because the builders in the area had really ramped up their construction efforts.

Telling a seller what they want to hear, whether it is price, timing or any other over promise is not the way I do business. My ethics just don’t allow me to puff up my abilities in that regard to get a listing.

When I was interviewed, I did say I had sold a couple of homes in a matter of days this past spring, but I also said the circumstances were very different. I could not guarantee the same results for their home. If I had over-promised or lead a seller to believe that I could work miracles when it came to their home sale, I would have to deal with their eventual disappointment. An upset client is never a positive in a service business. So I was up front and honest but lost the listing. I was not upset by this…it is the only way to “play the game” in my book. It is not about winning a listing. When it comes to my sellers expectations, I don’t play around.

So if you call me to do a market analysis of your home or list your house, rest assured, I will shoot straight. You might not like everything you hear, but I will be honest. Using this information, we can devise a plan together that will get your home sold. Like I said, it is all about ethics (and a lot of hard work too!)


Copyright 2013