My motto “Real Homes. Real Life.” reflects my emphasis on the tangible and human dimensions of real estate. A house or apartment is made of real physical components put together in a particular way to define a living space. This object transforms over time. It needs to be maintained by real human beings with skills, our vanishing under-appreciated tradesmen and women. Outside the windows, there is a real physical world, composed of some mixture of nature, public infrastructure, neighbors’ homes — some kind of human community. This all might seem incredibly obvious, but it is the interaction with people, homes and neighborhoods along these dimensions (rather than as commodities) that makes the real estate business worthwhile for me. It’s much more interesting than stock trading (which I’ve also done).
My professional style
I try to be a good listener who asks a lot of questions to help folks get their best possible results. I adapt to the client’s style. For example, some people know just what they want, and would like to get past the house hunting with minimal hassle. So, with them I focus as efficiently as possible to just “git er done.” Others need help clarifying just what they want, so I need to ask a lot of questions to help them clarify their thinking. I make suggestions and offer gentle critiques to make sure they are really committed.
My approach with buyers
Buyers tend to locate themselves at various points along what I call the “head to heart spectrum.” At one extreme are those who are all about data — price per square foot, age of the major systems, resale value, commuting distance, and so on. At the other extreme are those who simply fall in love (or hate) with a house. They may have an alarming willingness to overlook some hard facts. Personally I am able to play along the entire spectrum, and adapt to the client’s style. Often that means I am called upon to play the advocate for the role furthest from the client — for example, the person who falls in love with a wreck in a neighborhood with stagnant values might need to be reminded that their investment may never pay off financially. But I’m there to point things out, not to tell people what to do.
There are some obvious basic parameters to be clarified as soon as possible with home buyers. For example budget, number of rooms, location, property size, and lots of ancillary features (pool, lawn, privacy, horse farm?). It’s rare that anyone has a fixed list of requirements that doesn’t vary once we get into looking at properties. So again, questioning and listening skills become important. I have a lot of patience.
When I visit homes with buyers, I tend to get really involved. I’m pretty knowledgeable about home construction and maintenance, and I use that knowledge to point out issues that might be important to a future homeowner. Or I will point out ways in which a house may or may not be well adapted to the client’s needs as I understand them — for example, for a client who works from home, is it important that the home office is in a basement with no bathroom? Some buyers like to get down and dirty, troubleshooting issues or just trying to figure out how things work. I get right down there with them — I’ve been known to crawl into crawl spaces with house hunters!
My approach with sellers
I find that selling a house can require a lot of up front discovery too. There are inevitable trade-offs, and it pays to explore the client’s priorities at the very start. Some of the items to prioritize include listing price, price flexibility, showing flexibility, timeline, amount of effort and investment they are willing to put in up front, potential inspection issues and how far they might go to address them either in advance, before closing or simply as a cash credit, and so on. The process from listing through contract negotiation, inspection, appraisal, and remediation to closing can be complex, unpredictable and stressful. I believe I am well-equipped, as a former life coach, to shepherd sellers through the challenges.
When working with sellers, I believe my job is to help the house to sell itself, with a focus on setting the right price and carefully crafting the marketing plan. I prepare a thorough analysis of recent sales, the current competition, and market trends, along with detailed consideration of each home’s unique features, to help sellers set their price and prepare their house to highlight all it has to offer. My goal is to attract the right buyers – those for whom the house will feel like home. By the way, when I’m under contract to represent a seller, I’m as much committed to the process as they are. So I’ve been known to get physically involved in the house preparation process, including carpentry, painting and furniture moving. It’s a partnership.
A house should be both a sound investment and a home to make memories in — nobody should settle for less.
A buyer can approach a home purchase strictly from a financial investment point of view or from a lifestyle point of view. I aim to ensure that my clients are fully satisfied on both scores.