Tuesday, April 20, 2010


In the real estate business your clients are everything. No clients, no business, no business, no late night shopping sprees on iTunes. I am really fortunate to have a lot of cool clients who then refer their cool friends, family and co workers to me and the cycle of being around fun and interesting people continues!

My clients needs are sometimes very similar but often they aren't. At any given time I could be working with a buyer that wants a move- in ready place, a seller that is looking to downsize or an investor who wants to buy cheap and sell high. In any of these scenarios or in any real estate transaction--the key to successfully getting a client what they want is clear and honest communication on my side and theirs.

I was thinking about the way I communicate with clients and people in general recently. Specifically, I was thinking about the way we perceive ourselves and then communicate this perception and how sometimes our perceptions may differ from reality. I see this manifested in the client-Realtor relationship most often with first time homebuyers who perceive themselves to be fixer upper types.

The idea of taking something rough and making it into something lovely and all your own is such an inticing idea and I fully understand why it is so appealing to people, especially creative people. DIYing is also very attractive financially to many people. "Sweat equity" is a term that exists for a reason.

Ok, so here's the straight dope. Everything will be harder and more costly than you thought it would be, a total remodel will take up all of your time and if you are living in the property while remodeling, it will suck. If you are cool with all of that, you should totally do it. Also, just like with everything in life there are degrees of difficulty and ease involved in making changes to a property. For example-- pulling up carpet is easy, but installing a sink is harder than you might think!

This brings me back to my original discussion about how we perceive ourselves. It is so important that clients engaged in the home buying process are honest with themselves and their Realtor about who they are as people, what they like to do on a daily basis and what they hope to achieve from home ownership. I meet many clients that initially want a fixer upper, and once they get out and look at properties that need work and they start to be more honest about who they are and how they want to spend their time, they discover that remodelers they are not. It is always interesting how people come to this realization.

So, what I am getting at is that it's always good to be honest with oursleves about who we are, but it is not always easy. I want to be the person that can knock out a wall, plant a garden, fix the dishwasher and give myself a home perm all at the same time, but I am not that person. It has taken me quite awhile to admit that--but now that I have, I am better at the stuff I am good at doing.

If you work with me, I will ask you all kinds of questions about your lifestyle and what you want out of your home. Questions like :

How important is it that you are near places you can walk to and get a coffee or the paper or whatever?

Do you need lots of yard space for gardens, dogs, babies, bunnies, chickens, underground tunnels etc.?

Have you ever painted a room?

Did you take wood shop in High School and if so, did you do well?

Have you ever been inside an attic space? Did it freak you out?

Are you REALLY going to cook every meal at home or do you have Pizza Hut on speed dial in your phone? You can tell me and I will not judge you.

And last but not least---Do you need help with that home perm? I am available. I am a FULL SERVICE REALTOR.

Those questions are kind of a mix of silly and serious, but I think you get the point. It is not just the "am I fixer upper or not" question that we need to ask ourselves when we are shopping for a home, but the "how do I want to spend my time and what is important to me about where I live" type questions that require a lot of self awareness to answer honestly.

I am here to help you get there if you aren't there already.

Oh- and PS: I have been in more attic spaces than I can count and I still get a little freaked out. Every time.