Happy Birthday to me

First of all, let’s all wish me a happy birthday. How old? Let’s just say that, when faced with one of those “year born” drop down menus, I am now forced to scroll through so many decades that I routinely forget why I am there at all. Disoriented and defeated, I have no choice but to go back to petting the cat, which invariably leaves me wondering why they don’t have my reservation when I arrive at the hotel on Parents Weekend.

How old? As my grandfather used to say, at least I am now comfortable with the knowledge that I won’t die prematurely. So as I continue my quest to skew the actuarial tables, you are probably wondering what to get me, thinking that such a hugely accomplished real estate broker has everything. Truth be known, I do have too many Crockpots (one), enough Moses action figures (one), and too many dogs who should be on their last leg but are by all appearances healthy enough to outlive me, thereby preventing me from ever taking a vacation longer than a lunch date (one). Despite my awesome worldly possessions, however, I am actually pretty easy to shop for.

Here’s what I want.

1.     I want to go just 24 hours without fielding at least eighteen calls asking, “Are you the listing agent?”

2.     See number 1.

This blog is to blame, of course. I have a nifty little plug-in that displays all of the homes for sale in San Diego County (unless the agent has opted out, which is a slight technicality for another time – assuming I make it that long).  And, when people search by address, which they so often do these days, they land in great numbers here.  So, let me ‘splain something.

Just because my picture is on the sidebar does not mean that I am at the helm of all 13,342 active San Diego listings (Source: Sandicor MLS as of my birthday, information deemed reliable but not guaranteed, represents the activities of various brokers, and so on). If you scroll down to the bottom of each, you will see the name of the listing office. And if you are unrepresented, I am happy to provide you with information on any or all of these. Heck, we will even schedule appointments to show you these homes, because we have little key cards that open lock boxes and stuff, and that’s how we make a living!

Which brings me to the other thing I want.

3.     I want one day where people are upfront and straight with me.

We learned along time ago, back when I was, oh, not really, really old, to ask one little question before diving right into a research project and an afternoon at the phone banks scheduling appointments — “Are you currently working with an agent?” We don’t ask this to be mean or confrontational. We don’t even ask this with the intent of hog-tying you and throwing you in the back seat of our touring sedans in some evil ploy to “earn your business.”

We ask if you are working with an agent because, if you are, we can’t be your agent. It’s that simple. You only get one. And, if we aren’t your agent, it makes little business sense to divert our immediate resources to your cause, not to mention a small matter of fiduciary relationships and a Code of Ethics.

Please know that we like to be helpful. We are in a service industry, after all, so it’s not that we don’t want to help. It’s just that we get paid, not for our roles as Ask Jeeves, but for a successful, closed transaction in which we represented the buyer or seller.  If you are thinking about buying (or selling) and are in need of agents to represent you, we’re your guys! If you already have an established relationship with another agent, he’s your guy.

“Are you currently working with an agent?” we ask, and nine times out of almost ten the response is something like, “Uh, well, I, uh, I’m, let me think. Oh yes. Now I remember!” And then in a very loud voice of utmost confidence and assuredness, “I am not CURRENTLY working with an agent!”

What this generally means, we have learned, is that our caller is not currently working with an agent — as in this minute, right now, at this very point in time. Because right now, this minute, at this very point in time, our caller is in his bathrobe on the phone with us. It’s a technicality. Meanwhile, the agent our caller is not currently working with is on a cruise or otherwise indisposed. Like living in Merced. Or at their other job. Or busy booking a hotel for Parents Weekend.

I didn’t make it this long by being difficult. On the contrary, I am a really nice girl. Ask Steve. I respect that people have relationships with other agents. I even respect that they are looking only for the listing agent with some notion (misguided, perhaps, which is the subject of another post, assuming I live that long) that dealing direct is going to result in a bottom-line windfall. Just tell me so I can go back to the drop down box in search of a match resembling the dawn of the Pleistocene era.

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