Clients and agents – whose taste is it?

I think one of the most interesting parts of being an agent is working with people. Yeah, I know, that sounds so cliché. But what I like about it is kind of similar to my past life as a designer. When I designed a logo or a website, as much as I wanted to do what I wanted (and knew was the best solution), I always had to take into account what my client wanted. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just blindly do what the client asked. I pointed out to him why what he wanted was NOT the best solution, or we don’t use the color blue just because that is his favorite color. I broke down the design, explaining how the elements represented the company or product, and how the identity being established would appeal to the audience. But I did listen, and if he insisted on having a dog in his logo, I would find someway to make it work.

Real estate is not quite that easy. When a buyer tells me what they are looking for in a home, it is up to me to interpret what they want and need and find the best homes for them to view. The choices are endless, and yes, price plays into it, but there are many other features in a home that I know would appeal (or would definitely NOT appeal) to a client. But I need to listen to what they want. I may have a client that absolutely has to have a lap pool in their basement. Nothing I would want, nor would I find it very practical, but they want it and it is my job to find it for them. Just like if I have a client who has five kids and three dogs, looking at a house with no backyard is pointless, in my opinion.  I still show them their options, and they may love the house, but it is my job to keep it all in perspective. (See comment and my reply regarding this-HG) While it is true it may not be the best fit for them, I do show these houses to the buyer, as they may still love  the house and are willing to make sacrifices to make it work for them (i.e. taking the kids and dogs to the park to play.) While it is my job to point out the shortcomings, it is also my job to listen to my client and let them make the decision for themselves.

Same to be said for sellers. It is my job to make sure that their house shows to its full potential, and that I can point out the key features to any prospective buyers. That seller may love their doll collection, but I need to point out (in a very diplomatic way) to them that people coming to look at the house don’t really want to see dolls. They want to see the HOUSE. Or that lap pool in the basement may not be for everyone, but I can point out the benefits to having it right at your disposal. Maintenance is easy and you can exercise all winter!

But the most important thing I need to do with buyers or sellers is LISTEN. Because my tastes may not be their tastes, and my ideas of practical may not be their ideas. It is my job to find out exactly what they want and need and be able to deliver.

So real estate is alot like design. It is delivering an end product that is useful and appeals to the market. Kind of like dating: there is something (or someone) for everyone.


  1. #1 by Jack on September 22, 2007 - 8:13 pm

    “Just like if I have a client who has five kids and three dogs, looking at a house with no backyard is pointless. They may love the house, but it is my job to keep it all in perspective.”


    As a seller this agents attitude drives me crazy!! It’s the same attitude my selling agent seems to have. That’s why my house is not being shown very often. Real estate agents seem to feel that “they know” what their buyer wants… NO. Hello, buyers have the Internet, access to MLS, broker websites and are taking a more pro-active approach to finding the right home for themselves. They no longer need a real estate agent to “steer” them in the right direction (pat, pat, pat). Look, in this tight real estate market do your buyers a favor and show them a wide range of homes and locations. Let them decide if they want the house without the backyard. Maybe they just might opt for selling the dogs and get a cat that the kids have been after for years.


  2. #2 by kelidir on September 23, 2007 - 11:36 am

    Jack, I’m sorry as it seems you have had a bad experience. I should have clarified, I DO show my clients those homes, even if I feel it is not exactly what they are looking for. I just had a client who was a single woman and didn’t like the winter. As we are in Western NY, we get our share of snow. I showed her a house that had no garage and had no basement. I knew she didn’t want to have to clean off her car come winter, and I know she wanted storage, but she loved it and ended up buying it. So I understand your point, but a good agent will show their clients everything, but help them understand what they are buying.

  3. #3 by Jack on September 23, 2007 - 1:29 pm

    Kelidir, Thanks for the speedy reply. It’s good to hear that you are showing your clients everything available even if it might not seem like the perfect match at first.

    Question: do you have any inside tips on how to entice real estate agents into showing a home more often? Bare in mind that we’ve done all of the usual stuff that the agent tells sellers to do, clean, polish, fix, update etc. We’ve had two real estate tours with positive feedback from the local agents and numerous open houses. Not to mention a large price reduction. Our agent says we are competitively priced and still only two realtor showings a month! I know all real estate markets are different and you can not speak to a specific location, but a general tip could be helpful if you a have one.

    Thanks, Jack

  4. #4 by kelidir on September 24, 2007 - 12:02 pm

    Hi Jack. It sounds like you have done a lot of the right things. I know it is a tough market right now, but has your agent done any mailings? Direct mail is a good tool to use to get the word out to a number of people, and it can be directed to those in a certain area who may be interested in a house in your neighborhood/price range, etc.

    I am a huge proponent of marketing and advertising (as that is my background) and I know how important it is. What is your agent using for marketing your home? Newspaper ads, internet, direct mail? And make sure your home on the internet has GREAT photos and thorough descriptions.

    If all of this has been done and still no luck, I would still keep up with the direct mail and offer some kind of enticement to agents to show their clients your home. Maybe a prize (gift certificate to dinner or a store) to be given at the end of the month through a drawing to agents who have come thru an open house or leave their card. Something to get them in the door.

    I hope this helps. Keep me posted on your home!

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