Consider this a post in humility. I was looking back at all of the posts written since 2007, and I discovered that few, if any, detailed mistakes that I have made. I decided that if I was expecting folks in San Carlos to rely on what I write on this site, I needed to give a balanced assessment of things done correct and incorrectly as it relates to my involvement in San Carlos real estate.
So, that being said, here are the four mistakes I have made in my career as a realtor:
(1) Predicting the Market. I was as guilty as anyone in else in 2005. Our market was on fire and for every obstacle that was put up, banks seemed to have a loan program as a legitimate way around the issue. Ten percent down, five percent down, nothing down, negative amortization….it was truly unending. The one thing I have learned with the market as it relates to San Carlos is that our market is tied to the local economy and the Dow Jones. Predicting the economy is beyond my pay grade and it is probably that way for most realtors as well. The only thing myself and other realtors should be doing is giving you an assessment of the current market.
(2) First Impressions Matter More Than You May Think. Luckily, I discovered this early on. Many buyers wholeheartedly believe they can see through clutter, homes that have not been staged, slight remodel adjustments, etc. The truth is that most cannot. It’s not because they do not know what they want or cannot visualize the finished product, it’s because of the emotion involved. Many buyers will tell you that they can be 100% objective and will not be emotionally involved in the house. This is absolutely false. Whether buyers want to admit it or not, a home is an emotional decision on some level. It is where your family will live. Making the home as comfortable as possible on that first impression and showing off the best parts of the home through staging is absolutely crucial. A home simply cannot be rushed to market. You get one chance to make it look its very best.
(3) Realtor Stereotypes. Prior to leaving my firm and going to work in real estate, I was very much aware of the realtor stereotypes. I still am. My experience has been that many of those stereotypes are true and more. Real Estate is a cutthroat business where ethical behavior and client advocacy is a moving target for some. I fell victim to believing that this was the norm and it altered my view on the industry. However, what I learned over time is that there are a handful of realtors who are some of the brightest, hardest-working and selfless individuals that I have ever met. Many of them go unnoticed, except by the clients they represent. When your realtor tells you that the agent on the other side of your deal is important, it is probably the largest understatement they will make during the process.
(4) Real Estate Life vs Personal Life. If there was one part to being a realtor that I completely underestimated, it was the time involved. I’ve billed 2,500 hours in law firms. I’ve pulled all-nighters more times than I care to remember. The one thing I can tell you is that for agents who are top producers, the workload is heavier and there is no down time. In order to produce at high levels and give your clients the service they deserve, you are pretty much on-call 24/7. The amount of family dinners, birthdays and holidays that you end up working through is incredible. You are never really off the clock. Odds are, at any given time you have a few clients in contract with the biggest transaction of their life and you are their lifeline. It’s an anxious time for them and you want to make sure all of their questions and concerns are handled immediately. What makes this difficult is when those calls come right as you are reading a book to your kids, at a school open house or just having dinner as a family. I have always taken a great deal of pride in actually answering my phone and responding immediately. The most difficult thing for me as a realtor has nothing to do with real estate itself. It has everything to do with finding the appropriate line between being on-call and being a dad. This is one mistake I am still working on. So if you see me on the soccer field or softball field looking at my iPhone…feel free to grab it and throw it away : )