A Day in the life of a Main Line Realtor® – Part 14
As a Main Line Realtor®, I generally work with one or two clients at a time. In part, that is how the business comes in and in part, I screen new clients and refer out those I do not think will be a good fit or who need something I am unable to offer. In my previous career as an attorney at a large law firm, I was taught to treat each client so that they think they are the only client you have. That was one of the definitions of excellent client service. With that comes, of course, the expectation that you are available 24/7. As my latest client noted in a text to me recently: “You know you can have no life, right?”
Being a good Realtor®, whether on the Main Line or anywhere, involves heavy negotiating with multiple parties at a time, especially during the inspection phase. Your clients are one of the parties you have to negotiate with and they can be irritable if they are unable to reach you at all hours. They feel a lot of stress, may disagree between them as to the best course of action, or they may insist on positions that are not in their best interests.
As the inspection negotiations proceed, tensions increase, the parties’ views of the other side can become distorted and minor items take on monumental importance. This part of the transaction is complex. If my clients are buyers, I have to manage their concerns as pointed out to them by their inspector and package them so that the selling agent can explain to the sellers, who want to proceed with the transaction without undue expense or risk. If I represent the sellers, I have to explain what the buyers are asking for and what the sellers’ options are, all in an atmosphere where both sides are feeling they are at the end of their abilities to compromise.
I had a lawyer friend once who called this situation the “Grandma’s Quilt” conundrum. She said in a divorce situation, she would always get the sides to finally agree on all the aspects of the divorce and then it would completely fall apart because the last item to be agreed upon, Grandma’s quilt, would be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Both sides, feeling they had compromised to the max, and realizing this last item could not be evenly divided, would be unable to agree on who was to get it.
At this juncture, it usually helps to remind everyone that the agreed-upon price was one both sides felt represented the fair market value of this house in this condition. To have the transaction fall apart over a repair that might be 1% of the price is tantamount to insanity, as it is likely the parties would have agreed to a 1% difference in price during the original negotiations without blinking an eye!
As a Main Line Realtor®, service is a key component of my business, even during the stressful times. Sometimes the best service is just reassurance and a suggestion that we “sleep on it.” In the end, both parties have to feel they have not been “taken to the cleaners,” and it is my job to be sure we get there.