Today I attended a property tour for my listing in Great Hills. There were 11 homes on the tour, including our listing. The other agents on the tour were the listing agents for the other 10 houses. This gives us a chance to see each other’s listings and to offer feedback on pricing, staging, etc.
This particular tour was a van tour. There are two types of Realtor tours – caravan or van.
On a caravan tour, agents travel in a caravan either alone or carpooling. This limits interaction and always results in the caravan getting stretched out with the faster ones getting way ahead and the slower ones getting way behind. So, the last few listings end up having the agents straggle in at staggered times and then that listing agent has to lock up and in turn becomes the final straggler on the next home. This is a bummer, but that’s how it goes. It’s also a huge waste of gas to have 11 agents travelling in 7 cars.
On the van tour, we all ride together, talking on the drive in between homes, and there is more interaction and discussion about the houses and the market. This is better in every way except one. When riding in the van I lose track of where I am because I’m not driving or paying attention to where we’re going. This affects my ability to offer an accurate pricing opinion on the feedback sheet. It’s not easy to say how much I think a house is worth if I’m disoriented and fuzzy about the neighborhood I’m in.
Imagine being blindfolded, driven to a property and let out in the front driveway. You walk inside, look around and then have to write down a price opinion. That’s what it’s like. Yes, I know I’m in Millwood, but which side of 183? Which schools does this one attend? Wait, are we down the street from that park? Can you hear the railroad tracks from here?
This disorientation doesn’t happen when I drive myself into a neighborhood and up to a house with buyers. When I’m driving, I have a clear sense of where I am. I’m taking notice of the street and the other homes as I approach the subject property. Now I see why buyers sometimes get turned around and confused about where certain homes were that we saw, because they are riding instead of driving.
So, are property tours even worth the time and effort and is the opinion I wrote down on the 10 feedback sheets today worth anything to the listing agent and the seller? Are the 10 feedback sheets I received for my listing helpful? Yes, here’s why.
I recently read the autobiography Keith Richard’s Life. In it, Keith Richards, of Rolling Stones fame of course, talks about becoming a songwriter and how it changed his perspective on life. It caused him to more closely observe people and how they behave. To more closely listen to comments and phrases people use, always keeping an ear tuned for that next catchy song line. Explaining how the songwriter part of him is always active and aware, “never turning off. Unconsciously constantly running.”
I totally understand. It’s like that for me as a real estate person. Not that I’m literally “always thinking about” real estate, but I easily connect real estate concepts and the behaviors I observe in people to things outside real estate. It happens automatically, whether I want it to or not. When I go into a house I’ve never been in, such as a friend’s house, I notice things about the house automatically. Not that I judge good or bad, I just notice. If I was quized later about ceiling height, flooring, layout, updates, etc., I’d probably be able to recall whereas a normal nRealtor wouldn’t pay attention to those details.
I also take note quite often of how people make choices and decisions. This can happen in line at Amy’s Ice Cream, in the parking lot at Barton Creek Mall (it’s curious the effort people go through to get a closer spot, or “better location”), or even eating out and observing the phenomenon of how often “I’ll have the same thing” is selected. Decision-making just interests me, which is why I like working with and helping home buyers so much.
Thursday night last week I escorted my youngest daughter and her friends to see the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part II. We arrived about 8:45PM, waited in a line for a while, then we were let into the theater at 10:30PM, an hour and a half before showtime.
As we were about middle in line, the best seats were already taken, but there were plenty of good ones remaining in the top section, though they were filling fast. Our group of kids stalled at the bottom entrance as they scanned the remaining supply of seats. I said bluntly “Don’t think, just go”. and one of the boys said “good idea” and they immediately hauled it up to the third row from the top where they claimed 5 seats in a row, relegating me to sit a row below on an end seat (most likely to the delight of my 15 year old daughter, who would have preferred an even greater distance I’m sure). This actually proved to be an excellent vantage point from which to observe the slow stream of remaining viewers enter the theater and look for seats.
Latecomers to theater seating exhibit almost the same behavioral attributes of buyers in a sellers market, where there are no easy pickings. Here’s what I observed.