Sell me something, please!

Two drops of grapefruit essential oil into my DesrosiersCook branded water bottle had me smiling this morning. My good friend Jen introduced my wife and me to essential oils and how they can enhance our lives. Billy, through his clever network of suppliers, sourced cool white with blue lettering “Swell” style water bottles. We have bought hundreds of essential oils and water bottles. Both items, I like very much. They make my short experience on this planet slightly better.

We purchased these items from friends. And, it’s important to note that we always try to purchase from friends and family. Why? I think it’s part of the meaning of life.

Sure, we could go online and find a slightly cheaper version of each item. And, chances are, they are all made at the same factory in the east somewhere. But to me, the act of supporting a friend is the essence of life.

Your entrepreneurial friends need your support. Those who rely on commissions, contingency sales or who own a retail business need your support to pay their bills. Simple as that.

Often your entrepreneur friends do not have retirement plans and they have taken risks to create a business. Unlike people with “Jay-Oh Bees”, entrepreneurs do not know if they will be able to pay their bills each month. Budgeting when sales are slow can be stressful. Jim Rohn calls it, “too much month at the end of the money.”

How can you help your entrepreneurial friends?

Buy their stuff, drink their Koolaid, ask them what help they need. Avoid their competitors and don’t be a dick. Support your friends and family.

It’s your story to tell.

Real Estate agency relationships are private and confidential. The things you say and do with your agent are… between you and your agent.

By knowing your private thoughts and motivations, your real estate agent is in a careful place to offer advice. A good place. A place to trust.

An ethical agent will hold back from the disclosing anything about your relationship, even it’s existence. Yet, top agents survive by referral. A referral is a recommendation from a past client, friend or associate. So, your referral is needed and vital.

If you liked working with your agent and he or she offered good advice and service please share.

Showing Properties…Simple?

Have you ever called your real estate agent to book a showing? Here is what happens.

  1. Your agent contacts the listing agent to make sure the property is not sold.
  2. Your agent sends a formal request to show the property at a set date and time.
  3. The listing agent receives the message and makes a log entry, contacts the seller and waits for approval. If all is good, the showing is confirmed by the listing agent sending a confirmation message back to the buyer’s agent via email and text message.

You simply meet the agent at the listing and are quickly escorted throughout the home. Simple!

WAIT!

What if the seller cannot accommodate the showing as requested? What if there are tenants who do not respond timely to the listing agent’s request. What if the showing is cancelled or delayed by the seller or tenant? And, what happens when the buyer’s agent has lined up two or three showings and now has a gap in the schedule? What if there is a pending offer? What’s the status of the offer? Is the offer in negotiation? What’s the process now?

Booking a showing may seem simple but there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. In most jurisdictions the timing of offers and showings comes under legal scrutiny should a conflict arise. Agents have specific legal and ethical rules that govern their conduct designed to benefit the public.

Often, these rules and ethics are not crystal clear and agents do their best behind the scenes to ensure fairness. This is one reason why top agents often say such great things about other top agents. A solid transaction always takes two talented agents!

Veteran full-time agents will agree:

  1. Negotiation starts when the showing is booked. Every comment, question and nuance is important should the buyer write an offer later on.
  2. Every showing is important to the seller and to the buyer. If it’s not, don’t book it. Be respectful. You are not buying every house you look at but someone took a lot of time out of their day to prepare the home. Respect.
  3. Feedback is appreciated. What did you like or dislike? This could help the seller in the future. And, more importantly, what did you purchase instead?
  4. Work with a full-time agent. You will notice the difference.

Viewing and screening properties is the most important element in real estate sales. It may seem like a simple appointment but it can lead to a great real estate purchase with the right advice.

D

 

Make it a great day!

My life changed when I finally realized that each day when I awake…

1. It’s a miracle to wake up. Not everyone gets to. I have my wits and my hands, feet and legs all seem to be working just fine. Exercising a grateful attitude rather than angst for the day ahead has helped to shape my mood. Not every day is fluffy and bright but I am truly excited for the day ahead.

2. My day will be filled with challenges. I have replaced, “why is this happening to me?”, with “alright, these are my cards, what’s the best hand I can play?”. I am also getting better with leaving past events in the past. It’s not easy to forget the mistakes, fumbles and times when things don’t go my way but waking up with a fresh slate each day is refreshing.

3. The type, quality and value of my challenges will define my life. Speaking with people who seem to be “stuck” in their lives, it’s often easy to see what they are stuck on is low-value issues. What problems am I helping with today? Am I at 30,000 feet or am I stuck in the weeds of anger, frustration with small issues. Is the work I am doing benefiting me and those people around me? When I am at ground level, am I approaching the work with gratitude?

My only task, therefore, becomes, choosing my challenges wisely.

 

Adviser, Advisor and Master

I just learned that my banker giving me “advice” is not an advisor but rather an adviser. Something to do about licensing. I am not totally sure of the difference but to me, it doesn’t really matter. I know he works for the bank. He is quick, clever and creates solutions for us within his company’s system. We trust him. We also recognize that his loyalty is to his company first. He serves his company as master first, or least he should. We get it. Thankfully, his company has some helpful products and what feel is good service.

But not all consumers are this aware.

When it comes to real estate, finances, wills, estates, car purchases and important life choices, who is your adviser? Does that adviser serve you or another master? How can you be sure the advice you are getting is “truly for your benefit”?

The first answer is, “you can never be sure” but you should take caution to learn the how your advisor gets paid, who and how they are licensed and have open and frank conversations about how advice is delivered and received.

Licensed Fiduciaries in BC are sworn to protect your privacy and act in your best interest at all times.

Lawyers, Doctors, Dentists, Dental Hygienists, Nurses, Notary Public, Real Estate Agents

Non-Fiduciaries Roles:

Bank Employees, Car Dealership Employees, Mortgage Brokers (?), Life Insurance Agents, Financial Planners, Investment Advisers, Hair Dressers, Uncle Joe.

 

 

 

 

Serving One Master

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

June 15th Real Estate Agents in BC are banned from Limited Dual Agency. It’s an old lesson and it’s time now for agents to understand what this really means.

To me, it’s the goal to avoid conflicts of interest. My interest to support and protect the interests of my client needs to be placed at the forefront of my actions. Yet, real estate is a consumer game. Buying, selling, products, services, features and benefits, and emotions are involved. It’s not so cut a dried as some would like.

Let’s say I work for a developer selling new downtown condo’s and they are selling fast. My mom wants to buy one. Today, based on the rules, I would have to step aside and get my mom and the developer new individual agents. Agents that neither really know. Interesting. I don’t think this serves either of them very well at all. The delay could cost my mom a place to live. Mmmm.

Or, I list a home down the street in my area and my buyer clients whom I have shown many, many properties want to view the property. Technically, I am now in a conflict. And worse, if they want to buy it, I could again be double recused. This one I understand but I still struggle with.

Can agents create a thriving business serving one master? I know we can. But it’s a hard profession to succeed in and perhaps one of the hardest to “make it”. So, next time you meet with your agent, discuss these changes and how you will tackle these issues should you run into them. You will need to be flexible and you may not feel “served” but let’s hope you get the deal!

Let’s Party! Ok, maybe not…

As I dropped my daughter off so she could go overnight camping with friends, I realized at my ripe old age, parties are tough on me and take a greater toll on my body. I suspect my daughter will be bright eye and bushy tailed the next day just fine. Me, I require a little more recovery but I still love parties.

However, there is one party you won’t see me get involved in: “Unrepresented Parties”.

BC’s ban on LDA (see my last blog) is accompanied by new real estate agency law. What’s most interesting is that the Real Estate Council of BC is forcing consumers to choose one of two paths: Client or Unrepresented Party.

The Client path looks to be paved with good intentions, loyalty, avoiding conflicts, full disclosure and privacy. Sounds great to me. I honestly feel I have been working this way for 10 years. Not perfectly I am sure, but trying.

And, the Client path sounds even better when you learn more about the Unrepresented Party road. It’s like a bush party gone bad with burning tires, hung over people everywhere and all your private bits out there for everyone to see. You could wake up (from a transaction) and realize you are hung over and your stuff is missing. Have fun getting home!

My practice is and always has been based on working with clients. As such, I will be showing you some new forms and I will need you to sign them. It will be a great experience and I will help you with the biggest financial decision of your life, as client and agent.

If you choose to remain unrepresented, I wish you the very best. I can share facts with you but not advice and remember, anything you say to any agent as an unrepresented party, can and will be used against you in the real estate transaction.

Next up, I will define the true nature of being a Client versus Unrepresented Party.

Limited Dual Agency is truly limited.

June 15, 2018 saw the Real Estate Council of British Columbia overhaul the agency rules affecting more than 20,000 real estate agents in the province. 

At the core is the banning of “limited dual agency” or LDA. LDA is when the real estate agent, with the permission of both the buyer and seller (or sometimes both buyers) in a transaction, agree to let one agent(or team) act as “moderator”.

During the transaction, the LDA agreement allowed the agent to bend his or her fiduciary duty to facilitate the sale. Acting alone and technically working impartially, the agent was able to control the transaction for the benefit of the seller and the buyer. This was the theory.

BC has taken the bold step to ban LDA and it’s exciting.

I am not here to debate the good and bad of LDA. It’s gone and this is fact. It is also fact that sellers and buyers will not fully understand what this ban will mean. Many people will need to rethink the way they approach buying and selling real estate in BC. Some will be happy, some sad and some confused… at first. In time, it is expected that consumers will come to realize the benefits of the new approach.

If you would like to learn more in a hurry, call your agent up for a coffee. There is a four page form they need to share with you. 😉

Negotiating Leverage

Negotiating the sale of real estate is one of the most dynamic events in business and personal life. Money, emotion, needs, desires, features, timing and more combine to create an interesting storm.

Your real estate agent must be a negotiating expert. And if not an expert, your agent should at least profess to be a student of negotiation strategy and tactics. Your agents skill in this area will serve you: good or bad.

One tactic that is essential to understand is leverage. The FBI* tells us that there are three types. You will see other authors using similar categories with slightly different grammar.

Positive Leverage: Something good will happen if you agree to my terms.

Negative Leverage: Something bad will happen if you don’t agree to my terms.

Normative Leverage: If you agree to my terms, your normative values (the way you see the world) will be satisfied. Interestingly, this requires that the negotiator learns the normative values of his or her counter part. Insert: good communication skills and knowledge of “people”.

In residential real estate negotiations, I have found that positive and normative leverage are most powerful. Continue to read this blog and you will learn more.

*Thanks Chris Voss, Author: “Never Split The Difference”. Highly recommended read or audio book.