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Walk a Mile

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Today we are pleased to have Greg Fischer, the head of partnerships at Doorsteps.com as our guest blogger.  Greg's article was originally posted on medium.com

This is my story. There are many like it, but this one was mine.

FischRealEstate/InstagramAnswer a few calls.

From yard signs (people who almost always say “that’s a lot of money”), from Zillow inquires and from escrow officers. From agents asking for feedback from a showing, from idx inquiries on other agents listings and from buyers who have to see a few houses “right now”. From loan officers telling you the appraisal didn’t come in at the right amount, from a buyer saying “thank you” or from another agent telling you that their seller went with “the other offer” instead. Answer in the middle of dinner with your family, at 11pm, on vacation.

Walk through some houses.

Look at 10 houses in 3 different price ranges and neighborhoods. Study comparable reports before you go. Touch the hand rails, imagine being in the shower or barbecuing in the backyard. Look at the staging, the cleanliness and the paint colors. Check out the neighbors (do they have dogs? kids? nice cars?). How old does the roof look? Has the plumbing been updated? Is there new insulation in the attic? Wood floors underneath the carpet? Is the foundation crooked? Cracked? Look at the buyers body language as they explore. Take notes when they make comments. Take pictures of anything suspicious or wonderful. Walk slowly through a few homes you’ll never be able to afford yourself.

Negotiate a contract.

Explain dozens of legal documents in layman’s terms. Remember to make sure the buyer asks for that stainless refrigerator, in writing. Is Friday really a good closing date, ever? Convince the buyer they need to pay over asking price. Convince a seller they need to accept less than asking price. Tell the other agent “this is my client’s final offer”, and mean it. Load the forms into your software of choice. Take note of all the sources needed to fill them out completely. Triple check your work. Are you going to write a cover letter? Should you meet the other agent in person or will an email do the trick? Work with a sub-par agent. Work with a great one. Tell your seller that the buyers financing fell through, 5 days before the closing.

Get belly to belly.

Talk to a first-time-homebuyer.

[Notice how they always think they can “just knock that wall down”. Notice how excited they are. Notice how they have no savings. Or notice how big their trust fund is. Notice how they want more space]

Talk to a 6th-time-homebuyer.

[Notice how they know everything. Notice how they really don’t. Notice how staunch they are about the details. Notice how they want less space]

Talk to a 4 months late on the mortgage homeowner.

[Notice how scared they are. Notice how scared you are]

Reflection.

A friend recently asked me “aren’t you glad you don’t have to tell people you’re a real estate agent anymore?” Funny, but this never occurred to me.

My brother read science fiction novels when our family went on road trips and I chose to look out the window and observe the world. I was a paperboy for a while. I knew all of my neighbors. I knew the details of every home on my route. I knew the details of every person on my route. I won the geography bee a few times. I love every house I’ve ever seen and I’m not sure if it’s a gift or a curse.

Being a real estate agent is one of the greatest privileges in the world. It requires a diverse skill-set of sales, compassion, empathy, marketing, organization, hustle, wit and patience. It’s connected me with people in ways unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before and is incomparable to any job I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot). It takes no guts to start but it takes all of them to continue.

The narrative of the agent is often lost in a sea of “look-at-me” marketing, in the churn of disruption aimed at the profession and in the daily grind in which we (they) willingly participate. It’s a narrative I hope we get right one day.

It’s a narrative that I’m proud, was mine.

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About Greg Fischer

Greg Fischer is the head of partnerships at Doorsteps.com, an educational and collaborative tool for agents and homebuyers. He is a former real estate broker in Fort Worth, TX, a proud six year active-duty veteran and current member of the Naval Reserves. Greg is passionate about bringing clarity, delight and authenticity to the real estate industry.

10 Responses to “Walk a Mile”

  1. Dave Richert October 29, 2013 at 9:24 am # Reply

    What an amazing narrative. Had tears in my eyes as I read it. So right on and heartfelt. We have an amazing profession and such a probe large to do what we do. Although sometimes I wish I would be doing anything else...

    • Greg Fischer November 15, 2013 at 11:45 am # Reply

      Thanks for reading Dave and thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. David Hardison October 29, 2013 at 2:20 pm # Reply

    So many times we are caught up in our own processes and systems that we fail to step back and "Walk a Mile" in our clients shoes. Nice post, with great ideas that most of us do but do not reflect upon enough.

    • Greg Fischer November 15, 2013 at 11:46 am # Reply

      Thanks David. We could all learn so much by taking a step back, and walking a mile in someone else's shoes, particularly those we care for and work with.

  3. Mr. Krispy October 29, 2013 at 5:28 pm # Reply

    The knowledge, learning, and experience required to be a successful real estate agent/broker is little different than what it takes to be successful at any consultative sales career. In order to be excellent at your work you need to understand your customer, learn how to effectively evaluate the client's needs and wants, and how much instruction they need about the products and services that you can provide, as well as competing products/services. It is your investment in training, learning, as well as daily experience in the trenches that will determine whether you truly become a top notch consultative sales person or you move along to a different kind of career. Late nights in real estate are little different from late nights in other sales positions. You will need to invest yourself and your hours in your career in order to succeed at a high level. Perhaps the largest road block to becoming a truly excellent real estate agent/broker is your personal recognition that you are in fact a sales person. Far too many agents refuse to understand that SALES is not a bad word. We don't get paid unless and until a sale is closed. If more real estate agents invested in learning the art of consultative sales our industry would be better represented to the public. And at the end of your career in sales - no matter what the industry- you will be able to look back fondly upon your career knowing that what you did, at it's core, was to help many, many people along the way.

  4. Rusty Hannum November 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm # Reply

    Sums it all up so well. I could not have told this story any better.
    Thank you for the story, and thank you for your service to our
    great nation.

    • Greg Fischer November 15, 2013 at 11:47 am # Reply

      Thanks for reading Rusty. And thank you for your kind comments.

  5. Alaina Pyontek November 12, 2013 at 6:59 pm # Reply

    That was lovely, Greg. You have not only the heart of a teacher, but also the heart of a poet.

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