I remember taking the two and a half hour trip to Lexington with my family to see Kentucky Football and Basketball games when I was a kid. In my mind at that time, Rupp Arena may as well have been
Why I Became A Realtor ®
If you’re reading this we have probably been friends for a long time, and you are or have been somewhat surprised to learn that I am now a licensed, full-time Realtor. That being the case, I believe I owe you an explanation as to what led me here—and what it means for you or someone you might refer to me for assistance in buying, selling, renting, or leasing a home.
In 2014, my Mom had just been diagnosed with brain cancer, and Rachel and I were trying to both plan a wedding and purchase a house. Rachel ended up doing most of the wedding planning and house buying while I stayed in Florida with my parents where Mom was being treated for glioblastoma. It was a formative time in our lives, to say the least. The profound sadness, fear, and determination that came with Mom’s prognosis mixed with the excitement of purchasing our first house and beginning our lives as a married couple was impossible to process.
We could not have purchased our home without the help of an attentive and thorough Realtor. He was personable, worked very hard to gain our trust, and handled the details of the process for us, so we could pour our energy into everything else. They say that when people go through adversity together it forms a strong bond between them. I have no doubt that we would still be friends with our Realtor now, if not for his sudden and tragic passing in 2015.
The memory of that experience and the relationship he worked to form with us has stayed with me in the years since.
So, I became a Realtor because I understand that as a person’s largest purchase and the place where most of their time is spent--purchasing or selling a home almost always profoundly matters. I want the opportunity to help people and form friendships with them during that process. I also became a Realtor because I believe my life experience(s) and education in economics allows me to help people think strategically in their decision-making and negotiation processes. While I am confident in my ability to sell a home, I didn’t choose this to become a “salesperson,” but instead a servant and counselor.
In truth, I believe that service and perspective are where a lot the value in a real estate agent is now, anyway.
It is a different world than just twenty years ago, when we were gatekeepers to information about our local market and what listings were available. No longer do homebuyers have to drive around looking for for-sale signs, check newspaper ads, or call a Realtor to learn what is available. The truth is that often a homebuyer will have found properties they are interested in online before they even contact a buyer’s agent.
However, sellers still need help pricing and marketing their homes, as well as negotiating contracts. Sellers have not been trained to perform a competitive market analysis or incorporate a market absorption rate into their pricing strategy for a home. If a home is not priced correctly for the market it simply will not sell, or a seller may be leaving important money on the table that they could use toward equity in their next home.
Furthermore, it is no longer enough just to put someone’s home in the MLS and hope it sells, even if priced well. Buyers can now view thousands of listings at their fingertips. A professional agent that is doing their job appropriately will put in the work to help his or her client’s listing appear in front of as many eyes as possible, and present the property in a way that helps it stand out from the rest.
Buyers still need help, too. A buyer can look at a home online, but will always be better served to work with an agent. An agent should understand the local market and be in a position to counsel buyers in finding a home that meets the everyday needs of the buyer, but is also likely to be a wise investment. There are many steps to take in the purchase of a single-family home that can be difficult for a buyer, but an agent can make easy. It is important to have a title search performed, an inspection done buy a trustworthy home inspector, and to have access to a reputable home warranty provider. A buyer’s agent is also likely to have existing relationships with other agents in a given locale, and this can serve to ease the negotiation process itself. Also—working with a buyer’s agent is free for the buyer.
Not to mention, there is emotional stress involved with the move itself—apart from the transactional and procedural elements.
An agent in our office recently told me a story of a client she worked with many years ago. The client was moving from a different part of the country, was totally unfamiliar with the area, and her daughter was overwhelmed with the prospect of moving to a new place with a new school, and having to make new friends. She was going to be moving away from the only home she had ever known to a place that was totally foreign. To help ease the transition, the agent took it upon herself to drive around the city, and take photos of ice cream shops, schools, parks, playgrounds, and restaurants. The agent then mailed a handwritten note to the client’s daughter with a story highlighting all the things the child would find exciting about their new home area, along with the photos. This provided a great emotional support to both the child and her parents, and made the move much easier. That was 20 yeas ago, and agent (now broker) maintains a friendship with those clients to this day.
The potential for stories and relationships like this is in part what inspired me to become an agent, and represents what I strive for in my agency relationships. I believe the value of this sort of service transcends dollars and cents. In a world where we are inundated with information, and our social lives consist of thousands of acquaintances but very few friends—personal, relational service is more valuable than ever.
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Its 2018 and time for my annual quick recap of last year and predictions for this year. I stick to the Lexington Ky market because that is the area I am most familiar with, BUT it is usually