In a home search, people often think of their goal in terms of real estate: But what do they really want?
Bill Lowery [a fictional name] at ABC Realty was doing his floor time when Mike and Mary walked in. He took them to the conference room.
Before beginning the conversation, Bill gave them the Vermont Required Consumer Disclosure, and made sure that Mike and Mary understood that — until and unless they would enter into a buyer agency agreement — Bill would be representing the interests of sellers. Mike and Mary would not be his clients, they would be his customers.
Having taken care of the formalities, Bill asked them what they were looking for.
Without hesitation, Mike replied:
“We are looking for a 3 bedrooms house with 2 baths on 5+ acres on a quiet dirt road, with a maximum price of $250,000.”
Bill entered Mike and Mary’s criteria into an MLS search, and located 7 properties within 30 minutes of Brattleboro. He scheduled showings to fit with their schedule, and over the next 5 days they were able to see all of the prospective properties.
A couple of times, Bill came close to making a sale. First there was the cape with a nice view and the incredible kitchen. When Mike, a gourmet chef called it “the kitchen to die for,” Bill thought, “this is it!”
“But where will I put my lathe and table saw?” objected Mary.
A couple of days later, they saw a house with a large, insulated barn which Mary loved. But Mike said that the house “has no charm.”
None of the 7 houses were quite right, so they agreed that Bill would notify them when other houses fitting their criteria came on the market. During the next month and a half, Bill showed Mike and Mary 2 newly listed homes fitting their criteria, but again, none of them were right.
The phone rings a lot in a big real estate office, buyers walk in off the street, a lot happens; and after awhile, despite the occasional phone call or email, Bill lost track of Mike and Mary.
So when Bill found out that they had started working with Sol Rivers, a Realtor® from XYZ Real Estate and had put a house under contract, he was shocked and dismayed. When it turned out to be an in-town property on less than half an acre with an asking price of $349,000, he was totally confused.
What had happened?
One day at the lumber yard, Mary had run into a friend and the discussion turned to real estate. Her friend, Tony, also a woodworker, had just bought a house and recommended calling Sol, who had represented Tony as a buyer’s agent.
Mary and Mike felt very comfortable talking with Sol, and decided to retain him as their agent. Knowing that as their agent, Sol would protect their confidential information, Mary told him to set the upper end of their search criteria at $250,000, but added:
“If the house is really nice, we could go up to $350,000.” Sol said that he would never try to push them past their comfort level, but said that, “since the computer cannot tell if a house ‘is really nice,’ wouldn’t it make sense to set the upper price criteria at $350,000?”
They agreed. Further discussion lead them to realize that — while they had thought they wanted to be in the country — when they actually had visited homes in the country and visualized living there, they were not so certain any more.
In discussing Mike and Mary’s home buying needs, Sol did not focus on real estate: Instead he talked about lifestyle. During these discussions it came out that — in addition to Mike’s wish to have a gourmet kitchen and Mary’s need for a good workshop — there were other desires about the style and design of the home which Bill, the first Realtor® , had not been aware of.
Sol knew that real estate is not the goal: Residential real estate is a means toward achieving the goal. The goal is the lifestyle and comfort that you desire. It also helped that, because Sol was their own buyer’s agent, Mike and Mary felt comfortable being candid with him.