Posts Tagged ‘ interview ’

Homebuyer Blues: How To Avoid A Terrible Realtor Experience



About a month ago, my wife called me up while she was at work asking me for some business cards and contact info.  A coworker of hers, Jenny* (*all names are changed), wanted to pass my information along to another person in the office because she heard them mention that they would be looking into buying a home soon.  (In the Interest of full disclosure, Jenny and her husband Jim* have been friends of ours for a few years now.)  Geesh–it’s like the Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon over here!  “So, how’d you meet Jeff?”  “Well, it’s kind of a weird thing…”  Heh.

Flattered as I was, Jenny later told me when we next met that she and Jim had a really terrible experience with their Realtor, and since she couldn’t refer theirs, she wanted to refer me instead.  Always wanting to learn and grow in this business, I asked her why their realtor hadn’t been up to snuff.  These are hard-won lessons sometimes, and I wanted to make sure I was providing the level of service that was opposite of what their guy had been.

“Oh man,” she said, “he didn’t listen to us at all.  It was like we were taking up his time when we had questions, or any time we weren’t out looking at homes.”

Jim chimed in, “He kept taking us to places that were either out of our price range by sixty or eighty grand or dumps that were way under, the places we did like were already under contract when we got there, and it seemed like he could care less about us.  I almost punched him once, I was so angry at him.”

Woah.  At first I thought, “This guy really makes us look bad,” but that was quickly followed by, “This guy makes my job really easy!”  

As we’ve covered before, it’s generally in your best interest to hire a Realtor, but there is an easy way to avoid service like this.  Choosing a Realtor like me is not as roll-of-the-dice as you would expect, where you have to just hope you’ll “get a good one”…it really comes down to three simple things:

First, when you are getting into the process, I want you to treat your Realtor as someone whom you are hiring.  The truth is, you are hiring them as an independent contractor for their services.  Find someone who wants to earn your business, not the commission.  Interview at least three — preferably five — before making your final decision.

ImageSecond, make sure the Realtor you pick is either independently experienced, or backed by a mentor or support team if new.  That’s what I did.  I want to give every one of my clients the most stress-free experience possible.  Being new in the industry, I knew that couldn’t happen until I had a couple of transactions under my belt, but I wasn’t willing to let my first few clients be guinea pigs.  I hired a mentor to help me handle the things I didn’t know or wasn’t prepared for, and it has served me all the better for it.

And finally, pick someone you like.  Pick someone you get good vibes from during the consultation.  Everybody’s personality is different.  It is entirely possible, for example, that two Realtors are equally likable and equally qualified, but their personalities and approaches are different.  One agent might be trying to give you the speediest transaction for the least (or most, if he’s a listing agent) amount of money, and has a plan to do so.  The other agent might spend more time learning the story of how your oldest dog (three dogs ago) lost its hind legs, and that’s how you came to have Fluffy III.  If your personality lends itself to wanting a more intimate Realtor/client relationship, choose number two.  If you are someone who is more focused on wanting results, number one is your best bet.

As a short fourth point, I’ll mention that you can always choose to fire your Realtor if he or she is not performing.  I’ll cover the ins and outs of this in a later post, but just keep in mind that no part of your relationship with this person is forever, unless you want it to be.

I hope this helps ease your mind.  Have a great weekend, and Happy Home Hunting! 



“I Need To Tell You Something About Your Skills…”

“…As of right now, they mean precisely…d*ck.”  –Tommy Lee Jones, “Men In Black”

The same could be said about your resume.  You know–the paper one?  The one you forget about for months or years at a time while you have a job, and scramble to update when you suddenly don’t

The truth is that paper resumes are fast becoming a formality.  A pleasantry, if you will.  They used to be the Head Cheese, the Big Ticket To The Job.  Sometimes, the only ticket to a job, if you haven’t taken the time to network properly.  No more, and here’s why.

First of all, hiring managers (and every other manager) all know that nobody’s resume is the one, single, accurately-descriptive manifesto about you.  That one time you had to figure out where the circuit breaker box was turns into “Troubleshooting of complex electrical systems.”  Knowing how to check your email turns into “Extensive experience with the latest technology.”   The fact that you’ll talk to anyone makes you “Highly outgoing, and fearlessly able to engage potential customers”…to say nothing of whether most people actually like you.  They might give you credit enough for coming up with that little blurb (or at least finding someone smart enough to do it for you), but they know that the real meat is in the interview.  That’s what the paper resume was for–to get you the interview.

Hell, the interview itself is almost becoming obsolete because of this next point:  Your web presence is only getting bigger.  Thanks to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Naymz, and every other social media website out there, people have more access to you without your knowledge than ever before.  And it’s not slowing down.  It’s well-known that employers these days use whatever tools they have at their disposal to investigate you before they decide to spend the time to bring you in and talk with you.  They do this because they understand the benefits of getting a “feel” for what kind of person you are, and will scan what they see online for inconsistencies on paper.  Potential employers of mine have open access to my LinkedIn profile, both of my blogs, and limited access to my Facebook profile.  Sometimes, they even run credit checks.  I’ve come to grips with this (with the exception of the credit check, which I find incredibly invasive), and embraced it.  In fact, this is what you need to do.

You'll Still Need To Embody This, Of Course...

If you haven’t already, you need to go through every public profile you have, and flush it of any content you think might circumvent your right to the Fifth Amendment.  Pictures of you the first time you got trashed and slept in front of a toilet, other peoples’ dirty comments, any status updates which could have an “-ist” connotation attached to them…basically, anything you wouldn’t say to or show your grandmother.

Use sites like LinkedIn to the best of your advantage.  Fill out your profile, be honest about your goals, and put more on there than a simple vomiting of your work history.  Use their widgets, like the Personal Book List, or the space for Extra Licenses and Experience.  Throw in your hobbies.  The more things a potential employer might have in common with you, the better a shot you’ll have at a connection, which could lead to an interview. 

Take it to the next level, and find it in yourself to ask some key people at work to vouch for you.  People who have a written, public recommendation on LinkedIn are far more likely to score an interview than those who don’t–mainly because whoever is looking at your profile looks at a recommendation almost as a favor (someone already did some of the legwork for them). 

Finally, nip it in the bud:  Google yourself.  Do some digging on yourself, and see what you find.  Search for yourself using variants of your name, or by misspelling it.  See who else shares your name (if anyone), and look into them, too.  Imagine the surprise if a potential interviewer does a search for a candidate named Jennifer Jameson, and Google suggests Jenna instead.  Know ahead of time what the employer will find, and if it turns out that damage control might be needed, do your best to take care of it. 

The fact is, your resume is no longer on paper, it is alive and already speaking for you.  Make it say what you want it to.

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