Working when no customer is looking
A full-time real estate agent constantly works to improve client service.
As I mentioned last month, one of my favorite places to work is the Mercurys Coffee shop inside the Haggen store in Woodinville. What I’ve learned is that there is more to being a barista than taking orders and making drinks.
Every moment the baristas are not busy serving customers they clean. They scrub the floor, wipe down all surfaces, clean the equipment, and wash and polish the utensils of their trade.
When they don’t clean, they replenish the supplies, ranging from a variety of beans and teas to over 40 drink flavorings. They stock up on whipped cream, real milk, and soy milk, paper napkins, cups of different sizes – the list goes on.
You could say that they clean because a place that dispenses food and drink has to comply with certain standards. However, watching them, I can tell that they clean because they take pride in their workplace. They do all this to prepare for the next order of a “12 oz latte with an extra shot, extra hot and two pumps of vanilla” or a “16 oz peach mango smoothie with whipped cream and protein powder.”
A full-time real estate agent works when no client is selling or buying
As a full-time real estate agent, I am licensed (#47927) in the State of Washington as a real estate broker with RSVP Real Estate. To renew my license, I have to complete every two years 30 hours of continuing education. That’s the easy part.
As a subscriber to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, I need to keep up with changes to over 100 forms used for listings and purchase & sales agreements. That only sounds easy. Addenda and contingencies are modified regularly. Using an obsolete form, missing an addendum, or even forgetting to check a box, may have dire consequences. When multiple offers are in play, I can’t afford to be wrong in the slightest. For my clients to have a chance to buy that home, I have to be perfect.
Speaking of continuing education, I’m qualified by the Washington State Real Estate Commission as a real estate instructor to teach other brokers.
Thriving in a competitive landscape
As a full-time real estate agent, I’m competing with thousands of other real estate brokers for business. Like Mercurys Coffee, I face some mighty competition. Instead of spending money chasing down leads, I’ve decided a long ago to spend my time to provide useful information. To that end, I write and publish at the end of each month this newsletter which covers one topic in some depth. This View From the Street is the 76th issue. In contrast, the mid-month newsletter News with a View is an easy read for which I select three news items with a snappy comment on each.
Since the beginning of this year, I have posted daily on social media, such as to my Facebook business page and LinkedIn. For four days the topics cover real estate, three days are about taste, Seattle area events, and history.
Last but not least, there is SERENE, which stands for SEattleRealEstateNEws.com. The byline is “For smart sellers & informed buyers.” I address hot topics like escalation clauses and make my views known on subjects such as corporate relocation. The property search on SERENE is reliable and up-to-date. The real estate news is current and not two months late like some national index.
The site has grown to over 230 pages and is giving the websites of the major industry players a run for their money. Just google “find Bellevue homes” and you’ll find SERENE on page 1 among the first six search results.
Researching, writing and designing all this information takes time, but it is time well spent. If you want to find out how well you know something, you should write about it. Only into your third sentence, you realize that you need to check some facts and find out the why and when and where. The more you write, the greater an expert you become on a topic you thought you knew well.
In real estate, there is always more to know – more about trends in home designs, more about construction methods, more about the impact of legislation and changing interest rates, more about financing, more about zoning, and more about technology that transforms the way we conduct business and present homes online.
What is it worth?
The common misconception is that a real estate agent wakes up one morning, lists a home, waits for other agents to procure a buyer, fills out some forms and, if all goes as planned, collects a nice commission. That would be like running a coffee shop with one faucet dispensing one kind of drink. A cup of coffee would cost about a dollar. However, it takes more to run a successful business, make the customers happy and keep them coming back. Price is never an issue when the client appreciates the value.
Have a question about selling or buying a home? Meet me, a full-time real estate agent, at Mercurys Coffee in Woodinville. You can make an appointment right here. Whatever your favorite drink is, it’s on me.
This post appeared first as the 76th issue of The View from the Street.