Customer Service? — Where has it gone?

Do you ever order something and sign into ‘chat.’  With the canned responses that do not always match up to your question do you wonder, “Is this a AI or someone with English as a second language?”  #service

Once upon a time FEDEX met guaranteed.  Today it means, ‘maybe so.’  Pay $30.00 and ‘maybe’ it will get there tomorrow.  The driver can always say they were here and no one was home because they didn’t ring the bell and I was home.  Or they could say my address is wrong.  Even though they’ve delivered many times before.  Is this reliable service? th.jpg

Perhaps not, but they have built a name for themselves and a little poor service or non-delivery isn’t going to hurt their overall bottomline. 

#Culpeper,  #living

When I asked if the Shipper would be given a discount for FEDEX failure to deliver on time I was ignored.  Even though I sat and waited for a package that didn’t come FEDEX never offered my sender a rebate or discount of any kind.  ‘I’m sorry,’ is all either of us received.   

The Pest Control People are delayed coming out because they have an issue with employees.  They assure me they are ‘fully staffed’ if the employees all show up on time, everyday.  With Low Unemployment there is an unforeseen issue few speak about…. bad customer service.  When we have so few workers… Employers higher what they can afford, those people are not always the best qualified or reliable.  We must be patient and understanding.

What does that mean for Real Estate?  Good news… people in real estate still need hours of training prior to taking an exam to become an Agent.  If they put in the time, effort and money required most truly want to do a good job.  The problem is they may not be clear what that job entails.  Further to complicate the issue is the why business is run.  Realtors are basically, ‘self-employed.’  Because they work under a Broker they are Intrapreneurs not Entrepreneurs.  They can be guided, encouraged but in the end they march to their own beat.  If that beat is continually away from the Company plan the Broker will ask them to move on and send their license in.  There will be another firm for them to work at tomorrow. 

We work on a curve.  It takes years of experience in most licensed positions to real get good at what you do.  Today, many ‘Agents’ may not be well rounded because they work in a ‘team.’  The Team Supervisor places them where they think they are best suited.  (ie:  buyer agent, closing coordinator, call center, etc.)  Real Estate is no different from other service oriented businesses.  If they are a new agent they have Enthusiasm working in their favor.  Ask them if they have a mentor or are they teamed up with an experienced agent who works along side of them. 

It makes a difference when there are issues.  That’s always when a Realtor shines.  What do they know?  Who do they know?  That can help you buy or sell a property.  An experienced Agent can help you move mountains to get the job done!  That’s why reviews and recommendations are the life blood of a Realtor!  We are only as good as our last deal.  ‘A few years ago I had buyers in Stafford, VA.  The home they wanted to purchase had an issue with mold.  I asked,’is this the home you want?’  ‘Yes!’ they assured me.  Ok, we got the home, they were disappointed because they did not get to chose who remediated the mold or how it was done.’  We must remember when purchasing a home it doesn’t belong to you until the paperwork is complete.  Up until that time it is maintained by someone else as that person sees fit!  It is not in the control of a Realtor or of you as the Buyer.

Sometimes a deal doesn’t go smoothly but it works out well for both parties, that’s a win for a Realtor.  22 Homeowner Association Violations and the home still sold ‘as is!’  The Seller had to give up some money and the Buyer had to agree to deal with the problems, but both ultimately got what they wanted.  So, the Seller is sore they walked away with less, it was still more than it would have been had they corrected all the violations!  Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish when dealing in real estate.  Don’t be the Seller that says, ‘I could make that repair myself,’ and not make the repair!  If you want the best price, provide a good produce!  Repairs lower that market value of a home.  This Seller never acknowledged the 22 HOA Violations, so in their mind the realtor didn’t do a good job.  How would it have worked had that Seller not had an Agent as the go-between in the same transaction?  9 out of 10 times that Seller would have had to correct all 22 violations in order to sell the townhome at the price they got on this transaction.  Why?  Because HOA Violations do not necessarily have a bearing on Market Price.  But a home in an HOA must comply with the codes of the Association in order to be sold.  An HOA can prevent a sale from happening based on the violations.  Note: had the owner taken care of the home there would not be any costly violations to correct before being allowed to sell their property.  When you buy in an HOA you agree to comply with the rules and regulations of that Association. 

th-1 . When you believe all photos online are a true picture of a home — think again!  Photos are met to show a property in ‘the best light.’  Not always the same as accuracy.

Do you need a Realtor when purchasing New Construction?  Hmm.  Do you?  Can you negotiate sufficient outlets in each room without a huge up-charge?  How about a finished basement?  Or are you sticking to the base price?  If so, will you get out of the home the amount you put into it in 5 to 7 years without upgrading?  An experienced Realtor can guide you through what is and what isn’t worth upgrading.  They are experienced in negotiating on your behalf.  Many have relationships with builders they work with on a regular bases.  #newconstruction, #Realtor, #Broker

We work on commission… each job is a new experience.  Most people work on Salary.  No matter how well you perform when you’re on salary you are paid.  On commission you may work very hard and should be compensated for your efforts.  If you do not work when on commission, there is no pay.  It is a service most people do not want to do or do not have the experience to do.

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1st Time Homebuyer In VA

1st time homebuyer guide 2017

home&keys  Do you have questions about buying a home?  Think you don’t need a Realtor, and want to do it on your own?

Be aware… Virginia is a Buyer Beware State!  Developers and Home Builders hope you don’t use an agent!

When searching for an Agent look for one with designations.  These are people who go above the minimum licensing requirements to do the best for their clients.  They’re in the business for the long haul because they care and want to help others.

I hope you find my 1st time homebuyer’s e-book helpful in your endeavors.  Best of luck.

http://www.unitedrealestateexponent.com

— T.C.

1st Time Homebuyer In VA

1st time homebuyer guide 2017

home&keys  Do you have questions about buying a home?  Think you don’t need a Realtor, and want to do it on your own?

Be aware… Virginia is a Buyer Beware State!  Developers and Home Builders hope you don’t use an agent!

When searching for an Agent look for one with designations.  These are people who go above the minimum licensing requirements to do the best for their clients.  They’re in the business for the long haul because they care and want to help others.

I hope you find my 1st time homebuyer’s e-book helpful in your endeavors.  Best of luck.

— T.C.

Have you heard? Realtors take heart!

The U.S Department of Labor (DOL) has finalized its long-awaited Association Health Plan (AHP) rule to expand the definition of “employer” to include “working owners.” This change allows real estate professionals and other self-employed individuals to participate in association health plans. A key provision, forwarded for inclusion in the rule by NAR, will allow many REALTORS® who have access to coverage through a spouse to be eligible to choose an AHP option. (key phrase left out here — affordable AHP)

Bottom Line
The ruling is a major step forward for NAR’s long-standing advocacy efforts to expand AHP eligibility to independent contractors. This ruling allows NAR to keep up its ongoing program to evaluate potential options for expanding REALTORS® options for access to health insurance coverage. It does not mean that a REALTOR® AHP will be available in the near term, but action continues to explore such options.

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Although this is a step in the right direction, it seems to be one of feet dragging on a phenomenal level!  What a way to squeeze people out of their independence!  I see small businesses close, hear of people taking jobs because, “We couldn’t afford the monthly insurance cost.”  Say it ain’t so!

But I can not say it isn’t so!  Small business may have been the backbone in the past, but health insurance with an aging population of hard workers is certainly going to dramatically change the playing field of tomorrow.

OPEN HOUSE Weekend!

What are today’s buyers looking for?  It varies on LOCATION!  The biggest part of a home’s value is based on the Location, second is Curb Appeal, third is what’s inside.  Last spring a lady wanted to sell a wonderful home still overflowing with her stuff.

I asked her during our appointment, “Are you going to do minor repairs and paint?”

She said, “No.  I don’t have the energy to bother.”

“Are you willing to tidy up, and give it a good cleaning?”

Again she responded, “No.  This place will sell as it is.  I loved this home.”

That significantly lowers the value.  Sadie agreed it did effect the value but a local investor had offered her $390,000 as is in writing.  She pulled out the paper to show me.  I was certain we could do better than that because she had an all brick home on 2 acres with a 3 car garage.  Those are big selling features in our area.  Especially the garage.  I had Curb Appeal, I had Location working in my favor.  The inside needed some love.

I had multiple offers within 2 hours of it hitting the market.  She got her price over and above what the investor offered.  However, she had to empty and clean the home prior to the buyers taking possession.  After she had moved to a smaller home she said, “I could have gotten more for my home.”

“Yes, indeed,” I agreed.  “If you had been willing to paint, and clean you could have gotten more.  But at that moment in time your heart was not in to doing what needed to be done!

Commercial Real Estate is a numbers game.  When dealing with investors in residential one deals with the numbers.  Real Estate in Residential is generally very personal and emotional.  I keep hearing there is a shortage of homes on the market throughout the country.  And yet, as I look at homes on the market in the Culpeper, VA area I see 247 homes in the 22701 Zip code alone; 60 of which have been on the market for over 6 months!  Why?  Why would we have 24% of homes in a market listed for over 6 months when we have a shortage?  There are several reasons this is the case.  The first one that comes to mind is pricing.  The second one in this area is that over 50 of these listings had less than 10 photos taken… 2 had no photos at all.  In an image society where the average buyer begins their search online this is a deal killer.  These buyers literally never see your home for sale!  Those that agree to come by generally are looking because they missed out on the home they really wanted.  What are these Sellers looking for in a Realtor?  If you want excellent service look for a Realtor with designations and experience, like myself. Or a new agent you know that has a seasoned agent to work along side of them.  The biggest issue with new agents isn’t lack of experience, it’s lack of training and guidance.  I am looking for Homeowners in Culpeper, VA ready to list with me!  I have a proven marketing plan and a great deal of heart and knowledge to help you sell your home!

 

Reflection

While attending my step-daughters college graduation this past weekend I was struck with how time changes…. I may still feel 30 something, hmm!  So often I hear, “when I was… or when we were…. we….”  Times change, standards change.  Our 20somethings are not as prepared to venture into the world as we were expected to be at 18.  Our generation has worked so hard while our children were young that  we often try to make up for the lack of time that can never be recovered.  We often fall short when it comes to preparing our children or sharing our values, hopes and dreams on a day to day bases.  Life is only the dash between 2 numbers… how do you want your children to remember your dash?  Were you to busy to go for a teddy bear picnic, or and imaginary tea party with poo?  Are they going to remember how much you worked rather than the moments you shared?

I have a 10 year old step-son that wasn’t thrilled with attending a college graduation.  To make it fun we rented space at Great Wolf Lodge and invited all of our children to come and participate.  Not only with the formal Graduation to mark this moment of time for Leslie, but they will all have a memory of family time even though most of them are now young adults venturing out into the world.  As I grow older I often step back and reflect on how to continually connect with others across the generations.  I am grateful for this weekend in which I could see that reflection in action.