By Debbie Hanlon

For whatever reason, people seem to think that anyone can buy and sell houses, not just professional real estate agents. Many people think that selling a home is an easy thing to do. But the number of people selling their own homes is steadily declining as those who have tried the do-it-yourself route have come to realize that it isn’t as simple as it seems. That, however, doesn’t always stop people from trying to help you do your job as I found out recently with a client’s father who was one of those people who “knew a guy”.

When it came time for the house inspection, he knew a guy who did them. Now, the inspectors I have encountered are fast and professional. This new guy was neither. He did not return calls or texts and what normally took a matter of a few hours stretched into more than a week. The report itself was confusing and in my opinion, which I did express, was not a true representation of a professional home inspection. It made a fairly simple step in the selling process a headache for everyone involved.



When it came to a lawyer, the father knew a guy who did that. Same result. The lawyers I have used over the years have for the most part been professional and thorough – but not this guy. He was new and his inexperience cost us a few more days and stretched the patience of all parties concerned to point of nearly snapping.

Need home insurance? Well, we were in luck because the father knew a guy who did insurance. He didn’t do it well, nor did he do it cheap but by golly he did insurance. He also took his time doing it and more days ticked by without my clients having a home. In the end the couple ended up going with one of the firms I had recommended.  I always give my clients several referrals that I have confidence in. The firm was professional, thorough and cost effective.

When you deal with the families of clients you’re fighting a losing battle. The parents are trying to do what they think is best for their children. They are trying to help you do your job and all you can really do is let them help. Guide them to make the correct decisions. I always ask them if they’re sure when they put out an opinion on what should be done. That way they have an out. That pause sometimes helps them realize that maybe they should just let you do your job. If this doesn’t work, then I simply arrange to meet my clients – the people who I am representing – in private in my office and then I lay the cards on the table.

It’s not like they would meddle with any other profession. They wouldn’t tell their doctor how to treat their child’s cold. They wouldn’t stand next to their teacher in school and tell them how to teach a lesson. They wouldn’t dare, they’d let the professionals do their jobs. Except when it comes to real estate. In this business it seems that everyone is an expert in all aspects of the trade. They all “know a guy” who can do what needs to be done.

The father’s interference in the deal I was doing for his daughter and her husband cost them a couple of weeks and several thousand dollars. At first they were not aware of the issues that were being creating by these inexperienced professionals because they had never done a real estate deal and were totally unaware of how it’s done and why it’s done the way it is. However, by the time we closed the deal, roughly three weeks beyond the original closing date, my clients were knowledgeable enough to write the real estate exam. It was through persistence and information that I finally got through to the clients’ parents and in the end my clients.

I felt a bit elated when the father who, I have to say, did learn his lesson by the end of it, admitted he was frustrated and had made a few mistakes. He said all the waiting was giving him a headache and asked me to deal with the issues on hand. Not to worry, I assured him. You see, I know a guy.

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Debbie Hanlon is the owner broker and Realtor at Debbie Hanlon Real Estate, a new boutique brokerage in St. John’s, Nfld. She is also a motivational speaker, real estate coach, author, former city councillor and children’s entertainer. She lives in St. John’s with her husband, Oral Mews and her dog Fisher.

3 COMMENTS

  1. yes we are supposed to be the professionals, but why are brokers hiring so many part time reps, that are nothing more than the professed experts that this father knew. We are the keepers of our profession and when we start discounting services not being full time in our profession we cheapen it for all of us

    • Gourdy it’s happening because the real estate industry is in essence a pyramid system. With the top being the few full time successful realtors and the bulk of the industry the lesser. And it works for everyone but the consumer.

      Brokers love it because the key to their success comes from desk fees and splits. And the more agents, hopefully more listings.

      Agents love it because even if they do a deal a month, it’s much more than can be made working 9-5. And as Brian said, all that’s required to be in the i.dustry is a pulse – no standards and little guidance.

      However, what’s been supporting all this is high fees for the consumer, but today and as we move into the future, those fees are being challenged. A little today, a bit more tomorrow.

      And consumers are expecting and demanding something different, something better. Time is on the consumers side, not our side.

  2. Debbie:
    LMAO. By the way, did you infringe on copyright by using Lawrence Dale’s photo taken just after he got blown out of Zoocasa?

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