It’s summer of 2018 and you’re in Lake Geneva. You’ve done several things right to make it here. You’ve made strategic decisions that have led to this point. You’ve endured difficulties and celebrated successes. You’ve made it, even if you don’t know it. You can’t find yourself along these shores in search of anything and not understand that simply by being here you’ve proven your success. To arrive here, now, to be in this market as an owner or a buyer, there’s something that must be said: I’m proud of you.
If you’re here and you decide that you’re going to be a summer 2018 seller, then you do several things. You set up some listing appointments with the agents that you feel will increase your chances of selling in an efficient and lucrative manner. You interview the guy with the blog, the guy with the magazine (spoiler, those are both me), you interview the lady who your neighbor plays Bingo with, and you interview the guy who your husband’s friend golfs with. That agent is always golfing, but alas, you interview him anyway.
What happens next is the issue. Agents, sensing the market and sensing the competition, battle against each other to drive your price up. You listen. You don’t like the agent who keeps on insisting on using facts to back up his opinions (that’s me), and you don’t like the agent who golfs all of the time because he has two score cards in his pocket next to his soft-edged business card. You really like the bingo player, because she’s super enthusiastic and happy and she thinks your pricing ideas are right on. Name your price, she says. So bubbly and so positive. Never mind that she rarely sells houses, you list because there’s palpable enthusiasm here and her price is 20% over the one the reality based magazine guy gave you.
That’s what sellers do. But buyers? They’re even worse. At least the seller interviews prospective agents. Buyers tend to follow a different path. They drive up to the lake, drive around the lake, stop in at open houses and call the names on signs. Recently, Walworth County Realtors have sprung forward into the 1950s and decided that open houses are the key to success. Every weekend, open houses. Down this road! Open House! Agents press their pleated khakis and affix their gold name tags. They shuffle their stack of brochures next to the sign in sheet. That sign in sheet is often what will do you in.
See, buyers don’t seem to know it, but the real estate business is built around the concept of procuring cause. While I’m not an attorney, I know that this concept is what drives the commissions in real estate. And in case you are exceptionally naive, you should know that commission is what drives real estate agents to work on Saturday and Sunday while the rest of the free world is playing. If you stop in to an open house and give that agent your name and contact info, that agent is going to make a claim that you’re their buyer. If you call an agent off of their yard sign and give them your contact info so that you might receive info, that agent is going to make a claim that you’re theirs. If you so much as breathe in the general direction of an agent, there’s a good chance that agent thinks you’re their customer.
What I’d like you to do is something different. I don’t want you to work with another agent and consult me and this blog for advice. That’s sort of lame, and unfortunately quite common. Instead, I’d like you to determine if you’re a buyer in the Lake Geneva market. If the answer is yes, then I recommend you follow the model of the sellers. You need to interview agents. Pick a couple, interview them. Interact with them. It’ll take an hour of your time and save you considerable consternation in the future. Further, it’ll save you from possible financial errors that won’t only harm your pride. Why would you work with an agent whom you met by sheer chance? Why would you work with an agent who pays the most for your lead on Zillow? Stop doing this. It’s embarrassing.
If you are in the market, and you’re reading this, Send me an email. Set up a time to meet with me. We’ll talk about the market. You’ll quickly learn there’s a significant difference between an agent who says they’re a market expert and one who actually is. The market is hot. There are mistakes being made. I’ll try to help you avoid those, and we’ll have fun along the way.