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Pay Attention to Your Surroundings!

I met my pastor friend today for lunch to discuss the upcoming church that we are starting in Georgetown in September.  As I was turning into the parking lot of the restaurant, I saw a middle-aged man who was about to cross in front of me and I wondered if he would stop or look to see my car (and others) before crossing in front of the traffic.

Mentally, I was screaming at him - "Don't do it!  Please at least turn your head 15 degrees to either side.  You could be mowed down in an instant.  This is a busy shopping center.  What are you thinking?  Are you not thinking?"

Thankfully, I was alert enough to realize that he had no intention of noticing my van barreling down on him, so I slowed to a crawl as he crossed the street on foot, never once noticing that he was nearly killed or injured.

I have often marveled at this fact while driving.  How do some people manage to survive into adulthood without ever being careful?  Only by the hand of God was this man's life spared for another day.

Then, I started to think about the real estate business, and how it requires us to be constantly aware of our own surroundings in order to adapt and survive in turbulent times:

  • Would it behoove me to learn more about foreclosures and short sales these days?  I have learned more about this topic in the past several months than I would ever have cared to know previously.

  • As a broker, should I be hiring more agents in order to increase my chances of having a decent income?  In a nutshell, yes.

  • Where should I invest my time and money for the best return on my investment?

There have been a few tough years during my career, and I found it to be important to adapt to the changing climate.  For example, the the months after 9/11, much of my job was spent helping my clients to feel comfortable that the economy would in fact rebound (and it did).  Today, I find myself in the same boat, telling buyers that it is a good time to purchase, as the economy will rebound (and it will). 

I got a home under contract yesterday.  The buyer was referred to me by an agent in Idaho who found me online.  When he called to discuss the possibility of referring the buyer to me, he mentioned that he would be interviewing a few other agents, and he also mentioned that the buyer needed to close in the first half of August, as his current home was already under contract.  I asked him how much he wanted for the referral fee, and he said he wanted 25%.

"How about I pay you 30% instead?", I replied.

"Well, that would be GREAT!", he said, "I think my client will really like you.  I will send you the paperwork tomorrow." 

As you can see, the other agents didn't really have a shot at the business at that point.

A few years ago, I might have taken my chances with this referral, because I know that the chances are good that I would get the business anyway.  However, my point here is that I know how scarce motivated AND qualified buyers are in the current market, so why risk it?  I would happily pay 5% extra to ensure that I get that piece of business, and after a few hours of my time, they have already selected a home.  This will likely be a quick $8000 commission for our company. 

In my humble opinion, our business demands that we pay attention to shifting trends and react accordingly. 

Don't let the market run over you.  Pay attention and you will thrive.


Copyright 2008  Jason Crouch, Austin Real Estate Broker

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