Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Commercial Break #4 Des Res

I have recently acquired, well actually BUILT a house... for my daughter. It is based on the beautiful houses I saw in Charleston – but a mere imitation! Very southern, 3 stories with two porches and 6 rooms. Pink, lilac and white! I’m not about to sell it but if I was I would be apprehensive about selling it in the US- it can be quite an expensive process here.
There are many qualities I would look for in an Estate Agent (called ‘Realtors’ in America) but what their hobbies are isn’t one of them. I just looked on a website to search for realtors and you could refine your search* to find a suitable realtor by selecting their desirable ‘hobbies’ and ‘Civil Activities’. Mmmm, yes, I feel a yoga practicing member of ‘Pheasants Forever’ (they were search choices) would help me sell my house much quicker than a ‘Hospital Volunteer’. They would be too busy volunteering! I expected to find ‘miracle worker’ as one of the search options as they charge up to … Wait for it… 16% of the final sale price of the house. I’m not very good at maths but that is significantly more than the 1 ½ -3 % they charge in the UK.
I think one vital quality to have here as a realtor is to be a particular shade of orange. They all seem to sport the orange look. The selling thing here is done on a ‘personal’ basis – so rather than a brand you can trust individuals set themselves up as a person you can trust. Maybe that is why you can search for them by hobbies so you can find a like minded person and connect on more than one level. Sell my house and discuss knitting techniques. MMmmm what I really want is a ‘ham radio’ enthusiast… or better still a writer. On second thoughts they might write blogs and be completely untrustworthy! As a basis of the trust building process the realtors all share a photograph of themselves. They are on flyers, billboards and websites ‘selling real estate for 12 years’. They look out at you all orange and smiley with big teeth saying ‘I’m your friend, trust me, I’ll sell your house, share your hobbies and take the shirt off your back in the process’.
Putting your photo on anything is a dangerous strategy. If it is true that interviewers make up their mind about whether they will employ you within the first few seconds of seeing you then some realtors are seriously going to be at a disadvantage if house sellers select on the same basis. First impressions count. They could be dismissed on a whim unconnected to their ability to sell… MMmm too orange! Maybe they will be forgiven their looks if you share the same hobby!
I was very tempted to phone and get a quote for putting the new house on the market but who knows what sort of estate agent bus nutter realtor I might encounter (for non-British readers a ‘bus nutter’ is someone on public transport who has an empty seat next to them despite the bus being very full. The second you sit down next to them you know why the seat was empty. As soon as you make eye contact with a bus nutter your life will never be the same again. If you ever leave the bus – you will leave fundamentally and profoundly altered!). The agent might be miffed if they actually tracked me down, turned up to do a valuation and found that the house I was selling wasn’t quite what they expected – unless of course I had pre-selected them on a search for their ‘residential sub-speciality’ being new construction, their hobbies being ‘all things Lilliput’ and their civil activities being involved with SADD/MADD. If I had filtered on that basis, not only would I have a fully committed realtor but a new BFFL!
My newly constructed Des Res

(*Would you believe I only made one search option for realtors hobbies and civil activities up in the whole blog!)


  1. I learn something every day reading your blogs. Did you realise you were educating your readers