I love buyers. I enjoy looking at a lot of properties before finding the right one. I don’t mind spending time on the phone going back and forth, over differences of opinion, discussing financing, and the merits or lack thereof of a given property; doing everything I can to help lead a buyer to a correct decision for them. Lately however, I’m finding my buyer-clients are not listening to my advice as much. Why is that?
I presume the problem starts with a lack of confidence in the direction of the real estate market in general. Then it’s magnified by the over abundance of differing opinion available from their friends and much too much information on the Web. It’s a recipe for a mess… think back to when you were a kid and you started making a chocolate milkshake in the blender when suddenly you got the idea that if you added mustard and pickles it might be better… oops, you lost sight of the original goal. This is what’s happening with buyers. Instead of simply buying a home, it’s now about stealing one. Instead of evaluating the recent sales as a measure of value, it’s about anticipating the next ones and getting out in front of the market. Instead of thinking of real estate as a growth engine for wealth accumulation through leverage, I am hearing buyers tell me how much less their home will be worth in 5 years. This is a no-man’s-land of understanding and confusion. As I grapple with this new, albeit I believe temporary reality, I sense the need to retrain myself: to be a better filter of information for my clients, while at the same time, careful to not to pander to them by agreeing at every turn, when I think differently. This is the challenge we long time Realtors face: being able to maintain credibility with our clients, without alienating them, especially when they are convinced that they’re better informed than we.