Brrr! It's Cold Outside but the House is Cozy [Tales from the Trenches]

--- by Osman Parvez

As I shoveled the sidewalk in front of one of my listings this morning, I found myself reflecting on the nature of our work and how often Realtors miss the mark. What does it mean to be full service? 

Full service is a mindset driven by a commitment to our client's goals. It's also based on a healthy respect for the value of time - our client's and our own. In essence, it means being intelligent and pro active.   

What does that look like?  

When we're representing a seller, it means addressing potential problems before they become an issue. If it means shoveling out a listing after a snowstorm because the owners haven't yet arranged for snow removal service, so be it. Don't wait for a ticket from the city or worse, for someone to slip and fall. If the home has a scheduled showing, turn on the lights and bump up the heat (or the A/C). If a home has a clear deficit compared to its competitors, maybe it means staging to correct or perhaps more drastic measures like advising a client to undertake cosmetic remodeling.  

This past weekend, I showed a number of carefully selected homes to my buyers in Boulder and Louisville. A few listings were prepared for our arrival but others were dark, hadn't been lived in for some time, and smelled of stale air. These issues are easily correctable and the difference is immediately noticeable. 

single pane glass caulked directly to brick = zero R value
One particular listing was an attractive mid-century modern condo. Although it lacked storage, I encouraged my clients to consider it because it's a unique, rarely available property type in a compelling location. The listing agent had shown up that morning and turned on the lights prior to our arrival, but it was still bone chilling cold when we walked in the door. As a consequence, we spent our time talking about the property's poor energy efficiency and didn't stay long. 

I don't regret the showing. Showings are learning opportunities and when I represent the buyer, my job is to help my clients make a smarter decision. Even if a property is ultimately rejected, a well chosen listing often leads to a good discussion and helps us focus on priorities. Prior to the showing, energy efficiency hadn't even been on their radar.   

Full service means asking intelligent questions about long-term goals, understanding specific requirements, and reviewing listings before we schedule the appointment. When buyers contact me and request a showing, we can often eliminate candidates because of our earlier conversations without needing to visit the property itself.

When representing a seller, intelligent, pro-active service includes offering advice on how to address a property's potential deficits. If it's possible to correct these issues prior to it hitting the market, it's wise to do so.  If you wait for feedback from potential buyers, frankly, it's too late.  

So, if your listing is vacant, go ahead and crank the heat.  Just make sure you do it well before the showing.  Cold building are the opposite of cozy - nobody wants to linger. 

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The ideas and strategies described in this blog are the opinion of the writer and subject to business, economic, and competitive uncertainties.   We strongly recommend conducting rigorous due diligence and obtaining professional advice before buying or selling real estate. 


Please Note

This document contains forward-looking statements. You are strongly cautioned that investment results are subject to business, economic and other uncertainties. There are no guarantees associated with any forecast and the opinions stated here are subject to change at any time. Always consult your financial advisor before making an investment decision.