If you are a realtor and this has happened to you, I am really sorry and please hear me out. I did NOT mean to pass over my friend for another realtor. Perhaps my confession will shed light on a few situations – or perhaps your situation is entirely different. Either way, it can be a painful state of affairs and I appreciate the opportunity to share my story.
When hubby and I made the decision to buy our first home together, with much excitement I sent an email to my longtime realtor friend, we’ll call him Joe, announcing our BIG decision. Being new to real estate, I was sure Joe would call me with MUCH hoopla and help me get started right away on finding our dream home!!! That is how this works, right? WOOHOO!!
Noooo… Whomp, whomp, whomp! …as in that’s not what happened at all.
Sounding very matter-of-fact, Joe’s email response advised me of my next step to get hold of a lender – either one of my choice or one of his referrals – to find out how much home we qualify for. “Congratulations. Best regards, Joe”
WHAT?! That’s it? I’m being passed off. Why is he sending me to a lender without even talking with me? Where is my hoopla? Does he think we can’t afford a house? Does he only work with buyers with a certain purchase power? Maybe he doesn’t want to work with us? Perhaps he’s too busy??? How is it that we’ve decided to make the biggest purchase of our entire life and his response sounds like we’re buying car insurance?!
Realtors have a tough job as buyers (and sellers) are often “needy.” Hindsight can be 20/20 and as I look back I think maybe Joe was just all too familiar with the process. Yes, qualification comes first. I get that, now; however, at the time I was full of emotion and excitement. I didn’t understand the process and hoped Joe would respond accordingly. He didn’t appear to ‘get’ how monumentous this decision was for us, so I reasoned that we probably weren’t right caliber of client for Joe.
Perhaps years of facilitating the buying and selling of homes can make one numb to a buyer’s emotions.
At the same time I made mention of our decision to a group of new friends. One of which was a realtor, we’ll call her Nancy. Nancy’s response was enthusiastic, “OHHHH CONGRATULATIONS! That is wonderful! You are going to loooove having your very own home not to mention all of the tax benefits you’ll receive!!!” She seemed genuinely interested in our dream and as we talked on about yards and gardens, neighborhoods and house size, she asked me my thoughts on anticipated price. She even offered to send me some homes ASAP to help us get acquainted with the market while we do the legwork to get qualified. Further, Nancy offered to personally introduce me to a lender she trusted and explained a little bit about the process. Are you beginning to see the picture here? Before we knew it, Nancy was walking us through the process of buying our first home.
Joe never did follow up. In fact, he hasn’t emailed or called since. I believe he’s heard through the grapevine of our home purchase success, and we moved quickly, too, signing within 3-4 months. Joe and I are still Facebook “friends” and in retrospection I wonder what would have happened had I pursued my initial conversation with him. I still feel a little guilty and console myself about being a rotten friend with the fact that he never followed up. Years later, as a real estate photographer, I better understand the industry and I recognize where he may have been coming from. Joe’s right, getting qualified is indeed the next step. I also won’t leave a potential photography client in the communication lurch, either, and believe strongly in following up quickly to show we appreciate our relationships.