Getting Out Of My Own Way

Every morning when I look at new listings on our MLS, I’m amazed at what real estate agents get away with.

Amateur photography.

Allowances for repairs instead of just making the repairs.

Lack of staging.

Neglected curb appeal.

A new fridge, but a 20-year-old range and dishwasher.

Dingy paint & dirty walls.

The list goes on. . .

I have a certain way in which I think houses should be marketed. I won’t get into the details here, but suffice it to say I’m very serious about maximizing equity for our sellers. As a consequence, I'm rather particular about how our listings are presented.

Because of this, for many years, our company was structured such that I was the only agent who could list houses; everyone else worked exclusively with buyers.

That model worked just fine back when it was only Lloyd and me, and we were small enough that we each knew all of our clients. It was easy to hand them off to each other, depending on what they wanted to do.

But as we grew, that model worked against us.

For example, a potential client might call an agent in the office to list their house. That agent would explain that they don’t list homes and that, instead, I will be in touch.

Well, if the potential client knows me, it might work out just fine. But if they don’t know me, they might reach out to another broker with whom they already have a relationship, in which case we lose out on the listing.

On the brokerage level, missing one listing isn’t a huge deal. But, on the agent level, it is a big deal, and that’s where the model worked against us. We’ve lost (and failed to hire) good agents because they didn’t want to be restricted to working only with buyers.

Here’s a fact: most agents want to be able to work with whoever they want, however they want. You would think that with me having been in this industry for 14 years that such a fact would be plainly obvious.

And it should have been, but at times I can be a little stubborn.

Despite being able to see how our structure limited growth, my need for control clouded my vision. It took me until earlier this summer to recognize that, for the firm to grow, I would have to release that control.

Since then, Teresa Guion BroomeHeather Todd, and Lloyd Trimble have been doing an excellent job of listing & selling homes which has freed me up to work on other areas of our business. Now we’re shaking things up, making some changes, and getting ready for growth.

It’s growth that could have happened years ago.

If only I’d gotten out of my own way.