I did not come into this world a natural “handyman.” My uncle Ted, on the other hand, is one of those guys who can fix most anything. Throughout life, I have built my fair share of tree houses, skateboard ramps, saw horses and even a nice three-tier end table. The biggest factor in the level of success with all of those endeavors is having the right equipment. When you witness a quality piece of woodwork, whether it is a birdhouse or a kayak, the root of that project is inevitably a workshop full of equipment and tools meant for that type of project.
One of the best examples of this is your local auto repair shop. I worked as a mechanic for a year and even spent a summer working with the owner on his pit crew for his short track stock car team. Never has “the right tool for the job” been so evident. I would always be amazed when, after struggling, swearing and bleeding with a certain part or bolt, Tim would walk over and hand me a tool that bent a certain way or angled just right to make the job incredibly simple. There were even wrenches in his tool box, among the tens of thousands of dollars in other tools, that he had simply cut in half or shaved down on one side because they helped him with a certain fix on a specific make and model of vehicle. It is that knowledge (and tool box) that makes him one of the smartest and efficient mechanics I know.
So, what in the world does that have to do with real estate? Well, aside from making sure your prospective home wasn’t built by someone like me, it is critical, in today’s market, to ensure that your agent and the brokerage they work with have the right tools to provide for a successful transaction.
Without question, knowledge is a critical piece in this equation. Yes, it is great that Tim had a few fancy tools for a few specific jobs, but really his knowledge and experience with hundreds of repairs is critical to his success.
In real estate, market awareness and local knowledge are both critical pieces, whether you are buying or selling a home. You want an agent who is both aware of the current market conditions and trends and is also familiar with the personality of the different towns or neighborhoods in the area. Imagine you are moving to the Mount Washington Valley from across the country. It would be critical to your home-buying experience, to know the differences between Jackson and Jefferson or Madison and Moultonborough. Although they may look nearby on a map and might even be described in similar ways online, local knowledge is going to identify their vast differences (and distances) and get you honed in on a more suitable place to live.
Next to knowledge would have to come the equipment. Sure, I may have “known” that I needed a circular saw to cut that plywood in a straight line, but what I owned (and used) was a jigsaw. Clearly not the best tool for the job and the results proved that. We all know that visual representations are critical pieces to a successful real estate listing today. Whether it is plenty of photos from all different angles or a quick video walk-through of the home, highlighting the best features, nobody in their right mind would buy a home without seeing it.
When interviewing a potential listing agent for your property, be sure to ask how they handle this part of the job. While I may tell you that I’m an amazing woodworker, there is no better proof than seeing some of my finished products. I can assure you that I’m a great mechanic, but if my own truck won’t start, there’s clearly a problem. A simple visit to their website or listing brochures will be all the supporting data you need to establish their grasp on these visual media. I’m telling you right now, you will never see any of my woodworking “expertise”!
The last piece of the puzzle is a combination of these factors. Frankly, this is not always so easy to find. Sure, Tim had a bevy of neat tools and 30 or more years of experience to know how best to use them but he also knew how to talk to customers to get an understanding of their objectives with the vehicle. If their goal was just to “band-aid” the car until they could buy something newer in a couple months, there was no need to spend hundreds of dollars to make it perfect. A simple and inexpensive fix, if possible, was the best solution for that particular situation.
When a prospective buyer gets in contact with your listing agent, you want them to have the skills and experience necessary to listen to what that buyer wants and quickly determine the most suitable homes for them to view. While some may simply be looking to get the sale and move on to the next buyer, an experienced agent has the skills and experience to listen to the buyer and match them up with the most appropriate home.
“We have seen plenty of deals fall apart because the buyers felt pushed into it and were never really comfortable with the home they were buying, notes Badger Realty agent, Susan Solar. She continued, “In many cases, they are able to find a way out of the deal and walk away feeling jaded about the whole experience.”
Every experienced seller knows that every single buyer walking in the door is not going to be right for his or her home. By using an agent who has the right tools, knowledge and experience, you greatly increase your chances of that deal making it all the way to the closing table and leaving both parties satisfied.