Learn to Use the Phone

Well I think I’ve seen enough listings with nothing but cell phone pictures. I don’t care what people say, how much they spent on their phone, or how much they love their phone, a phone is not designed for real estate pictures.

Real cameras have special lenses for wide angle shots. Real cameras have special flashes to soften shadows and eliminate hard shadows. Real cameras take the best pictures of homes for sale. There is no doubt about it. Real cameras are designed to do what cell phones can’t do. Sure, agents may be able to get away with poor quality pictures during a sellers market, but what about a buyers market where every detail counts? Do you want cell phone pictures or real pictures of your house all over the Internet in a tough market when buyers have a choice of homes and time to review details on the Internet at their leisure?

Taking real estate pictures is only one major misuse of phones these days. During this past year (2019), I’ve seen something rather strange in the Real Estate business. I’ve seen some agents choosing to negotiate using only text messages. They don’t answer their phone. If I call, I receive a text message in return. I’m not sure why. Maybe they don’t know how to negotiate. Maybe they have never been trained in negotiations. Maybe they are afraid to negotiate. Maybe they are lazy. Maybe they don’t care if they make a sale or not.

Text messages have their place, but negotiating details on the sale of real estate property is not one of them. Negotiations can cover a lot more areas than price. There are inspections, included items, dates and deadlines, and a host of other details. You would be typing on a phone for hours to cover half of the details involved.

I hear some agents like to use text because they say they have a record of everything discussed. Agents can discuss everything in the world. They forget the most important rule in Real Estate. Nothing amounts to a hill of beans until it is in writing on the proper form signed by both parties. Negotiations can cover a wide variety of details. The goal is to find details both parties, sellers and buyers agree to. Details are added to the proper form, then signed by both the sellers and buyers. That is what adds up to a binding agreement.

This may sound strange, but I’ve actually dealt with one agent who actually believed her word was all that was required. When she said or sent something via text, in her world that was all that was required for an agreement. She failed to process any of the proper forms. In every phase of the sale process she made mistakes and failed. She allowed contingency dates to expire, insisting her text message was all that was required. I would have liked to see how her personal style of business would have flew in front of a review board or a judge. In any case, Wisconsin has not passed a law replacing State approved forms with text messages. I doubt if the state ever will.

In the long run. Real Estate Agents are paid to discuss options, examine facts and figures, and provide clients with up to date information. We’ve seen a rather quick and decisive drop in prices in certain ares in Wisconsin in the later part of 2019. I am trying to negotiate price with an agent contracted to represent a seller. The other agent prefers to use nothing but text messages. I call, he answers with a short, one line text. There is no way we can negotiate using that method. The other agent claims to have an appraisal over 5 months old. Try to convince an agent prices have changed over that time period. Any good agent would already known that fact and would have sent their client a number of market updates. When I look at the pictures on the Internet and the actual house, they look like 2 different properties. The property has undergone changes since it was first listed. I get the feeling that agent has not been in the house since listing it. The point is, poor communication in one area of business pours over to all phases of business. Other people and businesses involved in the sale also suffer. The proper paperwork is designed to communicate to a network of professionals trained to ensure a proper closing on the sale of Real Estate property. Miscommunication results in delays, disagreements, and in general, a series of headaches in every step of the process.

Use the phone to talk. Use text messages to arrange a meeting or phone conference. But never use a phone to negotiate, secure agreements, or cover any details in short, one line messages. Stick with the tried and true methods of doing business. They are not old time, out of date, nor replaced by any phone app. Learn to Use the Phone in Real Estate. 

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