Thursday, September 30, 2010

Professionals and Referrals

My time in Real Estate is coming to an end, at least as an active agent. I’m keeping my license active so I can still earn referral income. If you need to buy or sell a house, you can still contact me and I will connect you with an excellent Realtor to handle your transaction.

During my time in Real Estate, I’ve really wondered where people’s heads are when it comes to recommendations for professionals. There are many types of professionals who are needed for a Real Estate transaction. Clients, of course, can hire any professional they choose. Most Realtors have a short list of professionals that they’re familiar with and work well with. Unfortunately, anybody not on that list is a wild card. You have no idea how competent they are, or how good of a job they’re likely to do. Often, we’re surprised. But just as often, we’re left wanting to ask our clients “Why the hell didn’t you just listen to me and hire the person I told you would do a great job for you?”

It’s interesting how we can tell a client “I know you need to hire a (home inspector, Real Estate lawyer, termite inspector, title company, mortgage company, etc). Here are a few that I’ve worked with before, and I know they’ll do a great job for you.” Just as often, the client will respond with “That’s OK. I know somebody that my friend’s sister’s cousin’s aunt’s brother’s roommate's 4th grade teacher’s nephew’s college roommate’s friend from church heard about. I’m going to hire him. I’ve never met him, but I have 12th hand knowledge of his existence and he has a business card that says he’s a home inspector.” Then you end up with a home inspector who needs 3 days to hand-write a report and mail it, rather than print it out onsite like the guy you recommended would have done. Then the deal is up in the air for 3 days until the hand-written home inspection report comes in the mail (or fax).

In one deal I was involved with, the client was offered a referral to a local mortgage broker. The client opted to use another broker who hooked him up with a mortgage lender in New Mexico or Nevada. The problem was, when we showed up for closing at 10 AM in New Jersey, nobody was in the office in the mountain time zone. That lender, not being local to New Jersey, had a different escrow policy. We spent 4 hours at the title company waiting for somebody to show up for work to straighten things out. Had a local mortgage broker been involved, a representative would have been available to attend closing and deal with any hassles like that.

Please, when a professional refers you to another professional, please give that referral a little more credence than a referral from somebody less experienced in that field. You can hire anybody you want to, but sometimes a referral from a professional should carry a little more weight than a referral from a friend or distant relative.
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