Along with the upside of being a real estate agent and writing for a national web site such as About.com, there is also a downside. It's easy for consumers to find my telephone number. I could remove my cellphone number from my website, but what's the point? I want people to be able to call me. Especially home buyers and sellers in Sacramento.
Sometimes short sale buyers call me because they are frustrated with their agent or the way their transaction is going. It's hard for them to understand that a) as a REALTOR, I can't interfere in another agent's transaction and b) I don't know the laws and specifics to their state. I get calls from all over the country.
An agent called from the Midwest a few days ago. She left her phone number without leaving a message. I figured if it was important enough, she'd call back. Not only do I not return calls from people I don't know and have no reason to call -- they could be telemarketers, for all I know -- but I rarely call long distance.
That's because, believe it or not, I don't subscribe to a nationwide calling plan for my phone. I use T-Mobile's unadvertised regional plan, which gives me 3,000 minutes anywhere in northern California and Nevada. It costs $49 a month. That saves me about $2,000 a year. Over 10 years, that's $20,000.
When I travel, I pay roaming charges, but those fees amount to about $10. For me, it doesn't make sense to pay for a plan I rarely use. I guess I'm the odd duck out when it comes to cellphone plans, but it works for me.
Well, the agent in the Midwest did call back. The reason for her call was to ask me how she, as a brand new agent, could reach out to other agents in her community and perhaps network or form a support group. At first blush, I wondered why she was asking me that question. What did I ever write to inspire such a query?
Then it dawned on me. Of course. She should join the Active Rain community. Duh. I sent her a link and encouraged her to sign up. Active Rain is an invaluable resource for new agents and veterans alike. I receive emails and phone calls from Sacramento home buyers and sellers who read my blog on Active Rain and my outside blog at LandParkBlog.com. It's the best thing going on the web today!
Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, columnist for The New York Times-owned About.com, a Land Park resident, and a Land Park real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout Sacramento. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 35 years of real estate experience to work for you.
The Short Sale Savior, by Elizabeth Weintraub, available in bookstores everywhere and at Amazon.com.