How do people choose a real estate agent?

By
Real Estate Agent with Better Properties Seattle

Since most of my clients come from blogging and have for the last two and a half years, I thought it would be interesting to post a few excerpts from their original contact messages.  It might provide some insight into how people who choose an agent after reading their blogs go about making that choice.

About 20% of them call, so I have no emails to copy and paste for those.  About 30% are referred to my blog from past clients who chose me from my blogging.  They contact me more from a "referred to you by" position, even though they did read my blog posts before calling or emailing.  But here are a few samples of what people have to say at first contact.

I cut and pasted these from the actual emails I have received.  Note: These are clients from my blog and from my writings on Rain City Guide, not from Active Rain.  I only mention that in case you are looking at my blog writings to gain some insight on the type of blog writings that may have attracted the below clients.  I do not write the same way on Active Rain that I do on Rain City Guide or my blog (note most call my blog my "website".  The Transparency mentioned in email #1 below for example, is not referring to my ActiveRain blogging and most of my blogclients did not read my posts on ActiveRain, only those on RainCityGuide and my blog.

Personal info that might identify my clients has been replaced with (X). 

1)  Email Subject Line? "We need an agent!" - "Hi Ardell!  Well, I think between all of your blogs I've surely read every word you've written. I am so impressed with your approach - you clearly love what you do, and value doing it in as transparent a manner as humanly possible. My husband and I need buyer representation, and I would love for you to be our agent...thanks for being the best Seattle-area web resource out there!"

2) Email Subject Line: "Listing" - I've explored both your blog and your website and both are quite informative.  I'm interested in selling/listing my house...I'd like to price it well to sell, yet not leave money on the table. I'd like to meet with you to discuss the possibility of retaining you as an agent.  Email is the easiest communication... Thank you for your time.

3) Email Subject Line: "Help me find a house" - "my name is (X). I just moved here from (X) and am currently on a mission to find a house before the end of June, when my (family) joins me. I thought I could do this using the internet but I'm finding this more and more difficult as houses I like seem to disappear almost as soon as they hit the market. I just read some of your articles including the one titled "Using the internet to buy your new home" and you made me realize that I need help. I'm pretty sure I know what I'm looking for and where I want to live. Here goes: Quiet and clean residential neighborhood, with a good elementary school...Single family house with 3 bedrooms with and additional room for an office. Updated kitchen and bathrooms if older home (I don't like the dark old style wood cabinet I see in so many pictures). The less carpet the better. Two car garage. Ramblers are not my first choice. I have a 500K budget and am pre-qualified with my bank.  MLS# (X) is a good example of a house I like that is currently STI. Is there hope? Can you help me?"

"Hello! I'm (X) from the comments section of your article...Main thing is I feel lost. I really don't have family or friends to go to on these issues. It feels like I should be putting a 5k retainer on a lawyer and a 5k retainer on a financial consultant just to be safe in buying a house... Unfortunately, I don't have that kind of ready money. I guess my main issue is financial. If you are an Eastside specialist I'm sure you deal with geeks. I'm a geek that has a hard time focusing on financial aspects. So, how much can you (or another buyers agent...guess you can consider this an interview too) buffer me from the financial aspects of buying a house? Meaning that my game plan was to simply apply to lending tree, try to decipher which offer was best, and then go to an agent and use them as a way to get into houses to view and then to submit an offer. However, after several days of web surfing I feel more unsure of that plan than ever. I simply can't comprehend the financial complexities involved here. Your comments in the post were pretty surprising about the buyers agents discussing the clients financial needs and working with that. I'll explain. I tried this all about 8 months ago. Meaning I applied to lending tree, got a buyers agent, and looked at houses. One lender seemed more interested than the others, and seemed to string me along, with me submitting all my financial information and near the 12th hour denying me (my fico was 20 points lower than required for a no down loan). During that time, my agent was extremely nice, but never talked to me once about financial concerns... The area where I was most uncomfortable about.  Anyway, in that 8 months I have scoured my credit, increased my FICO by 100 points, and cleared a "past due payment". I have no collections, and one "negative description" with a very old date on it. I make (X)/yr with one full year on the job, my girlfriend makes about (X)k with about 5 years on the job. My FICO is around (X), her's is around (X) (or higher now). We have around (x)k set aside for the home purchase itself and no real debts except for a car payment.  So, can we buy a house for ~(X)? How much assistance could we get from you on the financial aspects? What is, in your opinion, our best plan of action?  (Yes, I did not include a phone number. I don't like talking on the phone. We can start with email and if it goes further, then I'd be happy to call...)"

5) "I've been following your raincityguide writings for about 2 years now (and very impressed) and would now like to investigate the possibility of using your services to list our (X - house) But first, a little bit about us:...If you'd be willing, we would like to meet with you to discuss listing our house...Let me know if you'd be interested. Thanks so much," 

6)  Hi Ardell,   I am big fan of your blogs on Rain City. I almost will read all your blogs. We are looking at houses on the eastside. We are trying to find something in the (X) area. We already have a house in (X - local) I do most of the research on the web using the various listing places(incl your website, which sometimes gets me interesting info)...

7) This was from one blog reader to another blog reader.  I didn't know either of them. "Please contact Ardell for your Seattle needs. More on  phone. Hope that helps."  I was copied on that email.

8) "...We don't expect you to be our taxi driver and run around town looking at every house that pops up.  We hope to use your experience to tell us about the downside of houses that we may like, valuation, discover hidden flaws, make sure the transaction goes smoothly, and negotiate."

9) Email Subject Line: "Putting our house on the market" - Hi Ardell, I've been reading you on Rain City Guide, and you seem like a very talented and knowledgeable Realtor who works hard for your clients and doesn't pull any punches. I like that. I'm in the beginning stages of preparing my house for sale, and I was wondering if you'd be willing to take a look at the house and tell me what you'd do to make it list well, as well as talk in general about what you could do for me if you were to be interested in taking the listing. I'd like to get it on the market as soon as possible, but there's a fair amount that needs to be done. My rough time-line: Next 2-3 weeks...I am not interested in squeezing out every last cent, we have plenty of equity, and I'd hope to price it so it would sell quickly.  This is my first house and don't have any experience on the sell side, so I'm very open to suggestions and reality checks.  Let me know if you have the time and/or interest to potentially work with us.

I had hoped to do ten of these, but my appointment just arrived.  Hopefully these will provide some insight into how "blogclients" make contact and what interested them from blog writings.

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Rainer
55,757
Doug Fritchie
DOUG FRITCHIE-Silver Legacy Properties,Inc. - Portland, OR
Ardell~ That is interesting how you layer them and use the sites in conjunction with each other.
Apr 13, 2008 03:19 PM #49
Rainer
10,613
David Miller
Crye-Leike, Realtors - Spring Hill, TN
Crye-Leike Realtors
Nice thoughts. I didnt read it all because of how long it is but I look to do that soon!
Apr 13, 2008 03:37 PM #50
Rainer
5,840
Sandra Goetz
Referral's Inc, Charles Reinhart Company - Chelsea, MI
Ardell:  Great to know!!!  Maybe to help us newer to blogging, how did you get started, how often do you blog, what exactly do you include, and any other suggestions?  I have also found that when my clients use the internet, they get lost.  Sometimes I have a hard time getting them to understand that I can help them.  I think the internet is a wonderful source for alot of things.  And all the stats show that a majority of people use the interent for almost everything including real estate.
Apr 13, 2008 03:46 PM #51
Rainer
122,217
Christy Powers
Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners - Pooler, GA
Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent
Very interesting subject lines. It's amazing to think someone has been reading your blogs for 2 years. That is so crazy. Congratulations!
Apr 13, 2008 04:02 PM #52
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Ross,

Rain City Guide is not "mine", I'm just a writer there.  If you click on my picture in the sidebar, my articles will line up in succession.

Apr 13, 2008 04:20 PM #53
Rainer
11,976
Windy Hixson
MOVE HOME REALTY - Riverside, CA
Riverside Ca~h2o Homes Specialist

 

 Your post is informative for myself ( a blog newbie) and inspirational. It gives me more of an idea what to write about to get clients  

Apr 13, 2008 04:30 PM #54
Rainmaker
655,882
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes
Thanks for the input and info. You have touched the people who reach you and they are already wanting to work with you. Keep it up.
Apr 13, 2008 04:46 PM #55
Rainer
24,624
Adam Bogle
TEN Realty Group - Ashland, OR
CRS, Southern Oregon... The Most Recognized Realto

thanks for the info.

I have had no blogging success yet, but I'm still a newbie.

Good job

Apr 13, 2008 05:58 PM #56
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Sandra,

I included the links to my writings on RCG and my blog in the post.  You can read what and how often I write.

Apr 13, 2008 07:01 PM #57
Rainer
31,509
Ryan Vivo
Gateway Realty - Fairfield, CA
NRBA Realtor Solano County, Gateway Realty 707-384-5894

Adrell,

  Thanks for sharing such great information, which is telling me that I need to blog more!  I never heard of rain city before, I will have to check that out. 

Apr 13, 2008 07:58 PM #58
Ambassador
1,118,640
Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239
Real Estate One - Commerce, MI
Michigan homes for sale ~ yesmyrealtor@gmail.com
Congratulations on all the blogging customers.  I hope to get to that point some day. 
Apr 13, 2008 11:08 PM #59
Rainmaker
1,142,060
Bryant Tutas
Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC - Winter Garden, FL
Selling Florida one home at a time
ARDELL, I like your commission post. Very straight forward. It also shows how far a part our worlds are. Average home price in my market right now is $142,000!!! If you do the math there's not much room for moving on commission. Although I will if the situation merits it.  
Apr 14, 2008 01:18 AM #60
Ambassador
731,982
Courtney Cooper
Ben Kinney Brokerages Leadership at our Keller Williams North Seattle Office - Seattle, WA
206-850-8841
ARDELL - this is great - I should compile a similar list.  It is pretty interesting how people approach us and for what reasons:)
Apr 14, 2008 02:01 AM #61
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

I woke up to a new and similar email this morning...actually I am not quite awake yet :)

BB,

65% or so of our market ranges from $300,000 to $600,000.  When someone is selling a $400,000 townhome and buying a home for $850,000, both through me, you can see by adding up those numbers that the industry norm would simply be too much.  No one should have to pay that much just to get from here to there.  Plus most of my clients know exactly where they want to live and I don't have buyer tours.  Rarely do I "show homes" in the traditional sense.  Not that I wouldn't or won't, just that I don't have to 99% of the time.

It cracks me up when someone calls Redfin "a discounter" for charging twice as much as you would in Florida in $ amount.  Everyone should just forget about the percentages and deal with cold hard cash figures.  Isn't it a joke to say "I'm worth 3%! when the sale price is $100,000 and the commissions is $3,000 and then call someone charging 1% of $600,000 "a discounter"? 

I don't think Redfin will be coming to your neighborhood :)

Apr 14, 2008 02:43 AM #62
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA
Good morning, Courtney.  Where do you generally hang out? We really do need to "hook up" soon.  Any chance you are going to Inman Connect in San Francisco in July.  We may have to meet in San Francisco LOL!  I'm pretty sure I'll be a speaker there again this year.
Apr 14, 2008 02:45 AM #63
Rainer
135,696
Hope Goss
Ventura Property Shoppe - Ventura, CA
Ventura Real Estate
Thanks for keeping us motivated to keep blogging.  After all, most of us aren't in this to strengthen our literary skills!
Apr 14, 2008 03:25 AM #64
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Bronson,

It's not really "advertising", it's sharing your expertice and it doesn't make you "look like" an expert unless are are one.  If you are a fool, blogging will "make you" look like a fool.

Apr 14, 2008 11:04 AM #66
Rainer
7,986
Lisa Marie Thomas
Prudential - Salt Lake City, UT
I am looking forward to my first lead from blogging.  Meanwhile I am having fun.  Thanks for the in-site.
Apr 14, 2008 04:20 PM #67
Rainer
22,039
Misty Thomas
Houston Realty - Crosby, TX
Realtor Crosby, TX

Ardell,

 

I love that you have had so much success from blogging! I am so new to the whole blogging thing and it is so powerful to see someone that it is working so well for! I can't wait until I have the time to go and read your blogs! Thank you for posting and giving me hope that blogging will help and also letting me know how importnat it is for me to learn all that I can about blogging appropriately!

Apr 20, 2008 04:15 AM #68
Rainmaker
304,760
ARDELL DellaLoggia
Better Properties Seattle - Kirkland, WA

Misty,

Just figure out what you do best in real estate, not in blogging, and blog about that.  Show what your are good at without saying you are.

Apr 20, 2008 04:24 AM #69
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ARDELL DellaLoggia

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