The Mind of a Real Estate Agent

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

The Mind of a Real Estate Agent

As I sat at my desk unwinding from a long day out on the road, I was perusing Facebook.  It only took five minutes for a news story about suspected terrorists arrested in Northern Virginia to show up in my feed.  The photo accompanying the story showed police taking evidence from a townhouse.  

Where does the mind of a real estate agent go?  They assess the style of the townhouse, whether or not it has a garage and where it may be located.  Before I read the story I had two or three communities in my local market in mind based solely on the photo of the townhouse.  Mind you, my local market is about three towns in one county vs. the three counties and multiple municipalities that make up "Northern Virginia."  

The article was of no use.  It tells me nothing about where the suspects lived.  So what does a real estate agent do next?  Goes back to the picture and finds a street address, does a search in the tax records and pulls the short list of where this photo could have been taken.  

Of course, the journalist in me realizes this could be file footage, so I lose most of my interest.  Doesn't stop me from my MLS investigation.  I am still able with those few clues about the larger area location, approximate size and street number to narrow it down to about four townhouses, and by cross referencing to listing photos, I find the one.  

This real estate agent is satisfied.  Years of answering phone calls from in-bound callers on floor duty, describing a property that I would have to find with very few clues has paid off.  I know where that photo was taken.  And THAT is the totality of what I know.  Who knows when or why that photo was taken. 




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Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Chris Ann Cleland  you are addicted to Real Estate .. it is like when I hear on the news about gas prices and the blog I wrote about it several weeks ago before they announced it on the news

Dec 27, 2016 08:52 PM #1
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®,CRS,
RE/MAX Professionals. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

Have you ever witnessed an agent who is burning out Chris Ann Cleland? I usually tell them it's vacation time... 

Dec 27, 2016 10:21 PM #2
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Chris Ann, now not wanting to make light of the situation, but to bring things in parallel, this is our third Christmas where we live and Diane has been sending out Christmas Cards to the neighbors, so instead of looking across the street to see the numbers on the house she goes to my I want the such and such family's address... now with that said I search the last name in public records and give her the address....that is the mind of a Realtor:))Endre

Dec 27, 2016 10:42 PM #3
Nina Hollander
RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Good morning, Chris Ann... increasingly I've realized that the mind of a real estate agent might just be a dangerous place to go!  But loved this post, because I could see myself going through the same thought process.

Dec 28, 2016 05:19 AM #4
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Chris Ann. This is very telling. I think the same way and your investigation is something I would have done too. I hope it was a false alarm.

Dec 28, 2016 07:01 AM #5
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

We do have a different mid-set than the rest of the world.  We see real estate while others focus on the events occuring.  Way to play detective.

Dec 28, 2016 08:29 AM #6
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I did the same thing a few years back when the police were investigating pot rings in Elk Grove. I could piece together who owned those homes, and how many other homes these people owned and could accurately predict where the next pot house would get busted, just for the fun of it.

Dec 28, 2016 09:57 AM #7
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Chris Ann - Mary and I both do that too, and recently tracked down a drug bust house - we thought it might have been one we sold years ago. I wonder how many of us react the same way.

Dec 28, 2016 09:58 AM #8
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

LOL...Love it...when a suspected terrorist was arrested at his home in the local marketplace a few months ago, after returning from the airport where he was attempting to help another suspected terrorist get on a plane to Turkey (both of them were thwarted in their plans), I hit the MLS with the names and voila, had the address before I saw it on the news.  There is a little PI in all of us, I believe.

Dec 28, 2016 11:02 AM #9
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

That is something i would have done too Chris Ann Cleland. I love to play detective 

Dec 28, 2016 03:22 PM #10
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

This is too funny Chris Ann Cleland, our minds must work differently than others. I would've done the same.

Dec 28, 2016 04:43 PM #11
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

I just read that comment left by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents . . .I have a pretty investigative mind, but would have never thought to do what she did with the Elk Grove pot houses!

Dec 28, 2016 06:24 PM #12
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Well actually I figured the police know how to do their job and they would have thought of that angle already since they are law enforcement and I am not.

Dec 28, 2016 07:03 PM #13
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

Hi Chris Ann --- as I was reading your post it was nice to find out I'm not the only one who is of the same mindset.   

Dec 29, 2016 08:05 AM #14
Paul McFadden
Paratex - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Interesting. And thanks for sharing. It's always nice to hear passion in someone's voice!  

Jan 27, 2017 08:28 AM #15
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Chris Ann Cleland

Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
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