HGTV’S HOUSE HUNTERS COMES TO GREENVILLE, SC:
A Behind the Scenes Look
By David Painter of Keller Williams Realty/ March 1, 2014
“Do You Really Want to Help Me?”
Some may call it pure luck. But luck as they say, is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. And in late 2013, as I was preparing for a client appreciation event, opportunity came knocking, or in this case, ringing.
So, why on this particular day, having never once in 10 years and hundreds of “open house calls” at Keller Williams Greenville SC did I take the call? I’ve always thought it was best to afford those opportunities to newer agents or those who may be struggling to build their businesses.
But, on this day, as I was working at a frenetic pace to get out the last of my invitations, a voice came over the company intercom system saying, “Open House Call, line 1.” I kept working, not giving it a second thought, as I’ve done before countless times. About fifteen seconds went by, and again, the voice came over the intercom, this time a little more assertive, “Open House Call, line 1.”
“Don’t do it David,” I said to myself. “No distractions…You’ve got to finish.” I could see from my peripheral vision that the light was still blinking. Five seconds went by, then 10. I must confess there was definitely a groan on my part. I hesitated a little longer, then picked up the phone and cordially greeted the caller.
“This is David Painter, how may I help you?”
I had no idea that brief decision to take the incoming call would result in the journey of a lifetime.
Frustrated I’m sure by the delayed response, the exasperated voice on the other end of the line retorted, “Do you really want to help me?”
Not a very endearing way to start a conversation. Sometimes there is truly wisdom in silence. The real estate industry is a high stakes environment where you are constantly exposed to elevated emotions and diverse personalities. Often, it’s how you as an agent respond during adverse conditions that determines your level of success in this business. It’s imperative to keep your emotions in check and not let demanding circumstances derail you. Easier said than done at times, but you have to maintain your composure and focus on whatever the task is at hand.
After the somewhat curt introduction, I shortly thereafter asked the caller if he had been working with any one agent in particular. He said he had. I then asked him if he had signed a buyer agency agreement. He responded with a very emphatic, “No, and I’m not going to because the agent won’t return my phone calls.” Well I’m thinking, at least he’s honest.
Next came the revelation that Greenville SC was only one of several major metropolitan areas in which he was considering buying a home.
A trifecta of potential trouble that would send some heading for the hills but I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge. Buckle your seat belt; this is going to be one heck of a ride.
After over 20 years in the real estate business, there is one conclusion for certain in which I am unwavering: This business is not about selling houses, it’s about relationships…relationships are what sell. It may sound trite but it’s true.
You’ve got to get into people’s lives, exhibit care and concern for them, and have a willingness to develop an interest in others through the eyes of compassion. I heard it said long ago, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” It’s a belief I’ve embraced and that I continuously strive to implement on an ongoing basis.
When you sign up for this business one word is universal: adaptability. You need to expect the unexpected. Most would perceive this particular call as an unenviable task but from my perspective it was simply another circumstance in which I had to be resilient and rise to the challenge. And as you will see, a challenge it was.
As I listened on, I quickly realized this was not going to be your “typical” move. Scott Devore, his wife Misty, their two children, three dogs and two cats were not only moving across the country from Denver, Colorado to Greenville, SC, but his in-laws would be joining them.
When I say joining them, I don’t mean for a weekend visit. I mean something a little more long term, as in permanent. Now don’t get me wrong. I love my in-laws; but just as fences make for good neighbors, hotels and in-laws seem to make for a fitting combination. But I digress.
Scott had very specific requirements. The most notable was that the house had to have separate living quarters for his in-laws. In addition, there were the time constraints of their home in Denver being under contract, which was due to close in just a few weeks. They needed a resolution ASAP! The picture was becoming much clearer as to why his tone may have been so gruff at the onset. He was obviously experiencing the tension that accompanies a transition as demanding as his. Oh but there was more, much more.
Scott was calling from Georgia and said, “I would like to come to Greenville today.” However, he didn’t want to drive all that distance to look at just one home. He wanted to see several! I knew, based on his specific requirements, that the number of available properties to facilitate his request would be limited.
He asked again,” I’m open for business, do you want to help me?” I do not typically have a “stop-drop-and-roll” mentality. My failures by letting the “tail wag the dog” early in my career are at the helm of that sentiment. You’ve got to not only work hard but work smart in this business. I take pride in the fact that I almost always go with my instincts and more often than not they are correct. I guess that’s the value of experience. So, I am faced with making a split-second decision. Although the deck seemed stacked against me, my instinct was to try and help Scott and his family.
I replied, “Give me an hour and let me see what I can do.”
The clock was now ticking…
I’ll be back soon for the second installment: Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover.
This is the first of a series of blogs about our House Hunters experience.
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