How I Made $16,950 by Opening the Door for a Termite Inspector

Got your attention?

I sure hope so. If not, please have someone check your pulse.

R.A.R.E. Agents know that quick and easy real estate sales are possible...but highly uncommon. They also know that "lucky" transactions are not the result of luck at all as they occur when you invest hours learning the business of real estate along with investing an equal amount of time building your sphere of influence.

Case in point:

Not that long ago, I had a listing that was not selling.

The first mistake I made was allowing the seller to convince me to list the home for a higher price than I recommended. The home sat on the market for months, with occasional showings followed by agent feedback telling me the home was overpriced.

The second mistake I made was not sharing the "overpriced" feedback with my seller.

I suppose down deep inside I believed that someone...someday...very soon... would make an offer.

Eventually, I celebrated the worst day in the life of a listing..... a listing's BIRTHDAY.

Trust me, one year on the market is nothing to celebrate.

I share this story with you to be transparent and illustrate how even I, your humble R.A.R.E. Agent founder, can fall victim to knowing the right thing to do, but not doing it. Thankfully, I got back on track after that 1-year wake-up call.

A lot of things can happen to a home when it is on the market for a year.

Especially when there's nobody living in it. 

The landscape will need to be trimmed, the pool will need to be serviced, light bulbs will burn out, windows will need to be cleaned, smoke detector batteries will need to be replaced, the house will need to be dusted, HVAC will need to be seasonally checked, and in the case on my birthday listing...a termite treatment will need to be scheduled.

That's what happened after my wife showed the home one Sunday afternoon and noticed one of those pesky little subterranean termite tubes in the garage. Thankfully, she knew what she was looking at, and more importantly, knew what to do next.

Together, we called the owners to share the news that their vacant home that had been on the market for over a year...had termites. Thankfully, the seller had a termite warranty. 

So the sellers called to schedule the inspection and treatment. Since they lived out of the area, they asked me if I would meet the termite company to provide access for the inspection and treatment. I would do just about anything for these sellers to keep them from firing me as their listing agent, so I agreed to be there!

My job was simple. Meet the termite inspector and the termite treatment technicians at the house and unlock the door to give them access so they could treat the unwanted termites.

Now that the stage has been set, here comes the R.A.R.E. Agent lesson.

On the morning the termite inspection was scheduled, I decided to get dressed like I would if I was going on a listing appointment. I was going to meet a termite inspector who would verify the existence of termites and authorize the retreat service, but so what? As a R.A.R.E. Agent, I have an image to keep up.

I grabbed my iPad, my briefcase, a handful of property flyers and some business cards and off I went to meet the termite guy. We arrived at the house at the same time. I introduced myself and told him I would open the doors to the house and garage, turn on the lights, and meet him inside to show him where the active termite tubes are.

His entire inspection process took about 30 minutes. The important part of this is that I did not leave him alone. I stayed with him every step of the way. I did not go sit in my car. I did not stand in a corner and check Facebook or eMail.

I did not take my attention off of him.

When he completed his inspection, he informed me that the retreatment would be authorized and scheduled and he would call me with the time so I could meet the actual technicians on site. 

But before he left, I asked him an all-important question:

"Sir, before you go, may I ask you your opinion of this home?"

He was taken back a bit as I continued: "You see, this home has been on the market for over a year, and for the life of me I can't understand why! I have personally made sure we maintained the landscaping, serviced the pool, replaced burned-out lightbulbs, cleaned windows, changed smoke detector batteries, dusted the home, had the HVAC checked and even lowered the price several times...but even with all of that, I have been unable to find a buyer. Your value your opinion and would love to walk you through the home and have you tell me why you think it has not sold."

He said: "Show me around!" 

I proceeded to walk him around my 4,300sf listing as if he were a guest at my open house. I pointed out the many features and the value of the upgrades. I talked about how the home was priced in line with recent sales. I even pointed out a few items that needed attention and a few maintenance issues needed to be addressed.

I told the story of the community and the amazing amenities available to the homeowners who lived in the area, All in all, it was a solid real estate presentation...if I must say so myself.

What happened next blew me away!

He turned to me and asked: "Do you sell homes in other areas?"

I said: "Yes, I do. I sell homes all across the Phoenix area."

Then he said: "My aunt passed away a couple of months ago and my brother and I inherited her home. It's a beautiful home in a lakeside community worth somewhere between $550,000-$650,000. After hearing how hard you are working to sell this home, I would like for you to come and take a look at the house and tell us what you would do to sell it."

Fast-forward 6 days and the brothers hired me to sell the home they inherited. Fast-forward 47 more days and I had the lakeside home under contract. Fast-forward 21 more days and I cashed a $16,950.00 gross commission check.

Why did I share this story?

For several reasons:

  1. Overpricing a listing is never a good idea.
  2. Listing Birthdays are not something you want to celebrate.
  3. Always communicate to your clients what you are doing to sell their home.
  4. Always share buyer feedback with your sellers.
  5. Selling is your highest paid skill. Always be READY to SELL.
  6. Understand that every day is a new day filled with new opportunities to meet new people.
  7. Your personal real estate listings will open the door for you to meet people.
  8. Never underestimate the value of making new relationships.
  9. Serve your clients. They hired you and they are paying you to get the job done for them.
  10. Always do your best to look your best. Look like a professional, act like a professional and be a professional -- at all times.

And always be ready to sell!

That's the R.A.R.E. Agent way.

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