What IS a Great Real Estate Agent?

What is a great real estate agent?

We were riding our bicycles this morning in Crozet, and a new guy joined us. He’s fast unfortunately. 🙂 He moved to the Charlottesville area a few months ago, has already ridden a lot of our roads, and loves living here.

Two things he said resonated

  1. “This is a great route; I’ve ridden these roads, but would not have thought about putting these roads together for a route.”
  2. When discussing why we went a particular way, I said that the other way is good, too, but at 6am, we rode east to west because traffic at that time goes west to east (yes, it’s a two lane country road — Plank Road near Batesville for those in the area). He said, “that’s the kind of local knowledge I was missing.

On #1 – yep. It’s a great route (Miller-Ortman if you’re interested)

On #2 – as of yet, Zillow and AI may know that traffic goes that way, but they don’t (yet) know to know that that’s important to a buyer or seller.

Walking a mile in the shoes of a good real estate agent

From 2013. (and slightly updated)

“Being a real estate agent is one of the greatest privileges in the world. It requires a diverse skill-set of sales, compassion, empathy, marketing, organization, hustle, wit and patience. It’s connected me with people in ways unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before and is incomparable to any job I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot). It takes no guts to start but it takes all of them to continue.”


I’m a real estate agent.

This is the life I’ve chosen. And I love it.

Every day is a Monday. Or a Friday. I work when my clients don’t.

Answering a phone call from a client at 9pm. Facetiming/zooming with international clients at 11pm. Or 5 am. My sole requirement for family vacations other than “together” is wifi. I’m getting better at balancing life. I hope.

Meet with a first time homebuyer. Hear and see their excitement. Quickly tamp it down because you’ve seen so many wacky and unpredictable things go wrong. Allow a little bit of excitement to seep in; this should be a fun process.

Listening. Reading body language – of the individuals and their relations to each other. Helping them ask questions of themselves and each other. Because I’ve done this before.

Discover in the first 20 minutes of meeting a couple that they’re planning to have kids in the next 12 months. Push them to have talk about what that will mean for their daily lives and home needs/wants a wee bit sooner than they had intended.

Meet with an underwater seller whose life’s dreams and goals are tied up in a seemed-like-a-good-decision-at-the-time-house. Hope you can help them. Negotiate hard for a buyer knowing that the seller is taking a financial (and emotional) bath. Don’t let your clients know how painful this is. In 2023 we don’t have many of these as so many homeowners have so much equity, but we do have a lot of homeowners who are stuck where they are as they have sub-4% interest rates, and rates are now around 7% and home prices have skyrocketed in the Charlottesville area since the pandemic that started in 2020.

Meet with a divorcing couple and hear and see the anguish. And pain. And realize that you are now forever part of their lives.

A client told me this year that moving is the single-greatest trauma aside from death or divorce that you can inflict upon yourself and your family. He’s right. If I can help my clients through this trauma, that’s my privilege.

Tell a buyer to walk away from a transaction, knowing that they’re not going to buy anything now meaning that the 47 hours you’ve spent with them from showing to education to negotiation to inspections to Release of Contract will likely result in no income.

Work with agents who poorly represent their clients. Resist the urge to tell the clients just how badly they are being disserviced. We see a lot of this as so many new real estate agents have entered the market with little to no guidance.

Telling clients that I’ve heard my home inspectors describe countless times that getting water away from a house is thing to do #1. And that stair-step cracks in block foundations are usually nothing to be concerned about. And that you’re supposed to be able to see daylight in roofs. And crawl spaces aren’t that scary –  even when you hear a critter crawling around the corner and there are only 8 inches of space above your head.

Represent that formerly-young, now-older with two kids, couple when they sell and see that they’ve lived their lives well for the nine years they’ve been in their home. Seeing their kids sad to leave their friends but excited at a new chapter.

Coach my daughters’ soccer teams because my “flexible” schedule allows for it. And never negotiate their games. Ever. It’s 2023, and I haven’t coached in years, but coaching them was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Get belly to belly with the public and clients; no amount of social media can replace an in person conversation. Or looking a client in the eye. Or a hug.

I understand that the advice and guidance that I give to my clients – the best that I possibly can – will directly affect the rest of their lives. More importantly, the decisions that my clients make based in part on my professional (and life) experience will directly impact the lives of their children.

This is a nearly overwhelming and humbling realization, and one that I never forget.

And yet, I’ll wear Birkenstocks or Rainbows as often as I can.

Have a question about the Charlottesville real estate market? Curious what the selling or buying processes look like for you?

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