Just what are “the basics” anyway?

Posted by: Linda Davis on May 6th, 2008

The market is slow in most parts of the country and how to cope with current market conditions is a hot topic at office meetings, online forums and water cooler discussions.

When I talk to experienced agents and ask them how they are handling the current climate, they usually mention going back to “the basics.” I concur, but it occurs to me that anyone who hasn’t been in the real estate business for more than 5 years doesn’t have a clue of what the rest of us are talking about.

I’ll be the first to admit that for many of us, the past few years were a great ride, but one that didn’t require skills beyond how to deal with multiple contract situations. We worked hard but it was an easy kind of hard, if that makes sense. We didn’t need to worry about “the basics.”

We paddled as fast as we could, worked a lot of hours, and for those of us that were able to put good systems in place, we made a lot of money.

I drove past a little house in Groton, CT yesterday. I hadn’t been by that house in years and the memories of my early career brought a smile to my face. That little house was my very first listing in 1977 from a seller who wasn’t a friend or previous acquaintance.

I can thank “the basics” for that listing; I was standing in line at the Navy Exchange wearing my name tag. A young lady saw my name tag and mentioned she needed to put her mother’s home on the market. I offered to do a market analysis and a week later I had the listing.

Wearing a name tag, sending short notes, and making phone calls to past customers, all fall into “the basics” category. And what about simply asking for business?

When I started in real estate 31 years ago, I didn’t have any family in the area. I was a Navy wife who had only been in Connecticut for 3 years. My friends were pretty much limited to other navy wives. I memorized the words, “Do you or anyone you know want to buy or sell a house?” I made a phone list of everyone I knew. It wasn’t a big list but from that list I found my very first buyer.

I asked the question, “Do you or anyone you know want to buy or sell a house?” and the answer was YES!!

I can almost hear the generation Y’ers snickering but wouldn’t that same question work today? Or am I too distracted with the latest social networking site or newest tech toy to ask the question? Have I convinced myself that I am working hard when at times I’m really just wasting time?

Don’t get me wrong, I love all the latest technology.

Heck, I could be the poster child for HomeGain’s BuyerLink which gives me a nice supply of online customers. And even though I refuse to throw sheep, I’ve made some forever friends on ActiveRain and Twitter.

There is no question that technology has helped me become more efficient and given me the ability to reach more buyers and sellers through my IDX website, “drip campaigns” and social networking.

I sold a lot of real estate before my first website in 1995. Today I turn on my computer with my morning coffee. I don’t think I could stay off the computer for a whole day at a time but maybe it would be a good idea to pick a specific time each day to turn off the computer and start doing some “basic” prospecting by calling past customers, updating sellers by phone, sending a few notes, or contacting expired listings.

(I know I should have included calling For Sale by Owners but I can’t make myself do it.)

I have a feeling “getting back to basics” might produce some good results just like it did in 1977.



3 Comments on “Just what are “the basics” anyway?”

Logan UT Real Estate

This market is a great time for struggling agents to just get out… That’s one way to cope with it. It’s just too bad the rest of the economy is also slow…

Joe Hayden

The basics all hover around the “human touch”. Everything else is just a vehicle to get you to that initial contact. The internet is a great tool, but very impersonal, and you have to work to get beyond bytes and bits to a meaningful relationship.

Nice post.

Carole Cohen

The basics and follow through. Linda you are the best at this and I appreciate your willingness to share. I’m always puzzled at the idea that those of us who are newer should ‘just get out’ because we just might be doing a good job even though we haven’t been in the business for ten years yet lol. Thanks for sharing your good advice.

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