Pat Kennedy - Your Washington, DC Real Estate Connection

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When The Settlement's Over, Is The Party Over, Too?

 Last Friday, I had two settlements with buyers who were referred to me by good friends, and both of these transactions were pretty typical.

Both sets of clients were fun and wonderful to work with.  And they’re both totally psyched about starting new chapters in their new homes.

You know, you look at a bunch of houses, and we all know that time spend in a car can get pretty intense - and fun.  You joke, trade life stories, make fun of some of the houses you see.  Then you find Dream House and go through the intensity of a negotiation.  Then House Nerd Home Inspector comes in and picks the place apart, and you and House Nerd help them fall back in love with it. 

And we get to know our buyers awfully well.  If it’s a couple, you see how they interact with each other, and hopefully they like each other and the same house.  And we know all the personal business about assets, debt, job prospects and all their money stuff.  We learn about their hopes and dreams for starting a family or starting a new life after they've launched their grown children into the world.  You talk every day, sometimes more than once a day.

 Then, we come to the settlement table for the big day when we help our clients give birth to the American Dream, and they move into their new place.   And everything changes. 

For many agents, it's a momentary downer that lasts but a moment.  After settlement, we go right on to the next victim and start the cycle all over again.

I do a pretty good job of staying in touch with my clients.  I've even stopped calling them "past" clients.  I send them notes, call to schmooze and see them at parties - often ones that I throw.  But it's just not the same as that pre-settlement intensity. 

Right now, I'm missing George and Maria - we haven't spoken in days.  And I offered to photograph some of the rooms in Kathy's new house.  I'll call her, too.  At this point, it's easy.  They are still on speed dial!  

What we share with our clients is truly special.  And this year, I've decided the settlement day high is going to continue.

Damn, this is a fun gig!  And they pay us to do it.

And it’s time for me to stop blogging and make a couple of phone calls.

Comment balloon 34 commentsPatricia Kennedy • January 24 2008 05:46PM

Comments

Great blog Patricia! Its nice to hear a good, positive story, and it sounds like you enjoy your work. Is there really an inspection company called 'House Nerd' ? - Ray
Posted by Ray Wilson, NYS Licensed Home and Building Inspector (Meticulous Home Inspection Corporation) over 12 years ago
I am so with you!  I have some great friendships because of my super-fun job, and look forward to making more throughout the years.
Posted by Carrie Heath (REMAX Affiliates) over 12 years ago
The pre-settlement activity is what sets up the relationship after settlement - if it isn't established then it will never be established.  I have always believed an ongoing relationship with clients is what makes this job worthwhile,  Karen Kruschka
Posted by Karen Kruschka, - "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS" (RE/MAX Executives) over 12 years ago
I've had clients call me a few weeks after settlement saying...I just had to call, I needed my "Kelly fix"!  Call your clients and use that line...they'll love it...just like I did!
Posted by Kelly Sibilsky (Licensed Through Referral Connection, LTD.) over 12 years ago
Pat, 99% of my clients become friends too, drop by, tailgate, go to parties. I love it and we do get paid to make friends. Love it!
Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 12 years ago

Patricia,

Nice post! A settlement is the 'end' of a process for us real estate professionals...but the 'beginning' of a new life for the buyers! We are enablers...in this American Dream process! Thanks,   Fran 

Posted by Fran Gaspari, "The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ (Patriot Land Transfer, Inc.) over 12 years ago

Kudos!  I'm so glad that many of my "past clients" have become great friends.  I'm even having my first Client Appreciation Party in a few weeks, and hopefully some of these friends will now become friends with each other.  One big happy family!

Posted by Mary Smartt, Smartt Moves with Mary Smartt (Lawton Associates / www.LawtonAssociates.com) over 12 years ago
Pat - great post that really speaks to what a fulfilling job we have - Congrats on the featured post.
Posted by David Thomas, Phoenix,Chandler,Mesa,Gilbert,AZ (HomeSmart Realty, Elite Group Scottsdale, Arizona) over 12 years ago
Pat - I had two closings with the same couple last week and I was feeling like ordering a round of drinks to be delivered to the closing table. Everybody got along so well and hated to part ways! I know how you feel. Great Post!
Posted by Carol Culkin, ReeceNichols, Overland Park Residential Real Estate (ReeceNichols Real Estate) over 12 years ago
Great post those are some good times that we have with clients that is what Real Estate selling is all about.
Posted by Adrian Alvarado, Inland Empire Real Estate (MGR Real Estate Inc.) over 12 years ago
Great synopsis- That is really how it happens!  The highs and lows keep us going, don't they?  And the bonds we form with our clients can be very strong.
Posted by Nick Lateur over 12 years ago
Patricia, YET, some agents fall off the cliff with clients after the closing. Why? It has always been a mystery to me if they loved their clients so much and had so much fun. Even if not for referrals, they had just made such good friends.
Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 12 years ago
I stay in touch with a lot of my clients.  I love getting cards from them year after year as their families grow -- some even grow out of their first homes!  It is what makes this business worth some of the downs -- nothing like a natural high! 
Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 12 years ago
Great post, we all do make some very good long term friends don't we?
Posted by Richard Lecinski (Long Realty Company) over 12 years ago

Ray, yer all a bunch of house nerds!  I'm saying that in a good way!  You have to be! 

Carrie, this is a fun job almost all the time!

Karen, I do a reasonably good job of keeping up, and a few have become best friends.

Kelly, they miss you!  It feels really good to get calls like that!

Missy, why am I not surprised!  I feel like your friend, and I've never even met you face-to-face!  

Fran, the other day, a client  told me her husband called me "the enabler".  I wasn't sure how to take it then, but now I get it .  thanks.

Mary, when I started to throw parties and invite clients, I was surprised at how many of them knew each other - one ran into a high school buddy!  They hadn't spoken for decades!

David, oh gosh!  Yeah!  There's a little gold star!  Pretty cool!

Carol, those transactions are always the most fun!  Some of mine have become friends for life.

Adrian, and they even pay us for doing it!

Nick, it is sort of a roller coaster during the transaction, which is one reason I love settlements!

Gary, like many agents, I've lost track of some clients that I loved during the transaction.  Lots of times I'll call out of the blue, and they will be really glad to hear from me! 

 

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 12 years ago

House Warming!

The next step may be the best referral source you can have.

 Cater a House Warming and have them invite all of their friends and family, split the cost with their loan officer. Then be there and smile as they tell all of your friends how great you are.

 

Be sure you have lot's of cards to give away :)

 

Marlo

Posted by Marlo Newman, Marlo Newman Mortgage Banker 480-326-9858 (W.J. Bradley Mortgage Capital) over 12 years ago
And this is why people LOVE you my friend!  I always like to call on their anniversaries of their closing dates and say...it's a voice from your past...do you know what you were doing on this day last year??? :)
Posted by Shannon Lefevre, Shannon Lefevre, PA Your Naples Smart Girl (John R. Wood Properties) over 12 years ago
Patricia--Oh I so needed to read this today. Just closed with the most awesome young engaged couple. I am going to miss them until I drop off that holiday tree next December. Luckily for me many of my clients do buy in an area near where I live and I run into everyone at Target at least once a year! We do have a great job don't we?!! Congrats on the feature!
Posted by Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro (Boardman Realty) over 12 years ago

Yes we are all having a party at settlement but yes even though it is the end of our transaction with the buyer if you do a superb job they may again work with you in the future or refer someone to  you if you ask for the business, great post and good luck in your business!

Tom Davis Delaware Real Estate Agent

Posted by Tom Davis, FREE Delaware Homes Search!, $$ Save $$ - Find Homes! Delaware Realtor (Harrington ERA,DE Homes For Sale, $$ Save $$ Buy Today !) over 12 years ago
for the most part I enjoy every time I take a client out...or go on a listing apt. THis is a great business!
Posted by Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty, Florida Space Coast Homes (Waves Realty) over 12 years ago
Sometimes they even become agents and work for you for a while.  I usually do go into a bit of withdrawal after settlement, too.
Posted by Gregory Maley, REALTOR, GRI, CBR, SHS, e-PRO, ABR (Sold Buy the Sea Realty & R.E.N.T.) over 12 years ago
I often feel the same and yet I don't want to be imposing in people's lives.
Posted by Gayle Balaban, E. TN Waterfront Real Estate (The Best Spot Realty/Waterfront Real Estate/Ooltewah Real E) over 12 years ago
Patricia- That is great that you keep in touch. We are on the other side mostly as listing agents. We do not spend as much time with a seller as you would spend with a buyer. And most of our sellers are leaving the area so it is hard to have a relationship past the closing. So what we do is go and introduce ourselves to the buyers after they move in because we know their agent has already forgotten about them. Katerina
Posted by Katerina Gasset, Get It Done For Me Virtual Services (Get It Done For Me Virtual Services ) over 12 years ago

It's a bittersweet moment, so full of joy and then you're letting them go...letters and lunch just aren't the same as "hunting" together!  GREAT TOPIC!

Posted by Natalie Langford, Winchester, VA Real Estate (Realty Negotiations) over 12 years ago
Thanks for the post. Appreciate it. All the best.
Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) over 12 years ago
Patricia, good post.  Call them the day they move in, or better yet, show up with a little move-in day gift.  Call them a week later and see how the move went.  Send them a movie and some popcorn after a month once they've got their boxes unpacked and can finally relax a bit.  Then stay in touch forever (assuming you like them) and keep the party going.
Posted by Brian Block, Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate (RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President) over 12 years ago

Patricia - The bard said it so well "parting is such a sweet sorrow". I know exactly what you mean. They are like my children. The joy of success is soon swept away in the empty spot they once filled. If your profession is your soul and the world around you is where you "live"....leaving settlement is like returning to an empty nest.

I empathize with you. Thank you for sharing a small part of our world that is often overlooked.

Posted by John MacArthur, Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes (Century 21 Redwood) over 12 years ago

It is so true - the Post-Settlement blues!   I also stay in contact with my clients after settlement - but I think we can always do better.

Posted by James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes, When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move (Real Living | At Home) over 12 years ago
It is unfortunate that our time is so limited...it is just difficult to spend quality time with clients when you are not actually doing business considering it is hard enough to find time for our families at home!  Nevertheless, I knew some agents that every year sponsored a christmas party for all of their past clients and that way made sure that they saw them at least every 12 months.  Great networking opportunity too.
Posted by Kirk Mulhearn (Prudential California Realty/Gem Mortgage) over 12 years ago
I agree...It is similar to the holiday build up:)...I love the ideas that have appeared from this post! Thanks for starting a great conversation about how to continue the high:)
Posted by Cherimie Crane (Cherimie Crane & Associates) over 12 years ago
Your post and the all the comments have me so excited about being in the business... I am such a people person I can't wait to really get started. 
Posted by Dalp Pearson (Dalp,Inc.) over 12 years ago
Awww...that's so wonderful. Congratulations on the two settlements. I know what you mean. It's hard not have the same relationship.
Posted by Christy Powers, Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners) over 12 years ago
I feel that, too.  It's strange not to talk to some of them everyday.  They almost become family.  But eventually it must come to those couple of calls a year.  I must admit, though, there are a few I am relieved not to hear from!
Posted by Alayna Berek (Adams Realty) over 12 years ago
Patricia - New friends for life, that is what ex-clients should become - and future clients at the same time!!!
Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 12 years ago

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