Real Estate

Attempting to organize papers and people

By From page C2 | January 13, 2012

Ken Calhoon

Ken Calhoon

Making New Year’s resolutions wasn’t a priority for me this year. After all, I’m still working on the ones I made in previous years. Looking back, with the exception of the quit smoking resolution I made back in 1982, I haven’t done all that well keeping the promises I made to myself on New Year’s Eve. For most of us self-improvement is probably a lifelong process rather than some change that occurs overnight between Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 of each year.

According to somebody’s recent survey, one of the most frequent New Year’s resolutions has to do with getting more organized. We all feel we can accomplish more in life or get more out of it, depending upon one’s perspective, by being more organized. To accomplish this we buy stuff and file things neatly into categories.

For instance, I recently purchased a Day Timer calendar where I write my contacts and appointments. But I also enter the same information into my contact management/calendar program on my desk top computer which I sync with my  iPhone’s “Reminders” application. As a backup, my digital voice assistant, SIRI, will remind me of upcoming appointments, deadlines and groceries I need to pick up on the way home. All this organizing takes time away from actually doing stuff. It now takes more time reminding me to call Jim, than picking up the phone and calling him. The other problem with getting more organized is that life is messy.

Filing information into categories is part of the organization process. All documents are assigned to their respective files. But real estate agents work primarily with people and assigning them into categories is more difficult. Every client has their own unique personality they developed through their inherited genes and their environment. They act and make decisions based upon their own life experiences and priorities. There are, however, some common dominant personality characteristics that they all have. Let’s see if you recognize any of these clients I am working with.

Suzie is a warm/friendly client. She is a fun, outgoing person with a smile for everyone. She is a bit unorganized, with a tendency to be late for our appointments. To her, previewing homes is a social experience. She is optimistic about everything. Where I see all the work that needs to be done on a home, she sees opportunity and is excited about getting started. She is a bit impulsive. One week she is adamant about living in the country and the next week she wants to preview homes in downtown Placerville. She is compassionate. When showing her short sales, she tells me how bad she feels for the sellers who are losing their homes. She is a bit chatty and if a seller is home during our showing she will have a new friend before we leave. Warm/friendly people are trusting, avoid confrontation and make decisions based upon feelings.

The opposite of a Suzie’s personality is Thomas. Tom is in my dominant/hostile category. He wants to buy a house but hates the process. Our previewing appointments are an interruption to his time. He believes that everyone is focused on taking advantage of him and every home we preview is overpriced. When previewing, he relishes in pointing out the home’s endless imperfections. He has a keen intellect and is very opinionated on every topic. He frequently points his index finger at me to make sure I understood his position. He is passionate, highly organized and demanding, a bit aloof and susceptible to mood swings. He pouted for a week, not returning my calls, after a seller rejected his low-ball offer.

Mary is shy and reserved, a bit of an introvert. She is protective of her own personal space. If I happen to get within 3 feet of her she retreats. She is cautious and doesn’t make hasty decisions. She had been thinking about buying a home for the last five years. Highly organized, her credit score was higher than 800 and she has been on the same job nearly all her life. She has difficulty expressing her feelings about how she feels about a home. She is a perfectionist and will not look at a home that isn’t in perfect condition. She is self-reliant and independent but lacks confidence in herself and questions whether she is making the right decision in buying a home. Mary is a passive/submissive requiring plenty of patience. It could take a year before she makes a decision on buying a home.

Robert is my typical warm/dominant client. He is friendly, relaxed but a little demanding. He knows exactly what he wants and is ready to move forward with a purchase as soon as we find the right property. Our appointments are learning opportunities for him. He is curious, observant and constantly assimilating information on neighborhoods, property values and the overall condition of the market. He is a delegator, assigning me tasks to collect additional information. Our appointments together are brief often only previewing one or two homes. Our conversation topics are centered on the business of buying a home but he is comfortable with silence also.

Attempting to organize people into categories has risks. They will often change or they were misdiagnosed from the beginning. Only imaginary clients fit so neatly into defined personality groups. Most of us can flow from warm/friendly to passive/hostile in reaction to a specific situation. Perhaps I should stay with organizing papers rather than people.

Ken Calhoon is a real estate broker in El Dorado County. He can be reached through his Website and via e-mail at [email protected].

Ken Calhoon

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