Marianne Cusato—author, designer, and creator of the critically-acclaimed “Katrina Cottages”—is out with a new book aimed at house hunters. On first glance, Just the Right Home: Buying, Renting, Moving—Or Just Dreaming—Find Your Perfect Match!, to be published April 2013, is aimed directly at your clients. However, there are some things real estate professionals might find useful, especially in the getting-to-know-you part of an agent-client relationship.
Throughout, Cusato engages in a frank discussion with her readers about what they really want in a house and why. You may be thinking, “Easy for her to do; she’s not talking to real people looking for real houses in a real market.” On the other hand, you may wish to adapt some of her probing questions and prioritizing checklists into your routine with buyers. And this book may be especially helpful for newer real estate professionals, to help them get inside the mind of the house hunter.
Perhaps the most enlightening part of the book is where Cusato talks about working with a real estate professional. She coaches buyers on how to be savvy in their choice of real estate professionals. She also notes how REALTORS® are different, mentioning the code of ethics and noting that they’re likely to be well connected, have a deep local knowledge, and be up on the latest industry news. But she also prepares readers with a dose of skepticism and a list of questions to ask agents who are looking to secure their business. Can you answer these questions?
- How do you get paid?
- How can we get ahold of you?
- We’re excited by the personalized treatment you offer at your boutique agency, but do you know about all the listings that the big guys do? Do you provide the same services they’re offering?
- (Or…) Since you’re with a national brokerage franchise, do you really have the local knowledge required to find us the right house in the right neighborhood? Can you deliver the personalized treatment we need?
- Would you ever represent us in dual agency?
- How long have you been in real estate? Do you have another job?
- What qualifies you to find us our new home?
- How much business do you do, and what kind of property/price range do you most often deal with?
Finally, I would love to get your thoughts on whether real estate professionals should read housing books that are targeted toward consumers. Is it a waste of time, or does it help you connect with your audience? Let me know in the comment section below.