Okay. I admit it. I AM one of those obsessive personalities. For me, detail is everything. I will spend an inordinate amount of time crafting this blog, a letter, personal note, anything which must meet my exacting standards. The sad truth is I’ll put in all this effort only to discover an errant typo mocking me from that already transmitted e-mail or faxed business communication. And, of course, it drives me nuts!
So, why put so much energy into the pursuit of written perfection? Let’s start with first impressions. Some may say a man’s shoes are a measure of his personality. Frankly, I have to agree. An unpolished dress shoe is like dirt beneath the finger nail. It just doesn’t look good. It’s one thing to be grimy and sweaty when you’re laying new floor as I did this weekend, but entirely another if you’re representing a buyer in a multiple offer situation or competing for that marquis listing. The same can be said for sloppiness in your written communication. In today’s business environment where commerce may be conducted in an entirely virtual environment and you never actually see the shoes of the person on the other side of the transaction, detail is everything. First impressions set the tone for you business. A neatly presented contract or business letter lets the other party know they’re dealing with a professional who cares about attention to detail. If you are in receipt of a poorly crafted or sloppy communication, then what does it tell you about the sender? For me, it states they simply don’t have their act together.
When I am reviewing multiple offers for my client, the seller, I pay great attention to their quality of presentation. An agent may come in with both dollar barrels blazing, but if there are obvious holes or omissions in his purchase and sale agreement, my client is going to know about them and they will be factored into our deliberations. Furthermore, the message I am receiving is that I am going to be working with someone who may not be on top of their business game which means I’ll have to work that much harder to insure my client’s interests are protected. Conversely, when I see a contract which is tight and neatly presented, then I have confidence the transaction will proceed smoothly.
As an agent representing buyers, the inverse is then true. I am proud to say that, in the six years I’ve been practicing real estate, I have succeeded in securing a sale for my clients in every competitive situation I’ve entered barring those where they have simply not been able to compete financially. In fact, assuming a relatively level monetary playing field, my clients have prevailed even when their offers have been nominally lower than a competitor’s. Time and time again, the feedback I’ve received from the listing agent and sellers is that it was the quality and clarity of presentation which won the day.
So, if being concise and attending to detail in your communications means you’ll be putting bread on your table while your competitor walks away empty handed, isn’t it worth the extra effort? I think so. Or, would you rather be the agent explaining to your clients that they didn’t get the house because you were sloppy and ill-prepared? Here are a few tips. When filling out a contract, take your time and double check everything. Create a check-list laying out key elements to your process so they may be checked off as you prepare paperwork, etc. If you’re creating marketing materials for a listing or mailing, have someone review them to look for typos, errors and omissions. This is especially important if you use language in violation of federal fair housing statutes. Imagine you’ve printed a couple hundred flyers for a yard sign box and there’s a glaring typo or you’ve just placed an ad in your news paper’s classified section. Now you’ve advertised your ineptitude to an entire neighborhood if not city. I read an ad for a premier property in our local paper recently which was violation of fair housing standards on at least two counts. Significant fines may be levied against an agent for such errors, not to mention the offense taken by the class of homebuyer excluded in the advertisement.
Okay, so I am heeding my own advice, double checking this post, looking for typos and errors in grammar. Undoubtedly, I’ll post it, notice a mistake and eat my own words. Yes, it’ll drive me nuts!