Last night I ventured out to my mailbox to collect the mail. There is little motivation to get the mail since I haven’t ordered anything from Amazon and it’s about 17 degrees outside by the time I get home at night. I’m reluctant to take the frigid 250 steps from the garage to my mailbox very often.

When I see my mailbox is bulging, after several days of receiving countless solicitations (isn’t that pretty much what everyone’s mailbox is for these days?), I bundle up and make the trek. Then I stand over the garbage can and purge 95% of what was so painstakingly delivered by our hardworking and deserving postal workers, who have to go out there in this frigid mess every day; rain, shine, sleet or snow.

As I was hanging over the garbage can, I noticed one piece of mail that had my address on it, but it had someone else’s name. Now, we have somewhat of an open-door policy at my home. We have had our fair share of friends, family, guests and pets stay at our home over the years, but this was a name of a person who I was pretty sure was not currently residing with us. In fact, this name was not familiar at all. Yet, the address was mine.

I called the school that sent the piece of mail. As it turns out, someone is erroneously using our address so they can go to that specific school. Interesting. The school secretary says it happens more often than we would know.

This draws some parallels for me to the “click here to contact the agent” website button found on many real estate websites. The assumption is, that the potential buyer is contacting the listing agent for the home they are interested in. In reality, that is rarely the case.

Over here in real estate land, many of us pay good money for leads. These are generally divided up by zip codes. When a buyer clicks on a home in one of those zip codes, the lead is sent out to several agents at once. Most often, none of these are the listing agent. As a result, a buyer may receive phone calls and texts from a number of agents. The most effective way to get these agents to quick bugging is to simply respond. We are a pesky bunch, and we will continue to follow up until we are told not to. We don’t take hints.

If you are already working with an agent, let the person who is reaching out to you know that. That should do the trick. If your intention was to contact only the list agent, be transparent about that as well. Of course, the agent who is contacting you should also be clear that they are not the listing agent. It’s just better for everyone to start a potential client/agent relationship off on the right foot.

The “click here” prompt implies that getting in to view a home is just that easy. It’s not. Behind the scenes, several factors have to line up before an actual live showing can come to fruition.

An agent is likely to ask several preliminary questions before setting up the showing, which could include:

  1. Do you have an agent? Be honest. If your agent is busy, have YOUR agent set it up with one of THEIR co-agents to avoid confusion.
  2. Have you spoken to a lender? This is relevant. If you are looking at $1.2 million homes and you qualify for $200,000, you are wasting everyone’s very valuable time. Although it may be fun to see nice, higher-priced dream homes, you are preventing the agent from earning a living. Purchase a ticket to the Parade of Homes instead. That’s on your dime and time to dream.
  3. Other questions may include: Do you rent or own? When is your lease up? Do you have a property you need to sell before you buy?

As a buyer, it really benefits you to engage with one agent exclusively right away. This person can then help you customize your search and do all the inquiring for you. This results in less confusion and possibly procuring cause issues later down the line that can be both stressful and costly. The technology is certainly there to make it easier to find homes on your own, but it can never be a substitute for the knowledge and insight that can be gleaned from a professional who has been in the trenches working it every day, all day long. In fact, an agent can prevent you from making costly mistakes, overpaying for a property or limiting options.

“Click Here,” may have some implied intentions, but with transparency and education, regardless of which school it’s presented through, it can be a win-win for all. Meantime, I hope our invisible live-in guest is getting a great education.

Jen Kirchhoefer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or jenkirchh@gmail.com.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!