Is calling a Colorado Realtor on a sign in front of a house a good idea?

I REALLY want to see THAT house. I don’t have an agent. Do I call the Realtor from the sign in front?

In the information age, we tech-savvy consumers tend to go about researching and shopping for important purchases in a fairly analytical manner.   So why would we use a less refined approach in finding a home or Realtor than when we bought our last washer/dryer set, car or big screen TV?

I have not always been a Colorado Realtor, and I remember trying to find the right home while wondering this same thing many years ago.  Turns out, it is actually a very good question.  And let me say that I am not providing legal advise, just an opinion based on decades of observation.

If you call the number on the yard sign to see a Front Range house or other real estate, one thing is for sure, you will get a callback.  Any Colorado Springs Realtor worth his or her salt should work hard to show and sell you that listing at your earliest convenience.  After all, sales result from sign calls every day in places like Briargate, Fountain and Woodland Park.

Is calling a Colorado agent from a sign in front of a house a good idea? Let’s use the good, better, best comparison to examine this issue:

At least for that particular house, there is a 99% chance that the agent you are calling is working for the seller.   So, you will have to be treated as a customer and not as a client.** In the good, better, best universe, being a “customer” would be “GOOD.”  Customers are owed a set of duties from agents that are of real value, just not the same set of duties that are owed to clients. (See links below to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies website for more information.)

Now let’s say that you did not like the house – it just won’t work for you and yours, in spite of all of its promise from the outside.   The agent might next offer to show you some more of her nearby listings.   In that case, you would still be a customer, not a client.  But at least you are seeing more than just the one house.   Some may think of this as “BETTER.”

Now, let’s say that none of those houses work for you.  In our scenario, the agent could offer you exclusive buyer agency services for the state of Colorado and show you plenty of other listings at that time.  You would then have the opportunity to become her client, not just a customer.  Since you may have already established a surface relationship, you might feel inclined to say yes.  This particular buyer’s agency solution would seem to be the “BEST,” right?  Maybe, maybe not.  Wait….what?

That’s right, maybe not the BEST.  You see, the agent that you have just “discovered” may or may not know the other geographic areas of town that could work perfectly well for you – or areas that may work even better. Who knows?  Let’s say that you just happened to be in her part of town when you called from a sign in front of a home.  What if that agent was only familiar with that small area?  Let’s say she lives in that neighborhood, lists lots of houses there, is very successful, but may be so busy servicing that area that she can’t become fully proficient on places outside that couple mile radius.  Studies seem to indicate that where you end up living has a lot to do with the sphere of knowledge of your agent.  Seems understandable. We all tend to favor our own environment. The only point here is to ensure you don’t limit your possibilities by working with someone that’s too localized, unless you already know exactly where you want to be.

However, an agent’s knowledge of geographic areas is only one of the many critical areas of why choosing the right agent is a big deal.  And after all, you met that agent based solely on chance – a sign call?  I think you’d agree there was no kind of strategic method employed.  And yes, before someone misunderstands my words here about this topic – yes, many beautiful home buying experiences start with a random sign call to an amazing and highly qualified Realtor – sometimes even long-term friendships. However, the point remains that there is little if anything objective or analytical in the consumer’s sign call approach to finding a home, at least from the consumer’s standpoint.  Some may even muse that our buyer in this example is a rookie. No worries, we have all been there at some point, this author included.

So how do you look for homes in Colorado Springs like your doctor, your mutual fund manager or your boss would? How do you look for a home the same way an agent would, if that agent was buying a personal home in an unfamiliar market.

The BEST way to look at Colorado Springs real estate? Find and enter an agreement with a buyer’s agent. But how do you find that agent? For a long time buyers located their agents solely on word of mouth or random things like sign calls. However, we are in a tech revolution, and just like everything else, the buyers agent screening process is becoming a refined and purposeful undertaking – because it matters a great deal.

  • Build a group of Realtor candidates. Three or four. Five or seven. Whatever you have time and patience for.  A referral maybe, friend of a friend. Research sites like this. Most important is general impression at this point and of course someone who is very familiar with most or all of the areas that you are investigating.
  • If you are custom building, it is critical to screen for Realtors knowledgeable in this exciting but challenging segment of new homes.
  • If you want to consider newer and brand new construction Colorado homes, include someone who is highly familiar with construction, builder’s business practices and all of the ins-and-outs of that specialty of real estate.
  • Go ahead and interview your Realtor pool while also paying close attention to the questions that they ask you: not so much obvious things such as where you want to be and how much you want to spend, but also as your lifestyle,  future needs and dreams are, etc.  The more refined scope and vision behind the questions reveals much about that agent’s commitment to ensuring that your fit in the new home is the best it can be.  Keep the interviews short and preferably the same length so that you can compare effectively. 15-25 minutes may be all you need. Phone interviews are probably fine at this stage, even are time saver. Try to remain in control at this point and whatever you do, don’t sweat it. Experienced agents are accustomed to being evaluated and compared virtually every time they list a home. You should also asking whether the agent has a website offering listing service searches with a mobile device application. This adds a lot of power to you as a buyer in getting a faster first impression of a property in order to rule it in or out of consideration.
  • Then choose the Realtor who you feel has the best organic understanding of you as a person or family, not you as just another “transaction side.”  Should you like that person? Sure, that is important in a way. However, something as important as a home for your family may require a relationship that is a bit less social and is instead more professional.
  • I believe that your investment of a few hours of interviewing will be more than made up for in the end result.  If I stopped being a Realtor tomorrow and moved to unfamiliar territory, this is exactly how I would find my family’s next agent and home.

If you follow my advice, the next time you drive past a house or lot that you just have to see, guess what? You will be able to look the house up on your mobile device or your agent’s website and quickly determine if it is worth ANY of your time.  On top of that, you’ll already have the your own contact number to physically see that house.  The number of your agent – that person you already handpicked to represent and help you every step of the way.

** The owner of that home is already that agent’s client in the vast majority of cases.  (The agent cannot have two clients on opposing sides of the same transaction, but might be able to serve as a Transaction Broker. Either way, you are not a client in a scenario where the agent has Seller Agency with the owner of the property that you want to see) Therefore, you must become a “customer” in the scenario above.  Read all about agency relationships here.

Topic: Call Realtor Sign?

Should I call the agent listed on the sign in front of a Colorado house?