Rookie Diary: Ada Acevedo Gets Both Sides

In the sixth month of the series, the rookies experience the challenges of having both sides of a transaction, listing, and selling in an age-restricted community. In addition, their brokers share their thoughts about the rookies' progress.

July 1, 2005

Ada Acevedo, 27

Baird & Warner

July 2004

I got a contract on my Lake Shore Drive listing! And not only that, I’m getting both sides of the transaction. This is the first time that’s happened.

The buyer is the college grad from Michigan I mentioned last month who came into town with her parents to spend the weekend looking for a condominium.

She found one and made an offer which, ultimately, didn’t work out because the seller wasn’t willing to negotiate. My client then decided to proceed with another property she liked—the one I was listing on Lake Shore Drive. At first, she and her parents were a little surprised by the square footage they would get on the Drive in their price range.

Finally, though, she realized the advantages: a building with a doorman, a wonderful view, easy access to everything in a safe neighborhood, proximity to downtown, and a lot of amenities.

My seller got close to the asking price, which was $142,900. We priced it for a quick sale, and that’s exactly what we got. The only awkward moment came when he asked me to reduce my commission because, he said, I was already ahead of the game by getting both sides of the deal.

I explained that having both sides of the deal requires my dedication and work for both clients. I think it was an advantage for my seller as well because I found him a buyer, he's getting a quick turnaround, and he was happy with the sale price. So, we both benefit from the sale.

I have to say that even if it’s twice as much work, getting both sides is a nice way to work. There’s a lot less uncertainty. You know what’s going on at all times and aren’t dependent on someone else’s schedule for callbacks and requests for information. In some ways, it’s more efficient.

Aside from that, it’s been kind of a mixed month. Two of the buyers I was working with wound up finding places on their own, which was really distressing. One bought a FSBO, and the other may have been a FSBO or may have been a case of the seller’s agent handling both sides. All I know is that I wasn’t involved. I’m upset, in particular, about the first FSBO buyer. He didn’t tell me until two days after he signed the contract.

I still wonder if there’s some way I could have let him know that I could have helped him in that transaction. I’m sure I could have gotten him the same or even a better deal. But I never got the chance.

People think they’re going to save money by not using a salesperson, but it’s so shortsighted. I asked him if he got a good deal and he said yes. But how would he really know? He may not have seen all the comparables to that property and, a lot of times, FSBOs are overpriced to begin with. In any case, I don’t harbor any hard feelings. I realize that these things happen in the business and you have to move past it. I still plan to keep up my contacts with him. Recently, I sent him an e-mail to get his new address so that I can continue to have him on my sphere list. Who knows—maybe he’ll call me again in the future, and that would be worth keeping in contact.

I didn’t have a buyer’s agreement with either one of these clients and maybe that’s the problem. But I’m not always comfortable asking buyers to sign an agreement. Some are OK with it but some aren’t.

Ada Acevedo’s Broker: Pat Mazzone

Baird & Warner

Ada’s doing great. She’s an incredibly hard worker who is really focused on getting her career up and running. She also has very good interpersonal skills.

The first year is the hardest in this business. A lot of people come in with unrealistic expectations—they think it’s going to be easy. I never saw that with Ada.

The area she needs to work on is the area we all need to work on: prospecting. It’s the most difficult part of the job and not just for new salespeople.

Most people are very uncomfortable asking other people for business. And there’s no magic solution. It’s something that gets easier with time.

But I expect Ada to hang in there and be successful. She’s got everything it takes to be successful in real estate.

Robert Sharoff is an architectural writer for The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Chicago Magazine. With photographer William Zbaren, he has produced books highlighting the architecture of Detroit and St. Louis. He is a former senior editor with REALTOR® Magazine.

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