- It's not the babysitting or sweeping a patio or opening the swimming pool that means brokers are going the extra mile for a client. It comes down to something simpler and more complex at the same time: Providing trust and professionalism.
Broker Susan Breitenbach.
"Over the years, I've done everything that you can imagine. A lot of people treat the broker almost like a caretaker. I've planted trees, removed trees, cut grass, swept the pollen off patios, I've babysat little kids and I've delivered contracts at midnight. Crazy things," said Susan Breitenbach
, senior vice president for Corcoran
But one thing she did for a client required the real professionalism that fosters trust: She recommended her clients choose the least expensive of two houses they were considering. One was selling for $15 million and the other for $7 million. The less expensive house was simply a better deal for the clients and Breitenbach knew it.
"You have to be a good friend to your clients and be happy with making half the commission and doing the right thing," she said. "Making money for the broker is sometimes less important than doing what's good for the customer." For her, that is going the extra mile.
, longtime broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman
has done some of the same things as Breitenbach. "I've taken care of kids, pets, cars, delivered money, valuables, paintings, but the most important way I go the extra mile is that people trust who I am and trust that I'll treat them properly and fairly," he said.
The ingredient that defines a great broker over a good one is professionalism, he said. "Doing your job with a passion and being in a relationship with your customers and clients. It's kind of a cliché, but you've got to be willing to do it," he said.
Broker Paul Brennan.
, vice president with Town and Country Real Estate, agrees. "I think it all depends on the relationship you've got with the customer and for me the important thing is relationship building or maintaining, so that if I help them out they'll help me out with referrals." He has also done the caretaker thing: "I recall at one point having to get a swimming pool open for a customer. Well, I also ended up assembling a gas barbeque - and I'm not a mechanical wonder or anything - and I delivered the essential food items to the fridge. There's a lot of stuff I've done." Another time he took a prospective purchaser on errands after she saw a house. "I'll end up writing a book when I'm done with this career. There are a lot of interesting tidbits out there," he said.
Breitenbach, who works in a team with her son, Matt, also of Corcoran, said there's another relationship that professional brokers must maintain to really serve their customers, and that is the relationship a realtor has with other brokers in the area. "You have to have a great relationship with other brokers. They are there to help you sell their listing. You have to return their calls right away," she said. And she agrees with Stoecker that if you go the extra mile for your customers, you always get something back in return. From the couple she counseled to buy the less expensive house, she got tons of referrals. So she was able to move on and sell other houses.
Personally, Breitenbach believes real estate is a 24/7 operation, and you have to be available to your customers and clients all the time.
But Brennan says slow down. "You can go 24/7 all day but wind up burning yourself out. In order to do the best job, you have to learn to take care of yourself and you have to be able to verbalize that and get it across to people. And people will respect the fact that you have a life."