Friction

Posted Oct 30, 2020
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We have a recurring question that we ask in every company meeting:

Efficiency Improvements & Unnecessary Friction: Do you have an idea whereby we could make something take less time or run more smoothly? Are we doing anything that could be improved to save time?

Why is reducing friction such an important & recurring topic? Time is valuable. It’s not even arguable that time is the most valuable asset in the world. No matter how much of anything you can, you can never buy or trade more time. You have to constantly analyze your behavior in order to earn more time.

Like most things in life, there are huge gains to be made when you begin your journey towards a frictionless business. Without any conscious effort, I learned early in my career to “show up on time.” I observed that people get really mad when you’re late and it requires very little effort not to be late. My life became much easier simply by showing up on time. Friction was reduced.

I became more conscious of friction when I decided to only refer to good vendors (not simply people that I liked.) There is little to no reason that a lender should cause a delay in closing, so I simply stopped sending business to lenders that were okay with delays. It’s straightforward and expected for an insurance agent to return an email in a reasonable time, so I only referred business to those who do. There’s no reason to work with a title company that doesn’t provide excellent service, so I decided that we’d only work with those who do.

This turned into somewhat of a walled garden, but that also reduced friction & gained time. When we have a great set of vendors to work with, we only need to explore new vendors if someone retires or stops providing great service. Business lunches & conversations with new potential vendors went away, which allowed me to either work more or do more things that I enjoy.

Our internal policies revolve heavily around friction reduction. We have a simple list of documents for contract submission and we make the submission process as easy as possible. Everyone likes getting paid quickly (including me), so we work towards that goal together. Nothing bugs me more than a check showing up at the office because a CDA wasn’t issued in time, so we simply issue CDAs on time.

Communication habits can drastically increase or decrease friction (this is a blog post in itself.) Text messages are fantastic for quick communication & time sensitive information like “I’m running 5 minutes late.” Email is great when you need to communicate more information that doesn’t need an immediate response. This certainly makes me sound old, but “picking up the phone” removes a lot of friction more often than not simply because you can communicate in real time, including nuances & context.

We’re huge fans of Conscious Competence, and the first step is always introspection. How much friction do you allow into your life & business? What do you really dislike doing and can you reduce or stop doing that (or do it in some other way)? Reducing friction is iterative, so huge lists aren’t necessary, but a small list is.

Categories Efficiency

1600+ Client reviews!

Bhaskar P

I was looking to buy a property in Austin area and was not sure where to start. One of my friends referred Joseph Gage from Bramlett Residential. Joe has been very kind, honest, patient, and helpful in educating me on the Austin real estate market and narrowing down a few potential areas to look for properties. He then guided on identifying appropriate properties and estimating the right amount to put on offers. After writing a few offers we finally were able successfully purchase a property. Joe provided very good referrals for financing and property management as well. I ended up using all the referrals from Joe and rented out the property in a short time. Joe made the whole process smooth and made me very comfortable purchasing the property remotely. I would highly recommend Joe Gage.

D. M.

Joe Gage is great to work with! He is very experienced, responsive and trustworthy. He represented my interests throughout the entire process from bidding to closing. He is also very knowledgeable on the Austin metro real estate market and keep me informed with his monthly email updates.

Hellen G.

This is my second transaction working with Tara McGuire of Bramlett Realty, and she has been a consistent pillar of guidance for us during a crazy market in the Austin area.  Our first was moving from out of state pre-Covid and then once we settled in and we decided to make a second move, in an even more challenging market during the pandemic, Tara was there as our community expert with whatever we needed.  It is often so much more than buying a house, (which she is an expert at) but is able to refer any number of resources to help get things fixed and/or serviced- even has the best local jaunts to recommend as newbies to area.  Tara has become our go-to for a lot.  She demonstrates the patience, diligence, thoroughness, and the leadership we appreciate in a real estate professional and would not use anyone else!

Veronica B.

Linda Baddour of Bramlett Residential is the best realtor we have worked with! Linda is super helpful, knowledgeable, and willing to help in any way she can to get us to the closing point.

As investors, it was essential for us to have someone we could trust and help us navigate through the process. Because we do not live in the area, Linda did the walk-ins, took photos, videos, talked to the builder, and kept us posted up until the close of our home. Even after we closed, she helped us find a property management company and get some measurements we needed from the house.

Her service goes beyond buying and selling. Linda kept us informed about pricing, important news about the area, and statistics she shared monthly through email that helped us understand the market we were investing.

Thank you, Linda! I hope we can meet and do more business soon!

Stephanie Barbu

My husband and I have been really pleased with our realtor Katie Evans. Most recently we purchased a home with Katie in Hutto and she goes above and beyond the norm for a realtor: she goes the extra step by providing us with comparables (sale and rent prices for comparable lots in the areas we are interested in), land surveys, sends us lists of homes to help us narrow down our tours. She doesn’t pressure or rush us to make decisions but rather she’s there as a wealth of information to help us make a well informed decision. When it comes to the offer process, Katie is highly responsive, she gives us opportunities to increase our offers if needed and also when to step away based on our priorities and needs. We can’t recommend Katie enough, if you’re looking for a talented, well educated on the market, and no “sales-y” tactics, she’s truly incredible. And after the sale closes, she still helps with any/all details we have questions on, example: When should we start paying the HOA fee? or are the appliances gas or electric? She takes care of her clients 150% of the way not just until the money transfer happens– Integrity all the way! We highly recommend Katie and the Bramlett Residential Real Estate team. “Integrity” should really be in their slogan because it’s a class act.

Janine Star

I have known Tara McGuire for years and just recently had the opportunity to work with her on the listing/sale of an investment property. From early conversations discussing strategy and long term goals (well before she was formally my realtor), right down to closing, she and her team were all in. I was grateful for their expertise and calm approach in the current chaos of the Austin real estate market.

A & C Drake

Ann Nye came highly recommended to us by a good friend who also used her to purchase a house in Austin and stuck with us for over a year during our transition from CA to TX. There are not enough good things to say about Ann without writing a novel. She is responsive, honest, proactive, has a great pulse on the market, has contacts high and low and is more of a friend helping you buy a house than one of “those” realtors. While looking at houses, she always encouraged us to share our thoughts on what we liked and didn’t like and made a lot of great outside of the box ideas to give us all the fair perspectives on the houses we looked at. When we finally chose the house we wanted to purchase, she patiently walked us extremely green home buyers through the entire process down to the documentation minutiae from start to finish at all times of day any day of the week. We cannot recommend her enough and we ended up recommending her to our parents and she also helped them find a house close to ours! She brought our whole family together in one fell swoop and we could not thank her enough for all she has done for us.

Walter Scarborough

My family’s realtor, Linda Baddour of Bramlett Residential, helped us navigate through the notoriously tricky world of Austin real estate when we bought our first house. Linda took the time to understand what we value in a house when we were exploring the market, and showed us how to evaluate important maintenance considerations between older homes and newer homes. She was also knowledgeable about how to negotiate a great deal with the sellers when it came time to purchase (our offer won thanks to better terms that Linda suggested). I highly recommend her services to anyone who is interested in buying real estate in Austin – you are in great hands!

Ryan P.

I had a great experience with Bramlett Residential. This is my second remote purchase with them. I worked with Vicki Duran again and she was exceptional as always. Incredibly on top of her email and crucial follows ups during the home buying process.

She goes above and beyond when it comes to time sensitive communications during the initial stages of closing. Also, as a remote buyer, she was helpful in touring places and showing them to me via video calling. Overall I highly recommend working with Vicki and Bramlett residential if you’re purchasing in Austin.

Cole Balacek

We cannot say enough good things about our experience with Bramlett Residential, and our realtor Ann Nye. Ann helped us purchase a house in the very competitive South Austin market remotely (from across the country). We could not have done it without Ann. Ann listened to what we were looking for and was willing to put in the time to help us find the “right home”. She provided us multiple videos and FaceTime walk-through of properties, and helped us navigate unique Austin issues like impervious cover restrictions. She provided invaluable suggestions, acted quickly, and always made us feel like finding our house was a priority. She worked tirelessly to find us the perfect home, and was instrumental in ensuring a smooth closing (as well as helping us inspect the property before closing, get cleaning people in the house…) Ann is the best realtor we have ever worked with, and we highly recommend her services if you are looking to buy in Austin.

Nancy Anger

When my husband and I were ready to sell our home in the Cat Mountain area of Austin, we were fortunate that Kasey Gilliam of Bramlett Residential came highly recommended to us. She not only handled the sale of our house, she oversaw all of the preparations before our house went on the market, even after we had left Austin. She is competent, confident, and friendly, and she helped us beyond the call of duty. Given the seller’s market in Austin when we sold, we ended up with several competing bids, and Kasey guided us through to process of accepting the best one, and securing a backup offer should it be needed. Without hesitation I can recommend her to anyone in need of a real estate agent.

Sean J.

Linda Baddour goes above and beyond in representing my wife and I during our home building process.  She came to every walk through and inspection that I asked to her to go to and was even available while I myself was not able to attend.

What I loved most about Linda’s professionalism was the type of questions she would ask our builder in person and via email.  Questions I didn’t even think to ask myself.  It felt like I had an attorney on my side fighting for me while she was there haha.

Thank you so much Linda for the great assistance during the past 11 months of the home building process.  Shyah and I love our new home!