I Will Meet Anyone Once

Posted Oct 15, 2021

There is a lot of bad advice & misinformation in our industry with regards to working leads. Facebook discussion groups are the worst. You will find Facebook real estate groups filled with inexperienced and/or unproductive agents discussing how they “deal with clients”. The funny thing is that most of these agents don’t deal with many clients either because they follow their own bad processes/policies or they have bad processes/policies because they’ve never dealt with many clients. The two worst pieces of advice that you’ll hear (over and over) are:

Bad Advice

  • I will only show a property after the buyer has been pre-approved.
  • I always get buyer’s representation agreements.

Years ago, a very successful mortgage broker commented to me, “Eric, I’ll meet anyone once.” I’d never verbalized it, but I have the exact same policy. It’s worth meeting someone face to face one time, almost every time. Examples of when you should almost always meet someone:

  • Someone contacts you or the office and wants to see a property.
  • Someone is coming to town to decide if they want to move to Austin.
  • Someone is visiting Austin to interview for a job and they’d like to see a few homes while they’re here.
  • Someone has accepted a job in Austin and wants to see homes that they might purchase.
  • Someone isn’t sure if they want to sell their home and would like to know what your opinion of value is.
  • Etc, etc, etc…

In each of these instances, you have the opportunity to meet someone who has a likelihood of becoming a client. The key is to invest the right amount of time with each person and to approach each person in the correct way. A few examples:

  • Bear in mind that greater than 90% of the people you talk to either through your SOI or through company lead generation will be able to be pre-approved. Those that can’t usually express concerns up front or give you other “red flags”. It’s not a waste of time to assume that the vast majority of folks that you talk to can buy.
  • When you meet someone at a property (or at a coffee shop in order to go to the property), they are now interviewing you as an agent. Ask the right questions with the goal of getting them set up on searches. Worry about pre-approval later. During your conversation, you found out where they worked and what they do, so you have a good idea if they can be qualified.
  • If someone is visiting Austin on a “scouting trip”, then you need to limit how much time you’ll spend with them. You can also ask more questions about employment over the phone, so you’ll have a good idea about qualification. Recommend that you spend a half day with them physically viewing homes and suggest that they drive neighborhoods and visit restaurants on their own. If they do decide to move to Austin or accept a job, there will be a subsequent trip where you can really pound the pavement to view tons of homes.
  • If someone is definitely moving to Austin, then it makes sense to recommend pre-approval before they come. They can’t make an offer without a letter, and the goal is to make an offer on this trip, so they should agree that it makes sense. When someone comes to Austin with the stated goal of putting a house under contract, you will spend as much time as necessary with them. Generally, you can view 2-3 homes per hour. They will know a day or two prior to the visit how many homes they want to see. If they’re in town for 2+ days, then try to break it up into multiple half days so that they can spend time exploring areas.
  • Any time someone expresses any interest in selling a house, you want to meet them at the house whenever they would like. There is no reason not to go on that interview. I have personally met the same sellers at their late mother’s house 4x over 5 years and will continue to do so until they decide to sell.

Buyer Pre-Approval
It’s obviously important for your buyers to get pre-approved with a trusted mortgage lender. The point above is only that you need to focus on establishing a “trusted advisor” relationship with someone before you start giving them trusted advice. You need to be able to explain to a buyer why it’s in their best interest to get pre-approved. Here are some good scripts (that are great advice):

  • It’s super helpful for you to talk with a lender early. Your lender will be able to tell you how much you’ll need to put down and how much your monthly payments are. It’s one thing to know that a house is $XXX,XXX. It’s much more helpful to know “I need to put down $XX,XXX in order to have $XXXX per month in payments.”
  • The market moves pretty quickly, so it’s nice to have your pre-approval out of the way. That way, if you do luck out and find something you love early on, there isn’t an obstacle to making an offer.
  • There’s no obligation to work with the first lender you talk to. I always recommend that you get pre-approved with a local lender first and then shop later. If you start shopping now, the lender is just guessing on rates b/c they always change.

As in (almost) everything, there are exceptions to this. Your personal safety is obviously your #1 priority. Because we deal with the general public, you will sometimes run into truly insane people. You can determine that someone is insane by searching them online or by using your gut instinct or your “spidey sense”.

Personal Safety
Set your own personal safety guidelines. If you’ve never met someone before, it often makes sense to meet them at a coffee shop and then follow each other to the house. Many agents will ask for a copy of their driver’s license that they can text to a partner or friend. If you don’t have a policy, talk w/ other agents or me. Set your own policy and always follow it. Fair Housing will not allow us to set different policies for different people, and that’s a great fallback if anyone ever questions your policy.

Your Spidey Sense
When you talk with people, you will sometimes get a weird feeling. They make comments that don’t make sense. They brag about money and you can’t find them online. Over time, your spidey sense will get better and better. However, always trust your spidey sense. Early in your career, err on the side of always (safely) meeting anyone once. As your spidey sense matures, you can begin limiting the amount of time that you’ll spend with people who seem “off”, or not meeting them at all if the alarm bells are really going off.

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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!

Annamaria B.

I’ve just bought my second property with Bailey in 3 years and hope for more to come! She has great local knowledge, deep expertise and is very detailed and thorough. I’d highly recommend her!

Jian M.

This review is about Joe Gage, their real estate agent. I’m based in Sam Francisco and was looking for investment property in Austin. I tried out three different agents based on recommendations from different sources, including Yelp. Joe clearly stands out. He’s very patient and responsive. I’m not familiar with the area at all thus had a lot of questions. His email reply contains detailed information of the neighborhood, including shops nearby, schools and so on. He regularly screen houses and give recommendations once he sees a good fit for investment house offered at reasonable price. He’s very knowledgeable about the area. All his recommendations comes with details around why he thinks it’s a good investment and sales/rental data in the neighborhood to justify the price he thinks it’s worth as well as the expected rental income. I found him to be very methodical and organized. He’s not a typical sales person. Maybe this is because he used to be an accountant. Needless to say he earned our trust and we went with him to make the purchase. I was very impressed through the whole process. He’s very calm and never pushy. His recommendation on the bid price was right on and he was very good at following up with various parties to push things through. The process went through very smoothly. If anyone is looking for a good real estate agent in Austin, I’d recommend Joe whole-heartedly. His professionalism and calm personality make him a real pleasure to work with.

Jian M.

I wrote a review of Joe Gage back in 2015 when he helped me acquire two properties in Austin area. Recently I hired Joe again to sell one of these properties. I just have to give him another 5-star reviews. Joe is very thorough and methodical when it comes to real estate transactions. The first time I met him, he struck me more as a college professor or an accountant rather than a real estate agent. He knows the local market inside out and the price he recommended was spot on. The house was put on market for less than a week and we received 4 offers. We decided to go with the cash offer at the offer price. It can’t get any better than this! The whole transaction was super smooth and Joe provided valuable guidance along the way. If you want to buy or sell a house in Austin area, give Joe a call and you won’t be disappointed. This is someone that you can trust and will work hard on your behalf. You can’t go wrong with him.

John L.

I am from out of town and it’s really important to find someone who has extensive knowledge in rental properties in the Austin area.  I am really glad to have Joe Gage as my agent.  He was very thorough in finding the type of properties that I was looking for.  He was very professional and helpful in the whole process.  I bought the single family home in 2014 which turned out to be a great investment.  I would highly recommend Joe if you are looking for a realtor.

Donnell O.

I worked with Joe Gage of Crossland Properties to buy an investment property in Austin. The circumstances were extra challenging because I live in the UK and I was buying the property in my self directed IRA. Joe was patient, reliable and communicative in walking through all the specific requirements and constraints. I would highly recommend Joe for any real estate needs you may have. He is honest and straightforward and always keeps his clients needs as his priority.

He also found a reliable property manager to manage the property!

Dan K.

I have lived in Austin most of my life, and finally scraped together the pennies to purchase my first home. Being very frugal with my money, I spoke with a handful of real estate agents, many who were noticeably eager to “earn my business.” Joe Gage stood out from the crowd with his calm demeanor and absolute priority on understanding my goals.

My second concern once moving forward, was having a either a “salesman realtor”, one who is more interested in making the sale or alternatively the “lethargic realtor”, one that doesn’t follow through after you take the initial steps with them. These are the things you can only learn about your realtor as you spend time searching for a home and visiting them. I can say without a doubt, Joe was neither of these things.

Joe helped bring my dreams into a reality. He was with me every step of the way, and made sure that we were looking at properties that matched my long list of criteria. If you are looking for a home in the Austin Area, give Joe Gage a ring and at least consider him along with the other agents you have talked to. If nothing else, talk to him so you can set a good benchmark for the “gold standard” in real estate purchasing. But I will say that I would be surprised if you can find a better agent that has his level of experience and expertise in the Austin market.

Jason S.

Joe Gage has sold 2 of my Austin properties, and he was very professional. He handled all aspects of my sale expertly, even helping to facilitate the roof repairs for both properties. I would use Joe again in a heartbeat!

Thomas Anger

Austin’s real-estate market is hot, no doubt about that. But Kasey Gilliam of Bramlett Residential exceeded our expectations by a long shot when our house sold for almost 30 percent above the asking price. That outcome was the result of a lot of skill and effort on Kasey’s part, beginning with the advice that she gave us about how much effort to put into preparing the house (she steered us away from unnecessary effort and expenses). It went on from there with systematic reminders about the documentation that was required of us, her arrangements for and supervision of excellent preparatory work (pre-inspection, landscaping, exterior pressure washing, window washing, interior cleaning, staging, and photography), her sage advice about pricing the house, and a marketing campaign that resulted in several offers above asking price. The best offer, which Kasey helped to secure, was almost too good to be true. But when she walked us through the details of the offer, we saw that it was solid, and accepted it. There were a couple of rough patches between signing the sales contract and closing the sale, but Kasey guided us through them (with more good advice) and brought the deal to fruition. On top of all that, Kasey is easy to work with, confident, and upbeat. When Kasey represents you, you are in the best of hands.