This is a continuation of my earlier post here about how I begin a typical work day as a busy real estate broker in the DC area. After my 2:30 to 3:30 pm showing for some buyers, my evenings are mostly spent spending quality time with my family. Don’t forget to check out some really helpful advice for buyers & sellers at the end of this article!
Eli’s soccer practice is at 4:00 so it’s time to jump back into the car and head over to Turtle Park in the American University Park neighborhood. I love to arrive a few minutes early so I can see him before they get started. That – and I need to pick up a bottle of water for him and coffee for my wife Allison on my way over.
Eli gives me a big hug as I come into the park. He has already had a busy day and is eager to tell me about what happened at school before taking the field. I give my wife Allison a peck on the cheek, and check my messages and emails one last time before my phone goes into my pocket and on silent for the first time all day.
For the next hour, I am just watching my son play soccer and talking to my wife. Family time is critical and it’s important to be present. My clients all know that they will always hear back from me within an hour. Watching my little man run up and down the field is truly the highlight of the day.
Soccer practice wraps up and it’s time to load Eli into my wife’s car. A quick hug goodbye, a little kiss from Allison, and they are on their way home. I, however, have another showing across town. My client Chris is just getting out of work and there is a condo in Logan Circle that he must see right away.
After a quick cross-town trip in rush hour traffic and a showing of a fantastic two-bedroom duplex with roof deck on Swann Street near Logan Circle, it’s time to head home.
On the drive home, I am following up with my clients Tim and Sheryl about their offer on the house in Chevy Chase. After reviewing the paperwork I drafted over lunch, they want to move forward. From my phone, I forward them the documents again, but this time for formal e-signatures. Looks like I will be submitting an offer after dinner.
I pull up to our home and head inside. Allison is busy pulling dinner together and it’s my job to bring the kids to table. Over a nice family meal, we all catch up on the details of the day and talk about plans for the coming weekend.
After dinner it’s time to clean up, do the dishes, and get Eli ready for his bath and bed time. Toddlers are a lot like real estate, it’s all about developing a reliable routine. I rush Eli upstairs, give him a quick bath, and it’s into his bed for two stories and some songs before lights out.
Kids are in bed and I have about thirty minutes of work to get the offer for the Chevy Chase house finalized. My clients have e-signed and I have the contract in hand. Time to attach the pre-approval letter I requested from their mortgage broker during lunch and a brief letter to the seller’s agent.
I pride myself on submitting an organized and well summarized offer that lays out my client’s position and situation without any ambiguity. If my clients end up in a multiple offer situation, I want to make sure that their offer is fully executable, has no “x-factors” or any point that might lead to confusion. In summary, I want my clients’ offer to be the easiest decision for the listing agent to make, and for her to feel like we are going to make the transaction easier and not harder. One last proofread and the offer goes out via email.
Time to lie down with Allison, watch a recorded episode of “So You Think You Can Dance,” and get some sleep so I can do it again tomorrow.
Balancing work and family life is important to me. It’s something I do very deliberately and carefully. To be successful, I need to be there for my clients, especially in times of crises. And to be a good father and husband, I must also be there for my family.
Efficiency is key. My clients know that they can always reach me through calls or texts, and that I keep a strict “one hour” response time to all client communications. I always anticipate what my clients need so I can work on them on them with little time lost. By being proactive and efficient, I also get to save more time for family and home life.
With that said, my cell phone is my lifeline. With everything online and in the cloud, I can access real estate listings, my contacts, other agents and all my documents and offers in the palm of my hand. That is a dramatic change from when I started in real estate in 2002.
Most important success strategy
Keeping up with local news in Washington, DC is a must. Every neighborhood is its own insulated community, so it’s important to understand the ins and outs of what’s going on from one micro market to the next.
New development is rife in DC right now and I try and stay abreast of all the new projects, openings, and parcel bids working their way through the market. The landscape of our city is changing daily, and opportunities, dangers and fortunes exist in those shifting sands.
Advice for first-time homebuyers
See as much as you can as quickly as you can. Regardless if you’re just starting your search or are a year away from buying, get out there and get to know the market. We are still very much in a seller’s market, especially in affordable segments under 1 million dollars. When the time comes, you will need to be decisive with your offer in order to win out against other buyers.
The best way to commit completely to a property is to know the market, to have seen the competing inventory, and be in a head space where you are confident that this is the house or condo for you. That confidence not only comes from a gut feeling, but also from being educated about the market, what has sold, and what you are bidding on.
Advice for sellers
Declutter and stage for success. The way your home presents can make the difference between languishing on the market and selling with multiple offers.
With HDTV, Instagram, and a million other influences that shape our opinions of how a “dream home” should look, it is more important now than ever to put your home’s best foot forward. This means editing your possessions – that is, putting away family photos and reducing your clutter and personal possessions.
Consider supplemental furniture to showcase spaces and features that your family might not utilize. As a rule of thumb, I would advise sellers to remove about 25-30% of their stuff. Off season clothing should be packed up and stored offsite to show off those closets!
I truly hope I’ve given home buyers and sellers a good picture of how I can help them achieve their real estate objectives. If you’re looking for the best possible representation in the DC area, don’t hesitate to call me at 301-652-2707 or 202-888-4846.