It seems to me that we should always be in the pursuit of new knowledge, you know, constantly learning. I'll admit that I don't really know what happens when we stop learning, but the proposition of that scares me for some reason. So, in my own life, I try to learn things as often as I can.
Lately, real estate has taught me a few things that I want to share with you. It goes like this: when you have something good, keep it, protect it and try hard not to lose it. That seems so obvious doesn't it, so clear that you may be thinking "ok Ron, this is a waste of my time", and you may be right, but I doubt it. Few precious things are as simple as they appear, and certainly not this one.
You see, it seems that this week has been one fraught with dealing with multiple contractors on two different houses. I've had painters, hardwood floor guys, a travertine company, landscapers (two of them) and a window treatment company (actually three of those). Each one has met with me on these projects and told me all about what they can do and how much money I was going to spend on each. Typical you say? Yep. Very. But, theres more to it than that. Buried under all the "normal" real estate stuff is a lesson.
Let's start with the window treatment guys. The first one was unreachable through his social media, but that is understandable. Technology isn't always technological, if that makes sense, -he was on time, knowledgable and provided a reasonably quick quote BUT when reaching back out to him, three emails failed. Now I wonder if it's technology not working or some other problem. Either way, my effort to reach out to him was simply to let him know that the quote was just too high. It seems that the second window treatment guy works for a company known for fast service. Well. the estimate I needed (and was promised) that night a week ago has never shown up. There have been multiple promises of "I'll call you right back" that have somehow just never happened as well. Enter the third window treatment guy. This time, a whole different story. He showed up when he was supposed to, has sent every estimate exactly as promised and now he's a keeper on my list of go to contractors.
The landscapers? Well, one showed up but was just way too expensive, like, I'd rather buy a new car with that money than pay that much for landscaping. Next please. Enter second landscaper. He called an hour before the appointment to say he'd be there three hours late. Um, no. So he made it on time, give or take 45 minutes. Let's say TAKE 45 minutes. He was friendly and knowledgable, but didn't make a single note. His price was right though and so I hired him. Well, phase one of the landscape job on one of the two houses was done, but half-donkeyed if you know what I mean. After a nice "discussion" in the front yard, he agreed to come back the next day and finish. And so he did. Phase one, done. Now there happens to be a deadline on both properties so moving forward, Mr. Landscape #2 knows the time is short. It would be critical to show up the next day and start phase two. Guess what? -5 days later and phase two hasn't started, why? because in spite of promises that "I'm on my way now", Mr. Landscaper number 2 never showed up. The one of the days, after no contact from him, I texted him. "Oh, we got lost..." ok. Really. Presumably he is still out there driving the streets of Frisco searching for my project house. If you see him, tell him I changed my mind.
I could go on and on because there is so much more to it than that, but you get the idea. Now here's the other side of the deal. Mr. Painter showed up as expected, made tons of notes and has absolutely done an outstanding job. Same for Mr. Travertine and Mr. Hardwood Floors. Based on how these guys handled their business, they will get my next call, and my next and so on. Why? because I have a good thing with them and I'm going to hold on to it. Not so epic a lesson huh? Well, think deeper. How about your health. Got it good now? Keep it. Have a good relationship with someone? Guard it. Is your house in good shape? Keep it that way. There's the lesson. Protect what you have that is good, and protect it well. It's a lesson we all know, but its one that a couple landscapers and window treatment guys just reminded me of in spades. Oh, and as a side note, I will always be the real estate agent that is a keeper. Count on it!
Ron Lyons, Realtor