Take this advice from a real estate agent. If the real estate agent you called shows up late for your first appointment, I would think twice about whether they are the right realtor for you…

Every once in a while, I get a chance to see the world from how a perspective home seller sees it, and it’s a good reminder of why I do things the way I do.

In this particular case, my wife and I are in the process of getting some renovations done on our house that will require the services of a general contractor. While it is not a massive project, it will involve permits, architectural drawings and a number of different trades. Like any smart consumer, we did our research online for contractors, we asked around for referrals and used my contacts in real estate to get some names. Just as I recommend to anyone selling their house that they need to get more than one opinion, we called four contractors to come over and give us a quote.

What am I looking for in a general contractor? The exact same traits I would be looking for in a real estate agent-  I want a professional, someone who is successful, has many happy clients, someone who does great work, treats me like I am important and gives me a fair price. I don’t expect miracles, but I do want the job done properly, and I want you to do what you said you would do.

What struck me was that out of the four contractors we called, three of them showed up late. Not 5-10 minutes late, but over an hour late on average. I put value on my time, and for two of the appointments I actually scheduled my work day around these appointments so I could be home to meet the contractors. So needless to say I wasn’t impressed. No phone call, no apologies. One of my golden rules is never be late- if my appointment is a 10 minute drive away then I leave 20 minutes before to make sure I am there. If you are genuinely going to be late then you should know well ahead of time and call- it’s courteous and the obvious thing to do (at least I think??).

In the case of the late contractors, my mind was made up. Their fancy web sites, recommendations, price and their pedigree’s no longer mattered to me. Once they were late, the only thing going through my head was-  if they can’t honour our appointment when we are not doing business, how will they treat me when we are? From my experience, if the first meeting is not good then chances are the rest of the relationship will only get worse. People put their best foot forward on the first date, so I can only imagine where it will go from there.

At the end of the day, maybe I’m the exception? I don’t know. Is it normal for consumers to expect so little from their real estate agent, contractor or anyone else that they hire to perform a service?

Thoughts, comments, I’d love to hear them!


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