We are a baseball family which mean like many excited Bay Area fans, we're in the thick of it. With the Giants now headed to the World Series, we're watching a lot of baseball these days. (Go Giants!)
Of course, we don't just root for baseball, both our sons have played on teams for years (ranging from mediocre to great) so it's not just love from afar, it's part of our family's culture. Our older son, Case, started in T-ball at four and has now aged out of rec ball (sniff, sniff) but our younger son, Tristan, still joyfully plays both Spring and Fall Ball and my husband, Cliff, has pulled every duty from field prep to coaching. Such is a loving parent's roll.
We're not so crazed that we have opted for the traveling team route (those parents are FAR more dedicated) but between the two boys, we have certainly had our share of carpools, weekend tournaments and baseball coaching sessions.
When I consider the range of experiences the boys have participated in, it isn't about whether or not the teams have struggled or dominated OR whether they have won or lost - it's more often about the coaching they've encountered along the way. Don't get me wrong, whether professional or volunteer, I certainly appreciate every coach's good intentions. Nobody who commits their time, does it for any other reason than the fact that they love the sport and care.
But there are significant differences that overlay the coaching experience (from a mother's point of view) and they have to do with knowledge and inspiration - good intentions really aren't enough.
While cluelessly chasing the ball around the field is extremely endearing at four, it's quickly counterproductive much past that age. Understanding where the appropriate play is and developing a winning strategy, makes a significant difference between "mediocre and great." A thinking player and a strategic coach are a formidable team - in sharp contrast to uninspired players and coaches that are simply hoping for the best. You can't just love the game, you have to know it too.
Real Estate agents can love the game as well, but to be really effective, your agent also needs to be knowledgeable. Good intentions really aren't enough - it takes action! Top agents tour religiously, analyze the market weekly, and write offers often. They communicate easily, negotiate confidentially, and facilitate sales with regularity. They are available and they are experts in their local market. Moreover, they act with integrity, know their limits and work collaboratively with others. If they need to refer a client out, they do so. In short, they take action!
Like coaching, there is a huge difference in the experience a buyer or a seller has with an agent. All agents are not created equal. Which isn't to say that one is necessarily better than the other, but does acknowledge that different styles work for different people. Whether you prefer an analytical, numbers driven agent, or one who is warm and fuzzy (or a combination of the two) you still need an agent that truly understands the game inside and out and can go the full nine innings! (Go Grubb!)
So inquire as to your agent's track record and take the time to make a good choice. (You'll be spending a lot of weeks and months together.) Interview him or her, ask lots of questions and decide on a course of action that makes good sense. If the "fit" isn't right, request that your agent refer you to someone else that meets your needs more effectively (we don't want an unsatisfying experience any more than you do). If you think of your agent as a coach, you'll want to align yourself with one that helps inspire you and creates a winning game plan.
(When it comes to inspired agents, I think there are fewer better than the team I work with here at The GRUBB Co. www.grubbco.com. How can we help you?)
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 600 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.