I had a potential buyer call me the other day seeking information about a particular Hoboken condo property. I was in the car but told the buyer I’d get the info he requested and get right back to him. Being the diligent & resourceful agent that I am, even though I couldn’t access the MLS from my Blackberry (the MLS system being a whole other technical nightmare story) I called my office, got the listing agent’s info and then called the listing agent’s office to inquire about the condo unit. The conversation went like this:
“Hi, may I speak with Agent X, please?”
- “Sorry, he’s not here.”
“Ok, could I have his cell phone number?”
- “He doesn’t have a cell phone.”
“What? An agent doesn’t have a cell phone? How does he do business?”
- “You don’t know Agent X. What do you need?”
“I’m trying to get some info on his listing at the Shipyard. My buyer would like to know if the unit has been upgraded or renovated.”
- “Hold on a minute and I’ll check. It has granite.”
I kid you not. That was the answer I received. So while I was still stunned that there is a seller out there who would list a half-million dollar property in today’s market with a listing agent who does not use a cell phone or PDA, now I’m equally baffled by the second agent’s ignorance of a significant Hoboken complex. ALL the units at the Shipyard had granite counters when they were first built years ago. Saying that the unit has granite was meaningless. I asked him some specifics, like whether the floors parquet wooden square tile (original) or plank (renovated); the appliances white (original) or stainless (renovated); whether there was still a popcorn ceiling (original) or a smooth one (renovated); did the bathroom have a row of globe bulbs over the sink (original) or something else. It turns out that the unit was not upgraded or renovated at all. This is an office with a single location – Hoboken. You would think they would have better knowledge of their Hoboken condo inventory!
I hope if you are trying to sell your Hoboken condo, you interview your potential listing agent and don’t just go with the lady who sold it to you 10 years ago, or the buddy you have beers with on Friday nights. I’m often amazed at the number of listings that go to certain brokerages simply because they’ve been around a long time yet the agents have skills that date back to the 1980’s. Something like having a cell phone is mandatory. Knowing how to send an email in a format that can easily be read on an iPhone or Blackberry is necessary. Proficiency with technology is everything when buyers turn to the internet before they talk to an agent. With the number of units for sale creeping up all the time while sales continue to fall off you need every possible competitive advantage to sell your property. I predict that agents who don’t excel at efficient and innovative use of today’s tools will soon be directing you to the corn flakes in aisle 3 or asking if you’d like fries with that burger. No cell phone? No listing.