Why I Won’t Do a 1-legged Meeting

J Philip Faranda January 11, 2011

Selling a house requires big decisions from all the ownersI seldom see this discussed among real estate professionals, but it is worth addressing as more people consider putting their home on the market. There are some exceptions, such as an acrimonious divorce or estate with multiple heirs, but overall it is a rule I run my business by. When I am brought over to be interviewed to possibly list a house, I need all the decision makers present. Typically, that is a husband and wife, but it can be siblings, partners or parents and children. But when there are two people on the title in a “traditional” scenario, I can’t speak with just one owner- in the business, we call this a “one legged” meeting, and they are often time-wasters.  

The reason for this is pretty simple: The person who isn’t present and doesn’t meet with me doesn’t get a feel for me, my marketing plan, how I do business, or look me in the eye. They just see my recommended price and commission from their spouse or partner, and that isn’t enough to make an informed decision. Invariably, the one person present can’t make a decision, needs to discuss it with their spouse or partner, and then I end up chasing them around for days or weeks, only to see them list the home with a compromise candidate. 

Like anyone else, my time is extremely valuable. My clients expect me to follow up with other agents who showed their house, mortgage loan officers, lawyers, home inspectors, appraisers and all the other vagaries that go into selling and closing on my transactions. They don’t want me chasing you around to see if you had a chance to speak with your spouse or mother. Neither would you if I were your agent. If I am going to meet with you, I need that time to count. 

I’m not the sort of guy who pressures people into a decision when we meet the first time. Some of my clients call me days or even months after we meet. It’s really fine by me- people have a decision making process that must be respected. But what I am a stickler about is personally giving every decision maker the information they need to make that decision. I know this isn’t always easy. More people are travelling, working long hours, or even taking out of town jobs to make things work in this economy. That’s fine; I can wait. Given the stakes and what goes into getting property sold these days, it is worth working together so our schedules can match, and everyone can meet with me once, so we are all on the same page going forward. 

So, to all the good folks considering selling their home and bringing Phil, or anyone else for that matter, over to your home to interview as the listing agent, please understand the importance of having all the principals in the same room when we meet. Information is power, and I want all of my clients to be right there with me as we work as a team to get you sold, packed, closed and moved. 

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