Agent Diary, INMAN News
BY INMAN NEWS, January 23, 2020
Inman Diaries is a weekly feature tracking the day-to-day activities of America’s leading real estate agents — in their own words over the course of a seven-day week.
In our latest installment, Jason Shutt, a broker at Windermere Real Estate on Bainbridge Island, Washington, seals the deal after sweating the results of a septic system inspection.
5:30 a.m. My wife and I are both up before the kids, and while she gets to work over coffee, I must go for a run to set the tone for a strong week. Besides, I need to write an offer this morning and mentally sift through the details.
6:45 a.m. Six miles done, and I just emailed the buyers to ensure they’re still ready to write. I sure hope they are, because I spent part of my run emailing back and forth with the listing agent about some of the questions that came up during yesterday’s showing.
10 a.m. In my office working on my weekly marketing efforts (this week is analyzing the stats for my market report, the monthly blast goes out Saturday morning and my editor needs time to review) and still haven’t heard back from those buyers, but an offer comes in on a listing I’ve had on the market for 88 days. After the three lowballs we have had come in, I can’t believe how good this offer is; this is something I believe the seller should work with! Sent seller a text with the great news and to arrange a time to meet, but since she sleeps till noon I should have time to finish this marketing task.
1:15 p.m. The buyers met over lunch and decided they want to meet with me to review answers to their questions and write the offer, and the seller replied that she can meet anytime. This afternoon is still young and it’s time to make this Monday a productive one. Giddy up!
4:15 p.m. Buyers’ questions about the adjoining property and septic system on the “modern Victorian farmhouse” have been answered and their offer has been submitted. Given there is threat of another offer, I’m glad they decided to waive their inspection contingency after having their general contractor friend join us at the showing and share his opinion on the home’s condition. And considering their offer includes an escalation clause up to almost 10 percent over asking price, they just submitted what should be a slam dunk.
4:30 p.m. Texted my wife that I might not be home in time for dinner since I need to go meet with the seller to review her offer. If the kids can wait till 6:00 then I might be there, but that’s a “big if.”
6:25 p.m. Baller! After pulling into my driveway and checking my messages, I heard from one agent that the buyers’ slam dunk offer has been accepted over another offer, and that the seller’s counteroffer is going to be accepted. This biz is just like baseball for me; most of the runs come in bunches. After a couple quick calls, I can head inside and grab something to eat; I’m starving.
9:15 a.m. At this week’s office meeting, a veteran agent asked the gang if we have any anecdotes of septic systems having items of deficiency or non-compliance despite a letter from the health department stating their cursory review suggested otherwise. The timing is perfect; I have a septic inspection tomorrow morning.
11 a.m. Inventory catch up. While taking a long-overdue vacation with my family, I fell behind on the market’s new listings, and need to see what I missed. One client did email me to ask about 3546 while we were away.
4 p.m. Making up for yesterday’s marathon day, I’m coming home early and leaving the phone in the car for a while.
8:30 p.m. Nothing urgent in the inbox. Done for the day.
6 a.m. Early morning bike ride. The maritime weather pattern is giving me fog, sunrise, and rain. Typical Pacific Northwest morning.
8:30 a.m. Septic inspection. The consensus in the room yesterday was that a “clean health letter” isn’t worth the paper it’s written on as far as our duty to buyers to ensure all options for due diligence are exhausted, including hiring a private vendor to scope the sewer lines with a camera. I’ve recently developed a relationship with my favorite septic vendor because this is something I’ve made a habit out of suggesting to buyer-clients. This home is relatively new as far as septic standards go, so we “should” be fine.
10:15 a.m. A quick call to the seller’s agent about the minor problems discovered in the drain field (leach field) went better than I expected. Luckily, both parties in this transaction are level-headed and want to close. While we need to work through repairs and follow up inspections, the end is in sight and we have a plan. What started out as a crappy situation ended with some relief.
4 p.m. The showing at 3546 went well. These folks have been searching for a retirement home for over a year and are very diligent people who take their time to analyze and discern. I love the long conversations to uncover what it will take to make their dream home the right one.
5:15 p.m. Home for dinner. The boys cooked pizza.
8:30 p.m. Back and forth email session with buyers about 3546. Docs downloaded from listing and delivered to buyer. Email title officer a couple of questions and put follow up on my list of loose ends.
9:45 a.m. Signs, marketing materials and fresh flowers all loaded in the car; I have a new listing on Broker Tour today. My island market is the size of Manhattan but with a fraction of the population, and we have a standing open house for agents every week from 10-1.
1:10 p.m. The agent for a young couple who came by the open house has called with some questions and a request to arrange a second showing. That’s a great start and gives me nice news to deliver to the seller as I text them a photo of the 44 business cards on the kitchen table letting them know the open house was well attended. After hosting my open house,I need to run around the island and do the rest of the tour on my own. Thankfully, it was slow week for new listings so this won’t take too long.
3:30 p.m. I hate Thursday afternoons after hosting an open house because of the backlog of messages. I feel like Thursday afternoons are the Monday morning of real estate and the number of people I need to check in with is far beyond the amount of time I have before dinner. And I haven’t gotten my wife (my favorite editor) my market report to review with enough time for it to not be last-minute. Luckily, my ADD is perfect for real estate and that might most importantly be the hyper focus that comes with follow up tasks under a deadline.
6 p.m. The new listing has an offer. It’s not a slam dunk, but it’s solid. I forward the sellers the offer with some detailed thoughts and suggestion to sleep on it. With the reaction this home has had from the market, there is no need to tie it up with this offer this soon. We set up a time to meet around lunch tomorrow.
4:45 a.m. The other day I didn’t feel like running the stairs at the high school stadium track, and it’s been nagging me all week. I’m anxious to get out there and get some steps in.
8 a.m. Dropped the boys at school and am the first in the office. Extra coffee and my headphones with some tunes so I can focus on getting this market report and related digital tasks done. It’s a rare day when I don’t have any appointments scheduled, and this is the perfect day for it. While the offer on the new listing threatened a flexible work day, the seller decided to hold off on responding for another day or so because there is excellent showing activity and threats of other offers.
3:30 p.m. The clients who saw 3546 send a courtesy email that they are going to pass on the house. I believe it’s the right call.
3:45 p.m. I get a request to show a guy a condo that hit the market an hour ago. I’ve shown him 25+ units over 5 years and have written a few offers for him. He’s available now and the place is vacant, so we decide to meet in 15 minutes. After a quick showing, he decides it’s not the right one because the detached garage is too tight for his cars and storage.
5 p.m. We’re hosting a small dinner party with a few other young families. Due to referrals to folks leaving the big city and coming to this rural market, most of the people here bought a house with me. Now our kids are also friends. One of my favorite parts of this business is the relationships that last long after the keys are handed off.
8:30 p.m. An email comes in from someone I met with last month who was considering selling their home. They wanted to let me know they decided to work with another agent who thinks the house is worth more than my analysis showed. I can live with losing this one, as I refuse to ever “buy a listing” by telling people something that I don’t believe is true.
10 a.m. Listing appointment with a friend of a client. One of their first comments in our small talk was about the morning newsletter. They know they missed the peak and luckily do not have expectations of five offers. I love working with reasonable people who let the data guide their process.
12:45 p.m. A second offer has come in on the new listing. This one is much better; it’s still not a slam dunk but it certainly makes the situation one where one in the hand is better than two in the bush. And we have two in hand. We decide to meet a bit later.
1 p.m. I meet the family at the park. My wife brought all the bikes and the kids are excited to ride all the way around the big loop. I turn my phone off and throw it in the glove box, which helps me unplug much more rapidly.
4:30 p.m. I meet with sellers about the two offers. They don’t want to get greedy and have decided to resist their temptation to wait on another offer, and send a subtle counter back on the second offer. The call with the buyer’s agent went well when she said the buyers really wanted to be in contract soon enough to have Sunday’s open house cancelled. I expect we’ll be moving along well soon.
7 a.m. Mutual acceptance is in my Inbox. I send the news and details over to my clients. This is the best way to start a day, and there’s nothing to do today expect cancel the open house.
9 a.m. Church with my wife and kids and then some TBD recreation with some other families. The weather is spectacular today and the air is warmer than it has been in weeks. Whatever we come up with is going to be relaxing, that I can guarantee.
Shutt spent over a decade as a middle school science teacher, and now applies his analytical mind to being the data expert of the Bainbridge Island housing market. In 2017 he sold both the most and least expensive homes of the year, and consistently ranks in the top 20 for number of sales in his marketplace, steadily competing against 20- and 30-year veterans.