Sunday, August 14, 2011

For Safety's Sake #4: Show and Tell

Well, that’s what we do, isn’t it? We show houses, and we tell prospective buyers about them.

What precautions should we take to see that it is a safe and productive showing?

If at all possible, and I know that many times it is not, drive by the property in advance of the showing to get a feeling of the neighborhood, see who’s around. Check out your choices of parking spots.

Park your vehicle facing out and in a position where you cannot be blocked.

Be sure you have: Your car keys, your phone, the showing folder, and a flashlight if there’s even a possibility you may need it. You do not want to be running back to the car for something and leaving people alone and unattended inside the house. Do not take your purse or wallet with you. Lock these in the car. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, do not wear lots of obviously expensive jewelry or carry large amounts of cash with you. Leave these at the office or at home. Fortunately, I guess, for most of us, this isn’t an issue.

When you unlock the door, step aside and allow the buyer to proceed into the house in front of you.

Do not allow the buyers to wander around and explore areas of the property where you cannot keep track of them. Explain, if asked, that for liability purposes, you must keep everyone together.

Be alert for curious questions concerning when the owners will be home, how often the property has been shown, and for anything you feel is of a personal, rather than of a business nature.

Make note of any issues with the house that the listing broker might need to be advised of such as broken windows or locks, frozen pipes, leaks, signs of recent occupancy in an otherwise empty house, or anything out of the ordinary that was not noted either on the disclosures or in conversation when the showing was scheduled.

Use caution when opening doors or windows. I suffered four broken fingers while demonstrating the convenience of tilt-out windows in a rural home a couple of years ago necessitating an agonizing 35 mile drive to the hospital in Bangor. There was a missing catch that could not be seen (to be missing), and its absence was probably unknown to both the seller and the listing broker. Be careful in assuming everything works properly just because it’s new!

Be aware that pets, which may be quite harmless in most situations, can be startled by “intruders” or become very territorial when you burst into their domain. Snakes in the basement aquarium may be beloved by their owner, but can give the unwary buyer quite a start when confronted unprepared.

To those who show foreclosed and abandoned property or property that has been unoccupied for some time, I advise special cautions.

Things will be broken, missing, frozen, unfinished, abused and downright scary.

Wear good shoes, stay alert and, as Elmer Fudd advises, “Be vewy, vewy careful.”

Take care.

Mary Kuykendall is a REALTOR with Coldwell Banker Heritage Real Estate in Bangor; and the 2011 Greater Bangor Association's REALTOR of the Year

Saturday, August 6, 2011

In Memory: REALTOR Wayne Syphers

Maine REALTOR Wayne Syphers passed away on July 16, 2011. Wayne was a beloved part of the REALTOR family: the Greater Portland Board of REALTORS (GPBR) 2011 REALTOR of the Year, past GPBR president, past MAR Legislative Chairman and member of our Board of Directors. He was a wonderful man and volunteer leader.

In tribute, here are thoughts from GPBR AE Kelley Craig: "I feel so fortunate that I was able to work with Wayne Syphers. His quiet competence and unyielding enthusiasm were matched only by his sincerity and level of commitment. He was one of the warmest people I’ve ever met. Wayne, the pleasure was all ours."

And this poem written by MAR President Mike LePage, originally for Wayne's REALTOR of the Year celebration:

"Wayne was 'the Man' as my son would say
As he understood life in a special way
Wayne always put others first indeed
Be it client, REALTOR or a friend in need.

He did it so quietly but I know you heard
'How are YOU doing' he’d ask with kind thoughtful words
Yeah how you doing as he’d just gone through something rough
Yes our Wayne Syphers was . . . very very tough

Tough of spirit oh yes no matter how grim
but tough with words? no that’s wasn’t him
He’d listen he’d think he’d solve til everyone would win.

We learn in the business by watching others perform
And Wayne’s performance was way above the norm
From his contributions to Windham and the retroactive moratorium defeat
To Chairing the Legislative Committee his actions are hard to beat.

Wayne cared about this business for you and for me
And he gave of his time so readily
Many are invited to serve – some say yes, some say no
But with Wayne he was always revved up to go.

So on behalf of your clients, colleagues and friends
We want to say you are missed but your impact will never end.
Cause Wayne, You were the Man there’s no doubt
You showed so well what life is all about."

Ah Wayne, we'll miss you.

Pictured: Wayne Syphers with Senator Olympia Snowe