“That’s the Way We’ve Always Done It” Is a Lousy Excuse

What are you still doing just because “that’s the way we’ve always done it?”

It’s actually a poor excuse to do anything. I’m not suggesting that you question everything you do in life every time you do it.

What I’m suggesting is that you periodically examine your systems to make sure they are still serving you and not the other way around.

For example, on our team we’ve always sent the listing documents to the client through our digital signature program (DotLoop). We send all the documents they need to sign at the same time.

Some clients fill out the paperwork, including the seller’s disclosure, right away, and others don’t sign at all until they were reminded.

And some clients magically find a buyer for their house before they get around to signing our listing agreement. Talk about a huge let-down for our listing agent!

So it occurred to me that the clients who signed the listing documents usually didn’t fill out the seller’s disclosure right away. Because it’s seven pages of tiny type and tiny check boxes, I think it’s overwhelming to some people. So they fill out what they can, and intend to do the rest later. But they forget, and I have to remind them right before putting the house on the market that we can’t put the house on the market without a complete seller’s disclosure.

That one document, I believe, is standing in the way of the sellers signing their listing agreement.

My solution, is to revise the system. Remember, systems set us up for success. Our systems, when set up correctly, should be like a professional baseball pitcher throwing meatballs across the plate. It should be easy to hit home runs every time.

Moving forward, I’ll be sending the listing agreement to the sellers first, and when I see they’ve signed that, I’ll wait until we order photos to send them the seller’s disclosure to sign. Another factor in waiting until this particular moment is that our sellers take anywhere from two weeks to two months to get their house ready to put on the market. They are usually replacing carpet, making repairs, and staging their home. I want them to be able to fill out the seller’s disclosure with the most up-to-date information. A lot can happen to a house in two months and I don’t want them to have to go back and make changes to their seller’s disclosure.

Another reason to wait until right before we put the house on the market is that they will be motivated at this point to take the time to fill it out. When they realize it has to be done right now, they get on it!

Something new I’m adding to the system is a short video tutorial on how to fill out the seller’s disclosure. We have a wonky seller’s disclosure which can be confusing if someone doesn’t explain how it’s supposed to be filled out. (One of the boxes a seller can mark is label “Fences – Invisible & Controls.” The seller is supposed to check that box if they have an invisible fence and it’s staying with the property. Most sellers just see the word “fence” and since, yes, they have a wood or metal fence, they mark the box. So you can see my dilemma!)

Instead of continuing to do things the way we’ve always done it, I’m always on the lookout for ways our systems can do more of the heavy lifting for us. It’s going to take me a bit of time to revise my workflow in Realvolve to accommodate this change, and it will take a bit of effort to create the video. In the end though, I believe it will save me so much stress and frustration, not to mention lost sellers!

Any time you revise a system, make sure you provide clear documentation for yourself and your team so that everyone knows what the new system is and how to use it. I recommend creating or revising your Real Estate Systems Playbook.

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