I was looking back on the vendors we started with at Deerwood Realty, and who we use today.  Even though I take our vendor relationships very seriously, there always seems to be a lot of movement with vendors and I wanted to try and figure out why.  After all, I know some real estate agents who treat partners they work with like dogs, but it seems to work out for them.  Vendors seem to come and go in real estate, why doesn’t it work with our vendors when we try to treat everyone according to the golden rule?

Loss Of Lenders

We’ve had a lot of success with lenders.  We don’t ask that they give us anything other than giving our mutual clients the best service at the best price possible.  For new lenders to earn our business, they would have to follow through on every promise that they made.  This is difficult because we usually aren’t looking for a new pool of lenders.  The one lender that we had to move on from was a case where I didn’t feel like I was getting a level of respect that I felt deserved.  If, as a lender, you can’t treat me with respect, what in the world are you doing with my clients?

Loss Of Title Companies

I think title companies are very much overlooked by both real estate agents and lenders.  There is this idea that any title company is as good as the next and I know that isn’t the case.  My expectations for working with a title company are very similar to what I expect from lenders.  However, I would also want any title company I worked with to tell me issues up front and then offer possible solutions.  This was the main reason I had to move on from our original title company.  When we had a client that had an issue that needed a resolution, the title company hid under their collective desks.  This is wholly unacceptable.  It seems like real estate deals are harder and harder to close, and there is always a new twist.  When you work with a title company that isn’t proactive, and doesn’t offer solutions, your client relationship suffers.

Loss Of Contractors

Our relationships with contractors are very much different than those we have with lenders and title companies.  We are looking for contractors who can do a job quickly, at high quality, oftentimes without advanced notice, and do it at a reasonable price.  A reasonable price to a lot of contractors on a rush order means paying perhaps 1 and a half or 2 times more for a comparable job that is already on the schedule.  That doesn’t fly for us.  There also needs to be quite a bit of knowledge of both the municipal inspection process and the ability to offer cost effective repairs.  As an example, on a house we had listed for sale, an inspector wrote that a furnace blower was not functioning correctly.  We had our HVAC Company go and take a look and the result was that on our inspection, the furnace blower was indeed working fine.  This particular type of furnace used a different blower setting than the air conditioning.  I think 8 out of 10 HVAC repair companies would have recommended a new blower or maybe even a new furnace when it wasn’t necessary.  That saved our seller thousands of dollars and allowed for her to sell her house.  When you see what type of value I hope our contractors can bring, you can see why some vendors come and go in real estate.  Many vendors aren’t looking to add that value.  In a different case, we have a painter who is always reasonable and does fine work.  He’s usually booked 3 months out though, so we very rarely ever get the chance to refer work to him.

Pay To Play?

I’m aware of the concept of brand ambassadors.  In short, vendors pay you to get work and advertise on their behalf.  I am not comfortable with this type of relationship and so we do not involve ourselves with that.  When we give a referral, I am of the belief that it is because that vendor is a good fit for our clients and nothing else.  Perhaps this is one of the reasons why vendors come and go in real estate?

Throughout our little thought experiment, I’ve come to the conclusion that we aren’t the reason for vendors to come and go.  It turns out that while it is true we have some level of expectation, the bar isn’t really that high.  As long as a vendor can look out for our clients, there shouldn’t be any issues.  It kinda makes you wonder what so many other vendors are doing.