VOL. 37 | NO. 51 | Friday, December 20, 2013
Like coaches, Realtors must have many skills
Mike Munchak is the embattled and endangered head coach of the Tennessee Titans, whose team cannot seem to win football games. The franchise spent $100 million on free agent talent during the off season, a move to hire great players to replace those that were not.
His team won three of its first four games. Suddenly, the season imploded, and the Titans have lost eight of the last 10 games. The fans want his head on a platter.
Munchak is an intelligent man, having earned a degree from Penn State, where he was an All American player and was the eighth player chosen in the draft following his graduation.
He toiled 12 years for the Titans, nee Houston Oilers, and was later inducted into the National Football League Hall of Fame.
Ultimately, he served as an assistant coach for the Oilers/Titans for 16 years.
In a large nutshell, the credentials are there for outstanding success as a head coach in the NFL. But he simply has not won enough games.
Head coaches must have abilities that have nothing to do with football. They must be communicators, motivators, disciplinarians, father figures, mathematicians and be technologically savvy. Munchak might have all those ingredients, but somehow it is not working for him.
Which is not to say he wouldn’t find success under different circumstances.
Tom Coughlin took the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars to two American Football Conference championship games before being run out of town and branded a loser. He then went to the New York Giants and won two Super Bowls with the lesser-known of the Manning brothers.
Ironically, this year he has a worse record than Munchak. There are no symptoms that Coughlin has lost his mind, his edge, his work ethic or any other attributes that made him a champion.
So what does this have to do with real estate you may ask? The answer is that real estate agents must be as multi-dimensional as head football coaches, and when a buyer or seller enlists with a Realtor, that Realtor should be vetted.
Realtors must be familiar with finance, marketing, advertising, communications, public relations and the community or communities.
They must have involvement or at least awareness of legislative and governmental affairs especially as these matters relate to zoning, planning, and codes which is mainly local government, but with some sate involvement as well.
In addition, they should have a strong foundation in the regulations of government sponsored entities such as the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA, or Fannie Mae).
A buyer should choose a Realtor that is familiar with the area in which the buyer wants to live. There are nuances in all areas of town that affect values, livability and school zoning.
One example: The odd-numbered houses on Nichol Lane are not in Belle Meade, while the even numbered houses directly across the street are. Belle Meade Zoning is more restrictive than Metro zoning, and Belle Meade residents are subject to an extra tax.
There are Realtors with strong marketing backgrounds who could not sell ice cubes in the Sahara, and those with strong sales backgrounds who are unable to determine a house payment when given the interest rate, terms and loan amounts.
Even worse, they may not be aware of alternate means of finance available when the first loan is declined, an event that occurs in 30 percent of all loans submitted.
There are individuals entering medical residencies who have never been employed and have mountains of college loan debt who could not enter the front yard of Freddie Mac or Fannie, yet the local banks will eagerly provide them with 100 percent loans that the banks themselves service with no need of governmental backing.
A person should choose a Realtor who has strong negotiation skills since transactions in this environment are a series of negotiations, first between buyer’s agent and seller’s agent, then the Realtor and the lender, followed by the appraiser. Then the Realtors go after each other over the inspection, followed by possession and contract extensions after the first loan is declined.
A basic knowledge of construction is helpful so that inspection reports can be translated or interpreted and the buyer does not go screaming into the darkness over a minor repair.
For example, almost every inspection in the area will discover uncovered electrical junction boxes or perhaps a water heater – not a hot-water heater as there is no need to heat hot water – that lacks the proper pipe from the shutoff valve.
Some choose Realtors by the make and model of the Realtors’ cars and the names attached to the wardrobes or accessories. Brilliant.
And when house does not sell, it is the real estate equivalent of missing the playoffs. It’s the Realtor’s fault. After all, a football team’s owner can’t fire all of the players, and homeowners can’t fire the homeowner.
Richard Courtney is a partner with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney and Associates and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.