CEO’s Message: An Experience Named Eric

Jim Harrison: MLSListings Inc CEO and President

Jim Harrison: MLSListings Inc CEO and President

Many industry leaders believe that the challenge of the century for contemporary American real estate will be its willingness and ability to create and deliver a transactional experience that meets the needs and expectations of the broker, buyer, and seller. I’ve presented and commented many times on the subject of consumer real estate experiences, discussing a wide range of both positive and unsatisfactory experiences. There are many industry insiders who find the whole subject of the service experiences to be a non-subject. These folks believe happenstance, luck, and environmental factors, rather than professionalism and brand management, determines what matter of experience any particular consumer might have on any given day. There are others, however, who believe that a perfect real estate experience is the result of a carefully considered series of well-planned, properly-executed, and masterfully-managed tasks, interactions, and challenges. It is with the greatest of satisfaction that I can now share this story on behalf of a colleague who had an absolutely spectacular real estate service experience.


The adventure began during our annual visit with our son and daughter-in-law, who live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. One afternoon, our long-standing thoughts about owning a second home suddenly turned into actions as we noticed an open house sign three doors down the street. We met the agent holding the open house and since there was no danger that we might be talked into purchasing this particular property we found ourselves feeling safe about engaging him with respect to our fantasies about owning a second home. The conversation resulted in a great relationship with the hero of this story, a Better Homes and Gardens agent named Eric.

My wife and I are, by any standard, an agent’s worse case scenario. We believe we are immune to persuasion and influence. We have the bad habit of overvaluing our expertise. Moreover, we are genuinely convinced that we can master any subject within seconds. Eric appeared to take no notice of this behavior and began what turned out to be a long and detailed explanation of owning second homes in south Florida.

Within minutes we were in full learning mode. He demonstrated a truly impressive knowledge of, and sensitivity to, the marketplace and our needs. The following morning, Eric demonstrated that he had been listening to us by showing a condo that didn’t just come close but in fact met every single requirement we had been describing.

This is where the real adventure began. It turned out the seller had made a number of tactical errors in his acquisition and improvement of the property during the previous year. He had paid too much, bought the wrong unit, and invested in the wrong improvements. He had compounded his mistakes by selecting a listing agent who had interpreted Christmas in south Florida as the perfect occasion to take a two-week vacation abroad leaving his secretary in charge.

The next three days were a nightmare of unavailability, inaccuracy, and a general state of unwillingness to face reality. We went through four offer rounds only to be met with increasingly high levels of resistance. Throughout these long hours Eric was constantly available, professional, responsive, encouraging, and reassuring. Unfortunately, our efforts were of no avail. This seller was convinced he could be made whole.

Over the following month, Eric stayed in communication providing us with options that all failed to capture the special nature of the initial property. One afternoon, my wife arrived home and announced that it was time to make the deal happen. Eric responded with what can only be described as a heroic effort. Three more offer rounds later he got the seller (and his new listing agent) to come to the table. Upon reviewing the seller’s closing requirements Eric’s superior negotiation skills became very apparent.

But the trauma was still not over. It was during the pre-closing period that Eric demonstrated a whole new array of skills. The seller had demanded a 10-day closing period that no mortgage provider could match. Eric came up with ideas for interim financing, arranged for all the inspections, made us safe, and the deal was closed.

After the closing Eric stayed with the project. He arranged relationships with a super mortgage company that actually worked with us on a Sunday night, a dynamic plumber who understood the idiosyncrasies of the south Florida contracting scene, and a world-renowned air conditioning contractor who understood that a six-week delay wasn’t going to work. Each of these services saved us from costs, delays, and hassles.


With respect to all of the Eric’s out there, we thank you. This is further proof that the right agent can make all the difference in the world.


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