#BeTheSherpa: Chris Combs and riding the real estate roller coaster

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Adwerx CEO Jed Carlson put a client’s toughest question to real estate agents: “Why do I need you?” His answer was that agents are like Sherpas: they reduce the risk of the transaction, they help carry the load and they comfort the client along the way. With this mindset, no amount of technology or automation can ever disrupt the role of a real estate agent. “Be the Sherpa,” he said.

We’ve asked leading real estate agents to share a particular story when they got to #BeTheSherpa.


Chris Combs Real Estate Agent Be The Sherpa

For Durham, North Carolina real estate agent Chris Combs, real estate can be a roller coaster. And coming from an enterprise IT career, he knows no software can match the value of an experienced agent.

One recent experience, in particular, demonstrated that for him.

“We got a contract in six days and started due diligence,” he said. “The inspector said there were possible structural problems, so they brought in a structural engineer. ”

Needless to say, this startled his sellers.

Chris didn’t let the emotion cloud his own response. He reviewed the paperwork on hand. “We had a structural engineer’s report from the purchase of the house saying it had no structural problems.” So they waited.

The buyers brought in a structural engineer as well as a foundation company and presented the already skittish sellers a whopping $12,000 in proposed work.

Chris found himself at his sellers’ side, calming their fears and carefully guiding them through the next steps. Together, they formulated a plan to dispute the new facts.

The first step was to bring the previous engineer back for a re-inspection. That inspector wrote a new report confirming there were no structural issues, just cracks. The buyer acquiesced and said he would go forward to closing.

But the excitement wasn’t over yet.

Two days later, that buyer lost his job and sent Chris and his clients a termination notice — the day before due diligence was up.

It was back to square one, and Chris could see his sellers losing heart. Again.

Chris was still in his role as sherpa, bolstering his sellers with the confidence that comes from experience. “I told them we would get another contract. It was back on the market the following day.”  And three days after that, on a sunny Saturday morning, they had three offers in hand: one $10k less than asking, a second for $15k more than asking and a third for $20k more than asking.

In a happy turn of events, this seemed like an easy decision. But Chris wasn’t going to let good news cloud his clear thinking. The strategy was still key. So he sat down to help his clients understand the ups and downs of each offer.

As a real estate agent, confidence is your product. And technology can never disrupt confidence.

“We started with the highest offer, which had great attributes, but we were unable to value that offer. I suggested we wait until Monday when the loan officer at the bank was available to clarify the strength of their finances.”

The following day, the agent of the second party sent an email, reiterating their desire for the house and saying they needed an answer. Chris felt it had merit.

“After a deeper look, this offer turned out to be stronger. So we asked them to change a couple of the terms and resend it.” They did, and the sellers accepted.

And this is the real estate roller coaster, as Chris calls it. “My clients went from closing on an offer $16k less than asking, getting a termination notice, going active again, to getting multiple offers for 15k and 20k above asking price.”

There couldn’t be a better example of agent as sherpa.

Real estate transactions are business transactions, but they are also highly emotional and extremely personal for the clients on both sides. The agent has to walk the line between a business manager and life coach. And while many apps can help home buyers and sellers with aspects of the transaction, there still isn’t one piece of technology that could have filled the role Chris and agents like him play every day. Help your clients get up the mountain. Reduce the risk. Carry the load.

#Bethesherpa

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