Can a husband and wife thrive in the same industry? Is it advisable to pick activities too similar with each other? Can a husband and wife really work on the same projects together?
The popular consensus is NO. It is a challenge to separate the roles of husband and wife at home and at work. The line simply doesn’t exist. That’s why some companies do not allow married couples to work in the same department. It is a practice rooted from sage wisdom.
But there are always exceptions to the rule, and we will explore a story that illustrates this point beautifully.
Husband and wife, Bryan and Eden Dayrit are both real estate brokers and appraisers. Bryan does it on a freelance basis while Eden affiliated herself with REMAX.
Being in the real estate industry for 10 years, Eden has a wide network that she taps to make deals possible. Connecting with the bigwigs is effortless for her. Bryan is a newbie broker with a gift. He is a closer. He started with one deal per month to one deal per week to several deals in a week, undoubtedly a lot more closed deals than Eden can even imagine!
This raised a friendly competition between the husband and wife. They set their respective goals and raced to achieve them. Little did Bryan didn’t know that Eden got frustrated by the day. She couldn’t seem to close deals while Bryan does it effortlessly. This bred contempt.
Bryan motivated Eden by instilling habits that worked for him. Working from home has its challenges. The bed is enticing and the fridge is full of food. Bryan set a rule that working hours really mean working and not resting or sleeping or eating. Bryan set an impeccable example. He worked during office hours and has his calendar full of activities.
Eden tried to keep up but is evidently struggling. At one time, Bryan reprimanded her for taking a nap in the middle of the day. She understood the lesson. Success starts with self-discipline. She did her best. Still, she got burned out in the process. She lamented that she couldn’t even feel at ease in their own home. Nonetheless, they continued to work independently like they always did.
The tension between the two brought about an unexpected gift. They became aware of each other’s strengths.
Humility set in and they learned to look into each other on tasks that they need help with. Acknowledgment of each one’s strengths led this couple broker to a breakthrough.
One day, a seller contacted Eden through the REMAX site asking if she is interested to help sell her Cielo townhouse in Mahogany Place 3, Acacia Estates Taguig. The seller specifically targeted Eden because of her online presence, dominating the area where her property is.
It was also a blessing that Bryan and Eden live just 5 minutes away from the property. It was a no-brainer to take it on. Eden set her eyes on getting the property as an exclusive listing because she knew that she can make it happen.
Eden had an epiphany. Meeting the seller face to face is not her forte so she invited Bryan to the listing presentation. It made sense because early on, Bryan made a decision to focus on properties in Acacia Estates. In that way, he doesn’t have to deal with traffic and the properties are just either walking distance or a short drive away.
It was also to their best interest to share the listing so that they can tap their respective networks to sell the property faster. They really made it a point not to join the same organizations for them to cover more ground. In hindsight, she also knew that Bryan is good at connecting with people and this skill will be integral in bagging this property.
During the meeting, the seller told the couple that getting the property on an exclusive basis is not possible because she has already spoken with several brokers before us. The couple broker had no choice but to take the property as an open listing and think of strategies to stand out of the competition.
Leaving the listing open has its own risks. It goes by the principle “may the best broker win”. In effect, brokers usually don’t give their best on open listings because they know that the property can be pulled from under their feet if another broker sells it. There is also always the possibility that the buyer or another broker can bypass the listing broker because it is easy to go to the property talk to the owner directly. This means that the brokers will not put exact addresses and even photos of the façade in their ads because of that risk. Hence, it will make the selling process harder.
Listing the property exclusively will make the broker fully accountable to the seller. It is only logical that the listing broker should exert all effort to sell the property because not doing so affect his reputation and his bank account. This ensures that the broker won’t hold back on marketing, even spending on collaterals and online ads because he knew that no one can take the listing from him. Other brokers still have to go through the listing broker by virtue of the exclusive contract.
The Philippines has a long way to go in terms of the real estate profession. We are still living in the wild, wild, west where trust among the professionals is low such that buyers and sellers treat brokers as mere commissioners, which leaves a bad taste in the mouth. The passage of RESA law in 2012 is a big step in professionalizing the industry. It only takes one broker at a time.
The couple encountered another challenge. The seller gave an asking price without any basis but what they heard from the grapevine. Bryan and Eden neither accepted nor rejected the asking price and knew that a research has to be done first to make an objective decision on the list price.
In the middle of the presentation, Eden gave her usual spiel on the professional fee that she gets per deal. Bryan looked at Eden with bewilderment. What she was asking was unheard of in his circles. Still, she stood her ground even as the seller tried to negotiate it down. In her mind, she knew that her services are worth the professional fee. People will respect you more when you don’t shortchange yourself. It is up to you to deliver impressive work when the time comes. Upon leaving the property, Bryan had misgivings and thought that we might lose the listing because of the negotiation debacle.
“Trust me,” Eden said nervously knowing that she has no option but to deliver.
These setbacks didn’t stop the couple broker because they knew that even with an open listing, they are the best position to sell this property – it was a gem.
Eden knew that she had to step up in order to make an impression on the seller. She knew that there is no stronger argument than an argument using numbers – in this case, actual selling prices, actual asking prices. Since Bryan knew the market very well, they collaborated in making a comparative market analysis of the properties that have been sold in the past quarter. They also scoured the area for other available listings that will serve as competition to the property being sold. They found 3 properties sold recently and 15 similar properties that are sitting in the market. These are undisputable numbers.
They also interviewed each seller to know their reason for selling their property. 80% of the respondents wanted to buy the newly released townhouse models and they need to sell their current property in order to buy the new one.
An exchange of emails revealed the seller’s motivation to sell. Like the other sellers, they want to buy the newly launched townhouse model and they need to sell their house and use the cash as down payment. The seller was pressed for time because the new models were selling like hotcakes and it will be gone soon.
The report made an impact to the seller. No other broker gave such comprehensive data. The couple broker showed that they are experts in the area and meant business. A bridge of trust was formed.
The seller decided to list the property a little below market value, but she didn’t mind because they already recouped their initial investment plus a nifty profit. The other brokers listed the same property for a million pesos more because they accepted the asking price at face value. We knew then that we had an edge.
The week prior, a Cielo townhouse listed a million less than our agreed list price through another broker. A few days later, the property was sold. We knew then that it was only a matter of time before a buyer comes. We were confident that since we are currently the lowest in the market that time, it will sell.
Prospective buyers lined up to check the property. Pricing the property properly achieved its intended effect. The couple broker received a lot of inquiries and showed the property so often such that the seller got excited with each prospect. A month passed, still no offer has been made. The couple continued marketing it nonetheless because they understood that selling is a numbers game. More effort was done to reach more people.
On the eve of the second month of listing, Eden received an inquiry for an old listing – an unfinished house and lot in Acacia Estates from her REMAX network. However, the buyer wanted something that is ready for occupancy as they want to move in before the wife gives birth. Eden redirected the property to the Cielo townhouse that is within the same price range and is ready for occupancy.
This is the turning point. She knew very well that she worked better behind the scene than working the frontline facing the buyer and seller upfront. She knew that Bryan’s strength is in closing deals. Eden did the unthinkable, something she never did before. She sought Bryan’s help to show the property to this new buyer and close the sale.
An hour later,
“Honey, guess what…” Bryan excitedly announced on the phone.
“You closed the listing!!!” Eden shouted back without hesitation.
The seller was so happy that the buyer only asked for a 200k discount when they allotted a 500k for negotiation. The buyer was so happy because he has been looking at similar properties that were priced one or two million pesos more than the seller’s list price so for him, it was a bargain.
The buyer was very motivated that they want to pay cash on the spot. Bryan pulled back a little and suggested that it is wise to help the buyers do due diligence first before putting out cash.
The buyer appreciated the gesture and took his advice.
More kinks came along the way but all were resolved through proper communication facilitated by both brokers. That is the role of a broker, to find a buyer for a property, or a property for a buyer and ensure a smooth transaction.
Bryan and Eden learned that their original setup of working individually helped achieve their goals. It is good to do all necessary activities at least once, akin to laying the groundwork for being a good broker. But doing so will limit yourself by your current capabilities if you choose to work alone.
This deal made them realize that working as a team yields better results.
Knowing where they are good at and working on their respective strengths make the tasks effortless for each one. Frustrations were kept at bay. It promoted a fun environment. They realized that working in the same profession shouldn’t equate to competing with each other. There is strength in partnership. Bryan’s win is Eden’s win too, and vice versa. Bryan and Eden works better as a unit. They shifted their focus from the things that frustrate them to things they were good at and were amazed by the result. Their business partnership grew. And most importantly, their partnership in life was invariably strengthened.
*This article first appeared in foreclosurephilippines.com