Rod Gesten, Co-Founder & CEO
Planet Forward, LLC
As some of you may be aware, Rey Post’s All Things Real Estate Program on KTRC 1260 AM in Santa Fe was co-hosted by me, Rod Gesten, of Planet Forward LLC for the first hour. The theme of the show was centered on how businesses in the local community assist owners, buyers, and sellers in the real estate community. Obviously it is not easy to serve any community as a business, as opposed to doing volunteer work, unless you are given the opportunity or create opportunity for which your company is needed. Let’s discuss.
To our way of thinking, whether you offer a product or service in any community, you must do what you say you’re going to do, show up, and complete delivery on time. It has become a ritual among many companies to ask consumers to accept four-hour windows in which products and services may be delivered. This is unacceptable to us and disrespectful to clients whose time is also valuable. It is just as bad to show up two hours late with excuses or not at all. This is what telephones are for.
Another annoying practice is to tack on additional costs to the original quotation. Charges such as delivery, travel, or extra time needed to perform a task should be thought about and discussed up front. With minimally 60 percent of our clientele coming from the real estate community and many of those being repeat customers, we cannot afford to ‘surprise’ people in that way and dismantle their trust in us.
A community of owners, buyers, and sellers of homes and buildings has common concerns and needs when it comes to their real estate. For example, things break and need repair. Other items cost owners a lot of money each month in the form of recurring bills. Sometimes people want to plan an improvement but have no idea what the cost can range.
Let’s take the first situation. People buy and sell houses as a matter of course. Situations change, people want to downsize, whatever the reason. If you’re a buyer, you want to be sure that you aren’t falling in love with a flawed product; have items corrected or have room to negotiate a common ground before the purchase. If you’re a seller of a property, you are not motivated to improve your home or building to perfection before the sale. This is why it is so important to have somebody evaluate the symptoms listed in, say, an inspection report, find the causes, and produce alternative value solutions that everybody can agree to.
In another case, let’s say an owner wanted to save money by being his own contractor for services out-of-pocket. He’s got a cousin or an uncle that is skilled in a few things and is willing and able to do a lot of the grunt work himself. He gets to a certain point in the process and finds that he is out of money and there are finishes to complete and top-outs on electrical and plumbing fixtures yet to go. His wife is frustrated and wants the project, which is 6 months later than promised, completed so she can move in with the kids. The owner doesn’t have the skill sets it takes and not being familiar with local codes, has no idea what it is going to take to gain a Certificate of Occupancy from the local governing body. At this point, it would be handy, to say the least, to know of a licensed contractor who can speak to local authorities about code issues, develop a cost of completion estimate for lenders, and complete tasks as intended in a professional manner.
With respect to monthly costs, wouldn’t it be handy to know a local company that does free online assessment of energy usage in your home, using utility data from your own bills in order to compare your home’s performance to a neighbor’s? Further, what if this company were able to examine your home and explain the best value alternatives for lowering your bills instead of throwing money away on ineffectively small return fixes?
These are just a few of the activities that Planet Forward performs for its clients. It’s allowed for great relationships with other vendors, lenders, and brokers as well. In today’s world, things have become so specialized that no one entity can be everything to everybody. That is why professional relationships are so important in order to successfully serve all players in the real estate community.