Real estate television shows such as Income Property, Property Virgins and House Hunters might appeal to our vicarious need for entertaining quick-fixes. But when it comes to reflecting the real-world of real estate, they’re something of a stretch.
“Real estate shows do a disservice to the real estate industry,” says Doug Freeman, a sales rep at Freeman Real Estate. “I just think they promote a perception that it is so easy and in one hour they’re done. Watching those programs doesn’t show the depth of work or the commitment realtors perform when they are buying and selling properties for their clients. It’s entertainment, really, and not at all based in reality.”
A good deal of finesse, skill and knowledge goes into ushering clients through the sometimes intricate ins and outs of buying and selling real estate. “This is a business in which clients need to be guided by their agents so the property they buy or sell leaves them feeling confident that their decision was correct,” says Doug.
Doug has been selling real estate for 15 years, in what has been mainly a seller’s market. He says success against that backdrop means guiding clients who win in a multi-offer situation and preventing clients from paying too much given the fierce competition at hand. While that’s clearly challenging, the rewards can be great.
“It’s rewarding when your client is successful,” says the 63-year-old. “I was involved in a bidding war last night that had 13 offers coming in. Buyers complain because it’s like bidding on a blind auction and I understand exactly how they feel. When the market turns into a buyer’s market the onus will shift onto the sellers.”
Doug is part of a team that includes his son Trevor Freeman, 33, who is a broker. The pair works well together not only because they’re father and son, but because they complement each other in dealing with a vast and varied set of clientele, which include everything from first-time buyers to more mature, more experienced ones. Having that dual perspective is helpful as it instills clients with the confidence in knowing they’ve made the right decision in what is likely to be the biggest sale or purchase of their lives. Trevor’s natural ability with social media and the world of computers is a big plus as well.
Doug got into real estate after a lengthy career in children’s wear, in which he initially owned and operated his own company and then worked as a corporate executive for Disney licenses, travelling often to Asia to inspect the operations of clothing manufacturers contracted by the multinational.
The highs and lows of working with the public are clearly different than in his former career. But his earlier career laid a foundation in delivery, value and excellent customer service. The challenge in real estate, he says, is developing a strong client base.
“Client referrals along with clients returning for their next property are the ultimate compliment.”