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What sort of relationship building tools, approaches or techniques do local Realtors use with clients when trying to purchase or sell a property?

Some local Realtors and experts were asked that question. Here are their answers:

Barbara Lewis, Washington Fine Properties: “Seems like every month there is a new technological tool to use for staying in touch with clients. I find the best one is going back to the basics and asking what the client prefers: e-mails, texts or live phone conversations. The most important thing is to stay in touch with the client and give constant updates.”

Jack Shafran, Yeonas and Shafran Real Estate: “First, is communicating with clients by the means they are most comfortable – phone, e-mail or text – and being consistent in that form. Second, is finding a common ground and establishing some kind of bond.”

Ann Wilson, Keller Williams: “For 14 years we have been consistent about sending out notes and letters each month with items of interest that help homeowners for past, current and hopefully future clients. We also mail hot chocolate and marshmallow packages, or letters from Santa Claus.”

Casey Margenau, Casey Margenau Fine Homes & Estates: “I have been in this business a long time. I am into building relationships not a spam list. I don’t believe in junk mail or meaningless information all the time. I am big on specific and important information with clients and I try not to be intrusive.”

Karen Briscoe, Huckaby, Briscoe, Conroy Realty Group, Keller Williams: “One is you want to provide a deep market knowledge of how an individual home fits in with the broader market. Also, stories about real-estate experiences and how they relates to them seem to help clients understand their situations.”

Laurie Mensing, Long & Foster: “There are no ‘tools’ in my toolbox except to be sincere, transparent and myself. People who work with me to list or buy a home can feel an intrinsic level of trust, confidentiality and ability to do the job, and do it well. Quite often a relationship can start in the checkout line at the grocery store. My relationships can span two days or 20-plus years. But all relationships are built with honesty, integrity and competency.”

Dee Murphy, Long & Foster: “It’s important for buyers and sellers to feel comfortable talking to their agent about any questions and concerns. I always try to make sure my clients know they can talk to me about anything that is on their mind. Communication is key.”

Casey Samson, Samson Properties: “I meet with a seller three times. The first is to get to know the home and see if we can meet the expectations of the seller. Once they hire us, we come back for a thorough walk though and develop a ‘to do’ list and schedule. As far as pricing goes, 20 percent of a homes’ value is in condition that will dictate where we end up price wise. Our third meeting is the final walk through, pricing, showing instructions and contact strategy. Communication and being on the same page are instrumental in a successful transaction. Sixty-five percent of our homes sell in the first week, so everyone has to be ready.”

Karen Close, Century 21: “Most important for me is to let them know I care about them. The process is all about them and the wisdom and experience I have is for their benefit. I strive to make sure they know what they need to know before they need to know it. It is always about them.”

Craig Mastrangelo, Re/Max Allegiance: “I have found that by sharing every part of the process and being transparent about a home’s status and/or a contract in process, clients appreciate having a working knowledge of the transaction. They are not left wondering what could be done to sell their house, where they are in the ratified contract stages and what is expected of them. I try and build long-term relationships through transparency with current and past clientele.”

Dave Adams, Coldwell Banker: “Listen to buyers, be cognizant of their needs and opinions regarding price, schools, location etc. Be honest with sellers about the positive and negative attributes of their home. I try to remove the emotional attachment to their home. In general, my job is to educate both buyers and sellers, offering advice to help them make informed decisions and to take the stress off.”

Jennifer Thornett, Washington Fine Properties: “It is always our goal to help our clients achieve what they believe is best for them whether that includes a transaction or not. The various relationship tools, approaches or techniques we have learned throughout the years do come into play, however, while negotiating deals on behalf of our clients.”

Eli Tucker, Eli Residential Group: “We initiate all of our client relationships with education and personalized data about the sub-market they’re entering into. Providing potential clients with up-front value before we ask for their business allows them to experience what the relationship will be like, instead of relying on a sales pitch.”

Dawn Wilson, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty: “The most important thing in either the buying or selling process is education. I want to educate clients on the entire process and answer any questions. I start with a consultation, then I send them information at each stage of the process. Education helps take the fear of the unknown out of the process. My clients know that no question is too small or unimportant. My hope is to have a relationship with my clients for life and to be a valued resource and friend.”

Carol Ellickson, Sotheby’s International Realty: “I want to get to know the potential client. I may look on LinkedIn to see if there are any commonalities. Then I listen. Why are they thinking of buying or selling? What is their best case scenario? Then we discuss what is doable. I was a teacher, so I have an organized approach to buying or selling. I have checklists and time lines. Once that is shared, I can see the confidence growing, as questions are asked and answered. It’s a very exciting, fluid and dynamic process.”

Lauren Kivlighan, Northern Virginia Real Estate, Inc.: “I really listen to my clients to understand their wants and needs. I care about them and become their trusted advisor. Using my vast market knowledge from decades of experience, including the cost of construction and renovation, I am able to advise my clients in purchasing their perfect home or selling their present one. Strong negotiating skills are essential in achieving these goals for my clients.”

Mike Highman, Acquest Realty: “Once I have established a client relationship, whether it’s a purchaser or seller, I immediately setup an automatic forwarding e-mail tool. These e-mails contain “real time” market data that are specific to my client’s needs. Using this tool, along with my visits and digital contact, helps my clients keep an accurate pulse on their real estate transaction.”

Diane Lewis, Washington Fine Properties: “We’ve found our clients prefer personal contact when working together, so we are in constant contact via phone, e-mail or text. There are many new tools that provide automatic systems to stay in touch, but we enjoy getting to know our clients, so we like to take a more personal approach.”

Rob Ferguson, ReMax Allegiance: “You try to build a personal and business relationship of trust and go at the process as a team. On my end, I have to understand buying a home is a big deal to them. We do this every day, but to them, it’s life changing.”

Cindy Kacher, Builder, Curtis Ventures: “As a builder, the best relationship is shared knowledge. I see the Arlington buyer as savvy when it comes to finishes and esthetics. But some of the home’s details can’t be readily seen. Added confidence in the purchase is knowing that the builder has given thoughtful attention to details inside the walls as well as out. It’s important to convey these details early and through presenting a real estate agent’s knowledge of the builder’s product.”

Betsy Twigg, McEnearney Associates: “Use the mode and means of communication they want, and keep giving them market-data information. Try to keep them in touch by the means they like. Just staying in touch is the most important thing.”

Terry Belt, The Belt Team, Keller Williams: “We build trust with our clients by learning about their wants, needs, and dreams. We ask questions and actively listen in order to educate and coach them through the selling and/or buying process. We also happen to be really fun to work with.”

Joan Stansfield, Keller Williams: “We are uniquely laser focused on building life-long relationships with our clients; seeking to spoil them from our first meeting to beyond settlement. The level of communication and discretion used by our team solidifies our relationships. From gourmet chocolate business cards, to baby gifts and client appreciation parties, we stay in touch acknowledging and celebrating important milestones. Some techniques and tools we use are our monthly newsletters, videos, social media, our Website, contests, and our database. We also offer many complimentary services.”

Debbie McGuire, Keller Williams: “I think the biggest thing find out what communication vehicle is the client’s favorite. Some like to talk on the phone, some like to text and some like e-mail. I save lots of information in the notes in my contact management system so that I can remember everything about the client. I pay great attention to the details for my clients and communicate often, even if I don’t have much news. “

Gloria Adams, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty: “Stay in very close communication with them and stay in touch once the transaction is complete from a friendship point of view, and possibly repeat business and referrals.”

Donna Moseley, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty: “Establishing a relationship with anyone is based on being true to yourself. When I establish relationships it always will be based on listening to the client, friend, perhaps referral and hearing what their needs are, but also listening for the common threads we might share. And celebrating those with genuine interest.”

Natalie Roy, Keller Williams: “I give buyers and sellers a variety of tools, including property auto-searches, regular market reports and updated lists of open houses. When describing the home buying and selling process, I advise clients to try to put themselves in the other party’s shoes, to get a more complete understanding of the entire process. It helps creates a smoother and many times, less stressful experience. All that said, at the end of the day, it is less about specific tools, than it is about trust between the client and the agent.”

Mark Middendorf, Long & Foster: “Establish an initial relationship with good communication, because that is really the key and listen to their needs. You have to keep clients informed through the whole process. Don’t leave them hanging and waiting in the wings. Even if there is nothing to report, keep in touch.”