Monday, December 21, 2015

How To Win Fans & Succeed

  Being in the real estate profession is not an easy gig but in today's competitive world, nothing is. No matter what your vocation or line of business is, you no doubt have lot's of competition vying for the same customers as you.  Acquiring and retaining customers is not easy, so why do so many businesses put so little emphasis into providing good,customer service ? Throughout my varied career, I have always tried to be the best I can be and most of my employers have operated with the same philosophy and it has served me well.

  Meeting your customer's expectations is no longer good enough, you must exceed them.  In business, word-of-mouth can be your best ally or your worst enemy and this has never more important as it is today. In the non-digital era of days gone by, a customer's experience, good or bad was shared with family and or friends at the dinner table, the office water cooler or a cocktail party.  Today, that same experience good or bad is shared online and within minutes the whole world knows.  Residing in a small town, business can be even more difficult trying to capture customers, the level of business and revenue you need to be profitable.

  Living in a small town I have always tried to patronize the local merchants. This past week I visited a local retailer, a small specialty shop where I was looking to purchase a replacement part for a home appliance. The part is nothing special, it comes in a variety of sizes/styles and is sold in many stores around Collingwood.  Nonetheless, I chose to go to the speciality store thinking that they probably had the best inventory for what I needed. As it turned out, I was dead wrong.

  First, they did not have the specific part in question I required.  I asked if they could order it for me and they said yes but they they would need the model number of my appliance which is understandable although I had the old part with me which contained a part number.  Home I went to get the model number.  I then called the store not once but three times over the next half hour and every call went into voicemail which I thought odd for a retail store.  I returned to the store with the model number written on the back of my business card and asked them to order two of the parts for me so I would have a spare.

  Within 10 to 15 minutes I had a call from the store advising me that they couldn't get the part I needed claiming that the appliance manufacturer did not sell that piece alone and that you had to buy a whole assembly.  Bull---t! In less than 10 minutes I found the part I needed online and ordered two.

  The store in question resides in Collingwood's Downtown Business Improvement Association (BIA).  Every year, the BIA spends thousands of dollars trying to attract customers to Collingwood's downtown core.  Ironically, for the sake of a $5.00 part, one of their members has alienated me to the point that I will never again darken their door.  I guess for a $5.00 part I am not worth much effort but the store in question sells products worth hundreds of dollars and someday I will need one.  When leaving the store on my second visit I helped an elderly couple with the door and they mumbled something about having to come three times from Wasaga Beach to get their issue looked after.  Obviously I was not alone in having some difficulty with this particular merchant.

  My personal belief is that you invest today for business tomorrow.  Facebook is not the only entity that needs "fans," we all do and that takes some effort.  Clearly not everyone or every business subscribes to this theory and they will ultimately be the victim by their own hand.

 Happy Holidays to one and all and Best Wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous 2016.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Beware of "Lease To Own" Scams For Your Home

  Over the past several years, home owners have been presented with "lease to own" schemes for everything from water heaters and furnaces to central air conditioners and more as an affordable way to acquire new and often costly components for your home. But beware, these offers come with a price and a steep one at that.

  Let's face it, not everyone has $4,000 or $5,000 lying around to purchase a new furnace when their quits in the dead of a cold January night.  As such, getting a new furnace for a low monthly fee seems very attractive and likewise when you'd love to have central air when the temperature is 30 degrees plus but your bank account is showing a minus balance.  I had a salesperson knock on my door one night offering me the opportunity to get a high efficiency natural gas furnace for a low monthly fee on a lease to own basis.  Just out of curiosity I listened to their pitch only to find more holes in the their proposal than a wool sweater housing a colony of moths.  In this case the salesperson was attempting to sell the whole concept on the natural gas that I would save with a new high efficiency furnace.  The natural gas savings were touted as literally paying the lease payments.  Upon further examination however a $4,000 furnace was costing in the end about $10,000.  Most of these programs offer no prepayment privileges if you want to buy out the lease fine but you have to pay off the remaining balance so there is no savings in interest.

 I have faced this issue more than once when listing and selling homes.  Two years ago as a member of the Ontario Real Estate Association committee that drafts and revises the real estate forms used across the Province, we revised the Agreement of Purchase and Sale to address this issue. Sellers are required to disclose any equipment on their property that is not owned.  Rented water heaters are typically not an issue but furnaces, central air conditioners and elaborate home security systems due to their cost are.  One home currently listed for sale by my office has an outstanding bill well over $10,000 for rent to own equipment in the house and this will have a real impact on the sale price.  

  The bottom line is if someone calls or comes knocking on your door with a proposal to replace your furnace or another critical element of your home on a rent to own basis, be very very careful of what you sign up for.  If you have any questions about this subject please feel free to Contact Me.

Contact Me

Royal LePAGE Locations North (Brokerage)

330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4


Direct: 705-443-1037

Office: 705-445-5520 ext 230


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