Sunday, May 29, 2011

Should I Do As The Dentists Do?

It's funny where you get your best thoughts—sometimes while I'm shaving I get an inspiration, or maybe when I'm driving somewhere and just letting my mind wander, I'll get an idea that I want to persue. Ansd so it was this week. I was all leaned back in the Dentist's chair, looking up into the eyes of a woman whose name I didn't even know. She was busy cleaning my teeth when a fascinating concept hit me.

What if Realtors used the same business model that Dentists use?

What if I told all my clients that they needed to make an appointment with me every 6 months, or more frequently if they were hard on their homes. And what if I (as the dentist/Realtor) sent a technician over to make sure the home was all clean before I showed up.

My technician would go through the house and gardens, take photos (not xrays, of course) and check all the rooms for any change since the last visit. Then my technician would go over the photos with the homeowner, and suggest which areas needed more cleaning and “watching”. The tech would suggest better cleaning tools and cleansers, and would suggest—at an additional fee, of course--certain whitening and brightening regimines that could be applied to the walls or floors. And then, putting on a plastic eye protector and rubber gloves, would get down to business.

The next step would be going through the basement and attic checking for termites or rot. The weapon of mass distruction (WMD) the tech would use would not be the dentist's picks, but rather a more traditional ice-pick or sharpened screwdriver (probably these tools don't need the autoclave sanitation program, but it would be nice if they at least looked clean) which is always good for poking into wet or darkened wood, then as my friends at “BUG” do, tapping here there and everywhere with a golfclub with a golf ball tightly affixed to the business end. Tap, tap, tap—nobody wants to hear a “thunk”.

And after an hour of this sort of home inspection, my tech would see if the homeowner had any complaints—and creaks or funny noises in the night, any soft spots or concerns? And of course, if there were issues, the tech would address them and somehow enter them into an iPad so that once I came—still some time away—I would know what was what.

Then, when the tech was all finished, and the homeowner was tired out and not wanting this to go on much longer, I would arrive, signaling that we were almost done.

I would quickly ask about the kids and then say, “I see it's been about 6 months since your last appointment. Have you noticed any changes?” And then I would look into my iPad and see what the tech had noted.

I kind of like the idea that I would then walk around the house, going, “Hmmm, and uh huh, and Oh my.” This would upset the homeowner and prepare them for the worst.

Then I would suggest that they paint a couple of the rooms and clean out the bramble in the garden. Any rust would need a treatment, and if necessary, I would take out my Swiss Army knife or possibly my Leatherman, and poke here and there where the tech had poked earlier. But—and here's the most important statement—I would then say,

“Overall things look pretty good. We're going to watch that drip in the bathroom and keep an eye on the Geraniums out front, but if you handle the painting and use the cleansers that the technician suggested, I'm sure things will be just fine. And I want to give you a free dustpan and brush with my name on them. Which do you like, blue or pink?

“So let's plan to get together again in six months”, I would say and I would then have one of my minions call him to set up the next appointment and then in 5 months and 3 weeks, call again to remind him my army was prepared to come again and do all this once more.

What if I did that? Well I can tell you that the house would be like new when it came time to sell. And I can tell you that while there is no accounting for bad taste in paint color, at least the homeowner would not be surprised—when it came to sell—that purple bedrooms and glossy red kitchens do not assist in finding a buyer.

Before you call me to set up your first appointment for this kind of thing, let me suggest that my technician is off this month, and so I'm not taking appointments just now.

Dane Hahn is a real estate professional at Tarpon Coast Realty in Englewood, Sarasota and Boca Grande. You can reach him at or 941-681-0312. See him on the web at

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