Over my years of selling waterfront Lake Martin real estate, I have acquired some fairly specialized skills. Some skills are more business oriented (generating leads via my website), and some are more experiential (like how to smoothly unlock a door and turn off a home’s alarm when the MLS instructions are not exactly accurate). This was a new one for me, though, and it came about in the name of delivering good customer service.
I was the listing agent for a great lot in Emerald Shores. Another realtor brought the buyer, and a contract was signed. As the closing date neared, the buyer began to worry that the water at the end of his future dock would not be deep enough. That’s a big deal. A big lot with an awesome view is not so great if can’t park your boat at the end of the dock. Unfortunately, a local contractor told the buyer there would only be about 4 feet of water depth at the end of his dock at full summer pool, and this did not sit well. This was only one guy’s guess – and a sheer guess at that – but it was enough to rattle the buyer and kill the sale. The deal was over.
I’d walked the lot many times and had a gut feeling that this 4 foot, full pool depth estimation was incorrect. If there is a dock already in place, then it’s not hard to estimate summer water depth in the middle of winter (see one of my eariliest LMV videos, Lake Martin Water Depth). But if there is no dock? A little trickier.
One of the jobs of any salesman is to overcome a buyer’s objections – that’s Zig Zigler 101. That usually means getting them more information. Once I understood this particular buyer’s objection (risk of buying a high end lake lot with little water at the dock), I knew I had to figure out a way to get a better measure.
I started looking up surveyors equipment on eBay, knowing full well that I was no surveyor. I happened to mention my online search to a good buddy, Doug Fuhrman, owner of Southern Traditions Construction. Doug said all I really needed was a Laser Level. And guess what? His partner, Donnie Richards, had one in his truck. That was in my driveway.
This Rotating Self Leveling Laser Level is like a light house that shoots a laser all the way around it. I could set it up on shore, and then walk out into the lake bed and adjust a receiver rod up and down. The system automatically finds its own level and then slings the laser around to show changes in depth to exact tenths of a foot. Since the average length of a Lake Martin dock is about 50-60 feet long, I would take measurements at 50 and 60 feet from the shore.
It was a bone chilling, windy February Friday when I set out with Doug’s equipment to get the accurate depth measurement. (I brag a lot about the warm weather at Lake Martin on this blog, but there are a few chilly days, too.) After taking my readings, sure enough, I found the water depth would be closer to 8 feet at the end of the dock – much more in line with the buyer’s expectations. The buyer was pleased – and he now had hard data to back up his choice of lots. The sale was completed.
Is this part of my normal routine? No. Could we have all shrugged our shoulders and said, “Oh well,” when the buyer decided the water was too shallow? Certainly. But my sellers would have lost a sale, and the buyers would have lost their dream lot.
I know you hear claims everyday that businesses “go the extra mile” and “go above and beyond” in the customer service department, and it sounds cliche. So I thought I’d give you a recent, concrete example and let you be the judge. I write this post not to be boastful, but to sincerely say that if I have the opportunity to work for you – either on the buying or the selling end of a deal – I will do what it takes to give you great service.
Lake Martin Voice Realty is a small, boutique real estate company on Lake Martin. We don’t set out to make every sale because that is not realistic – there are over 100 agents in the Lake Martin MLS. We do, however, set out to give exceptional service to those clients who choose us. We’d love to help you with your real estate needs, too.
If I could get real estate continuing ed. hours for adventures like this, that would be cool.
For more info on shoreline permitting and dock building, go to Alabama Power’s Shoreline Management website.