Some of you might be amused by my choice of the title. Any ways you don’t go on a date with broker unless he or she is your wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend etc. etc. But trust me, my first meeting with a real estate broker was as emotionally, mentally or intellectually intense as my first date. And, this happened during my second year summer assignment of the construction management course I was pursuing. As part of this assignment, I was required to chart down the historical price trend of land in the area that was assigned to me.
So, I turned my focus on getting connected to the best source of any knowledge on matters related to real estate-a broker. For purpose of ensuring reliability of the information, I decided to meet up with at least 5-6 brokers. Above all, the mission was completely undercover as I was required to pose like an actual client. This may sound like a cakewalk for an easy going happy-go-lucky guy but, for an introvert like me who is completely new to the world of real estate, it was sort of a nightmare. Coming from a middleclass background with zero knowledge on how the real industry works it was quite intimidating to meet a person and gather information with a false identity.
The fear was not just about meeting a stranger and reciting a script but it was also the perspective from which I was looking at a broker.The environment in which I have grown up had taught me that brokers are some of the most ruthless businessmen, who are obsessedwith ‘Get-Rich-Quick’ schemes. So, when you have to lie to a person who has years of experience in being the master of consumer psychology there is a high probability of getting caught and I ran the risk of not getting the required information.
Coming back, I had made arrangements to meet five brokers hoping at least three would turn up. As per schedule, I arrived at the first broker’s office only to find it closed. After fifteen minutes, a middle aged gentlemen walked towards me, extending his right arm for a handshake. It was followed by a formal introduction i.e. reciting the script I had prepared the previous night. As a result of my conviction I succeeded in making him believe that I was seriously an NRI client who desperately wants to purchase a land for setting up a factory. During the journey to the site location by car, the gentlemen constantly joined his palms at every small and big temple with a mixture of fear and anxiety perhaps to close the deal quickly. The day was followed by me meeting other brokers and getting the information that will help me to do my valuation assignment.
During the entire day I was not treated less than a prince.My lunch, evening snacks and travel was entirely sponsored by them without an inch of hesitation. The level of hospitality offered to me made me guilty of the fact that I was in fact just wasting their precious time and effort.The brokers reminded me of a young champ residing in deserted area, eagerly staring at the approaching black clouds with a hope that the rain it brings will quench his thirst.
Whatever may be the reason behind the perceptions that are built around brokers, that day I realized that they are human beings just like us who are filled with insecurities, fear and responsibilities. That could be the reason, why they do not leave any stone unturned whenever they get an opportunity to do so. Just like all other occupations this occupation too has a mix of some good and some bad people. And usually it is some bad people who have a stronger influence on perceptions of the people. My first date with a real estate broker was a rewarding one. Not only did it help me to fetch good marks for my assignment, it also helped me understand the real side of a broker.