Pat and Anet ruminate on ways of real estate world

#28 in a series of true experiences in real estate
September 1993, Hills Newspapers

“Exactly where is your office?” asked our caller. “I’ve driven down Alcatraz a bunch of times and haven’t seen your sign.”
Our office is in Anet’s house, a sweet old Victorian, about a block above Telegraph. There is no sign. The front door has a small brass plaque that says, “Tarpoff & Talbert, by appointment only.” The plaque is there because we can’t always answer the door. We’re not here or we’re talking with clients about their loan, and we don’t have a receptionist or a doorman. We do occasionally meet a client here, and often we sit in the garden to talk.

Our office is connected to the living part of Anet’s house and is, we think, the nicest office we’ve ever worked in. A wide glass door opens to the garden where, right now, the hibiscus and roses are blooming.

There are some who would call our office a garage. It’s true that we share the space with a washer and dryer and there is no wall-to-wall carpeting, but we have leaded glass windows, high ceilings, and the cheerful sound of little kids on the playground one yard away.

It costs us less to be here than anywhere else we might be. This is important because we always work together so we are always earning half the money.

We work together because each of us is good at doing different parts of real estate, and because we found selling alone lonely. The result is better answers for our clients, and we get far more personal satisfaction than we ever got working alone.

Since starting Tarpoff & Talbert, we have found out some very happy things:

  • There is a need for hourly consulting. We do “regular” real estate on commission, but when there is no sale involved, we will work for an hourly fee.
  • We far prefer working with people we like, and it turns out, we usually do.
  • It is possible to deal directly with our clients ourselves. Messages do not get lost. No one ever waits for long to hear from us.
  • It works for us to take on only as many buyers or sellers as we can fully represent. This isn’t very many at once. We need time because sometimes we do crazy things.

Today we are packing 100 paper bag lunches for an open house – cupcakes, sandwiches, chips and carrot sticks. We’ve never done this before, but it sounded like fun to have bag lunches in the garden of our new listing.

  • Columns take a lot of time, but we meet good people through them. Our letters take time, too. We send out a letter every other month, similar to our columns. We sign and address and stamp them ourselves; time consuming, but it feels right.
  • Our favorite part of real estate is thinking about the possible answers to “Which way should I go from here?” The best for us is working with a client who comes with questions, is able to describe his own peculiarities (we all have them), and takes in the information we offer. Then together we figure where to go and how to get there.
This entry was posted in Some Stories About Pat & Anet. Bookmark the permalink. Comments are closed, but you can leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

  • Sign up to receive our newspaper columns: