Do you want a system or a solution?

So you have a problem, and you want to hire a Professional to fix it.

Let’s say you notice a 1/2″ crack in the exterior wall of your house from the earth to the second floor.

It’s a stair step crevice that you’ve never noticed before, so you’re thinking something happened recently.

Not wanting the house to fall down or slide into a sink hole while you’re sleeping, you decide to Google “Who do I call to fix a crack in the wall of my house?”

Of course, myriad local contractor websites pop up, and they ALL boast to be THE best house foundation repair company on the planet.

Overwhelmed by the overabundance of information and promises, you decide to call the 2 which really stood out from the rest.

One has a VERY fancy website with LOTS of useful information and a litany of certifications and testimonials . . . so you inquire on-line and immediately receive a phone call from a call center to schedule an appointment with one of their “highly trained foundation specialists”.  You schedule to meet with them tomorrow @ 1:00.

The other has a simple website and Facebook page both of which seem very personal and warm. There’s nothing “Salesy” about it at all. You like the feeling you get about this one, so you call (there’s not an internet inquiry button), and the owner of the company answers the phone and begins asking questions about the problem. You tell him what you’ve seen, and he schedules an appointment tomorrow at 2.

1:00 next day, the “Salesman” from the first company rolls up in a very fancy truck wrapped with marketing and rings the doorbell. You greet him, and he asks to take a look at the issue. He takes a few pictures and writes a few notes and then invites you to sit with him to talk about the system that they usually install in cases like this. Within 15 minutes, your head is swimming with posts and piers and cables and buried “deadmen” all to be installed with laser precision. The cost? $23,862 with a 5 year guarantee.  He leaves you with a 1/2 inch thick binder just FULL of very shiny, slick full color brochures showcasing the various systems that company is certified to install by the manufacturer.

WHEW! You’re thinking it might be time to set that house on fire and run for the hills.

2:00 rolls around, and another truck (This one is a real WORK truck) drives in front of your house and out jumps a guy who looks like he might just be returning from a spelunking trip. He knocks on the door and greets you with a smile and a warm handshake and asks ONE question: “How do I get into the crawl space?” You hand him the key to the crawlspace access door, and he disappears for @ 30 minutes. You know he’s still alive because you can hear him underneath the floor moving around and grunting. When he comes out, you realize he had donned a pair of overalls and was COVERED with mud. He tells you that he probably shouldn’t come inside but that’s OK because he wants to explain to you what’s causing the crack you discovered. In plain English, he describes what he calls a “Water Intrusion Event” in the crawl space which is likely caused by improper gutter drainage from the roof. All that water has figured out how to by-pass the intended gutter and drainage path and is instead taking a straight path into the crawl space thereby dislodging some of the structural supports for the house.

His recommendation is FIRST to solve the Water Intrusion Issue by correcting the gutter system and setting up a surface water flow AWAY from the house. Once the source of the water flow into the crawl space is corrected, focus will turn to stabilizing the house. His recommendation is to bring in 6 pre-formed footers and 6 adjustable posts which he will install in the crawl space and adjust over the course of a couple months to level the house after which he would “clean up” the mortar where the stairstep crack was.

His estimate? . . . an apologetic $8,500 with a guarantee that if anything relating to his work EVER fails, just call him, and he’ll address it.

These are 2 WILDLY different fixes (and costs) for the same problem. How is a person to know which is the better course?

After all, the lower bid sounds too good to be true, but the guy has superb recommendations, and you trust him more because you don’t feel like he was SELLING you.

The first guy IS a salesperson. He is SELLING an “Engineered System” which will DEFINITELY stabilize the house, but what about the source of the problem? This salesperson may be akin to a hammer in search of a nail. His system does what we always joked about in my demolition training in the Army: “P” is for PLENTY – It’s likely overkill . . . and may be unnecessarily expensive. He might be putting your “square peg” problem into a “round hole” System installation.

The second guy is an holistic building scientist . . . a construction witch doctor who looks at the problem from the 10,000 foot view and then zeroes in on a SOLUTION. This guy understands that as soon as the source of the problem is abated, the structural fix becomes far less cumbersome. (Special mention to one of my favorite construction witch doctors Barry Westbrook with

These “animals” (Sales people of systems and Holistic Specialists) exist In EVERY industry from Doctors to attorneys to auto mechanics to REALTORS.

We all need to develop systems to leverage our time, energy, and money.

The essential key is to keep the systems in proper perspective such that we don’t slip into a mode of “plug and play” selling thereby relegating the more important matter of creating solutions to denial.

In Real Estate sales and consulting, there are as many ways of doing business as there are licensees – Some operate with large staffs and fully automated everything with large marketing programs designed to feed the machine (Generate enough leads to cover the overhead and keep the agent team occupied) while others “fly solo” and build their business one client at a time.

For sure, there are pros and cons for each of these ways, and the market supports both.

So . . .

YOU get to choose!

Consider your options and intentionally decipher which of these approaches suits your way before you hire a professional.

PS: At Pareto Realty, we consider every member of our team to be one of the “Vital Few” agents in our market not because they are “mega-producers/Sales people,” but because they are each fully committed to quintessentially serving a very well defined niche of the market.

Each of our members specializes in solution-oriented Real Estate Buying and selling consultation. Odds are good that if it’s real property, and you want to buy or sell it anywhere in Middle Tennessee, we’ve got an agent who can help you.

Published by Barry Owen

Strategist-CEO of Pareto Realty Real estate sales Professional Inviter-Facilitator-Practicer of Open Space Technology Opening safe space for people & organizations to self-organize around issues & opportunities BarryOwen.US Invite-Listen-Love

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