Today we’d like to introduce you to Rona Fischman.
Rona, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I became a real estate agent in an entirely ass-backwards way. I had a master’s degree in deaf-blind rehab and counseling. Among the things I learned how to do was to site properties for people who had mobility impairment. (People who use wheelchairs or walkers.) I also knew American Sign Language, basic orientation and mobility, and understood the uses of adaptive equipment for deaf and blind people.
I met the man who brought me into real estate at a costume party. I was wearing feety pajamas and whiteface. He ran a real estate company that specialized in adaptive housing. Since I knew about deafness, blindness, and mobility impairment, I was a natural fit. He convince me to give it a try. The fact that he had a serious conversation with me while I was dressed like a clown belied my reservation that real estate agents were a stuffy bunch.
I started with Ron Rothenberg at HomeBase Real Estate in 1992. We soon after took on an Exclusive Buyer Brokerage model. At that time, all agents worked for the seller, unless they went out of their way to be a buyer’s agent. I felt dishonest to work with buyers, then negotiate against them when they made an offer. So, when the option to be a buyer’s agent began, we jumped on it.
I worked for him for about six years, then another Buyer Brokerage, then opened my doors in Cambridge in 2008. In 2010, Ron started working for me! But, neither of us wear feety pajamas.
At my company, 4 Buyers Real Estate, we still do some special needs housing. But, buyer brokerage is really what we are specializing in. Exclusive buyer brokerage is when the whole company works for buyers. Since 2006, buyer’s agents could work in companies that also represent sellers. I opened my company as buyer’s agents only.
Because my agents don’t divide their focus between getting the best house at the lowest price and getting the highest price for any given house, they can focus on doing their single job well. I didn’t want to be switching from making a home to dismantling one. Also, if we sold houses, too, then eventually one of our buyers would want to buy from one of our sellers. That would pit our agents into 1:1 negotiation against one another. I’d hate that. Our clients would, too. I like an office where we can share ideas and tactics. My office is cooperative; it couldn’t be in the same way if we also sold houses.
When I started 4Buyers Real Estate, I sought out people who share my commitment to buyers. I found people who loved the house-hunt. Training new agents went great because of the cooperative model. We benefit from the combined experience of the entire office. Because no one in the office represents the seller of a house (and one agent won’t end up negotiating against another one) we can all pitch in to solve any problem that may come up.
Our model is high on counseling and low on sales. We regularly astound talk our clients out of houses that may not work for them. That seems against our interests, but it is not. Our happy clients pay us back, ten-fold, by telling the story of our loyalty to their success. It has been great. Even in a seller’s market.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In the nine years since I opened my shop, I’ve had to move three times. You know, I hate renting.
The first place was an incubation space. We liked it a lot, but the landlord wanted to convert it into something more stable. The second place got sold out from under us. Now, we are happy where we are. All this moving around gave me an appreciation of how hard the rental market is. Now we do some apartment rentals, too, for our clients.
Nothing like living it to give me some perspective!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with 4 Buyers Real Estate – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
4Buyers Real Estate is high on service and low on sales. Our agents take the time, up front to find out what you really want in a home. We help you figure out what you can comfortably afford. We go over the house hunting process with you. The goal is to let you know what to expect in the house-hunting process.
We help conduct an effective home search. The goal is to help you see the relevant houses with as few duds as possible. We show properties by appointment, as well as at open houses. We evaluate them together and refine your search. Once you find a property that you may want to buy, we give you tools to make a good Offer to Purchase.
• First, we do a Comparative Market Analysis of that home. Once we know what others are paying for homes like the one you want. This gives you a sense of its fair market value.
• We scope out the competition, as much as we can.
• Then we balance the price, the competition with how well the house matches you, how rare a house like this is, and whether you have a deadline to meet for your move.
• These three things inform the negotiation strategy. We suggest, you choose.
• There is more to an Offer to Purchase than the amount of your Offer.
• We help you choose dates and terms that work for you, which could give you an edge in the negotiation.
• We write an introductory letter which personalizes your Offer.
* We believe that negotiation starts with, “hello.” Every interaction we have with a seller or seller’s agent is intended to put you in the best negotiating position.
We will present your Offer to Purchase as soon as it’s ready. We call, email or text you as soon as we hear anything!
Once your Offer to Purchase is accepted, we will attend home inspection with you. When it is finished, we can recommend renegotiation based on the results, when possible. Then we will carry out those negotiations. We then keep an eye on the details until you close.
We provide a list of allied professionals that previous clients have recommended for good service (including inspectors, attorneys, lenders and some contractors).
At all times we act in the best interest of the Client. We give you undivided loyalty, utmost care, disclosure, obedience to lawful instruction, confidentiality, and accountability. After you close, we hope you will continue to contact us with questions about home repair, refinancing or reselling.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I really look forward to the real estate market slowing down and becoming more even. Right now it is a seller’s market. Our clients are at a disadvantage. We can help them make good decisions in any market. But, it is much more fun for us when buyers have more time, more breathing space, and can make decisions in a more reasoned manner. As it is, we can keep people from losing their heads and help them make good decisions, but it is less fun for us, as well as for house buyers.
I am a Fair Housing Commissioner for the City of Somerville. I look forward to seeing more affordable housing built in town so that the diversity of our community can be maintained. The City recently increased the inclusionary housing requirement to 20% (This is a requirement that new construction set aside 20% of the units for moderate income buyers or renters.) This kind of effort will keep the area vibrant and a place I want to work and live in.
- Address: 2326 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140
- Website: http://4BuyersRE.com
- Phone: 617 776 8304
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/4BuyersRE/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/4-buyers-real-estate-cambridge-2
- Other: http://4buyersre.com/4-buyers-blog/
Photos by Nancy Katz