Client-Oriented Real Estate in Action: The Guide to Grieving Your Property Taxes

The cornerstone of the CORE philosophy is that real estate agents should perform outstanding non-transactional services to their clients.  We call these “courtesy services,” because they’re not necessarily services that relate to actual transactions — meaning that we’re not going to be directly compensated for them.

But at the same time, they have the potential to create massive amounts of business down the line, from the good will that is created when you selflessly spend time, energy, and money to help someone by providing a service they need.

The best example of CORE in action is our Home Buyer Tax Credit information site that we created last year, which ended up providing the best information about the tax credit available anywhere in the country.  Over a three month period, we attracted over 75,000 unique users to the site, providing them with all the tax forms they need, and even answering hundreds of user questions on our blog.

Did we get paid for any of that?  No.  Did it take a lot of time. Oh yes, indeedy it did. But was it worth it? Well, even though we didn’t make much direct revenue from income on the site, I like to think that by providing such a great service, we helped at least the 800 agents that work at our company by inspiring them to do the same sorts of thing in their business, and by arming them with the best information available about such an important governmental incentive program.

Well, we’re doing the same thing today, launching a new initiative on our site to help clients and other people in the community grieve their taxes.  We have put up a comprehensive guide called the Guide to Grieving Your Property Taxes, which is now available on our real estate site and gives the best information available on the internet about grieving taxes in New York State, including:

Are we getting paid for any of this?  Not directly.  It’s done as a courtesy to our clients.  But unlike the tax credit site from last year, this is information that we will be able to use year after year, because the rules generally don’t change. So it’s an evergreen initiative.
But also, we will have some benefits from it, as follows:
First, because we’re hoping that all eligible sellers with Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, which is about 2,500 people, will grieve their taxes. If they grieve the taxes and are successful, that makes their homes more sellable.
Second, we might be able to get necessary price improvements to make our listings more competitive.  If sellers are going to grieve their taxes, they need to establish that their homes are worth LESS than the assessor believes.  They won’t be able to argue for a grievance if they have their home on the market for MORE than the assessed value.  So we might get some price improvements on it.
Third, this is the best possible reason for our 800 agents to call their spheres of support, the people that they cultivate for direct business and referrals.  We spend a lot of time and energy in a mailing campaign to our agents’ spheres, but it’s all about trying to give them a reason to call.  There’s no better reason to call than to urge a client to grieve her taxes, give her all the information she needs, and then help her by doing a CMA that can help substantiate the property value.
The point is that if you spend your time trying to provide great services to a client, you will eventually get value out of it.  That’s the foundation of the CORE philosophy, and now we’ll see how it works in action.