It is nearly impossible to go a single day without stumbling upon a “best of” or “top ten” list of some sort. Intriguing reading for sure. In fact, as the husband of the Food Director at Food & Wine, I am the beneficiary of traveling to multiple cities in F&W’s efforts to determine the year’s top ten Best New Chefs in the United States. Yes, we often eat a couple of breakfasts, 2 to 3 lunches and another 2 to 3 dinners…IN ONE DAY!!! No kidding. We eat a lot of delicious food, but only 10 chefs can be selected from cities all over the country to represent the year’s best and most innovative. Food & Wine has perfected the art of their search for “the best” by developing a grass roots system. They are so good at this that they also have lists for the best coffee bars, burgers, pizzas and more. Now, think back to the last time you asked for a recommendation for a great restaurant, a good burger, a decent slice or even a solid cup of joe. You probably don’t have to think hard because most of us regularly ask for the suggestions of friends, family or colleagues when it comes to items such as these. But now, think back to the last time you grabbed that recommended slice (you must try Caesars on the UWS of NYC) only to be incredibly disappointed that it was just too cheesy, saucy or the crust was just wrong for your taste. Or how about that hailed cup of coffee (I prefer Café Grumpy) that was so bitter you could barely choke it down? Or perhaps there was the highly praised burger (my favorite is at J-Bar in Aspen…with truffle fries of course!) that was squeezed between so much bun that it was almost unbearable to eat? Are you catching my drift? Or am I being obtuse?
Taste matters! Not only when it comes to food and beverage but perhaps even more so when it comes to dealing with the people who are going to take on the responsibility of assisting you with one of the largest sales or purchases in your portfolio. Each year, REALTRENDS via an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal, ranks the top 1000 real estate professionals in the country. That said, I personally know many of the top agents on these lists and as the Director of Sales for more than 120 agents, I promise you that no single agent can fulfill the “taste” of every consumer. What these lists don’t measure is efficiency, ease or difficulty of transaction, ability to overcome obstacles and perhaps—most importantly—the financial gain or loss of the buyer or seller. Ranking real estate professionals based solely on their dollar volume would be as if Food & Wine ranked their chefs on the number of covers (people) that they served, the profit of their respective restaurants or even the average price of their bestselling entrees. It would hardly tell us anything about the food or the dining experience to use these measurements, just as measuring the sales volume of a particular sales agent tells us nothing about the experience of their buyer or seller in a transaction.
When it comes time for you to buy or sell an asset as important as a home, definitely consider the references of friends and family, but also be mindful that we all have different tastes and it may take more than just a referral to ensure that your agent isn’t too cheesy or saucy!