A New Way To Shop For Your New Home

Welcome to Cycling Home Tours!

Since becoming a Realtor in 2005 I’ve faced a number of challenges; a changing market, an overabundance of inventory, tremendous competition and the uncertainty that comes with self-employment.

But even more then this, what I had the most difficulty with was reconciling the notion that in order to do their job, Realtors are entirely dependent on cars.

Prior to my new position I worked for over a decade, in several different positions, in the bicycle industry; as a retail manager, mechanic, journalist and photographer.

I love bikes. I like riding them, racing them, fixing them, consulting with friends about what bikes are best for what purposes, but most of all I love the freedom from vehicles and the connection with the world around you that can only come from riding your bike wherever and whenever possible.

Right away in Realtor school, you are pounded over the head with a perceived reliance on cars. Not just any car mind you, but really nice, big cars so you can load up your clients and take them from house to house when shopping for a new home.

Some of the instructors even suggest buying a new car every year to project an image of a successful businessperson. For a while , I drank the Kool-Aid. I traded in my beloved green mini-van, bought used Mercedes and began driving to work everyday.

Things went O.K. I sold several houses and condos to friends and acquaintances, listed and sold a few others. But I still couldn’t enjoy driving everywhere. Sure there were times when I had appointments in outlying suburbs where riding my bike was foolish, but for the most part I work in Minneapolis and St. Paul and wished that I could pedal my way to my appointments.

This past spring, I decided to change my way of thinking and apply a new business model.

I started to ride my bike to the office religiously. At first co-workers were curious about the bike parked outside my office. I was frequently asked, “Did your car break down?” A couple days later I rode to a listing appointment. The homeowner was surprised when I pulled up on my bike, but when I explained to her that I was trying to break my dependence on my car, she was impressed, and I got the listing.

That weekend, I loaded my Open House signs in my cycling trailer and rode to host the open house. We sold the house in less then a week.

Since then, whenever possible, I have ridden my bike to appointments, to preview houses, to meet with potential clients and to update marketing materials at all of my real estate group’s listings.

Business has been good, and last week I purchased my first bus bench advertisement.

This week I got my first call from an acquaintance, who saw the bench, and yesterday he and I went on my first proper Cycling Home Tour to view 5 homes in the Kenny neighborhood of SW Minneapolis.

Granted he was on a motorcycle while I was on my bike, but I’m still going to count it.

It was warm, but somehow I kept from getting too sweaty.

Riding from house to house gives me and my clients a whole different perspective on the neighborhoods we are searching in. You hear the voice of a neighborhood, talk to people who live there, and notice things that you might completely overlook when speeding by insulated in a vehicle.

My new goal is to find some active wear that gives me some more breath-ablity and still appears somewhat “professional”. Until then, I’ll pedal slow and keep to the shade.

Stay tuned for more two-wheeled real estate adventures.


3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    aimee said,

    great idea! loves it.

  2. 2

    Jamal said,

    Brilliant idea Cross. Seriously. In a field full of suits and benz’z it’s definitely refreshing to see someone on two wheels. Sometimes it just takes a little swimming against the tide to find success (the happy line between doing something you really love and financially “making it”.)

    I think you’re on the right track. :thumbup:

  3. 3

    mary say's said,

    what a great idea.keep pedaling two wheels are the best,be it motorized or not.double thumbs up.

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