I have posted something similar before about why we need to use a Realtor. I see that many people have been asking this question lately because most of the buyers are looking for listings on the internet and visit open houses on their own and until they found something they like, then they look for a Realtor to help them make an offer. Because of this, some people wonder why do they even need to use a Realtor? Many think they can just as easily make an offer on their own. Therefore, I’d like to elaborate more from my previous post.
As a real estate broker, I don’t see a Realtor’s main responsibility is to find a property for their clients. This is the smallest piece of the puzzle in an entire real estate transaction. In the past, available homes for sale were published in a ‘listing book’ that was available to Realtors only. Some clients also need a Realtor who is familiar with the neighborhood, especially those who are relocating. Up til not too long ago, clients would also expect their Realtorsto be a very resourceful person by referring them their network of vendors. However, this is also being replaced by the internet in recent years (e.g. yelp reviews) in which many clients find their own vendors by looking at their online reviews. With the technology nowadays, many buyers would much rather in control of their own search and research. So what am I good for?
In today’s market, a Realtor has a much broader responsibilities than just looking for a home. That is also the reason why I truly think that the department of Real Estate should have a much higher requirements to qualify a person for a real estate license or we should not allow a new licensee take on a client solely on their own until they have worked with an experienced Realtor for a minimum of 5 transactions. We should stop the jokes within the industry that anyone can be a Realtor! We are responsible for our client’s hundreds and thousands of dollars properties, I would very much want a very qualified agent to handle my clients’ transactions! With that said, the main question is not about why we need to use a Realtor, it’s why we need to use a good Realtor to ensure a successful and smooth transaction for our clients. So here are some qualities a good Realtor should possess and why it’s important to use one.
1) Timely responses: You’d like a Realtor who is technologically savvy. You’ll be surprised how many people in this industry is still stuck with faxes and mailings only. It is essential that your Realtor can respond to you and keep you in the loop in a timely manner, because it also shows that he/she does the same for your transaction with the counterpart. If you are not on call at all time, you can lose out on an offer, or your deposit! Imagine if the seller gave you a notice to perform which you have only 2 days (in California) to respond. If you don’t respond in a timely manner, you can lose the property and the deposit!
2) Loyalty: You need a Realtor who will FIGHT for you. I don’t mean to a point to make things unreasonable, but fight for things that you are entitled to receive or within a reason. Some Realtors only want to close the transaction and will not spend the time to help their clients to get something they should get.
3) Careful due diligence process: Most people don’t know what kind of people on the opposite side are. If both parties are honest and easy going, then the transaction will go extremely smoothly. From my experience, it’s about 10% chance to have such transactions. Are most sellers that honest about their properties? Are buyers that honest about their qualifications? An experienced Realtor will navigate the transaction, and make sure the sellers provide all necessary disclosures, guide the buyers what inspections they should get, chase after the sellers, inspectors, title companies, escrow companies…etc for questionable items. As a listing agent, we make sure the buyers are not dragging their feet with their due diligence, and in any case, the buyer’s loan may not be approved in a reasonable manner, a Realtor will assess the situation and either advise client to considering cancelling or stay put as this may not be as bad as it seems.
4) Giving the right advice: Speaking of advising which move to make, an inexperienced person will not be able to make the right decision. As an example, we recently closed a transaction in which the listing agent was an inexperienced Realtor. Sad to say, he carries a real estate license because he’d like to save some commission when he sells his own properties. (for simplicity, I’ll start calling him “LIWEX” = Licensee Without Experience). Needless to say, not only LIWEX had fallen out of escrow numerous times prior to our offer, his price had dropped over $200,000 despite he claims his property worth a lot more. He finally hired a co-listing agent who helps him with the transaction. Unfortunately, he continued to ignore his co-listing agent’s advise and had added many unnecessary remarks and created many improper contracts, and threatened to cancel a transaction despite everything has been going the way it’s supposed to. But because he is not experienced, he was going to cancel the transaction despite of an extremely well qualified buyer. If the co-listing agent and myself were not in the middle of this, the buyer would have walked out of this transaction because of his unreasonable requests. LIWEX would have cancelled because he didn’t know how a transaction is supposed to run. This entire deal would have fallen apart and their asking price would have dropped once again. That’s over $200,000 worth of mistakes!
5) Be objective: Now, why would someone make unreasonable requests and threaten to cancel despite everything is moving forward? This is because a real estate transaction is extremely delicate, complicated and stressful for most people. This would probably be the largest monetary transaction a regular person make in their entire life. Therefore, it becomes a very emotional process for the individuals. A good Realtor would help mitigate some of these stress, however, not entirely. For example, from the same transaction, since LIWEX has vested interest in the property, this has become a very emotional transaction for him. He had become verbally abusive through his emails, faxes and even expressed them on the contracts. As a Realtor, we look at the transaction objectively and help filter out these unnecessary remarks and relate only the important messages pertain to the transactions and avoid any personal attacks. Despite the property has tons of potential, do you think a buyer would be able to continue the process if they have dealt with LIWEX directly? The buyer would have walked and lose out on a wonderful investment opportunity and the seller would have lost another well qualified buyer.
6) Being calm in stressful situations: Stress can be very destructive to a person’s daily routine. Most buyers and sellers have their own full time job and life apart from real estate. To be vested entirely into such stressful transactions, this can very well consume all of their energy and time from their job and family. As a Realtor, I act as a cushion to absorb some of the stress from the buyer and remain calm when a transaction can’t go as well as it should have. If a Realtor cannot control his/her emotions with the client, or even with the counterpart agent, no one will be able to come into an agreement in the end.
7) Effective communicator and establish good relationships: A Realtor should be an effective communicator who can establish a good relationship with their counterpart agent. This is very important as this can make a difference when there are multiple offers on a property. A listing agent has a great deal of influence when they present your offer to the sellers. When your offer is one of the two that the seller chooses aside from the price, it will come down to which agent has been a better agent to work with? This is being expressed since day 1 we establish communication with the listing agent. I have many experience that our offer gets accepted because the listing agent was pleased with my response time, my follow up, as well as my presentation of the buyers’ offers. As a listing agent myself, I also have helped my sellers to choose an offer that the buyer’s agent seems to be a deal maker instead of a trouble maker!
8) Knows the contracts! – Your Realtor should know the contracts very well, which form and how they can be used to protect you! A Realtor who spends time in educating themselves, in return, educate and protect their clients better. Another example from LIWEX who didn’t know the law in CA requires the seller to provide the buyer a min of 2 day notice to perform in order to cancel a contract. If he were going to represent a seller, he would have wasted the seller many days in escrow not knowing he has no ground to cancel someone without providing proper notice. Not knowing the contracts will put YOU, the seller or the buyer, at risk! So pick someone who has spent time to advance their RE education is very important!
If you have any questions and comments, please feel free to leave them here!
To find a qualified Realtor® in your area to represent you, feel free to visit the following websites:
Graduate Realtor’s Institute (GRI): http://www.grinetwork.org/
Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR): www.Rebac.net
Helen Chong, is a GRI, ABR®, e-PRO®, SFR, CDPE® who can be reached conveniently through email, phone call, texts, and/or chat if you have any further questions about selling or buying a property.