When I started the home buying process for the first time, my wife and I found a home that we wanted to see fairly early on. We called the number listed and talked to someone who said that they would meet us at the property. This was a REALTOR®. I had no idea what a REALTOR® actually did. I just knew that they had the keys to the property and I had to contact them to see it in person. My wife was more familiar with real estate at the time, having had a career in the Title Insurance Industry. She explained to me that a REALTOR® would "represent" us and help us look at all the homes that we were interested in. I never fully understood what the benefit of being "represented" meant.
Years later I would decide to get my real estate license and pursue a career in real estate. I soon realized that buying and selling real estate can feel like walking through a mine field as a REALTOR®. There are 99 problems that can go wrong in a real estate transaction. Good REALTORS® predict problems ahead of time and take care of them so that they never impact their clients. It's a part of "representing" people. It's a unique job that requires strong work ethics and a true heart for our clients.
When a REALTOR® represents you, it means that they put your interests above their own. They use their knowledge and skills to help you in every way that they can. One of the ways that REALTORS® help consumers is by simplifying the process. If a REALTOR® told you everything that they do behind the scenes, you would get exhausted listening to them. You would be bored half way through as well. We do a lot of researching, coordinating, communicating, and planning behind the scenes. I spend far more time working behind the scenes for my clients than I do when I when I meet with them. I don't talk to my clients about everything that I do because it's not about me. It's about them, 100%. I want to listen to what they have to say and I only interject when I have useful information that may help them.
A good REALTOR® will make the home buying and selling process feel easy. They will shield you from the internal drama involved with negotiations, inspections, mortgage issues, title issues, and so on. For this reason, some people do not know how well they are being "represented" because it's all being taken care of for them. That's why I wanted to write this article. I want to put the spotlight on "representation" by covering some major benefits that are important to understand. It's a topic that is at the heart of the client/REALTOR® relationship.
I understand that not all REALTORS® do a good job of "representing" their clients. I got into this business after having a few bad REALTOR® experiences myself. The truth is that there are some wonderful REALTORS® out there. When I had my bad REALTOR® experiences, it was because I didn't do my homework and I just settled for the first REALTOR® that I met. It a common rookie home buyer mistake. In this article, I am going to focus on the traits and characteristics of a GOOD REALTOR®. There are plenty of good REALTORS® in your area. You can use this article as a guide to help you determine how good your REALTOR® is, if you're not sure. Are you experiencing these 4 benefits mentioned below?
1.) Being Understood
Being "represented" by a REALTOR® means that you
have an advocate who is putting themselves in your shoes. They will listen intently to you. They want as much information about your situation as possible so that they can best help you. Good REALTORS® are competitious. They will do everything they can to earn your respect and win you over so that you will use them again in the future. Understanding our clients needs and wants is essential for success in this business.
We work hard to understand you and your needs. Each of my home buying and selling clients are different. Some may want to list their house for sale and need advice on staging and adding upgrades to get the best value. Others may be relocating due to military orders and need to find a house in the next 7 days. Everyones situation is different. They all require special attention to make sure that their needs are met and their expectations are exceeded. If your REALTOR® truly understands you and your situation, you are in good hands!
2.) Being Protected
Being "represented" by a REALTOR® means that your interests are being protected. If you tell your REALTOR® that you want a house within a certain price range, they'll make sure to keep you grounded if you start to venture off looking at higher priced homes. They will also remind you of your main home search criteria points if you start to get distracted by less practical homes. They will protect your information and only communicate details to other 3rd parties as you direct them. They will step in anytime there is a problem and resolve it as you advise, protecting you from direct conflict.
I was recently working with some home buyer clients and we were at a builders office. This builder was being pushy and trying to extract too much information from my clients. I stepped in and asked the builder to submit her questions to me in writing and we would go through and answer them as needed later on. Later, my buyers thanked me for doing that. They said they felt cornered and didn't know how to respond. Good REALTORS® dedicate their time to learn about their clients. They are serious about protecting them when any threats or complications arise. This allows our clients to feel empowered and confident in the marketplace.
3.) Insider Knowledge
A good REALTOR® is an experienced professional with many years of insider knowledge. If you have already bought and sold a home before, then you probably learned a lot about the real estate process. Imagine doing that over 50 times every year. Can you image the amount of knowledge you would acquire with each transaction? This is the benefit of having an experienced REALTOR®. They have insider knowledge from helping hundreds of home buyers and sellers. Ask as many questions as possible and utilize this resource as much as you can. It's one of the greatest benefits to hiring a good REALTOR®.
Many think of "insider knowledge" as knowing which neighborhoods have the lowest crime rates, or which schools are best. This is a common misconception. REALTORS® are not supposed to comment on their opinions of neighborhoods or schools. It's considered "steering" by the Federal Fair Housing Act. We can direct you to resources to find all the information that you would need to best answer those questions. Our knowledge of the transaction processes, contract preparation, and local real estate statistics are our most valuable assets to you. Understanding how to put a fair offer together to get the best deal is invaluable. Knowing how to negotiate specific details into a transaction are essential. Helping our clients understand current market statistics and what it means for their situation is much appreciated by consumers.
4.) Mediator Leverage
Having someone "represent" you means that you can sit back and direct them as you choose during negotiations. It's much easier to make important real estate decisions when you don't have to deal with the stress and emotion of delivering the information. This is your negotiating leverage when you have a REALTOR® representing you. Your REALTOR® will be delivering all the details as you direct them to, using their experience to gain you the best outcome. They are your personal spokesperson for your negotiations and transaction details.
REALTORS® will also prepare you for the different scenarios that you might expect from the other party, based on your requests. As a home buyer, it's easy to get greedy and want the best price possible, along with other items in the property that belong to the sellers. As a seller, it's easy to give in and accept the first offer that comes out of pure exhaustion form the home selling process. A good Realtor will keep you grounded and help you understand your true negotiating position. They will help you to predict how the other party will respond to your requests. They will also package and deliver your requests in such a way that will yield the highest likelyhood of being accepted. It's a delicate balance that takes years to perfect. Having the leverage of a good Realtor to mediate your transaction can save you thousands of dollars and some unnecessary lost sleep.
REALTOR® "representation" was created because people both needed and wanted the service. It will always be a service that people need, whether they know it, or not. Like many consumers, I did not know that I needed these things when I first worked with a REALTOR®. Real estate is a tricky business that requires constant learning, serious dedication, and a true heart for the people we work with. If you are being represented by a REALTOR®, take notice of the four benefits mentioned above. It will help you to know how to best respond to your REALTOR® throughout the process. When you know what our job is all about, you can use us to your greatest advantage.
REALTORS® are people just like you. We are happy beyond description when we have raving clients. We are wounded to the core when our clients do not feel like they are getting the best service. We spend a lot of time thinking about consumer needs and how we can better serve them. We are also consumers ourselves and pay attention to business details everywhere we go. Many of us are pillars of the community, serving on local boards and helping to further our areas. Real estate is the most "local" industry that I can think of. It's all about our area and our city. REALTORS® who understand this usually collaborate well with each other and enjoy the challenge of this rewarding career. Hiring a good REALTOR® to "represent" your interests is the greatest resource you have to achieve your real estate goals.
Hi there! I'm Andrew Fortune, a REALTOR in Colorado Springs, CO and the owner of Great Colorado Homes. Real estate is a passion of mine. I enjoy writing for home buyers and sellers to help simplify the process in a visual format. I also enjoy writing for Realtors and sharing some of the technology tricks I've learned over the years. Feel free to contact me directly, or leave a comment in the comment section below. :-)
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