Well, how could that have changed, Zannie?
- but how does a client who does not have deep real estate experience have any way of evaluating whether the advice given is good advice or bad advice?
I know, I have this problem every day of my life - how do I know that my CPA, my doctor, my mechanic, my carpenter, my dietitian, my hair stylist, web designer, et cetera - are giving me good advice?
Many people "validate" their physician's advice by going to WebMD or asking their friends; given your line of work, Zannie, do you think we can verify how well you know your job by asking our friends?
So I think the answer is: we don't know how to evaluate whether the advice is good or bad, but we do have ways to evaluate the person giving the advice - by evaluating their integrity, honesty, knowledge; you can verify some of the things they tell you, at least. If you meet for coffee and they joke about skipping out on the check, that tells you something, doesn't it?
I think we Realtors need to improve on our personal relations skills. We need to remember how scary it is for a first time buyer to buy a home. We need to have a bit more compassion for them.
For sellers, we need to look beyond the commission check, and see them as people trusting us to sale one of the most valuable things they will ever own.
Last, we need to be more kind hearted to eachother!!!
Kawain Payne, Realtor
Being considered a true professional goes far beyond being granted the status and is something that is earned(not entitled to) every single day that we interact with people. My wish is that we could all be better at what we do and minimize those bad feeling about agents that are floating around out there.
That being said, I'm paid on commission and I know its really hard for most buyers to separate those two concepts. It does seem like a broken system but its the one that has proven to actually work.
The only way that trust would be innate would be if a buyer was directly paying me. Zannie, would you have felt more comfortable about your agent if you were paying them a flat fee, upfront, or at least partially upfront? I think a lot of buyers might like the idea for a while. But totaling up purchase price and closing costs, most would probably go the more traditional route as it doesn't add on to their out of pocket expenses.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe buyers would gladly pay upfront flat fees in exchange for knowing that the agent was fully working for them.
If we stress that our responsibility is first and foremost to the client. If we are clear that we advise while the client decides and that we will carry out their instructions to the best of our ability right away then we would be doing better for the buyers and sellers.
As the process moves along we can listen better and show that we are listening by pointing out that this propery has that or the other thing that the client has said they wanted, or conversely we can ask "what about this or that?" when they say they like someting that shouldn't fit. (This brings up another early process statement "Buying real estate is all about trade-offs)
An agent is a fiducairy to the principal. The client is the principal. They make the decisions. The agent can, and should advise, but the client decides.
I hope that makes perfect sense to everyone. If you ever feel that the agent is self-serving, or looking out for their interests above the clients, fire them and repoert them to their manageing broker and the state's departemnt of real estate (DRE).
Also do not fail to ask about your concerns. You are the principal - the most important person - in this transaction.
Maintaining some of that enthusiasm is good for everyone. And perhaps sharing a little bit of the anxiety, too. Residential real estate is an emotional field; if we're all that jaded, maybe we better switch to the investment side.
It is a problem, and it's a problem for which we cannot control the outcome - only you can.
You do know what it means to be "trustworthy," right? You may be 100% trustworthy. But you have no control over whether other people trust you. All you can do is be the best You you can be.
That is our problem. Telling you to trust us is likely to have no effect. Only You can make you trust one of us.
- Most professionals are financially incentivized to do a good job, and it's reasonable to get a second opinion from another doctor or mechanic, but by the time I'm entrenched in a real estate transaction, it's not really reasonable to get an opinion from another real estate agent. Unless you'd like all of your clients to work with two or three agents at a time, and cheat you out of your commission.
Reasonable? I don't know; everybody can't be served by a system, no matter what it is. BART doesn't serve everybody well, some people don't want fluoride in their water - there is no perfect system.
I don't know what your complaint is, other than that You Can Never Be Sure. Well, that's true. So where do we go from there?
I am glad that I got some answers from this question and I hope that everyone, including myself, is listening.
There have been a lot of great answers and I still want to hear more....
Ultimately I think the whole system of compensation for agents needs to be changed so that they get paid for their work regardless of the outcome of the transaction, and preferably so that for both buyers and sellers, they get an extra financial incentive for a completed transaction that is in the financial interests of their clients. But short of that possibly impossible task, the trust issue could have been resolved for me had my agent brought it up. That's all I'm saying.
The question asked was what could have been an improvement, and I gave my answer. It was not a personal attack on anyone. I am not incorrect in stating that bringing up the incentive issue myself felt confrontational to me; I know what my own feelings are. If you think I shouldn't have felt that way, that's fine, but I still felt that way and I guarantee you I am not the only buyer who does. I believe buyers agents will benefit from being proactive in addressing it.
Even after the deal closed,I still did work for her and met with her HOA'S at the condo meeting to help her address some issues and I spoke to the association on her behalf.
It's very important for clients to write down as many questions as possible and to ask as many questions as possible.
I think this will help in building trust and rapport.
What I hear Zannie saying is that trust isn't there and no matter what the agent says trust canâ€™t be built because of â€œcircular reasoningâ€. If you think that whatever we say might not be true then you really need to check why you are working with that agent.
Since we are looking at the issue of lowering the purchase price benefiting the buyer but hurting the agent, letâ€™s use that as an example. Forget about the market the way it is now and letâ€™s assume it is a â€œnormalâ€ market where there are enough houses to satisfy the number of buyers and there can be downward negotiation. Start a discussion of a lower price point and then you have to judge what you hear. Of course you might hear advice that lowering the offer price isnâ€™t going to get it and that could be true but remember that you make the decision. If you are willing to take that risk tell the agent to do it. If they balk fire them! Yes, fire them. The reality of the dollars is $25.00 for each $1,000 if the brokerage fee is 2.5%. That $25 is then split with the firm and taxes are paid on the remainder. Our business is built on referrals of past clients so few professional agents will do what is being supposed.
In all business it is best to trust but verify. If Zannie or any buyer and seller approach their agents with that attitude it should be recognized as just good business. I would rather work with a client that isnâ€™t afraid to ask questions, take bold steps, make decisions, verify terms and conditions and watch out for their own best interests. Then my job is so very clear; explore, advise, strategize, let the client decide and then carry out the instructions given to me by the principal to the best of my ability.
Frankly I think itâ€™s fun to negotiate savings for my clients. That winning in negotiation is worth far more to me when I save my client tens of thousands of dollars than to take home a few hundred.
1) It's a rather confrontational type of question. It's not always easy to have a good rapport with someone when you start off the relationship by saying "Hey, I don't trust you." However, an agent can more easily say, "I know a lot of buyers have a concern about how buyers agents are incentivized, so let me explain right up front that I my personal motivations for doing the best job I can for you are X, Y and Z."
2) No matter what the agent tells me, how do I know it's true? "You can trust me because I say so" is circular reasoning.
Zannie asks, "How do I know?"
Zannie"s expectation is cloudy with the expression, "Somehow?"
Peter asks, "How can we do better?"
Better than adhering to a set of rules of which the consumer has no knowledge, it would be better to ask the intelligent and probing questions needed to determine the 5, 6 and 7 that are the real motives of the buyer or seller needing your help. Elevating a buyer or seller to this higher version of themselves, where the best decision are made, reveals the real skill of a consultant as opposed to a sales person.
If operating at the highest level is not possible, simply establish a clear understanding of each ones expectation coupled with the promise to verify. In Zannie case, the most probable scenario was Zannie had no expectation therefore did not recognize if or when the expectation was meet and most likely exceeded. By accepting the responsibility of defining the performance level and providing the means to verify, we as professionals also create the environment that will assuage Zannie's concerns and create a raging advocate. A RAGING ADVOCATE!
As real estate consultants, we must accept the responsibly to enlighten our buyers and sellers even if they are drifting in a sea of foggie perception of what real estate professionals actually do..
I want to challenge my buyers and sellers to verify that what I said I would do is being done.
I want them to be astounded at what THEY see I am doing on their behalf....but of which I will never speak. I want them to catch me creating the situation that will assure their success. I want them to discover and embrace the assurance that if I can not do it, it can not be done.
They will come to realize that the axis of my business will shift to capture what is most important for them. But, none of this is possible if they will not accept the challenge to verify. Verification is not an embryo of fear. It is the opportunity to be caught doing something good when we think no one is looking. That is the private portal revealing one's character.
It is summed up in the cliche`
The smallest of deeds outweigh the greatest of intentions.
That's all I have to say about that,,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realec Group
Palm Harbor, FL