What can your real estate agent do for you?

Asked by Tean Wong, Boston, MA Wed Jan 20, 2010

To better service you, I always want to know what can I do to improve my service and deliver what my clients want.

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Hillary Bern…, , Austin, TX
Wed Jan 20, 2010
7 Reasons to use a Realtor:

1. Understand potential restrictions of the property. I recently heard a story from a friend at the city development office in Austin Texas. A couple had saved up for their retirement. They wanted to retire and live out in the hill country. They went to the foreclosure auctions. At the auction they purchased a lot for 500,000. It had great views and they were going to build their dream house on it. They had researched the lot before the auction and found it was zoned SFR which means a single family residence can be built on it. After purchasing the lot they started plans to build their retirement house. At this time they discovered the lot was in the 25 year floodplain. My friend at the city development office explained that the lot could not be built on and was basically worthless.

2. Know about new developments that might affect a properties value. A good realtor will know of proposed new developments that might affect different properties in which a buyer is interested. Whether these developments are positive or negative can be valuable information when weighing different housing options.

3. Find potential problems with a property. It is always a good idea to have a home inspector look at a potential house. However, a Realtor is a good first line of defense to see if a house has inherent problems. A Realtor that can know about common problems, such as foundation or electrical, that affect a particular neighborhood.

4. Understand contracts specifics. Whenever you buy or sell a house you are entering into a large personal transaction. It helps to have someone on your side that deals with these types of transactions on a daily basis. A Realtor can help you understand contracts and can explain what is typical for your area. The most common pitfall into which I see unrepresented buyers fall is to become involved in an atypical contract that is not to their benefit. For instance a seller will sign an offer that has an option period that is 4 times longer than what is typical. A buyer might put in offers on multiple properties with long option periods. The buyer will wait and see if the market appreciates. If the market has appreciated the buyer buys the house at now and undervalued price. If the market has gone down the buyer walks away.

5. Misperception of a benefit of going it alone. Buyers frequently think that by not using a buyers agent they will get a better deal from the seller. In most situation the listing agent asks for 6 percent from the seller. If a buyer comes with an agent the listing agent splits the 6 percent with the buyers agent. If an unrepresented buyer comes the listing agent keeps the whole 6 percent. On the selling side, For Sale By Owners (FSBO) often think they are saving alot of money by avoiding a listing agent. Nationally, FSBO homes sell for 14 percent less than agent listed homes in the same neighborhoods. In addition alot of FSBO's still end up having a buyers agents involved. There is also money spent on advertising. Since an agent has experience marketing homes the agent often can spend money more effectively on advertising. Agents often know which advertising sources produce the most potential buyers.

6. Save time when looking for listings. Looking for listings without an agent can take up large chunks of time. When looking with an agent you can see several homes in a few hours. When going it alone you have to call the listing agent for each house and wait at the house for the agent to arrive and open up the house. In addition agents often know houses which are not listed or may have already identified potential problems with a particular house of interest.

7. Insure Security. When a home is listed with a broker, agents coming to the house have to usually log in. This allows the listing agent to keep a record of every party coming into the house. Since their business is on the line, agents are more likely to protect the house from damage or theft. For a variety of reasons, it is generally not a good idea to have random people you do not know come into your house. Often sellers simply have a phone number, but that phone could be their house, a friend's house, a pay phone, or even a stolen phone.

Hillary Bernstein
Dawn Krantz-Private Label Realty
0 votes
Zelda Kohn, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Tue Feb 23, 2010
Here are my 2 cents in response to Doublefsbo:

1: Unfortunately, many agents got burned by those, For Sale By Owner people, who expect real estate agents to give away they hard earned experience, time, and efforts for free. Considering, that commissions are their source of income and, in this tough economy they limit their expenses of time and money and focus on those who really want their business, can you really blame them for not giving out a free education and work to all FSBOs?

2: Most real estate agents, I know, answer a lot of questions and give away a lot of other value regardless of commissions as they work hard to gain trust of prospective clients or referrals which takes a lot of work to earn. When you meet somebody willing to educate you for free and answer a lot of question without any talk of commissions, think what value can you offer them in return for their time, kindness and expertize and do that. You'll be amazed how far it'll get you!
Web Reference:  http://boc-re.com
1 vote
Doublefsbo, Both Buyer And Seller, Staten Island, NY
Wed Jan 20, 2010
Real estate agents in general should stop focusing on how they are going to make commissions and give straight answers when people ask them questions. Buyers and sellers don't like it when you omit things or twist facts just so you can make a sale.
1 vote
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Wed Jan 20, 2010
We always need to improve our knowledge. Take classes, even when you don't need the CE. Look at houses. Check price histories.

Every client is different, they won't all want the same thing - except that they will all want to be listened to. The more assets we have in terms of knowledge, the better we can deliver what it is that they want.
0 votes
Susan Costa, , Westport, MA
Wed Jan 20, 2010
Service with pride and integrity - this should be the realtors oath!

If you keep focused on the client - the seller or buyer (Whoever you represent) then you will earn the commission and better yet - you will make a friend and the referrals will be forthcoming. Be honest ad be true in your service.
0 votes
Tean Wong, Agent, Boston, MA
Wed Jan 20, 2010
I do agree with you 100% When the agent focus on their commission, the interest is not at the clients. Doing a good job is the way to get good commission.
Web Reference:  http://www.teanwong.com
0 votes
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