Think all real estate agents are the same? Think again.The Washington Post recently published a scathing article describing the average real estate agent as “...barely above the drug cartels when it comes to morality and honesty.” The National Association of Realtors names “untrained, unethical, and incompetent agents” as the leading threat to the industry. This guide is written for the potential home buyer or seller to assure you choose a professional Realtor and receive the best possible service.
Like most people out there, you might believe that all Realtors offer similar services at comparable rates. They help you broker the purchase or sale of a home, find what you’re looking for, and enter and review offers. However, expert-level service entails much more than hosting an open house and waiting for offers to pour in. The best Realtors are researchers, analysts, and consultants- each with experience in their own region and with all types of buyers and sellers. The right Realtor will get your transaction executed quickly, smoothly, and will add to your bottom line.
Warning Signs of a Subpar Real Estate Agent
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and it’s no different when it comes to crooked agents. Look out for these red flags when working with any agent: Long response times, bad attitudes, and shifting opinions are all signs that your agent is thinking more about their commission than finding the best home for your money. Oftentimes agents will employ deceptive tactics to get potential clients to sign binding documents. Offers of free staging, reduced commissions, or other offers must be reviewed with a fine-toothed comb. From experience, more than 90% of ‘free staging’ offers result in an increased commission much higher than paying for staging services.
Who’s on My Side?
Great Realtors, much like doctors, lawyers, and financial advisors will have your best interest in mind throughout the entire transaction. A signed Buyer or Seller representative should be attentive and offer insight on anything from pricing to shifts in the markets of each region. Feel free to ask detailed questions about the neighborhood, future values, and more to assure that your wellbeing is a top priority. A Realtor represents your interests in negotiations and as such must have a keen understanding not just of the property, but of how the transaction will progress. Your Realtor should keep you one step ahead of the process as well as educate and inform you along the way.
Choosing a Real Estate Agent:
Many questions come to mind when choosing a real estate agent. Do I talk to someone my neighbor or family recommends? Realtor or unaffiliated agent? What do certifications such as CRS, ABR, and SRES imply? When considering which agent to speak to, first examine their certifications and affiliations. Typically, Realtors and agents with specialized certifications will be much more knowledgeable in a certain area of expertise. For example, a SRES, or Senior Real Estate Specialist will have unsurpassed knowledge of 55+ communities and meeting the needs of seniors.
Go beyond the business card and introduction when getting to know a potential representative. Ask to speak to past clients, ask about which areas they specialize in, and how long they’ve been in real estate. Interview them as you would any service provider, and work only with professionals who are willing to show you verified reviews and recommendations. Be cautious around agents who are quick to insult other agents as this is a violation of their code of conduct!
A Realtor can make or break the purchase of your dream home or even your family’s financial future. Work only with the best and the best will come to you. Since 1994, Alain Pinel Realtors has provided it’s clients with top-tier service in experience, expertise, and integrity. Rooted strongly in those tenets, Alain Pinel has grown to one of the largest independently-owned Real Estate companies in the nation, and has repeatedly won Top-3 Awards in Residential Real Estate both in California and nationwide. David and Vicki Harris are longtime President’s Club members and are hold a wide variety of certifications from Resort and Second Property Specialist to Certified Negotiation Expert.
In 2015 APR was named the Best of the Bay by both the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco weekly. Call or e-mail us any time and feel free to browse any of our articles on the local market, guides to buying or selling a home, and info on all the Bay has to offer! If you are looking to buy or sell a home in the Silicon Valley, don’t hesitate to contact the Harris Team of Alain Pinel