When dealing with real estate clients, one of the more difficult objections to overcome in the real estate industry is the fact that we are often perceived as predatory and unprofessional. If I had a nickel for every time I heard this phrase, "I haven't had very good experiences with REALTORS®", well, I'd have a whole lot of nickels.
My response? "Neither have I."
However, over the past couple of years, I am happy to report that I have rarely run across the types of agents who have traditionally given all of us a bad name. Yes, there are some who are still out there, but I get the feeling (I have no data to support this assertion) that many of the truly bad agents were driven out of business by the economic downturn we experienced here in 2008 and 2009.
As the broker and co-owner of a smaller independent real estate agency, I've trained dozens of agents on the sales process. I have tried to build my own business on a cornerstone of integrity and honest dealings, and I expect nothing less from my agents. If I have a client who's considering buying a property that seems like a bad decision, I say so. Conversely, if I see a buyer about to pass up the deal of a lifetime, I want them to recognize this, too.
That's an easy answer, and hopefully it's a common-sense one as well. If I do my job correctly, my clients will want to come back to me with all of their real estate needs. They'll also send their family, friends, and co-workers to me. Good service isn't always altruistic. It's good business, too.
Another reason that I strive to provide the best possible service is this: I will likely be called upon to help my buyers when they're ready to become home sellers later. If I helped them get the best property in the first place, it makes my job that much easier down the road. Again, not just a nice move, but helpful to my own bottom line also.
The best agents I've encountered are those who are good communicators, and unafraid to say, "I don't know, but I'm sure we can find out." There's no shame in not having encyclopedic knowledge, as long as you're willing to expend the effort to get the answer, right?
At any rate, my overarching point is that there are still plenty of "good guys" when it comes to real estate sales. And by "guys", I mean both men and women, just to clarify. Don't be frightened by any negative stereotypes that you've seen portrayed on TV or movies. Just because you had a friend or family member who was burned before, it doesn't mean that it will happen to you, unless of course you use the very same agent, in which case you're kind of on your own, eh?
I do have a couple of pointers which come in handy, if you're a consumer looking for a real estate agent:
- Make sure that your agent sells homes full-time. Part-timers probably don't have the necessary experience or skill set to help if things get dicey during the transaction. Full-time agents have probably seen more scenarios in their career, and they can finesse things better.
- This is a big purchase for you, so dump your agent if he/she makes you uncomfortable. You'll be spending a lot of time with this person. If you get a weird feeling, move on.
I could go on, of course, but those two items strike me as supremely important to mention.
I hope you find the agent of your proverbial dreams. Thanks for reading!
Photo credit: contemplativechristian - via Creative Commons (found on Flickr)
If you're looking for a home in the Austin area, you can also visit my primary website at www.austintexashomes.com. Thanks!