I have heard this countless times, and it scares me to the core. This statement actually tells a lot about my industry, at least in the eyes of the consumer. It implies that every Realtor® is in effect, the same. That the pursuit of the license to sell real estate is what translates to abilities. This assumes that each Realtor® has the same level of knowledge base and competence and provides the same level of service. By golly gosh, my friends – this is a problem. Real estate transactions are not only complicated and emotional, but they carry with them impacts that will affect the consumer for years ( and years) to come.
Needless to say, this statement makes me cringe ( and want to scream). Here is why having a local area agent is so critical for you.
They know more than you do – They have been not only in and out of countless homes in the area, but they know the problems that come with them! They have experienced these properties at their worst and best, at a volume consumers ( typically) don’t see in one lifetime. You can trust that they know what questions to ask, what inspections to tell you to get, and what problems typically come up.
They know the market – They are the boots on the ground, day in and day out they are performing recon. They are present while hearing what a buyer thinks about a property and will know how to advise potential sellers as to how to avoid a potential negative view. They know about properties that haven’t hit the market yet! From working in the area, other professional agents will communicate with them about what is going on in the market. True professionals work together for the benefits of their clients. Hiring a local and active agent in your area, whether a buyer or seller, is a must for understanding values.
They know what will fit you best – Remember, they know more than you do. Tell them what is important to you ( like say out door space, quiet neighborhood, or “good bones” ) and they will be able to piece together what area your quality of life will be at its highest. Realtor®s true income isn’t from transactions, it is from repeat business. That is why true professionals want you to be so happy you will keep coming back.
They know what works. This too goes for buyers and sellers. They know the homes in the area, they see them come and go, what they sell for and how long it took. They know the marketing strategies that work, and the ones that flop. They are your best bet to get your offer accepted or price your home competitively.
They provide SERVICE. This is the kicker for me. Real Estate is not a job, we provide a service for our customers, and this is truly the real difference between agents. Ask yourself, what services should an agent provide? Well, I will tell you at least what every consumer should expect and demand.
Knowledge base – not only of the market, but of the paperwork that protects you.
Communication – This is the most important, the job of a Realtor® can be closely parallelled with that of a project manager. Our job is to make sure all the wheels are turning, and solving problems before they become problems so you can carry on with your life. This can’t happen if your agent doesn’t answer or dial their phone.
Effectiveness – what is their track record? Do they sell homes in that area? Do they represent buyers in that area? How do they know the market or can advise you on what approach you should take?
What will they do for you – If you are a seller, what will they do for you to ensure you the highest price in the least amount of time all while you don’t have to lift a finger? If you are a buyer, your biggest concern should be a guide that will protect you, protect you from overpayment ( or underpayment – you don’t want to lose an opportunity especially in this market ) and from a potentially dangerous purchase. How will they do that for you?
Don’t get me wrong, your friend, relative, or whomever it is that you know, may very well be an incredibly professional, competent and terrific agent. Just know, that there is a lot at stake with Real Estate, and that you deserve excellent representation.
On that note, if you are looking to sell or buy in Santa Cruz County, I would love to meet with you.